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the Big Blog Company | Growing like a virus
“Who yer callin' a sparrow, you schmuck?!”
The bird on the back.
January 13 2005
Growing like a virus
David Carr • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media • Bloglaw 
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I hate to say I-told-you-so* but, well....I told you so.

Sooner or later the kind of problems that some US bloggers have had with their employers would begin to bleed into Britain. And so they have. I am not entirely sure if this is the first case of someone being dismissed because of their blogging activities but it is the first case that I am aware of and it has hit the headlines in quite a big way:

A bookseller has become the first blogger in Britain to be sacked from his job because he kept an online diary in which he occasionally mentioned bad days at work and satirised his “sandal-wearing” boss.

Joe Gordon, 37, worked for Waterstone’s in Edinburgh for 11 years but says he was dismissed without warning for “gross misconduct” and “bringing the company into disrepute” through the comments he posted on his weblog.

Oh dear! Just how bad and disreputable were these comments? Well, according to Mr. Gordon:

“This was moaning about not getting your birthday off or not getting on with your boss. I wasn’t libelling anyone or giving away trade secrets.”

Mr. Gordon appears to be genuinely surprised by the fact that his (now former) employers took such offence because he was not trying to be offensive or even controversial. However, Messrs. Waterstone’s saw things quite differently.

This is the whole point. Mr. Gordon was not aware that he had crossed any sort of line because there was no line. I have no idea whether or not Waterstone’s were aware of Mr. Gordon’s blogging activities at all but, if they were, then there appears to have been attempts made at settling between the parties what matters could and could not be made thus public.  Now the unfortunate Mr. Gordon is standing out in the rain with his nose pressed against the glass window wondering what went wrong and how the hell he got there.

Blogging may not be as widespread in Britain as it is in the USA but, nonetheless, I confidently predict that we have not heard the last of this sort of thing. Whether you are an employer or an employee, I strongly recommend that you turn yours minds to discussing this issue in your workplace before disaster strikes and you all get famous for the wrong reasons.

* Actually, I told a lie. I love saying I-told-you-so.

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