Thursday, 28 August 2008

My Rules for Blogging

Sometimes I tend to find it difficult to shake off the freedom I had as an academic (well, proto-academic, perhaps). Debate and discourse were an encouraged part of work and I have to admit that there have been times when I've had to remind myself I'm paid to contribute to an opinion, not to have one. In fact, this blog is partly a way of channelling that energy by expressing my own personal views about the sector I work in on a personal blog.

Before starting this blog I spent a great deal of time thinking about what kind of impact blogging might have on my personal and professional life. We don't have a blogging policy at work but I've reviewed a plethora of posts from librarians and non-librarians alike and have come up with my own rules which, I hope, I'll be sticking to on this blog:
  • Don't say anything that you wouldn't say in total public: This means no sensitive information, no talking about vendors or the non-public activities of other organisations that I might be privy to.
  • Don't blog about personal things: This could get confusing. If I start talking about my new car or favourite music genre it not only detracts from the basis of the blog and might tempt me to break one of the other guidelines here.
  • Make it clear that these views are my own, not my employers: Hence the disclaimer on the bottom of every page. I did wrestle with whether to 'own' up to my employer but have decided (at this point) not to. If a policy comes in at work that requires this then no problem, but until then I'm not concealing where my pay cheque comes from and nor am I publicising it.
  • Don't blog from work: Even though our Acceptable Use Policy wouldn't negate this (on break time) it's useful to draw the line between work activity and personal activity.
  • Even though this is personal, don't breach work guidelines: If there's a policy in place to cover work activity then I'll treat it as if it applies to blog posts - even if they don't cover personal activities.
  • No specific information unless it's already public: There's some development-level stuff that I'd love to share but unless it's already out there in public (through presentations, reports and so on) I'll keep stumm.
  • No professional communication: This is a rule for you too boys and girls! If you want to talk about work-related subjects please get in touch with me via my employer.
  • Speak About the Sector, Not the Library: When I'm saying "we should" I always mean 'libraries' not my library. The blog is called remixing libraries and my views will, I hope, speak generally rather than specifically.
There was a point when I thought blogging about anything even remotely connected to work was a no-go, however the world's changed. There are several active bloggers employed at my library and a few occasional ones, lots of people have 'social' content (flickr, facebook, etc) where they often post content linked to work (and even conduct work communication through).

Useful guidelines: BBC, Yahoo!, IBM

NOTE: Fair warning: I do hope to update this post as time goes on, and my experiences change.

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