Friday, February 11, 2005

Blogging at Work

News this morning of another blogger fired from his job at Google for blogging. This follows the Waterstone's bookshop manager, and an air hostess who worked for Delta Airlines. I am sure there are many other cases.

What I don't get about these dismissals is that all of the victims think they have a right to blog about anything they want, including their work. When I was Mr Corporate, working for several very large companies in the UK, there was always a clause in my employment contract that said you risk immediate dismissal if you give away company secrets or otherwise denigrate the company and/or its employees through any medium whatsoever.

That could basically be characterised as a restriction on your freedom of speech. But it's part of the deal about working for an employer. They will also restrict your freedom to lie in bed all day doing nothing. And if you don't want to experience a restriction on your freedom to receive a salary, then you have to accept it.

Having said that, I do enjoy reading several work blogs, and marvelling at how these folks can get away with it. I know it can be very frustrating working for a large organisation, and very few people are proud to do so, so it's no good expecting bloggers to act as corporate spokespersons.

One of the great things for me is that I own my own company, and I am very unlikely to fire myself for blogging. But then again I am most unlikely to ever write about anything bad that happens (unless it's perpetrated by Eitsalat!).

I think the real problem with this kind of thing is that there is absolutely no-one standing between what you publish on your blog and your global audience. No editor, no corporate lawyer, no adviser. The decision on what you publish is entirely your own. Never forget that corporations do not have a sense of humour, and frequently have a tenuous grip on reality. Be careful!