Getting fired for blogging doesn’t get as much attention as it did in 2004-2005. Back then, the media was a buzz about people getting fired because they were blogging, when, in truth, very few people were actually fired for blogging. Oh yes, some people were fired for blogging, that much is true. I’m sure many of the cases had little to do with the blogging parts as it did with something else going on. However the “fired for blogging” thing did do one good thing, it forced companies to realize that people were blogging and set up blogging policies.
I cover blogging policies in Create Your Own Blog, from Sun’s massive one to the “unofficial blogging policy” from Microsoft: don’t be stupid. Blogging is different than almost anything else you do in your spare time because it is public. If you blog about your boss being a doofus, well that blog better either be private or you’re blogging anonymously because there’s a good chance you’ll eventually get turfed for stuff like that. No, calling your boss a doofus isn’t illegal, it’s just not too smart. You don’t think it won’t get back to him or her? Think again. Oh and the anonymous blog thing? Yeah that doesn’t usually last too long. Most anonymous bloggers who gain any kind of following are eventually revealed (or reveal themselves before being outed by others).
Blogging and your job treads into the territory of other social media and employment. Facebook is now the latest target in the “get you fired” or “keep you from being hired” discussion, and honestly the issues haven’t changed. If you publish something online not only is it there forever, there is no guarantee that something to mark or think is private will stay that way. Just as blogging that your boss is a doofus isn’t smart, tweeting or updating your Facebook status that you’re goofing off when you really called in sick isn’t going to do you any favors. It will get around. Trust me. Maybe not that time or the next time, but it will sometime and you’ll be hooped.
This is why I’ve always liked Microsoft’s blogging policy: Don’t be stupid. It’s simple and to the point. Yeah I know it’s subjective, but just consider what you’re doing as if on of your friends told you they were going to it or did it. If you cringe and think “Oooh that was stupid…” Well, then you have your answer.
So, no, neither blogging, Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media tool gets you fired, often you do it to yourself by being stupid.
Don’t be stupid.