Monday, April 18, 2005

Bloggers Beware!!

Today's New York Times has an article on bloggers who either got reprimanded or fired from their jobs after their employers read their blogs on their presonal websites that were written on their own time at home. (NYTimes.com) One guy got canned from Google for writing about the company's financial condition. The article says, "...even in their living rooms, even in their private basement computer caves, employees are required to be at least a little bit worried about losing their jobs if they write or post the wrong thing on their personal Web logs." A policy analyst with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights advocacy group, was quoted:
"I would have expected that some of the louder, more strident voices on the Internet would have risen up in a frenzy over this. But that didn't happen." Why not, do you think?

4 comments:

Amanda said...

Why was there no frenzy? Because this has been a danger since blogging began, at least that would be my assumption. Since Mark (?) from Google got fired, there was a lot of discussion of how much a blogger can write about work, and whether blogging is detrimental or good for careers.

I think bloggers are more concerned with Apple suing them for writing about new product lines and refusing to tell Apple where they got the information.

Aaron said...

There's usually a slight flurry when this happens (see also "dooce") but I suspect the main reason it doesn't have any staying power as an issue of concern is that bloggers generally don't expect to be treated much differently than offline media folks (or at least, the people who might raise a fuss don't have that expectation). If you publish a newsletter with a bunch of internal corporate financial information, you can expect to get fired. If you're spending your on-the-clock time working on your own personal newsletter, you can expect to get fired.

Kevin said...

Bloggers do need to be careful. For example, we discussed a case in my cyberlaw course last semester where a Virginia circuit court in 2000 demanded AOL turn over the names of indiviuals who posted defamatory and confidential material about their company.

Mark said...

We actually addressed this issue in a case study from the Harvard Business Review that I had my J646 students respond to.

The key issue here to remember is that bloggers are, as Aaron mentioned, when it comes to work-related posts bloggers are not granted any rights. They must uphold their responsibilities to the company first and foremost.

However, maintaining this distinction is harder done than said.