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Last Updated: Monday, 3 January, 2005, 04:11 GMT
Bloggers reveal their motives
Blogs - or online diaries - which chronicle people's life at work are becoming increasingly common. Here, two bloggers explain why they write about their daily lives at work.

Random Acts of Reality: Why I do it

"Tom" is an emergency medical technician with the London ambulance service, has kept a blog for 18 months.

I'd been reading blogs for a while, and was impressed with some of the things people were writing about.

Tom realised he had a wealth of stories to tell
I'm also a bit of a geek when it comes to computers, and wondered if I could use these blogging tools to do something interesting.

To start with there was no real focus to what I was writing about, so I was mainly moaning about things, hence the original name for the blog of Why I Hate Humanity.

I then realised that with the work that I do, I had a wealth of stories that I could tell, and that maybe some people would be interested in what happens in the ambulance service.

I quite enjoy writing down the things that happen at work. Whether it is a form of therapy for me, I can't say, but I do get enjoyment from it.

'Flattering light'

Other things that make the whole blogging experience more interesting is the whole community that has built up around them.

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

I'm meeting people who I would otherwise never have met, going places I would never have gone and doing things I would never have done.

A few people at work had been aware for a little while, but they had kept the secret. The name that I blog under is a nom-de-plume.

A few weeks ago the cat got let out of the bag, and everyone who knows me personally now knows who I am and what I do.

So far the response to my blog has been positive, but I've only had feedback from fellow road staff; I've not been called up in front of management yet.

I suspect that management would actually approve of my blog because it does mainly show the ambulance service in a rather flattering light.

Everything about my blog is confidential, it has to be for the simple reason of patient confidentiality. It was one of the rules that I set myself right from the start.

I also keep the names and details of my workmates secret. The only things that aren't anonymous are the names of trusts and organisations, as I think that they sometimes need to be more publicly examined.

I'm also having to be careful about what subjects I write about. Workmates might not be happy to find me writing about them, so I tend to stick to subjects that affect me personally.

I won't write about anything that could get someone into trouble. There are better ways to handle that than to write about it on a public webspace.

I have to keep everything anonymous. If there is one thing that will get me fired, it'd be breaching confidentiality.

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.

Job-blogger tips

First, be anonymous. It can free you to be more honest about your workplace.

Secondly, be true to what you think. If you disagree with something then be prepared to either stand up for what you think, or don't write about it at all.

Thirdly, don't post anything that you wouldn't be happy reading out loud in front of and audience of your colleagues, friends and strangers.

Finally only do it while you enjoy it. It shouldn't be a chore to update your page.

The Policeman's Blog: Why I do it

"David", a British police officer, has been running a blog since April 2004.

Firstly, I thought there was a huge gap between what the public thought we do (go on patrol and catch criminals) and what we actually do (write reports and record crime).

Secondly, I could read nothing on the internet about what it was actually like being a policeman so I thought I would start.

David meets some very strange and amusing people
Thirdly, much of what we do is frustrating and faintly unpleasant but knowing that I'd be able to write something about it makes me see the funny side.

Response policing, which is what I do, means I deal with large numbers of people who are either temporarily or permanently unable to deal with life and they therefore call the police hoping that we'll be able to make things better.

We can't of course, but it means that I get to meet some very strange and amusing people.

Nobody at work knows anything about it. I'm still waiting for someone to come in one morning and say, 'Hey, I've been reading this brilliant thing on the internet' but it hasn't happened yet.

Moral of the story

I try not to talk about specific incidents, because I am sure it would identify me. What I try to do it take the "moral" of the story, if there is one, and change the exact circumstances.

Don't blog in anger or frustration. Wait a day or two and it will be much funnier
There are also legal issues about writing about cases before they come to court, so I cannot talk about them.

I hope it makes people laugh and gives them at least some idea of where their council tax goes.

People have absolutely no idea of what uniformed officers do all day and I like to think that I lift the lid in a fairly amusing and harmless way.

I can see problems ahead if people blog about their colleagues or bosses in an unflattering way and they get to find out: you could find yourself being cold-shouldered or passed over for that promotion.

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.

Never tell anyone at work about the blog and only tell a few people outside.

Don't blog in anger or frustration. Wait a day or two and it will be much funnier.


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