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  1. Required: Blogging Policies
  2. Examples of Blogging Policies
  3. What should employers know
  4. Perils of blogging
  5. Blogging is good
  6. Case studies
  7. Tips on blogging
  8. Legal protection for Bloggers
  9. Weblogs

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Required: Blogging Policies

Avoid getting blogged down in e-etiquette, Stephen Miller, The Scotsman, March 29, 2005
  • Recent news of the Waterstones’ employee in Edinburgh apparently becoming the first person in the UK to be sacked for internet blogging - publishing a personal journal on the web - has raised suggestions employers need to set up special rules for this particular use of information technology.

Corporate Blogging: Seize the Opportunity, but Control the Risks, Howard Rice Alert, March 23, 2005 (from Howard Rice Nemerovsky Canady Falk & Rabkin)
  • How companies can reduce the risk of litigation and what steps they have to take in order to minimize potential exposure

CNN: Blog-linked firings prompt calls for better policies, Sunday, March 6, 2005
  • "Annalee Newitz, a policy analyst at the civil liberties group Electronic Frontier Foundation, said employees often 'don't realize the First Amendment doesn't protect their job.' The First Amendment only restricts government control of speech. So private employers are free to fire at will in most states, as long as it's not discriminatory or in retaliation for whistle-blowing or union organizing, labor experts say."

Google blogger firing highlights again why guidelines are essential, Neville Hobson, NevOn, 10 February 2005
  • Employees - Use your own common sense on what you say about your employer and issues in your workplace in your public blog. [...].
  • Employers - You must establish the framework under which employees can blog in their workplace, creating the guidelines that make it clear what the ground rules are, and then communicating them to your employees in a way that they clearly understand. [...].

Employee blogging needs some good old common sense, Tom Murphy, PR Opinions
  • For the employee: 1) Think before you post; 2) Understand your working; enviroment; 3) Use your common sense
  • For the employer: 1) [...] There is a growing probability that some of your staff will or are already blogging. Acknowledge that fact and put in place a plan to deal with it; 2) Embrace blogs; 3) Help your staff blog.

Corporate blogging: Setting the ground rules, Neville Hobson, The Kitchen: How to Cook a Weblog, November 2, 2004
  • 6 major elements that should be included in any corporate blogging policy

Policies for employee blogging, Neville Hobson, NevOn, 20 October 2004
  • Many organizations don't think twice about establishing clear polices about matters such as email practice and etiquette, how to use corporate branding and logos and, as Michael mentions, speaking to the media. So it must be with employee blogging.

Blogging policies on the horizon, Neville Hobson, NevOn, 23 September 2004
  • As blogs become more pervasive in the business world, and as more employees take up blogging, establishing some clear guidelines (I prefer that word) makes an awful lot of business sense.

Standard Weblog Employee Policy, Ross Mayfield, July 1, 2004
  • "What's missing is a standardized weblog employee policy. Today, major tech companies like Microsoft and Sun are embracing external blogging and beginning to realize its benefits. Right now many companies are considering similar moves, but are held back by what they see as a legal grey area."

Letter to Bill Gates, Soon to be a Weblogger, Jay Rosen, PressThink, June 26, 2004
  • "Two more things, Mr. Gates. In your company there are over 800 blogs by employees. (Partial list.) I know that in your calculations about weblogs and the Net you have factored in business blogging. But that factor begins with freedom of speech for employees who blog. You speak often as Microsoft as a leader. One of the simplest ways of making this so would be a Bill of Rights for Microsoft bloggers, or at least a determination to widen protection for their freedom of speech. This involves, of course, your own perceived openness to debate and minority opinion-- and even controversy from time to time. It might be good to ask yourself: How political can people be who work for Microsoft and become weblog authors? How personal can they get? How real? You can set an industry standard for openness and dissent allowed in weblog writing, and you can begin at your own blog."

Sun policy on public discourse -- Making Sun policy, Tim Bray, Technology Director at Sun Microsystems, ongoing, May 2, 2004

Corporate Policy on Employee Weblogs, George Dafermos, April 4, 2003
  • "The real question is whether the benefits of control are worth the potential drawback of dampening the creative spirit that fosters innovation - one of the reasons for having online communities in the first place" (Cothrel & Williams, 1999). To make sure this doesn't happen, Meg Hourihan (2002) suggests that acceptability guidelines be established. Apart from satisfying Human Resources and lawyers, these guidelines will ensure that the removal of inappropriate content (such as a post saying nasty things about the company's competitors or a colleague that climbs up the corporate ladder because of consistently backstabbing others), is not been interpreted as censorship.

