Monday, April 18, 2005

An interesting NYT article

by Tom Zeller about employees fired for blogging, "When the Blogger Blogs, Can the Employer Intervene?":

Mark Jen, who was fired from Google in January after just two weeks, having made some ill-advised comments about the company on his blog (Google would not comment on Mr. Jen's dismissal, but confirmed that he no longer works for it), is now busy helping to draft a blogging policy for his new employer, Plaxo, an electronic address book updating service in Mountain View, Calif.

'It was a very quick education for me at Google,' Mr. Jen said. 'I learned very quickly the complexities of a corporate environment.'
With Plaxo's blessing, Mr. Jen is soliciting public comment on the new blogging policy at

Most of the points are the kinds of common-sense items that employees would do well to remember, particularly if they plan on identifying themselves as employees in their blogs, or discussing office matters online: don't post material that is obscene, defamatory, profane or libelous, and make sure that you indicate that the opinions expressed are your own.

The policy also encourages employee bloggers to use their real names, rather than attempting anonymity or writing under a pseudonym.

Bad idea, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Two weeks ago, the group published a tutorial on 'how to blog safely,' which included tips on avoiding getting fired. Chief among its recommendations: Blog anonymously.

'Basically, we just want to caution people about how easy it is to find them online,' Ms. Newitz said, 'and that they are not just talking to their friends on their blogs. They're talking to everyone.'

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