CBC’s Blogging Guidelines – A Step Too Far

As reported on the Inside the CBC blog, the CBC seems to be cracking down on the online activities of its employees (thanks to Joseph Thornley at Pro PR for flagging it on his blog):

Any CBC employee who wants to start a personal blog which “clearly associates them with CBC/Radio-Canada” now requires their supervisor’s permission, according to a new “guideline document.”

I see this as a step too far. From my perspective, your supervisor is responsible for your activities at work. If your activities are outside work, they are also outside your supervisor’s control.

There’s a bit of a grey area, though. This policy refers to blogs that clearly associate the blogger with CBC/Radio-Canada. In those cases, the line between work and home is blurred. Is it really outside work if the employee talks about their employer? What about if the organization is only mentioned in the ‘about me’ blurb?

Grey areas aside, it’s common sense to be careful. In fact, I agree in principle with the CBC’s new Facebook policy – it’s common sense. Given frequent cases of corporate employees being fired for their online activities (see here, here and here), perhaps it’s helpful for corporations to set the boundaries rather than leave them vague.

However, why does the organization need to get involved so closely with blogging? Why introduce general guidelines for Facebook and stringent controls on blogging?

I’m firmly in the camp that says working somewhere doesn’t give that organization blanket control of your life. Bottom line: the CBC has gone too far in this case. Hopefully clear thinking will prevail soon, and the CBC will move from policing to guiding its employees.

Shel Holtz says it way better than I could:

The solution is simple: Establish and communicate policies governing what employees can and cannot do online. The policies should recognize that business value can accrue from these activities and that some personal activities are acceptable, assuming it’s not interfering with the ability to get work done. Supervisors should be trained to identify abuse so that policies are enforced by exception. (emphasis mine)

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