Examples of Blogging Policies: see Resources - Blogging Policies

What employers should know

  • (PDF, 8 pages) Blogs: Communication Tool or Legal Landmine? Human Resources and the Legal Ramifications of Blogs - Howard A. Levitt and Rayna Shienfield Cohen (Lang Michener LLP), December 2005
    • "Canadian courts and arbitrators have not yet dealt with any cases involving blog use by an employee. However, blogs are essentially a form of internet use, meaning that the principles that the courts and arbitrators have developed in relation to internet use and employment law can be used as a base to predict how blog use will be dealt with. However, blogs do add some new twists. Blogs exist in the public domain, meaning that not only can they be viewed by anyone over the web, but even where a blog is anonymous anything displayed to a computer monitor can be captured. This presentation deals with how the courts and arbitrators are likely to deal with privacy issues, including what is unacceptable behaviour for bloggers and the potential consequences of such behaviour, and with the confidentiality issues arising from blogging. Finally, recommendations are given to help both the employer and employee avoid employment issues resulting from blogging."

  • The New York Times: When the Blogger Blogs, Can the Employer Intervene?, Tom Zeller Jr., April 18, 2005
    • Where does the status of employee ends and that of private citizen begins?

Perils of blogging

The Bloggers' Rights Blog: Blogophobic Companies/Organizations

  • Blogging On Dangerous Ground, Ben Silverman,, April 19, 2005
    • "Somewhere down the road we will find a happy medium between corporate interests and the individual's want and need to express himself. For the time being, my suggestion is that if you're going to tell the world who your employer is [...] and you're going to blog about work-related subjects, it's in your best interest to understand the employment law in your state and your employer's stance on the matter. Better safe than sorry, and better employed than unemployed."

Careless blogs cost jobs, Michael Pollitt, The Independent, 23 February 2005
  • You may think you're just letting off steam but what you write online about your employers could cost you dear. Do bloggers have any say?

Have a blog, lose your job?, Krysten Crawford, CNN/Money, February 15, 2005
  • "Workers with Web logs are everywhere, and they're starting to make corporate America very nervous."

Companies that have fired people for blogging, Boing Boing, January 9, 2005
  • List of companies that are purported to have "threatened, disciplined, fined or not hired people because of their blog"

Free Expression Can Be Costly When Bloggers Bad-Mouth Jobs, (WP free registration, available also at MSNBC and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), by Amy Joyce, Washington Post, February 11, 2005; Page A01
  • What might feel like a very personal entry about a dismal workday can mean something quite different to a boss who needs only a search engine to read it. [...] Although workers have been writing blogs for years, companies have been slow to create policies to cover them.

Looming pitfalls of work blogs, Jo Twist, BBC News, January 3, 2005
  • "Increasingly, people are landing in hot water with employers over blogs about their work. A new term has emerged as a result. According to UrbanDictionary?.com, to be dooced means 'losing your job for something you wrote in your online blog, journal, website, etc.'"

More than meets the eye in Delta employee blogger case, Neville Hobson, NevOn, 17 November 2004
  • An interesting angle on the story of the Delta Airlines employee blogger fired for posting photos of herself in uniform on her personal blog was reported in yesterday's New York Times. [...] Ms Simonetti was not fired because she blogged. She was fired because, according to her employer, she broke a company policy that had nothing to do with blogging.

Are you afraid to blog? You might have good reason to be afraid, Michael Gartenberg, Jupiter Media, October 19, 2004
  • response to Robert Scoble's Are you afraid to blog?, Scobleizer, October 19, 2004
  • "Some organizations have the right culture that can allow for blogging to take place with minimal disruption and actually enhance conversations. Robert Scoble is fortunate to be working for one of them. Other organizations need to deal with three separate issues and they are not all the same and they can each be dealt with over time."

No Friendster of mine, Red Herring, September 9, 2004
  • Interview with Joyce Park, fired without warning by Friendster for blogging about the company info that was publicly available.

The Blogger on the Payroll, Zachary Rodgers, ClickZ Network, September 7, 2004
  • "Firms have begun to encourage employee blogs, on the theory that they can give the company a human face. While these companies' stories are case studies in liberalized PR, Friendster's reaction makes it clear the marketing value of employee blogs is far from codified. So who's right?"

