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Monday, March 26th, 2007

Blogging, Employers, and Discretion

Today I got my first request from management, passed down through my supervisor, to remove content I had written that included information about my employer.

The request was not condemning, but firm. I was given a rationale as to why I should remove it, and I found myself agreeing with it. I had crossed the line. I flagged the post in question, and at least one other, as private – not available for public viewing – until I can figure out what to do about it. But it really has made me rethink my situation.

When I first started mentioning my employer, I was pretty down on the company. I’d just lost a supervisor whom I had really admired and respected, and it hurt. Yes, I was a little confrontational, and I had looked at the situation as an individual rights issue. Since then, my attitude has made a complete turn around. I’m seen significant improvements, and I’ve become excited about the changes and started to see good things ahead for the company, and real opportunities for me as well. I was even thinking that I need to put up a lot more positive-sounding posts about what was going on.

But it’s an incredibly fine line to write about your employer, even when you think you’re being supportive. I’ve already learned that you can make mistakes, reveal things that should not be revealed, when you write about family; and a good employer is like a family in so many ways. I could inadvertently disclose things that would be valuable intelligence for a competitor, or that could offend a coworker or a customer.

There’s a certain amount of hubris involved in blogging. It’s nice to hit the search engines and see yourself show up high in the results, and if the search terms include your employer’s name, it makes you feel a little more important than you actually are. But business is not about individual aggrandizement – business is about performing a service for compensation that includes a profit, which in turn provides an attractive return on investment for those that finance the operations. Individual fame is only important when it has market value.

I like writing about what I do, and that includes my work. I need to find a new way of including details about my work that will not compromise the company that I work for. I think there’s a way to do it, but I’ll have to consider it carefully. A blog is a double-edged sword in that everything you say becomes accessible to everyone. I think, in fact, that I am going to need to go back through my entire blog and delete all references to my company. I may even need to start a separate blog just to deal with professional issues. I hate the idea of compartmentalizing my life to that extent, but it might be the prudent thing to do. It’s a pity, because the whole point of corrosion engineering is to resist entropy – which is my theme for this blog. But I’ve been thinking about going back and reclassifying everything into new categories, anyway, and I should be able to accomplish all this in one fell swoop.

I guess my mother was right.

Your comments are solicited. Just click on the comments link below. If you really want to be anonymous, just leave an untraceable email, like “nobody@noneofyourdamnbusiness.com”. (Ha! that’s an actual domain! The correct way to make an untraceable email is to use a reserved domain, such as x@example.com or x@invalid.com.) I promise to respect your privacy and not try to trace you through your ip address or anything like that.

I’m going to tag this post with the name of my employer so that it shows up with all the other ones, and least until I get the chance to go back and purge my employer’s name from the entire blog.

Posted by Greg in Corrosion Control, Posts About Me

1 Comment »

This entry was posted on Monday, March 26th, 2007 at 21:39 PST and is filed under Corrosion Control, Posts About Me. You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “Blogging, Employers, and Discretion”

  1. David Allenbrand says:

    Greg,
    Please get in touch with me. I think we worked together at KMCB. I want to see if you are interested in quoting a project for us.