Tue 24 Apr 2007
Sometimes I’m really tempted to blog about work. Encountering the intricacies of my workplace culture for the first time, it seems like ripe, low-hanging fruit ready for the picking. The grapes! The nectarines! But, no. In general, I try to avoid it. To me, my workplace is sort of like a person and I apply to it the standards that I apply to other people. Though I’m not perfectly consistent, the intent is to protect other people’s privacy. A blog is essentially an international public forum and while my particular blog is not being read by thousands (or anything like it), you never know who’s looking. So, while I have chosen to air my private life worldwide, I can’t assume that other people and organizations would do the same. When I’m blogging about people other than myself, I usually try to get permission from them first ( if they are bloggers I just assume it’s okay). Some people, like Dr. G, have just given a blanket permission. Other people can have, in this forum at least, some say in whether (if not how) they are portrayed.
When it comes to my work organization, I believe it has the right to determine how it wants to present itself to the world, especially since reputation is important to its success. If I were a journalist investigating the organization, that would be one thing; as an insider, I can’t disassociate myself from it enough. If I could keep both myself and my workplace anonymous, then I might be more willing, but sometime in the last few months this blog became connected to my first and last name, which can in turn be easily connected to my organization. I have no particular desire to hide my identity, so that’s no big deal except that it further restricts the subjects I feel free to talk about on the blog for the sake of people and organizations associated with me.
Thinking about it, I realize that I do talk about Dr. G’s work sometimes. Probably I should stop. That’s a little bit different, though, because his work is so independent that the few things I mention bear little relevance for his organization as a whole. Still, probably I should think more about how what I write could affect his professional reputation and err on the side of caution.
The same thing should apply to writing about my specific church, too, though for some reason that organization feels like a somewhat different category. Is it?
I tend to have an outsidery, satirical perspective on organizations and their quirky cultural mileus, and a lot of things strike me as funny or make me roll my eyes, and that is bound to come across in my blogging. So it’s probably best to just leave it alone.
The line gets fuzzy when I’m focusing on my experiences and ideas, which are personal and only indirectly related to other people and places. If I inscribe the circle too small it starts to get boring. But maybe that’s a false assumption. Here’s an idea: you can challenge me with the most mundane topic you can think of and see what I can do with it. That might be fun. Say, a dirty kitchen sponge.
When I’m doing creative writing for myself or for official publication, though, all bets are off. I will use any of my past and present experience in any form I choose and make any kind of judgment I want to about any of it. That is bound to include people and organizations. Maybe it’s a contradictory stance but really, if I had to worry about all that stuff I would never get anything written. Double standard! Awesome!
Here’s a blogging code of ethics.
And here’s the Colbert Report Metaphor thing
And here’s a cute cat I kind of know who could be included in a picture book. Vote for Chloe!
P.S. Karen– I dominated in Risk so thoroughly that I ran out of pieces. Beginner’s luck, I’m told, as well as bad strategy. In a rematch today I got trounced. My little pink squares seemed to cower more and more as the game wore on. They knew their days were numbered.