Cyber Gossip Deemed Inappropriate by Employers

Dennis Faas's picture

A survey by UK human resources firm Croner revealed that an astonishing 39 percent of bloggers have written something sensitive or damaging about the people they work with. That's a lot of office gossip leaking into the public -- and that could be quite dangerous. (Source:

But why would so many people write unflattering information in such a public place?

According to Croner, many are treating blogs the same way that email was first treated when it was new. When email first came out, "many recipients received rude, angry or otherwise inflammatory emails which had been written and sent in the heat of the moment," said Croner technical consultant Gillian Dowling.

But, companies have since made it clear that sending a message via email does not entitle the writer to a get-out-of-jail-free card. "Employees were advised that the use of emails was the equivalent of sending or dictating a letter, and just as binding. These concepts remain in email or Internet policies today." (Source:

The damage of blogs goes far beyond hurting people's feelings. Dowling warns that corporate image, workplace morale, trust, and even workplace security could all be compromised as a result of an inconsiderate blog. In addition, employees could be risking their own jobs.

Consider what happened to Mark Jen. Jen lost a coveted job at Google less than a month after he was hired. His infraction? Blogging about his personal impressions of working for the search engine giant.

A former Delta Air Lines flight attendant also received a pink slip after the airline deemed pictures on her personal blog "inappropriate." (Source:

While many companies have policies aimed at preventing employees from blogging about their workplaces, it may not stop people from blogging anonymously. It may also create some hostility in the workplace. (Source:

So what does this all mean to you? Basically, you don't want to be part of that 39 percent: it simply isn't worth the potential headaches it could cause. So if you absolutely must vent, save it for the water cooler.

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