making some sense

iBeth points to an interview with Heather Armstrong, where she advises would-be bloggers to suppose that the one person you wouldn’t want reading your blog, reads it. And that this should provide some sort of beacon concerning what you should write and what you shouldn’t.

Add this to the stuff swirling around Ivan Tribble at the Chronicle of Higher Ed telling academes to RUN! RUN away from the blog! if they ever want to get hired, and I’m listening.

Not because I care, particularly, whether Ivan will be on the hiring committee that doesn’t hire me because I have a blog.

What strikes me, or why I care, is that this advice from both Ivan and Heather is pretty standard by now. I mean, we’ve been hearing about people getting fired about what they’ve said on their blogs for a year or more. Yet people keep publishing stuff that will make, obviously, someone angry.


Why do many (not all, of course) bloggers insist on talking about the people that surround them? iBeth’s greenhouse saga is the perfect example. She is working in real life to communicate with people, f2f, and is not really getting anywhere. The written, publicked communication, however, creates action, re-action.

There’s somewhere in here an argument about people who have lost jobs *wanted* to lose them, but that’s not really where I’m going with this, because I don’t believe that. What I do believe, though, is that it is easy to slam a door in someone’s face without anyone to witness it, and harder to slam a door in someone’s face when the neighbors are looking on. And it’s easier to fire someone than it is to deal with what that someone has to say about drunk people at office parties, etc.

My hope for the blog and similar social software is that it will pave the way for a communication revolution, one in which people must be held accountable for their sometimes unseen actions and their sometimes unheard words. Instead of “What would Jesus do?” people would ask themselves “What would a blogger report if I say/do this?”


2 thoughts on “making some sense

  1. I *like* this approach. So if people don’t want to appear to be stupid and mean to the world, they should avoid being stupid and mean in private.

    You’re right about how easy it is to hide bad behavior away. In my situation, the ultimate sin (according to at least some people) is that I wrote about people’s actions in a public place. So now they feel sinned against for being outed, even though their actions were wrong. How crazy is that?

    And never mind the fact that I don’t have an anonymous blog, so I am standing behind what I say/do.

  2. Interesting, Beth, since they people who are reacting to you for writing about them publicly, wrote about YOU publicly FIRST.

    I’m finding that this is a trend. People want to pick their publicks.

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