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    Blogging and Keeping Your Day Job

    You can blog about absolutely anything you want to.  You currently, however, spend a lot of time at work.  So, like many people you, blog about work.  Work is a great, constant source of stories, jokes, and lessons for us all.  In fact, at work the other day, my co-worker did the stupidest thing...

    Blogging about work might just get you into a lot of hot water.  Your co-workers and your boss may very well not appreciate that you repeat some of the juicier pieces of water-cooler gossip on your blog.  They might not like it when you rant about the lowest, most boring meeting ever.  And they certainly won't like your written anecdotes about photocopying inappropriate body parts when you said you would be working late.  Blogging and having a job is a fine line.  Let's walk it a little.

    /READ MORE// Setting Your Dashboard in Blogger

    If you choose to discuss people you work with on your blog, and they are identifiable - even if not by name - you can get yourself into heaps of trouble with the people you work with, and the people who employ you.

    And that's all before they realize you've given away company secrets, stock market expectations or corporate espionage.  

    Some bloggers identify themselves and their day time employers on their personal blogs.  It would be the transparent thing to do - certainly work is a big part of who you are - but it might not be the wisest.  If you blog, for example, about your work place, and name your employer, you might come off as looking like you blog on behalf of your employer.

    That might not be fair, but it's also not also untrue.  To distance yourself, make sure you blog on your own time - you ARE blogging on your own time, right? - and don't use company computers, laptops, emails, software or anything else.  If you follow those steps, how can you be considered a blogging spokesperson for your company?  The truth is that most people won't really think your the mouthpiece for your company, but they may begin to associate your thoughts and words with your employer and, in the most general terms, employers don't like being hampered down by things like political agendas, family or relationship drama or dating habits of those they employ.

    All kinds of people who blog have been fired for blogging about their jobs or workplaces, or even identifying themselves as employees of a certain organization, or even posting pictures taken at work or while in work uniforms.  This has only gotten more complicated with the prevalence of Social Media.

    Delta Air flight attendant Ellen Simonetti was famously fired for blogging about work after posting 'inappropriate pictures in uniform'.  Her personal blog Queen of the Sky is no longer up, but she even managed to turn the experience into a book titled Diary of a Dysfunctional Flight Attendant: The Queen of the Sky Blog.  Her book was published in 2006, but don't take that as the lesson here.  You could be fired too.

    Popular blogger Heather Armstrong (www.dooce.com) was fired from her Web Design job in 2002 for blogging about her workplace, colleagues and boss.  In Blogger vernacular, being dooced is now slang for being fired.  Of her experiences, Armstrong later wrote:

    "Never write about work on the internet unless your boss knows and sanctions the fact that YOU ARE WRITING ABOUT WORK ON THE INTERNET.  If you are the boss, however, you should be aware that when you order Prada online and then talk about it out loud that you are making it very hard for those around you to take you seriously"

    Most employers today are aware that blogs are things, and most are more than capable of typing your name, or the company's name into a google search engine and find blogs that are talking about them or the company.  Blogging anonymously is a good idea if you want to criticize your employer, but it isn't a real guarantee that you won't be caught or found out especially if other people in the office know about your blog.

    Employers who tend to think of their employees are representing the company might even institute a company policy on whether or not you can identify your employer on your personal blog, and even request a total ban on blogging.  This is especially true for certain types of employees - those who may be the face of a company, or who will officially speak for the company at some point.

    This blog, however, is about blogging.  Therefor, we encourage everyone reading this to blog about whatever floats your literary boat, but if you do want to blog about work, you should do so safely.  Here are some quick and simple tips:

    Regardless of topic, DO NOT blog at work.

    Using company time and/or resources to write a personal blog is likely a clear violation of most terms of employment, and will get you either disciplined, or fired, or both - even if all you do is tell the world how great your boss is.

    Find out if your work has a Blogging Policy.

    If your boss doesn't know, consult with the friendly folks at Human Resources.  In some situations, a policy may be in place that makes certain requests of your blogging, and complying with those requests is a good idea.  Give those rules some thought, or perhaps have good reasons why you'd choose not to.

    Ask Questions about your Employer's Blogging Policy if it is unclear.

    Find out if you can't discuss certain subjects, or whether or not you can identify yourself as an employee.

    Be smart about what you say about Work and Coworkers

    If you wouldn't feel right saying something in public or to someone's face, maybe don't put it on your blog.  If you are still a little hazy about a blog being a public place, consult this article.

    Don't reveal secrets.

    This includes confidential information about how your employer conducts business especially if it may impact revenue or reputations.  If you are not sure if something is bloggable, ask someone or run it by the boss first.

    Review any rules or regulations that might impact what you can blog about.

    A good example:  many workplaces have a policy against taking photographs of the workplace or revealing the address.  That might seem irrelevant to your blog, until you post those photographs or addresses on your blog.

    Consider using a disclosure statement on your blog to make it clear you are blogging personally and not as a representation of your workplace.

    A long-winded way of saying who you are and who you are not and why you blog.  

    For more writing tips and tutorials, follow us on 
    Twitter @TAOBlogging,  and on Facebook

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