Friday, November 30, 2012

Censor Or Be Dooced?

I've been working on understanding blogs. I'm trying to increase my knowledge on the subject and have started with a book that I found called Blogging for Business by Shel Holtz and Ted Demopoulos.

In the first few pages they mention the verb being "dooced." The idea that you can be fired for what you write on your blog. Apparently there was a woman by the name of Dooce that had this happen to her.

The idea is not foreign to me. I had just never heard the term "dooced" before. The warning that Julie get's in Julie and Julia has always sat in the back of my mind. Her boss reads about her cooking disaster that made her skip work one day. She had called in sick to fix the dish for special guests that evening. In the post she even said she was feeling unwell. The boss didn't think it rang true. It serves as a reminder that anyone could be watching.

I had two interesting experiences with blogs in high school. Back then everyone I knew was using to blog, facebook hadn't opened up to high schoolers yet. I wrote most of my posts publicly, but one night I made the unfortunate mistake of allowing comments on a private posting. It resulted, unbeknownst to me, in the post going live. My parent's ended up reading the post about them and they were not thrilled. Not only did I have to delete the post, but I had my internet privileges taken away from me for a month.

Another couple of my friends had a nasty spat on the site that actually got them called down to the principal's office. Someone had reported it. They were both forced to shut down their accounts or face suspension.

You could say I've had my fair share of reality telling me to censor what is said online.

Self censoring is important, but the question is how much do you censor yourself? Taking out every little bit of craziness that you do can make you sound droll and unreal. Does mentioning the fact that I was once so drunk I chased the Moon mean I'm walking on the edge? It certainly says I've had poor judgement, but it was a part of my life. Or, is it simply work related posts like Julie Powell made?

How much can we say before we get dooced? Better yet, what is a dooce-able offense? As a writer, it's an interesting question and one I will contemplate as I go forward.

Editorial note: I checked up on this Dooce person after my original post (she doesn't exist). My memory warped what I had read in the book. Dooced is a blog written by Heather B. Armstrong and she was fired because of her commentary on work. Still, outrageous actions can lead to consequences and my questions still stand.

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