Monday, December 06, 2004
Should Companies Fire Bloggers?
Wired News has an article about bloggers who were fired when their employers discovered they were talking about the company (and in most cases, dissing their bosses and coworkers) behind their backs. This, of course, raises the question of whether these people deserved to be fired.
Reading beyond what the article actually says, I discover that one of the fired bloggers had photos on her website of coworkers, talking about them getting drunk and losing their lunch at company parties. So yes, I'm afraid to say, that if you use your blog to embarrass innocent coworkers, then too bad if the company fires you. In fact, I would go so far as to say that posting any photos taken on the job would be a terrible idea for any blogger.
Now, as for talking about your job, that's a pretty big risk as well. If you praise a competitor, or note that "our product sucks," you're treading in some pretty dangerous waters. Some guys can get away with it because their company supports their blogging, and even views it as a major plus for the company (Zawodny and Scoble leap to mind). On the other hand, if a Bush staffer were blogging about what goes on behind closed doors, he or she would not only be fired, but arrested.
I gotta say, if you are going to bring your workplace to the blogosphere, you're probably making a mistake. We may want to talk about freedom of speech and of the press, but these companies have to consider how harmful a blog can be in the hands of the wrong employee. What company would hire someone if they knew that person was also a reporter for the New York Times, and that the reporter was likely to write about the job in a major newspaper? No one would argue that the company had any obligation to hold onto that employee, so why a blogger?
Obviously, the blogging community needs to support its own. Even so, anyone who has a job and mentions it in their blog is nine times out of ten taking a risk they can't afford.