Monday, September 22, 2008

Tips From The Blogging Queen - Column 19 - Will You Get Dooced?

Last June in my TFTBQ Column 18 our definition was "Dooced." This is having lost a job because of entries posted to a blog. Our question was -"Will You Get Dooced?"

I read somewhere that at last count there were over 185 million blogs out there and that hundreds of thousands are being created every day. In fact, if you key the word blog into Google you get 949,000,000 results. That doesn't mean there are that many blogs out there. It just means that there are that many results on the Internet for the keyword word "blog."

Blogging has become so mainstream that Human Resource departments of companies are now creating "blogging" policies for their companies and employees. With blogs becoming so mainstream and with that many blogs out there you have to be saying to yourself, "That's a lot of blogs. Mine will never get noticed."

You might also be thinking that with so many blogs out there the chances of your being fired because of entries posted to a blog has to be minuscule. Besides you have a right to post whatever you want to your personal blog or your small business blog. Right?

Well, you have the right to post what you want to your blog, but if you're a small business blogger who is trying to attract business and customers doing so might just hurt your business. If you have a small business blog where you're trying to personalize yourself to your readers and attract business then hot button issues and controversial images and/or opinions would not make good business sense. So, you stay clear of that for your small business blog. Right?

Well, what about your personal blog. Certainly your have the right to say and post what you want there. Right? Besides the likelihood of something being seen has to be minuscule. Right?

Well, the chances aren't as minuscule as you might think and the reason for that is due to the search engines. You see, the search engines have a funny way of uncovering exactly what you don't want uncovered. Even things you think you've deleted.

If you are like many small business crafters on the web you probably have a full-time job. With Human Resource departments creating "blogging" policies you have to know that employers are very aware of the power of the Internet to disseminate information rapidly and are therefore watching what is said about their company.

Does this mean they're "googling" their employees? Probably. As a small business owner - wouldn't you? In fact, how many of you "Google" your own name, your small business name, your product names, etc. to see what is being said about you and your business. Most of you I would bet. It only makes good business sense to do so. After all, it's your small business reputation that is at stake. So, you have to "Google" things about you and your business as a prudent business measure. Right?

Well, employers are no different. It is their job to maintain the reputation, integrity, confidentiality, security of copyrights and trademarks, and good standing of the businesses they work for. Right? And, in doing so they are going to go to the Internet to see what is being said.

Which brings us all back to the likelihood of your blog posts being seen. Will they be seen? Absolutely. There are just so many variables for how you could be uncovered by a search engine that I'd be here all night just listing them. Suffice it to say that despite your best efforts to remain anonymous you will be seen.

What about your Facebook page, your MySpace page, or any number of social networking websites? Will employers be looking here? Well, the idea of these websites is to create a profile containing your real name. Right? That's because they are set-up for all your friends to find you. And, old school chums aren't going to be able to find you if you use a pseudo name. Right? Does that mean your employer can find you, too? Absolutely.

Does that mean you shouldn't post the pictures you want and say whatever it is you want? Right again. You shouldn't and here's why. If you use your blog or your social networking pages to post objectionable material or post about your frustrations with the company you work full-time for or your boss then you are going to have an issue with your employer.

And, if your full-time employer can find you, well so can your small business customers. Whether or not it has anything to do with the small business products you are selling or not you can bet that a customer will think twice about doing business with you if you are posting objectionable material or venting your frustrations on the Internet.

That's here and now. What about the future? Well, if you're looking for a prospective employer to hire you then in this day and age you'd better check yourself out on Goggle to make sure their isn't anything objectionable about you anywhere on the web. Will prospective employers Google you? Absolutely. A comment you might have made about your employer in a forum is fair game for the search engines, too. In fact, anything and everything on the Internet is fair game for the search engines and for prospective employers to find.

Are employers Googling existing employees and prospective employees? Absolutely. They'd be foolish not to. If you do anything that might reflect badly on your employers good name, reputation, business standing, etc. with anything you may have said or posted in your personal blog, social networking website, forum, etc. then they are not going to be happy with you and you may or may not get "dooced." That all depends on your employer and their respective "blogging" policies.

A good rule of thumb to follow is this. Do not post anything that you wouldn't want anyone else seeing or reading. This includes blog posts, images, social networking pages, emails, chat rooms, instant messages, video's, groups, forums, etc.

For those of you with small business websites a good rule of thumb is this. Do not post anything that any of your small business customers might find objectionable. With worldwide customers this encompasses a huge area of objectionable material.

My grandson and I were having lunch and I happened to mention that I had seen his MySpace page. He then asked "Did you read my wall, Nana?" I, of course, said, "Well, ya!" His response was, "Don't read my wall, Nana. That's private!" Well, in this day and Internet age the only thing that is private is something you keep to yourself.

So, will you get dooced? Maybe, maybe not! But, do you really want to test that?

"Tips From the Blogging Queen" Column 20 Definition - "Group or Team Blog"

This is a blog maintained by two or more bloggers. Also known as a team blog. Be sure to tune in to my TFTBQ Column 20 "Should You Join A Team Blog?"

Copyright © 2008 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals, Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer. http://lindawalshoriginals.com

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