The 2004 firing of a Delta Airlines flight attendant for posting pictures of herself in uniform on her weblog spurred crackdowns on employee blogs across the country. Though Ellen Simonetti, known by her blog name as Queen of the Sky, was fired because Delta deemed the photos "inappropriate," the issue of blogging has some employers wondering what will be next - and employees asking when the line will be drawn.
Though blogs originally were created as a means for individual expression, it has evolved into much more. John Nardini, vice president of marketing for Denali Flavors, a leading manufacturer of ice cream products based in Wayland, Mich., believes blogs can be used as an effective marketing tool, not just as a means of self-expression.
"They can be used in a variety of different ways," Nardini explains. "Businesses can use them as a tool for their business where people can get insight into the company. Or, it can be done in creative ways like we've done with http://www.moosetopia.com, where it's written by a fictional character."
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While Nardini uses his blogging skills for good, there are always those employees who aren't as well-meaning. However, John Cass, director of Internet marketing strategies for Backbone Media Inc., a Waltham, Mass.-based Internet marketing services company, believes employees should hold blogging in the same regard as speaking to the media.
"When you blog something, it becomes open to the world," Cass says. "Therefore, an employee should bear in mind what they are writing on a blog will be read. If an employee is about to write something they would not want repeated to their manager, they should not blog it."
Because the world of blogging is relatively new, some companies may not have strategies in place for employees who mention their company in a blog. With that said, if you have doubts about a certain workplace issue on your blog, just don't write it.
"Anybody that writes a blog for any reason has to think about it - even if you write on your personal time," says Nardini.