Sunday, February 06, 2005

Rules of Blogging

When I was a field training instructor (FTI) for the Houston Police Department I would instruct the probationary police (PPO) in the basic approach to his/her job. I had a printed set of instructions that would remind each PPO that anything he/she did, on or off duty, should fit within the guidelines of the Department’s Rules Manuel or some known State or Municipal law.

A simple rule of thumb was to think before acting; I know, some of you are pointing to that thick manila personnel folder with my name on it and wondering, “Isn’t this the same guy who…?” I will avoid that last question and move along.

Any answer, such as, “I saw it on TV”, or “That’s the way Harry Callahan did it in Dirty Harry.”, or “I don’t know why I did it.”, were all considered to be “Not well thought out”.

I would then continue by adding, “Never say anything to anyone, including another police officer, that you would not want printed on the front page of the Houston Chronicle.” I think this same general advice would serve anyone planning to blog.

I was reading a blog from
Lorimer which he called “Another one bites the dust”. (Think I’ll put on the Queen album and …)

I like his words of caution, “The line dividing free speech and libelous remarks contained in blogs is still blurred.” He referred to a couple of different BBC articles which you can read if you link to Lorimer’s blog. In those articles I found some good information; two of which I will put here in my own blog.

One blogger was quoted with the following,

“I would say to potential bloggers that you should think carefully about what you reveal, so that it can't be traced back to you.” This is good common sense if you plan to keep yourself anonymous.

I am more tuned in with a different approach as stated by yet another blogger,

“I don't blog about anything, or share opinions, that I wouldn't feel happy talking about up on a stage in front of friends and strangers.”

Here are the
12 Rules of Blogging that are included in the BBC article.

1. Make it clear that the views expressed in the blog do not necessarily represent the views of the employer
2. Respect the company's confidentiality and proprietary information
3. Ask your manager if you have any questions about what is appropriate to include in the blog
4. Be respectful to the company, employees, customers, partners, and competitors. Criticise but be balanced, give opportunity for feedback, and be justifiable.
5. Observe company requests that topics not be discussed for confidentiality or legal compliance reasons
6. Ensure that your blogging activity does not interfere with your work commitments or employee relations
7. Tell the truth and write with balance and accuracy. Acknowledge and correct mistakes promptly. Acknowledge conflicts of interest
8. Keep records of original posts and indicate where a message has been edited or summarised
9. Be prepared to delete inappropriate posts and spam or off-topic material
10. Reply to e-mails and comments promptly and be prepared to explain how complaints are being dealt with
11. Don't steal copyright material. Link to online references and original source materials directly
12. Keep private issues private and don't jeopardise the company's working relationships
Source: Nick Lockett, DL Legal

Now, "Go and do likewise".

1 comment:

GWhizKids said...

Good tips! We all know what happens when you use false information and don't attribute!