Personal perspectives on information science, the evolving Internet, delivery of public services online, Web 2.0, the Web of Data, the Semantic Web, communities, folksonomies and more. With an emphasis upon convergence between some or all of the above, and a UK slant.
Everyone in the room received quite a weighty hand-out, including Fenwick & West's recommended model policy for blogging. This draft policy doesn't appear to be available online (Shawna/Matt - anything we could do about that?), but I may talk about it in more detail later on.
Part of the point of the session was to explore the legal issues around running or facilitating blogs associated with organisations, and the difficulties in fitting their rapid and informal nature into the usual (weighty!) approval and PR processes. Notionally 'personal' blogs presumably complicate issues still further. A posting of mine topanlibusmight clearly be considered 'corporate'. What about a posting of mine tothisblog? It'smyblog. I pay for it. But I talk about work-related issues, and I post on work time.
According to Matt, they reckon that around 50 individuals have been 'terminated' (which seems somehow different from 'sacked'?) for reasons directly associated to their posting on a blog. Scary, but I wonder how many of those 50 would be considerednotto have contravened either Fenwick & West's model policy, or even more permissive policies such as Talis' “be sensible” ?
There was some discussion around the steps that a company should take to police blogs that they might, legally, be considered to be wholly or partially liable for. Broadly, this policing could be considered to be either after-the-factmonitoringor pre-postpreviewing. Previewing appears to be problematic, as it slows down posting, raises the spectre of censorship and, perhaps worse, creates a legal view that the company hasendorsedany post that does end up on the blog. Active after-the-fact monitoring every day or so, however, is safer, and it would be legally defensible if a company were taken to court for some posting to a blog to point out that this post (perhaps made at 0200 one morning) was removed within a reasonable time frame when the blog was monitored the next day.
I asked about passive policing (simply providing a link whereby an offendedreadercould complain about content), but Shawna suggested that harassment etc legislation would require active rather than passive action. That seems unreasonable to me (but then, the law often does). I wonder if the same is true in Europe?
And, as it's a session about legal things, I should probably say that I'm not a lawyer, and that any interpretation of Matt and Shawna's contributions is only my own interpretation, not legal advice!
The tone is light, and the book is only 45 pages in length, but it manages to cover some complex ground in an accessible fashion.
Seth defines three kinds of blog;
“Cat Blogsare blogs for and by and about the person blogging. A cat blog is about your cat and your dating travails and your boss and whatever you feel like sharing in your public diary. The vast majority of people with a cat blogdon’t need or want strangers to read it.” (my emphasis)
“Boss Blogsare blogs used to communicate to a defined circle of people. A boss blog is a fantastic communications tool. I used one when I produced the fourth-grade musical. It made it easy for me to keep the parents who cared about our project up to date... and it gave them an easy-to-follow archive of what had already happened.”
“The third kind of blog is the kind most people imagine when they talk about blogs. These are blogs like instapundit and Scoblelizer and Joi Ito’s. Some of these blogs are for individuals (call them citizen journalists or op-ed pages) and others are for organizations trying to share their ideas and agendas. These are the blogsthat are changing the face of marketing, journalism and the spread of ideas. I want to call theseViral Blogs.” (my emphasis)
In the rest of the book he concentrates upon Viral Blogs, of which I would consider the blog you are reading to be one.
Take a look; Seth writes some things to make you think...
As discussedelsewhere, I leave my current position - andweblog- in September. Although I'll doubtless be contributing heavily to theblogsof mynew employerwhen I get there, now seemed like a good time to take the plunge and give myself a space of my own in which I can continue to express myself.
Posting will probably be light during August and early September, as I spend an awful lot of time tying up various activities in theCommon Information Environment.
I see this blog covering many of the same topics that I have always discussed; libraries, archives, museums, education, cultural heritage, lifelong learning, government, and the ways in which all of these are challenged by - and hopefully benefit from - new technologies such as the Web,Web 2.0, theSemantic Web,podcasts,blogs,folksonomiesand more.
Throughout, I'll hopefully show that technology is not an end in itself, but a set of tools capable of helping us build something better.
I look forward to the conversation... so be sure to join in.