Is blogging about work OK?

16 Jun 2008 - 10:14pm
6 years ago
5 replies
667 reads
Prachi Sakhardande
2007

Hi There

Here's a question to all the avid bloggers on this list.

How do you draw the line between what work related stuff you can blog
about? Since most of us do interaction design at work, and talk about the
same one way or the other in our blogs, where do you draw the line?

Is it OK to share exciting details of how they brainstormed about a
particular problem, or a simple usability tweak in that took a solution from
usable to delightful? Do you discuss 'whats permissible' with your employer
at any point?

Would love to know your thoughts and experiences

Thanks
--
Cheers,
Prachi - the novice blogger

Comments

17 Jun 2008 - 2:37am
Sachendra
2005

I'd say get it cleared from your company on what you should or
shouldn't blog about, so as not to face any complications later.

--
Sachendra Yadav
http://sachendra.wordpress.com

17 Jun 2008 - 4:24am
Chauncey Wilson
2007

From a legal perspective, your employer generally owns all the
intellectual property associated with your work (though you could have
a contract that does allow you certain joint rights). If you develop
a method inside a company, say a particular way to do workflow design,
there might be aspects of that method that are proprietary though the
use of a flow diagram where one task follows another (and where you
don't describe any task from your work) would be general knowledge.
If you are blogging about work, you should get permission to do this
from your IP lawyer or someone who is at least at the Director level
in your company. The legal profession has not quite caught up with
blogging and wikis, but if you refer to your work as a consultant or
internal employee in any specific way and go outside general knowledge
in the field, then you would be subject to legal scrutiny. I notice
that some bloggers put in a note that what they say does not reflect
the opinions of their clients or employers, which for some companies
is important.

So, a good question to ask before you right a blog entry: Am I giving
away anything that is too specific, that might identify corporate
directions, requirements, or other proprietary info, that would
embarrass the company, or that would benefit a competitor?

One thing that we all need to remember is that we don't know who is on
the list and a small hint here and there might be a boon for a
competitor. If you are a senior person in a company and hint that
there will be a new feature, you might legally commit your company to
that feature and be in big trouble.

Chauncey

On Mon, Jun 16, 2008 at 11:14 PM, Prachi Sakhardande
<prachisakhardande at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi There
>
> Here's a question to all the avid bloggers on this list.
>
> How do you draw the line between what work related stuff you can blog
> about? Since most of us do interaction design at work, and talk about the
> same one way or the other in our blogs, where do you draw the line?

17 Jun 2008 - 11:09am
Benjamin Ho
2007

I suggest: Blog about principles instead of methodology. Methodology
seems more contextual (varies much) whereas principles - stuff you
learned for yourself - can help others create a foundation. You can
do this without even mentioning your employer.

What you learn is more important than how a company does things.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=30305

17 Jun 2008 - 10:08pm
jet
2008

Prachi Sakhardande wrote:
> Hi There
>
> Here's a question to all the avid bloggers on this list.
>
> How do you draw the line between what work related stuff you can blog
> about?

I think it depends on where you work, both in terms of the firm and the
country. In the US, we have this recent thing called "SOX compliance"
for public companies. At some companies, "SOX compliance" includes
company rules like this:

- only designated representatives for the company can discuss anything
about the company, its market, or competing companies in any
online/electronic forum.

There is a reason for this -- a corporation doesn't want J. Random
Customer Support Person posting to their personal blog information that
would cause changes in the stock price. Something like, "Oh man, we
just released the 2.0 version of WebFrobinator and we are getting so
many customer support calls about how much it sucks. I think I'm going
to ask for a transfer, our customers are seriously pissed and all going
to the competition. I hope we're around long enough for me to find new
work if I don't get a transfer."

On the other hand, some companies have wording so strict that you can't
post your resume on your personal website or list your current employer
on facebook. This seems a bit draconian (and unenforceable) to me, but
it's up to each person to make their own call.

Odds are there's some sort of Employee Policy Manual (equiv) where you
work that has guidelines for this sort of thing. Read it, talk to HR,
and see what is reasonable to post.

--
jet / KG6ZVQ
http://www.flatline.net
pgp: 0xD0D8C2E8 AC9B 0A23 C61A 1B4A 27C5 F799 A681 3C11 D0D8 C2E8

18 Jun 2008 - 4:52am
martinpolley
2007

On Wed, Jun 18, 2008 at 6:08 AM, j. eric townsend <jet at flatline.net> wrote:

>
> - only designated representatives for the company can discuss anything
> about the company, its market, or competing companies in any
> online/electronic forum.
>
>
As a counterpoint to this, there is the Cluetrain
Manifesto<http://www.cluetrain.com/>.
Not saying you shouldn't obey SOX directives, just that there may be good
reasons for not having rules like that.

Just my 2 agorot :)

--
Martin Polley
Technical writer, interaction designer
<http://capcloud.com/>

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