I have yet to encounter an “I got fired for blogging story” that
doesn't reduce to “I got fired for being stupid.” You can rail
all you want about how big organizations ought to “get it” or how
Dilbert is too painfully true. The Prime Directive in organizations is
to survive and they can be remarkably adept at doing so.
The root blogging policy that ought to suffice is “don't be stupid,”
but we understand how likely that is. What these stories reflect is
that blogs are amplifiers. If you're smart like Scoble, a blog makes that more evident, more rapidly. But it reveals “dumbth” just as quickly. That's the power of this technology–it highlights what is worth attending to and what is worth ignoring.
but as someone who encourages (mostly without success) employees to
blog, I still must say, I would have fired the guy — only I would not
have waited so long. For stupidity. There are thousands of business
bloggers out there who are displaying how one can incorporate blogging
into their work…but using ones blog as a means to publicly whine
about employee benefits displays the lack of a minimal level of
discretion necessary to work within the borders of a publicly-traded
company. With freedom comes responsibility. “Top ten percenters” (one
of the blogger's bragging points) can still lack walking-around sense.
Update: Robert Scoble, the
authority on the discretionary arts related to corporate blogging
within the borders of a giant publicly-traded entity, has some
authoritative (and diplomatic) observations on the topic.
not easy writing in public. All it takes is one paragraph to lose
credibility, have people laugh at you, get you sued, create a PR
firestorm, or get your boss mad at you. Think about that one for a
while. Just a few hundred pixels on the screen can dramatically change
what people think about you.