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the Big Blog Company | Employees neutered
“Who yer callin' a sparrow, you schmuck?!”
The bird on the back.
March 03 2005
Employees neutered
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • Blogs & Blogging • Company blogs • Trends 
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Ephraim Schwartz writes about his impressions from the annual Demo conference and notes that this year’s show heightened his awareness to one trend in particular:

...high anxiety over what employees can publish in both e-mail and blogs. There was a slew of products that monitor employee communications in one way or another, mapping them to corporate policy on everything from offensive language and sexual harassment to outright prohibition of personal e-mail.

He finds OutBoxer probably the fairest to employees. As soon as an e-mailer hits the send button, if there’s a dirty word in there, a notice will pop up explaining which rule was broken so the writer can reconsider.

Another one, IPLocks’ Information Risk Management Platform, doesn’t give employees a second chance. It tracks employee access to sensitive company data and sends alerts to appropriate managers when employees step outside of normal usage patterns.

There are several more such as Fortiva Archive that monitors emails after they have been sent and the WhatCounts Appliance Series which monitors and evaluates blogs and e-mail before they are published or sent, routing posts to HR managers and/or legal when necessary.

I agree with Ephraim Schwartz that these products point to a disturbing trend and no amount of justification based on the combination of privacy issues, new government regulations, and a litigious society can convince me that this is the way to treat your employees and get the best out of them.

For example, can you imagine a legal department reviewing every blog post? If you’ve ever waited for legal to approve a document, you already know that you might as well give up now and forget corporate blogging. It’s probably not worth the aggravation.

Between lawsuits and regulations, I wouldn’t be surprised if, spearheaded by legal departments everywhere, all employees will someday soon be sent to class to learn a new, neutered, corporate-approved written language. Of course, companies may want to revamp their job descriptions for their vice presidents of corporate communications. May I suggest a more classic title — something like “Minister of Truth”?

Hm, where have I seen this before...?

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