Nowadays, you can find blogs on almost any kind of subject matter. Each one attracts a variety of readers, whether focusing on health issues, environmental issues, or hobbies, such as sports or art. If you are a blogger, don’t forget: with great power comes great responsibility. In recent years, employers are on the lookout for bad press and damage to their brand image. Paranoia, on the part of employers, has lead to monitoring employees over the internet. What you decide to share about your everyday life may severely damage your employer’s delicate marketing and PR strategies. Well, at least they may seem to think so. For example, Delta Airlines fired blogger Ellen Simonetti after reading blog readers’ inappropriate comments on a picture of her in a Delta airhostess uniform. Or let’s not forget the case of “The Washingtonians”, Jenna Cutler, who blogged about her sex life, while working as a congressional assistant. A more relatable case may be from a blogger who worked at a British accountancy firm. Catherine Sanderson was fired for blogging unfavourably about people working in the company’s Paris office.
As you can see, you never know who may be keeping track of your internet activity. How do you find a proper balance between sharing information with your audience and upholding your confidentiality agreement with your employer? Here are some tips on how to find a middle ground between saying too much and too little.
Use a Pseudonym
If you have to tell your blog community about your terrible day and the people who made it terrible, BE SURE NOT TO USE REAL NAMES! You would be surprised how many people may Google themselves or even Google YOU on the internet. To save yourself from the fate of people like Catherine Sanderson, come up with names that sound nothing like the actual people you mention. Of course, if you do plan to use and personal information (that you would be uncomfortable with your employer reading), use a pseudonym for yourself as well. You will have to make a decision do you want the credit for your work? Or do you want to communicate certain types of information to your bloggers?
Leave out Employer Information
This seems like a no-brainer, but many people at some point mention the name of their employer in their posts. If you do decide to this (which I don’t endorse), be sure to state on the webpage that your views are not the same as your employer! If possible, try not to use the company name at all. For example, instead of saying “I work for Exxon Mobile,” use this minor altercation, “I work for a major oil and gas company.”
Read Your Contract!
Let’s be honest: we are all guilty of signing agreements without reading them. This is especially true of employment contracts. Not everyone has a I.D. to decipher all that legal jargon. We pay real close attention to the amount of money we’ll make, but once we read that part, we skip out on the rest. Many times, companies have confidentiality agreements in their written agreements as well. Be sure to look through this information before you start blogging. You’ll get a better idea of what you can and cannot discuss on your blog.