I think Anil is probably dead-on with this post of his and it really made me think. In essence:
“Nobody’s ever been fired for blogging.” Instead, they are fired for bad judgment, in the same way that they would be if they said anything else in a public forum of any sorts.
But the zinger to this is “Not to put too fine a point on it, but you’re hurting us. You’re hurting all weblogs.” (I originally read the ‘you’ as referring to the fired bloggers who are engaging in poor judgment, but a closer look makes it clear that the ‘you’ also includes us bloggers who spread the gossip.)
– The political bloggers are framing blogging as the thing that gets journalists fired
– The tech bloggers are framing blogging as the thing that gets regular people fired
Why on earth would anyone want to blog when it seems like all blogging is is a way to get fired? Worse: the ‘firings’ get framed as a free speech issue instead of a good judgment issue.
I should note that i don’t know the specifics of any case of ‘firing’ except what i read in the media/blogs. Anil’s post made me really think about what our responsibility as “gossip spreaders” is and should be. I’ve definitely posted information about firing rumors in the past, thereby engaging in exactly what Anil points out is harmful. I’ve done so more because i’m curious about the situation than because i believe that it is true. That said, i can totally see how this can be misinterpreted by people that read what i write. In other words, if i accept that everyday people read my blog or that my blog becomes a source of material that eventually gets to everyday people, i’m engaging in precisely the problematic behavior that results in giving everyday people the impression that blogging can get you fired. ::gulp::
I think that’s the key to Anil’s post – realizing that as much as i want to think that i’m blogging just for my friends, i’m not and it wouldn’t matter because i am being read by at least someone. As such, as a blogger with an audience >1, i’m actually accountable for representing blogging to the public. So, my bitching represents blogging… as does my gossip spreading. I hate that weight, but he’s right. Grr.