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the Big Blog Company | Careless blogs cost jobs
“Who yer callin' a sparrow, you schmuck?!”
The bird on the back.
February 24 2005
Careless blogs cost jobs
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • Blogs & Blogging • tBBC in the media • Journalism 
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Another article about ‘blogging’ in the UK mainstream press (and not in the Guardian!), this time about the tendency (if a few cases can be called that) of bloggers getting fired for blogging about their work and employer on personal blogs. It is written by a journalist blogger from the position of whether bloggers have any say in this. Michael Pollitt has a pleasant looking blog disconnected jottings and blogs about the article himself:

Careless blogs cost jobs looks at what happened to two bloggers when they wrote about work. They were dooced. In case you’re wondering, the word dooced was first used by American blogger Heather Armstrong who lost her job in 2002.

Joe Gordon of the Waterstone’s firing fame. He had been making remarks about his employer on his blog Woolamaloo Gazette for some time when things came to a rather shocking (for Joe) finale:

Shortly before Christmas, he was called to his manager’s office and informed of an investigation for gross misconduct. “I was suspended on pay and escorted from the premises of the bookstore I had worked in for 11 years,” Gordon wrote. He was dismissed in January for bringing the company into disrepute.

There is also this bit in the article:

It’s also important for employers to devise blogger strategies. Adriana Cronin-Lukas, a partner in The Big Blog Company, is an ardent blogger who also helps companies set up blogs. “I want employers to understand that employees are individuals and they have their freedoms,” she says. “If the company doesn’t have a blogging policy, it’s very hard for employees who have personal blogs. If an employer has a very strong opinion about blogs, then they should have a policy and give bloggers a chance to decide for themselves.”

They print anything these days, I tell ya. grin

Michael reveals on his blog that the Waterstone affair continues:

Joe Gordon contacted me on Monday afternoon to say that there was a settlement offered by Waterstone’s following an appeal with the help of his union (The Retail Book Association) against his dismissal in January. In lieu of reinstatement, Waterstone’s was now coming to an amicable agreement involving compensation.

Waterstones should be officially commenting in the next few days and Michael will blog about it on his blog. By the way, doesn’t it look so odd nowadays for a company to take a few days(!) to comment on something that happened weeks/months ago? This is not going to be possible for long as those companies who refuse to communicate will be confined to their PR controlled oblivion…

The final twist in the tale is that Joe will be running an official Forbidden Planet blog as part of his new job.

The company will be using the blog to communicate with customers, says Joe, as well as sharing new book titles they are excited about between issues of a quarterly magazine (Joe will write for that as well).

The message of the article is that both bloggers and companies should take note:

Blogs are growing in influence within and beyond the “blogosphere”. But most bloggers are not aware of the dangers they face when casually turning in what they think is a harmless account of their day at work. No matter how well intentioned, the blogger is usually the loser. And bloggers and employers clearly need to understand each other better before the word dooced is heard more often.

This was something we expected all along and hence our ‘bloglaw’ development. It did not take long to work out that if we tried to get companies to open up and let their employees communicate on their behalf (as it should be in the first place), the concern will be that of control of legal implications and reputation. Our position so far is that the benefits of blogging far outweight the risks, which although there, are also managable. Forewarned, forarmed…

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