Saturday, September 6, 2008

What the EFF?

The thing about writing a blog, especially a blog like mine without a defined niche or "voice", is that it isn't always easy to come up with stuff to write about.

It's not so much writer's block as it is deciding what bit of your life is interesting or dramatic enough to blog about. No one wants to read about someone else's average, ordinary day.

It might be tempting for some to write about work. After all, most of us spend more time with co-workers than we do with our families. And funny stuff does tend to happen at work.

Don't. Even if your job is interesting and you have nothing but great things to say about your employer. Because bloggers have been fired for doing just that. Some companies just don't like blogging, I guess.

The most famous fired-for-blogging blogger is Heather Armstrong of Dooce. She's so famous, in fact, that the term "dooced" was coined for her. It pretty much means you got fired / reprimanded / shunned / tarred and feathered because your employers / family / friends found out that you blog and don't like what you have to say. Some folks are being let go not because they write about their companies, but because their employers find their views objectionable.

Some employers have a point. Some people, like the Citigroup trader responsible for this "gem" of a blog, deserve it. (In my opinion, it wouldn't hurt to have folks like him exiled from society completely. Sadly, it's been reported that his sick site gets 60,000 hits a day!)

If you're going to blog, you should be aware of the rules. Which is the whole point of this post. I stumbled across the Web home of the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) and thought I'd share it with my not-so-vast, but hopefully growing, fan base.

They clue you in on things like legal liability issues, defamation rules, intellectual property rights, etc. Which is good to know. Because it is so easy, thus very tempting, when using the Internet to lift images, borrow text, poke fun at people, etc.

So, while it isn't "gripping" reading by any stretch of the imagination, it's good to know the site and the group exists.

If you're wondering about the image I used in this post, I didn't create it. I got it from And I read their "terms of use" first.

If you're wondering if I ever blog about work, I don't. I mean, I've admitted that I do have a job. And I've probably at least alluded to the fact that I work from my home office. But I like my co-workers. My bosses rock. The company I work for has treated me fairly. And that's pretty much the most I'll ever say about it.

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