The other big blogging controversy

I’ve been doing this blog for a few years now, and it’s afforded me many opportunities to meet new and interesting people who share similar interests. I’ve exchanged ideas and emails with a large variety of people, from people who just happen share my last name, to people who might be considered big-wigs of the IT industry, like Scoble, Chris Pirillo or Doc Searls, not to mention the countless other regular IT guys like me that I’ve been lucky enough to learn from and interact with, like the fellow I mentioned in the last post who gave me the opportunity to look at a Sharepoint site. This blog and these connections have increased my value as an IT professional to the point where the organization I work for is aware of my blog, and though no one reads it all that often (They have no idea what I’m talking about half the time, being non-techies), it’s not considered problematic to have a blogger on staff.

That being said, you’ll notice I never mention anyone by name, including the place where I work. I talk about the technology I work with, and how users interact with that, but nothing else. No one had to create a “blogging policy” for me to know better.

Now, of course, the place I work for is involved in politics. (Not on the national level, but still…) There are, and always will be, certain policies that we are more aware of than maybe other people in other places are. It’s understood here that you do not have to agree with every political stance the organization takes, and they certainly can’t make you vote in agreement with them, but you, in turn, are not to be an outspoken critic of those positions either. Having one of our own staff members be an advocate of an opposing position would be a source of public embarrassment to the organization. Causing the organization public embarrassment is just cause for termination. I’ve never really had to be told that either, but just in case, we do have that in writing.

You’ll note there is nothing in that policy about “blogging”, because there doesn’t have to be. I understand blogging is a public forum. I understand that those same policies are in effect when I talk to people in public, write a letter to the editor or blog on my personal website. There is no difference between writing to my weblog and getting up in front of a crowd protesting at city hall. If I got up in front of that crowd and denounced the company I work for, and the people I work with, I’d get fired for it. I wouldn’t be getting fired for speaking, I’d be getting fired for causing embarrassment to the company. Seems to me that the whole Blogger Bill of right’s movement is about people who didn’t seem to understand that all those other, existing, policies applied to writing online too.

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