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Encouraging Discretion in Blogging Is Better Than Restricting It

It's oft been said that discretion is the better part of valor. And when it comes to regulating blogging at work, perhaps discretion is the better part of employment policy than outright bans. At least, that's the message that I took from Connecticut Employment Law blogger Daniel Schwartz's recent post about The Blog Post I Didn't Publish.

Schwartz begins his story by describing a potentially hot blog post that he'd sought to publish, one that would attract attention of the top blogs. But discretion got the better of Schwartz, and he decided  not to publish because:

of the potential for disrupting a lawfirm connection or two.  In essence, after drafting the entry, I decided that it was better to not publish it and preserve relationships that the firm has with clients and customers than risk jeopardizing the relationship (even though I have nothing to do with that relationship).  In essence, despite a right to publish what I want, I decided that the better judgment is to not publish it.  I'm not happy with my decision, but I know its the "right" decision in this circumstance.

Schwartz suggests that discretion is the best solution to ensuring that blogging doesn't hurt a company. But he wonders whether employees will always use discretion. Thus, the challenge is to devise policies in such a way that both guide and encourage discretion. From Schwartz's perspective (he gives a detailed proposal), setting a blogging policy that outlines what's fair game and what's not is a good start. And companies should have employee-friendly policies in place for complaints so that employees don't feel the urge to go public. Schwartz believes that once those types of policies are in place, employees have the proper context to using blogs. By setting company policies that support employees and their blogging endeavors, employers create an environment where employees will blog, but use discretion when doing so.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on October 11, 2007 at 06:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

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