Web Worker Daily Â» Archive Open Thread: Does Your Company Have a Blogging Policy? Â«
I know it is in vogue to say “feh” to blog policies and focus more on blog strategies, but this post on GigaOm’s WebWorkerDaily provokes a $64,000 question:
“What comprises an effective blogging policy? How do you go about developing such a policy? Do employers have authority in dictating what an employee blogs about, given the companyâ€™s name is never mentioned? [emphasis mine] Do you know if your company has a blogging policy? If so, is it too restrictive?”
The question is more accurately stated as: do employers have authority in dictating what an employee blogs about on a personal blog, given the company’s name is never mentioned?”
I say no way. No authority. If an employee wants to blog about some heinous activity or state some very radical opinions that is entirely their free right to express those opinions as their own. I do believe a company has a right to request that an employee blogger not blog about work on a personal platform, or, if they do, to insure that the Golden Rule of Cross Examination applies, to wit: “Would you want what you said or wrote read back to you by the plaintiff’s attorney when you were sitting in the witness stand.” I would imagine most confidentiality agreements and intellectual property covenants that are de rigeur for new employees would be binding.
In other words, blogging about work on a personal blog and saying, “Man, working like a dog on a big project. Sucks the vending machine is out of Cheetos” is a lot different than saying, “I think the new Gonkalator project is going down the tubes fast. It’s a shame, we invested so much money in that and to see it die is really sad.”
I mentioned Lenovo here from time to time. I actually blog about the company to give it some link love. I try to be a good corporate citizen here. But, I always go back to the late Tony Churbuck’s advice after I was caught mooning the M/V East Chop one summer afternoon in 1976 from the deck of my sailboat somewhere near Horseshoe Shoal (the captain recognized my boat, and I worked for the same company, I was not known then, as now, for my good discretion). The old gent said: “Buddy: Never $*%& where you eat.”