Those in human resources are being trained to keep an eye on the blogosphere for negative dish about the company or employees. Below are some major Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to blogging about the workplace.
- DO get educated about your HR departments policies on blogging and company security. Check into sample policies if you aren’t sure about the rules. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and many companies have written blogging and social media policies in place to protect both of you.
- DON’T insult your boss. It seems obvious, but frequently stories pop up of employees in politics or media criticizing an upper level decision, even one as minor as a headline, and losing their jobs. Your blog is probably more visible than you think it is, and it’s definitely searchable. If you refer to your employer or a nasty client by name, they are likely to come across it and complain. Use a private email or a conversation over a glass of wine to do your after-hours dishing.
- DO make a professional Twitter/Facebook/WordPress Blog. Not only are social media platforms a great way to make connections, a professional page on a major social networking site gives you credibility. When future employers or potential clients Google you (and they will), it helps if an open, business-focused page pops up. Don’t worry about updating it constantly; just mention major accomplishments at the office or opinions on industry news.
- DON’T overlap the professional and personal. It may seem silly to have two accounts or separate blogs, but if you’re going to be tempted to post about drunken nights, use foul language, or have friends who may litter your page with either of those, keep work separate. Many social media sites allow professional pages to be created in which people can become fans, but not friends. This may help control your content.
- DO feel free to talk about work in a personal blog — in a positive way. You can talk about a good day or an exciting new project. Your bosses don’t expect you to hide your employment, unless of course you work for the government. As a general rule, no one with a security clearance should advertise their position.
- DON’T write a negative blog about your coworkers. You can change the names, set it on private — it doesn’t matter. If someone can see it, the wrong person will ultimately hear about it, and it may sound even worse second or third hand. Not only is that kind of writing not fun for your readers, it reflects negatively on your attitude.
- DO link to buzz about your business. It’s always in your interest for business to be booming, and it’s impossible for human resources or your boss to be upset about someone else’s glowing review being reflected on your page. It’s a great way to let people know what you do, and to brag a little bit.
- DON’T take pictures and post them without permission. Whether a professional blog or a personal Facebook page, people don’t appreciate their pictures being on the Internet without their knowledge or permission. This is doubly true if you work with children. As tempting as it is, parents may be upset, and it’s ultimately unsafe and unprofessional.
It’s not people in human resource management are trying to take the fun out of blogging. On the contrary, keeping your blog positive keeps you safe, and makes it more fun to write. Venting can be satisfying, but it can leave you with that ugly feeling in the pit of your stomach, and readers with a bad taste in their mouths. Instead, focus on the great parts of your day. Good for your blog, good for your soul.