How to Blog about Work without Getting Caught
Since I get into boss/workplace/career issues, I think it’s only appropriate that I bring up blogging and work. Blogging as I mentioned is a great thing, with many people doing it. However, it should also be said that blogging has its time and place.
Regardless of what you decide to blog about, unless you do it for a living you should not do it while at work. That’s rule #1: Never blog at work. Of all the blogging I’ve done, I’ve never done it while at the office. Especially if your company has strict rules about being on the Internet, you don’t want to get caught doing this. It can be grounds for immediate dismissal (or at least disciplinary action).
If you blog about work, that puts you in another category altogether. Corporate bloggers are actually paid by their company to post articles about their products and programs. This is done in an effort to raise public awareness about the company – it’s a great way to create buzz and drive sales. They are coached however, to steer clear of publishing proprietary information or anything that could be construed as counterproductive to the company cause. So you can’t get on your soap box and talk about management or coworkers. Of course there are plenty of individuals that do. My UK blogging buddy has a site dedicated to these types of blogs at Workblogging.com. It’s so inspiring.
If you want to get into blogging about management and coworkers, you need to do so smartly. Rule #2: Never name names. It may also be wise to leave out identifying information about your subject matter. This can serve as enormous protection against potential lawsuits.
Libel law consists of 4 necessary factors:
1. The libelous text needs to be published where others will see it.
2. It needs to identify who the individual is.
3. It has to cause damage to the other party’s reputation/result in job termination.
4. It can only be libelous if it is FALSE.
So, if you’re ever trapped in a libel suit, your best defense is the truth! And just so you know, the law leaves a great deal of wiggle room on the name calling bit. If you don’t want to identify your bat-$#%@-crazy manager, you can actually say bat-$#@%-crazy manager. Gotta love that rhetorical hyperbole. On a serious note, if you have any questions about this, you should consider finding a lawyer to ensure that you remain in the clear.
Rule# 3: Keep it to yourself! Just because people may find out about it anyway does not mean you should run out and tell everybody – particularly at work. It’s one thing to have a small handful of friends reading it, it’s quite another to tell your friends at work. That’s a surefire way to get the word out, which could get you fired, fast. If they find out after the fact at least they can't fire you.
And to all of you reading blogs at work: you should probably get back to your job! Good luck and happy blogging.