Blogging at Work
Unless you’ve just crawled out from under a very big rock, you know that blogging is all the rage. Everyone seems to have one. Blogs are a virtual diary and opinion piece, the place to share your thoughts on life, family, sports, fashion, anything at all. The question isn’t really do you blog (you probably do), but should you blog? And above all, should you blog at work? If you answered yes to that last one, here are a few things to keep in mind before you post. Hopefully it’ll save you from getting “dooced,” a term coined by blogger Heather Armstrong after she was fired for blogging.
Keep it to a minimum. In the same way that shopping online or checking your personal e-mail distracts you from your job, the more time you spend blogging—or reading other people’s online diaries—the less time you have for work, which can ultimately hurt your career, especially if you inadvertently get caught in the act of posting when the boss walks in. If you must blog at work, save it for your lunch hour, or early in the morning before your boss or co-workers get to the office.
Watch what you post. The rules vary from state to state, but if you share trade secrets, speak ill of management, or simply act like a complete idiot online, the results can be disastrous. Also, keep in mind that a blog doesn’t let you change your personality. You can’t be nice and sweet for Grandma and then a little naughty for your boyfriend. If you have a blog, everyone who looks at it will form an opinion based on what you’ve chosen to put up. Never before have we had so much potentially detrimental control over our own images. In other words, the comment about your cubicle-mate that seemed silly and snarky on Friday night can seem downright mean on Monday morning when she’s looking at you with those mega-pissed-off eyes.
Put a password on your blog. Most blogging services give users the option of making their blog password protected, meaning you have to log in to post or share information. This keeps potential evildoers at bay and insures that if you ever decide to run for city council, they won’t find your dirt by searching around a bit on the Internet. But no matter what, posting about your job, your company, or your co-workers is a very dangerous idea. As Armstrong writes on her blog, aptly titled dooce.com, “BE YE NOT SO STUPID. Never write about work on the Internet unless your boss knows and sanctions the fact that YOU ARE WRITING ABOUT WORK ON THE INTERNET.” ’Nuff said.