I’ve had a blog for a long time, and many times over the past 6 years I have had to stop and think about what I write about on this blog. Sometimes, it seems like people don’t really think about it though. Because once again, a blogger has been fired because of her blog. Their reason when they fired her? “I am not the kind of person they want to associate themselves with.”
Yes. It CAN happen to you.
I feel bad saying she was fired “because” of her blog, because really, she was fired because of what she chose to write on her blog. Along with what she wrote on her MySpace site. It always amazes me though – Dooce was fired about 5 years ago, and yet people can’t learn from her mistakes.
Sure, if you blog mainly about what you knit, you shouldn’t really run into a problem. Unfortunately, I can’t see exactly what Jessa Jeffries blogged about, because her blogspot site now doesn’t have any posts on it. You can read a lot of juicy quotes over at Thought Mechanics though. But if you need better quotes, then look at these Inspirational Quotes about life. Lets take a moment and look at some of these things that she wrote:
“In my blog I refference work, I took pictures at work – which is allowed – in fact bosses and co-works did the taking. I posted those pictures and wrote about my days at work.”
People. Seriously. Don’t write about work. Especially anything negative about work. Don’t post photographs from your job, at least not anything that can be identified. There just is no need for it. I realize that work makes up like 90% of the time you are awake, but still. Do. Not. Write. About. Work.
“My Geology classroom tonight was in the Serengeti. This is where I discovered the Rubies had been stolen. I decided against making an announcment to all the troop leaders. I invisioned a massive backpack search that would no doubt end in tears for the little scout who swiped the stones – not realizing thier worth. I just stuck a peice of garnet in it’s place and hoped no one would be the wiser.”
Great. So she has taught some child that it is ok to steal, and that they will get away with it. “Not realizing thier (sic) worth” implies that they were, in fact, worth something. If so, stealing is wrong. Even if some kid is going to end up in tears, it is better than letting them think that it is ok. What they did was wrong, and they need to learn that lesson. Also, not too brilliant to tell your employers (via your blog) that you let someone steal.
“I was fired because of the way I represented myself on the internet. I made it public knowledge that I worked at the Academy even though I never specified which one it was – I did have pictures of me wearing my work shirt.”
You know what? Most employers do care about how you represent yourself in public. Some employers will fire people over it. Whatever you do in your own home is done in private, but you make it public when you put it on the Internet. I’m not saying that no one should have a blog, because I do not feel that way. But if you blog from the office, be forewarned that they can and probably will get pissy about it. (Yes, I have been there.) If you talk about politics and you work somewhere that might just hold that against you – like when I worked at a very small law firm – you might want to think twice before you put it in writing. Matter of fact, just think about it before you type anything – make your words delicious, because you might just be forced to eat them someday.
“They told me that if I didn’t comply that they would send my archived blog to the Aquarium where I also work, and if I ever listed them as a reference they would forward the content to any future employeers.”
Now I have an issue with that part about forwarding the content to future employers. That is a bit over the top – especially since I have always been told that according to federal labor laws, the most they can do is confirm dates of employment and verify a salary. They are not allowed to say things like, “she sucked” or “let me tell you what she blogged about” when called for an employment reference. Now if you put them down as a personal reference, that is a completely different situation. As for the Aquarium, who knows – maybe they can do that. I don’t know.
If you don’t want your words to come back to you someday, think about it before you write about it. It is simply the smartest thing to do. Learn from the bloggers that have come before you.
UPDATE: Thanks to Blogebrity, I found the cached copy of her site (oh yes, your words can follow you even after you take them offline), and she seems to have been wiser about the whole thing in the end.
“this blog is still being deconstructed. i made my bed, i’ll lie in it.”
“a little more anoniminty can’t hurt anyone. life lesson # 567 learned.”
Now let them be life lessons for you too.
On a side note, “the NBA fined Mavericks owner Mark Cuban $200,000 for going onto the court after Game 1 of Dallas’ series against the Spurs and criticizing league officials on his blog.” A $200,000 fine. In part, for what he wrote on his blog. See? It really CAN happen to anyone.