Don’t write what you know

The urban dictionary describes the word dooced as “to lose one’s job because of one’s website.” When you look into it, the list of names is pretty long. In 2002, a woman was fired for blogging about her office (she’s now a stay at home ex-mo mom).

The Microsoft employee in 2003 who was fired for posting a photo of Macintosh G4s shipped to Redmond, along with some information about where he saw them. The Sarcastic Journalist was fired in August 2004 from her journalism job for blogging about work, so was Troutgirl (fired from Friendster!). November 2004, Queen of the Sky (a flight attendant for Delta) was fired over “inappropriate images.” There’s actually a blog with a lot of these people listed, at the Papal Bull, which is an interesting article.

Most recently, we have Nadine Habosh, interviewed by MSNBC for having been fired for her Beauty Insider blog called “Jolie in the NYC.” She lost her job once she was ‘outed’ as being the blogger. Haobsh defends herself, saying she never blogged about trade secrets (she works in fashion so I can only assume the secret is ‘be beautiful’), which is an intresting defense.

It’s not that I don’t trust the internet. Which I don’t. It’s that people take blogs too seriously and too frivilously. That’s a contradiction in terms, but it’s accurate. Your friends will take yuor blog like a casual read. You will take your blog to some degree of seriousness (depeneding on how important you think it is). Your boss will take your blog, if you post from work, like a threat.

And all three views are perfectly correct.

I don’t blog from work, precisely. In my downtime, I will write up the gist of the entry and then throw it on a disk and finish it at home. I don’t log into my blog from work anymore, since the web folks locked down everything. I also don’t blog much, if anything, about my coworkers, except in passing. I certainly don’t provide details about them, except Mr. 2-O’Clock.

Should I be worried? Maybe. My boss knows I write in my ‘down time,’ and I certainly will scribble notes of things I want to do. But it doesn’t take any more time from my work than a smoke break or a call home. But that’s what Iain Murray thought too, and look at him. I know my boss knows I have a blog. I have not given her the URL, though she knows my home email and if, perhaps, she went to my site she would certainly find it (if so, hi! Purple lightsabers!).

Now, the one thing I did blog about from work that might get me in trouble is stuff about behavior from our HR book, posted after a round of lay offs. I’m not going to take it down unless asked. It does have the possibility of getting me in trouble, but having re-read the two quotes I took from it, and the fact that I agree with 90% of what the HR doc to which I was reffering said, I’m probably okay.

What do I have to watch out for? The revenge factor. Someone deciding they hate me, picking out selections from my blog and pointing it back to HR and saying ‘Fire Ipstenu, she’s mean and here’s how I know.’ Okay, yeah, that can happen. I’d sue the hell out of the bank for it, if my lawyer thought it would work, but it could happen.

So, fine. No blogging about work. No blogging at work. They can’t stop me from makign notes of ‘things to do at home’ or ‘urls to read later in detail.’

Rule of thumb for blogging is this: Don’t be stupid, idiot.

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