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Monday, August 08, 2005

And here's another chap fired for blogging about work -- ironically this time from a bookstore. Waterstone's in Edinburgh fired an employee of eleven years because he occasionally griped about having a bad day at work and made jokes about people "escaping" from his workplace. (He has since got another, much better job.)

Interesting to watch the power of the Internet. If you gripe at your local pub, no one questions it. But the Net stores every word written on it (unless you have a META tag asking ROBOTS to NOARCHIVE ). And sooner or later you'll get in trouble with the Powers that Be. If you're going to blog about what you do for a living you better be pretty careful not to write anything that could conceivably offend anyone. Hell, you can piss people off by saying nice things about them behind their back.


I tread this fine line every day. So do most of you guys with your blogs, message boards and websites.

I spend a lot of time on the Net, promoting myself and my work, as well as that of my friends and clients. Sometimes it's hard to know where to draw the line. How much do you say? Can you throw a negative comment in with the good stuff (i.e. commenting online about a friend's newly published book which, while overall aint so bad, may be lacking in some areas). Do you mention names and other details, knowing that every word of it will be Google-able in a matter of days for all eternity? Sometimes that's OK. Sometimes it aint -- and the court summons or pink slip would be a very good indication that you said too much.

I wear my heart on my sleeve and pretty much say whatever is on my mind (within legal limits, of course), and my lack of anonymity on the Net has made me the target of a few mentally unbalanced people who've gone so far as to email me or call my cell phone threatening to rape, torture and kill me, simply because they know how to find me. It's scary -- but I'm the front line, the protector, the schmoozer and the promoter of some pretty high-profile industry dudes and dudesses. Unfortunately, that makes me an easy target.

By Blogger Kelly J. Compeau, at 4:47 PM  

If you say something and you're blowing off steam and doing damage to someone - then own it. You screwed up. If you're telling the truth and can prove it - let them fire you. Then contact a lawyer. Bottom line: Be responsible and own up to what you say or do.

That's why I hate anonymous comments - it takes responsibility away from people and what they say. Every bit of crap you read from me will have my name attached - good and bad. If I screw up - you'll know that I screwed up and not that nebulous, cowardly character "anonymous". He gets away with way too much as it is.

By Blogger Bill Cunningham, at 5:39 PM  

A terrible story, but don't, like me, read through it and start posting a comment of commiseration without first noticing this happened eight months ago.

I'm just trying to save you some embarrassment.

By Blogger Lee, at 3:28 AM  

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