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Blogging Policies, Does Your Business Need One?
Weblogs or Blogs as they are more commonly referred to, have become extremely popular in the last several years. So popular in fact that many large businesses are letting some employees post Blogs on their corporate websites. While many businesses are jumping on the Blog bandwagon for use as a creative marketing technique; a few businesses have fired employees for what they posted on a Blog. These businesses accuse the employees of allegedly disclosing trade secrets, proprietary information, and making statements that showed the employer in a bad light.
First it may be important here to explain what exactly a Blog is. A Weblog or Blog is a website not unlike a diary that people post their ideas, views, daily events and opinions on. These Blogs in most cases are able to be viewed by anyone with access to the internet. It is for this reason that you may want to consider a Blog policy for your business.
Blogs have even become a part of the underground news media, especially since the last election in the United States. They are even getting the attention of the large global news media that now on occasion report on what the bloggers are saying. The point is, like it or not, it appears Blogs are here to stay.
The best thing a business can do to protect themselves and the interest of the employee is to create a Blog policy for all employees. This policy should include specific topics that employees should not mention within the Blogs on a business website. Employers should also have policies for people that have their own weblog that they control and run themselves as well. It is essential that these policies be created so that there will be no confusion as to what the employer deems as inappropriate for its employees to post on the Internet. This policy will also protect the employer from possible future lawsuits that may arise from the publishing of Weblogs as well.
If you are considering implementing a Blog policy for your business, please be sure to consult with an attorney as to what exactly you should place in your policy. This policy should include any topics that the employer deems as inappropriate, proprietary, secretive and in conjunction with any confidentiality agreements and "blackout periods".
People who choose to blog on their own personal Weblogs should be sure in the very least that they include some type of disclaimer on the Website that is easily visible to all of the people who visit your Website. The disclaimer does not have to appear on every page of your Website but, should be displayed in such a way as to be seen by the people who visit, such as on the home page or the about me page. The disclaimer should say something along the lines of:
The views expressed on this site or Weblog are mine alone and are not necessarily that of my employers.
Along with this make every effort not to disclose information that would violate any confidentiality clause of your employer. Also take the time to review this clause if you have one before you post to avoid any confusion as to what this clause states.
The use of a Blog policy by businesses will go a long way to prevent any problems on either side of the issue if and when one should arise because the policy will clearly define what cannot be posted on Weblog. Happy Blogging!
© Keith Erwood, Dynamic Network Technologies, 2005 All Rights Reserved
Keith Erwood is the head consultant and owner of Dynamic Network Technologies, a computer consulting and services business in New York City. Visit us at http://www.dynamicnetworktechnologies.net
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