Monday, August 15, 2005

Say it loud, I blog and I'm proud!

The Chicago Tribune ran a story today on people who were fired from their jobs for airing their gripes about the workplace on their blogs. Apparently people either aren't aware that the Internet is a free and open source of information available to all, even their bosses, or they think that it exists in such a vast expanse that no one could stumble upon their little spot.

Even though some of the people mentioned in the article didn't reveal their identity on their blogs, once word reached the executive suite that somebody was playa hatin on the big dogs it was easy enough to decipher who the turncoats were. Anyone who would commit the time to maintain a blog on their perceived mistreatment in the workplace probably does so for the enjoyment of their coworkers and it wouldn't take long for word to make it through the corporate grapevine.

This isn't really a blog story so much as a stupidity story, blog technology just provided the rope that allowed them to hang themselves. People who can't stop themselves from grumbling about their jobs, even if it is justified, will do so in the break room, or through email, or on the phone and eventually their discontent will become known to everyone. It's just a matter of time then before the decision is made to cut them loose.

The story did make me consider an issue that is directly related to blogs. A thread on AbeLog a while back discussed the merits of identifying yourself on a blog versus blogging anonymously.

Many of the local bloggers listed on the right side of this page don't reveal their identity. From reading their posts it doesn't seem as if any of them are cowering from an employer, most post about the day's events. I guess it's possible that by day DownLeft is a GOP operative who has hidden his liberal leanings from his bosses, but I'm guessing that that isn't the case.

The case for identifying blog authors is that readers might afford them more credibility if they are willing to put their name on the line. Reading the Tribune article made me realize that there is another benefit, at least from my perspective, to putting my name on my blog.

I harbor no illusions as to the number of people who read my blog, but I do realize that anyone can and I might be surprised by some who do. Because of this, I'm very careful as to what I say and how I say it. I try to be fair when commenting on a story and take the time to try and get the facts right. I'm not suggesting that the anonymous Springfield bloggers don't make this effort, but I do think that I have a little more at stake as far as my reputation is concerned. And since I do make my living in the field of communications, it's important to me express my thoughts clearly and with a minimum of typos and grammatical errors.

I'm fortunate in that I have no reason to rail against my employer. I really have no ulterior motive for having a blog, I simply like to write. The SJ-R's Dave Bakke stated that vanity is a likely motivator for bloggers. He's right. I also think that it is a motivating factor for newspaper columnists as well. And if I manage to write something particularly pithy or dexterously turn a phrase, than I wants you all to no who wrote it.


Dave said...

AActually, one of my main reasons for not revealing my FULL name on my blog is because I don't want to get into it with my employer who is a Republican. That is also true for some of my co-workers who don't need to be distracted by my politics.

Frankly, politics doesn't help in he workplace (outside of the media). I keep my opinions to myself at work and try to get along with everyone. If everyone I worked with read my blog, I’m sure there would be some problems.

If I were to reveal myself, I would be forced to greatly censor my output and that's not why I blog. I blog as an outlet because I can’t say a lot of what I want to in the real world. I used to be able to freely speak out when I was in radio and had a talk show. Those days are gone and I cannot afford to be shown the door because I’m too outspoken.

JeromeProphet said...

We all see incredibly dumb things that happen at work. Bad management decisions, and practices. Lost opportunities. Personal vanities, and shortcomings. Short sited approaches. Greed.

That's part of working for a corporation of any size.

I've always kept work, and blogging separate. Although I know some coworkers have blogs, and some of my coworkers read my blog on a daily basis - I will not write about my workplace in a way that would cast harm upon it.

There is one place that I know of on the Internet to blog anonymously - invisiblog.

I never have tested that site, because it looks like a real hassle at this point to post - still if anyone ever wanted to go the full distance and say whatever they damned well please they probably could.

DownLeft said...

You discovered my secret! How on earth did you know?

If I had to blog with my real name I would feel less comfortable writing some of the things I post. The blog would be less interesting and less honest. There are a lot of true things that aren't said in society because people (especially politicians) are afraid of what others might think or do if they say it.