Thursday, October 05, 2006

Blogging on the Job

There's an interesting piece in the September 7 New York Law Journal about blogging at work. Here are some interesting outtakes:
Many corporate executives still seem a little confused about exactly what [blogs] are. Only 30 percent of senior Fortune 1000 executives in a recent telephone survey reported having a thorough understanding of the term "Internet blog."
A short while later we learn a little about how these executives know about blogs:
Twelve percent of the recently surveyed Fortune 1000 executives reported taking legal or other action in response to a blog. There is even a term on the Internet for getting fired for a blog, "dooced," taken from the name of the blog
The urbandictionary supports this claim.

Squirreled away in the article, which is written to assist employers in figuring out how to handle blogging employees, are a couple of gems that might be of interest to the bloggers themselves:
Some employers might be tempted to adopt a blunderbuss approach by simply banning all blogs, all the time. Employers subject to New York law should be aware of the limited protection for "legal recreational activities" under §201-d of the Labor Law.

Unlike most states . . . New York also prohibits employers from terminating employees for engaging in "legal recreational activities outside work hours."
And apparently there is help for bloggers at the federal level too:
Employers should also understand that federal labor law may protect some blogging content. The National Labor Relations Act protects certain "concerted activities" by employees, whether they are members of a union or not. An employee fired for the content of his or her blog could file an unfair labor practice charge under 29 USC §158, alleging that the firing was a result of such activity. "Concerted activities" do not have to involve a union and may be based upon the acts of a single employee when carried out with or under the authority of other employees, and not solely by and on behalf of that individual employee. Concerted activity includes actions to initiate, induce or prepare for group action.
But is it the beginning of the end?
While bloggers like to consider themselves outside what they call the "Mainstream Media" of newspapers, magazines and television, the blog is growing more mainstream every year. The New York Times, for example, has recently begun encouraging many of its reporters and columnists to publish blogs on its web site, where they engage in expanded discussions on issues addressed in their articles and columns, and even has a section called the "Opinionator," which samples comments on various outside blogs.
Gaaa. Here I had been feeling good about stepping onto the cutting edge of the web, only to find out I'm just as mainstream as the Old Gray Lady. Oh well.

As to blogging at work, the snippets are encouraging, but for the nonce I'll stick to doing this on my own time.



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