So, I've got a blog . . . Now what?

Everyone seems to be jumping on the blog bandwagon so I thought I'd give it a go as well. Haven't really got a clue what I'm going to talk about, but that's never really stopped me from saying something, so . . .

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Name: Seitherin
Location: Lake Jackson, Texas, United States

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Woolamaloo Gazette

If you haven't heard the story yet, you aren't really wired in. From all accounts, a very nice man named Joe 'publishes' the Woolamaloo Gazette. It has been around forever and he uses it to satirize whatever strikes his fancy. He also uses it to vent when something goes wrong at work. Well, it seems the manager of the establishment he worked for - Waterstone's, a UK bookseller in the ilk of Border's - took exception to the venting and fired Joe. The reason given is the satirical venting Joe did defamed Waterstone's. Given Joe's account and what I've read on other blogs, I suspect however Joe defamed Waterstone's in his blog is nothing compared to the defamation Waterstone's has brought down on its own head by firing him. Not only is Joe's story making the round of blogs - BoingBoing, Neil Gaiman - but news sites as well - Times Online, CNET. And the general consensus is that Waterstone's is in the wrong, that they have, in fact, cut off their nose to spike their face.

What do I think? I think we would all be wise not to mention work, except in the most glowing, anonymous terms, in our blogs. It probably would be wise not to speak about work, except in the most glowing, anonymous terms, to anyone. Actually, we shouldn't even think about work except in the most glowing, anonymous terms. You never know who might be eavesdropping.


Blogger Stef said...

I think what can be learned by this episode and the incident involving a blogger calling herself "Queen of the Sky", that mentioning workplace problems, even if one doesn't specifically identify the employer, is hazardous to your livelihood. I don't even mention companies I've previously worked for for those reasons. One employer had me sign a confidentiality statement where I had to agree not to discuss company goings on, even though I am no longer am employed by them (it's a financial firm, so I had no problems with signing the statement). I left that company and the one previous to it long before I ever had a blog...

11:24 AM, January 11, 2005  
Blogger Seitherin said...

Contracts that specify what you can and cannot say publicly about an employer and confidentiality agreements to protect trade secrets, etc. are one thing. But to be terminated for speaking privately, albeit in a public forum, should not be any grounds for termination particularly if there is no policy in place to address the situation. It is especially heinous in this situation because the employee in questions seems to have generated a considerable share of goodwill, positive PR, and even income for the company.

Did his satirical comments regarding Waterstone's need to be addressed? Yes. Did he need to be terminated because of them? No.

I suspect that if the particulars in the stewardess case are similar to this one, her termination was a travesty as well.

1:24 PM, January 11, 2005  
Blogger Roseunicorn said...

First of all - it's called freedom of speech and it is suppose to be one of our rights as Americans.

Second if you fire me for it - I really will have no reason to keep my mouth shut - as I informed one employers who threatened my job. By the way I kept the job til I was ready to leave it.

Third - any company that is so scared that it can be "defamed" by the comments of one employee is not a company I would want to deal with if I were a customer of theirs. I have stopped dealing with companies who have so little confidence in themselves that they can handle a little criticism from either there employees or their customers. To me that is a sign of weakness.

That said - I do however agree that if you work for a company where you are dealing with customers personal and private information - you should never take out you frustrations with the company in anyway that will hurt the customers of the company.

I have not read the article you referred to yet but plan to in the future. It sounds interesting.

12:29 AM, January 12, 2005  

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