Friday, February 11, 2005

Common sense and respect above a Blogging Policy

About 6 weeks ago, I discovered some blog posts about people getting dismissed from their jobs because of their blogging. My impression then: there were a lot of indignant bloggers out there. Most weren't fired but shared a common sense of injustice to the whole issue. Someone even came up with an International Blogger's Bill of Rights, and apparently there's even a term called "dooced" as reported in BBC news.

Ok, that was a few weeks ago. Reading the recent posts and comments, my impression was that the initial sense of indignant righteousness has mellowed and replaced by something more... reflective (for want of a better word). And more rational as well (Hmm... an example of the self-correcting nature of the Blogosphere?). You'd know what I mean if you follow the comments from the same Blogger's Rights blog.

Majority of the recent posts suggest an agreement that the real issue wasn't about blogging, but about how people were seen to conduct themselves as employees. Shel's post "Fired for Blogging or Cause " sums up what I consider as the "reflective and rational" view. I quote:
"People are getting fired for the same reasons they've always gotten fired--for conducting too much personal business on company time, for lying about their employers, for revealing too much about a company's internal mechanizations and so on. Blogging is just another delivery mechanism for making the same employee mistakes. "
I support the view that employers should make their view towards blogging clear to employees who blog. But really, it's a matter of the employee exercising common sense over any written or verbal policy, isn't it?

I mean, if I choose to blog, then I have to be responsible for whatever I post. If I choose to rant over work issues and blog about it, I have to realise that there's a record of my views posted on the Internet. That's equivalent to me standing outside the company headquarters and complaining to any passerby.

Putting it in another way -- would we like our employer to post their complaints about us on a website?

I'm reminded of these wise words from Og Mandino (he writes on self-inpirational and self-motivational stuff) which goes something like this -- "If you have nothing good to say about someone, then say nothing". This is similar to a common advice in books on job interviews: Never bad-mouth your (previous) employer.

As a consumer, I can blog my views (good and bad) about a company, its products and policies. But if I feel like complaining about work issues, I must not forget that I'm doing so in a employer-employee relationship, rather than as a consumer of the company's goods or services.

Some people try to hide behind the veil of anonymity and blog about what they don't like about their employer. Anonymity wouldn't work, really. Things, especially words, have a way of catching up with us whether we like it or not. What we say is a reflection of ourselves. What makes the Blogosphere any different?

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