Have Blog-related Firings Decreased?
Posted on March 15, 2006
The truth is there were not many blog related firings in the first place. They just received a great deal of press coverage. You can find the story of Heather Armstrong, who was fired for her blog called Dooce, repeated over and over in news stories.
Heather Armstrong has a warning for those considering blogging about work. She says, "My advice to you is BE YE NOT SO STUPID. Never write about work on the Internet unless your boss knows and sanctions the fact that YOU ARE WRITING ABOUT WORK ON THE INTERNET."
Steve Rubel blogged on Micropersuasion that he believes there has been a decrease in blogger firings. He says, My gut is that there has been a decrease in blogger firings because a) the ensuing publicity is terrible, b) more companies have a tolerance for bloggers and c) they may be hiring bloggers instead. I don't feel it necessarily reflects that more organizations have blog policies in place - although they should."
Steve Rubel may be correct with his first point -- "the ensuing publicity is terrible." Some companies may just be asking employees to remove content instead of firing them. A recent example was the incident when Stormie Janzen, an aide to Senator Jeff Sessions, shut down her MySpace blog after Sessions' office received a complaint.
Steve Rubel's second point "more companies have a tolerance for bloggers" is probably not correct but it would be nice if it was. It is highly unlikely that more companies are tolerating workers talking about work in their blogs. There is still a serious lack of company blog policies -- employee handbooks need to be updated to covering blogging. Workers should still be extremely careful about what they post in their blogs. This is not something employees should take lightly. Do not assume that there is an increased level of tolerance for blogging about your job in your blog -- there is not. Heed Heather Armstrong's warning.
Another obvious reason why blog firings may be "down" (even though they were never high to begin with) is that all the coverage of blog-related firings has made people more aware about the types of things that could get you fired if you posted them in your blog.