Job blogs hold perils, opportunities, Hiawatha Bray, The Boston Globe, January 4, 2004
  • Bloggers walk a fine line when writing about jobs

Blogging is good

Blogs 'essential' to a good career - The Boston Globe, April 16, 2006
  • "Once you zero in on your topic, here are eight reasons blogging helps your career"

It's Not Dangerous: Ten Reasons Why Blogging is Good For Your Career - Tim Bray (Sun Microsystems). ongoing, March 9, 2005
  • "Recent pieces from AP and CNET are pushing this spin, going on and on and on about the risks. Except for, it’s all a bunch of BS. For most people, blogging is a career-booster, both in your current job and when you’re looking for your next one."

Case studies

  • Google Guy
  • Apple is suing Harvard University student Nicholas Ciarelli (
  • UK bookseller
  • Jeremy Wright
  • Queen of the Sky
  • Feedster
  • The Mac guy from Microsoft
  • Dooce

Tips on blogging

Blogging Without Getting Burned, Susan Kuchinskas,, April 8, 2005
  • "Safe blogging is anonymous blogging, the Electronic Frontier Foundation advised on Friday. [...] But there's another, although less certain, means of staying out of trouble, said Shel Israel, an independent consultant on corporate messaging..."

How To Blog And Not Lose Your Job - Reynolds, Random Acts of Reality, March 17, 2005
  • "These points relate mainly to work-blogs, but with a bit of thought will translate pretty well to anything that you write on the Internet. Most of this is just common sense stuff, but there are people out there who falsely think that bloggers should be elevated over non-blogging employees."

Dave Sifry and Niall Kennedy in lesson on corporate blogging - Robert Scoble, The Red Couch, March 9, 2005

FAQ: Blogging on the job - Declan McCullagh and Alorie Gilbert, CNET, March 8, 2005
  • Can blogging hurt my career? How risky is blogging really? Is my company likely to have guidelines and policies about it yet? Can my employer fire me if I blog from home on my own time? How about if I'm a government employee, for example, in the federal civil service? ... and more
CNET's guide to blogging misses the mark - Neville Hobson, NevOn, March 9, 2005

Lessons Learned From Google Blogger Who Got Fired, John Foley, InformationWeek, Feb. 16, 2005
  1. "Know your company's corporate culture before you blog about it.
  2. Blogs may feel like a whispered conversation with a few close friends, but they're more akin to speaking aloud in a crowded public place.
  3. If you post sensitive content on your blog, it may not be enough to revise or remove it. Content gets cached on the Web. It may already be too late.
  4. If your company doesn't provide a blogging policy, ask for one. At a minimum, have an open discussion with your manager and maybe even an HR person before getting started.
  5. When it comes to blogging about work, don't make the same mistake twice."

Dinner with the fired Google blogger, Robert Scoble, The Red Couch, February 10, 2005
  • 6 tips on blogging

How Not to Get Fired Because of Your Blog, Biz Stone, Blogger

Legal protection for Bloggers

CyberLibel: Bloggers Face Uncharted Legal Territory Regarding Issues of Online Defamation - Elizabeth L. Fletcher,, February 27, 2005
  • "The meteoric rise of the number bloggers over the past few years has creating a corresponding increase in the likelihood that the common man, unfamiliar with the legal boundaries of cyberspeech, may find himself caught up in an unwanted lawsuit."

No Protection for Bloggers, Adam L. Penenberg, Wired, February 17, 2005
  • "Do bloggers, the self-described citizen journalists, deserve the same protections under the law that mainstream reporters do? The question is probably moot, but it's not because blogging is relatively new."

Blogs and Libel - or Damn, NKK!, Jeremy Pepper, Musings from POP! Public Relations, February 10, 2005
  • Interview with David E. McCraw, Counsel for The New York Times Co., on libel for bloggers


  • Don't Blog, by Phil Wolf
    • What happens when blogging becomes mainstream? What bad things will we face? Other technologies experienced a public backlash after a hype cycle. This blog attempts to chronicle that coming backlash.

  • Blogs by lawyers that discuss the issues of using these new communications channels for corporate comms:
    • Corante - Between Lawyers
      • "Between Lawyers provides just-in-time group commentary on the issues raised when technology, culture and the law intersect. We take you behind the firewalls and conference room doors to show you how experienced lawyers deal with these issues and help you prepare for the new challenges we all face"
    • Elizabeth L. Fletcher and Shanon D. Vollmer
      • Analysis and commentary on the law as it relates to evolving communications tools and technologies and the media
    • Reasonable Man - Business and Legal Analysis of the RSS + Weblog Industry
      • Charles M. Smith - lawyer, entrepreneur and COO of Pheedo
    • Sabrina I. Pacifici.
    • Colette Vogele

(53 links @ June 2, 2005)
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