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Sunday, May 01, 2005

AUPs and Blogging

I wrote this in a class thread about staff AUPs...


Another issue that relates to acceptable use of the internet by staff is the issue of what they can post on the internet during or after work (in addition to what they can access while at work)... the web is no longer read-only for teachers, who can now easily contribute content using blogs or other read/write web services. It behooves any organization to have a policy about what employees can and cannot write about publicly. While such a policy may not hold any legal water (especially when it comes head to head with the freedom of speech), and while I like to think that most people will exercise some measure of discretion, a policy will at least make it clear that they can expect a call in the morning if they are bashing the principal or superintendent on their blog in the evening. As a rule of thumb I tell staff I am training not to write anything online (or anywhere for that matter) that they wouldn't want to see on the front page of the LA Times. ;)

From a different perspective... when your staff (or students) may already be blogging about you (whether or not they are able to film you with their phones at work), how does this effect the way you behave at work? Or around town? We are facing a new level of accountability in a world where anyone can publish content about anyone else easily and inexpensively on the internet.

This is a whole other topic I could go on about, but perhaps this is something to chew on with respect to staff acceptable use policies... it is no longer only about what content we can consume online, because now the content we contribute is equally important.

-Mark


PS. A book that covers these issues well, but with a particular focus on politics (and with an unapologetic conservative bias) is Blog by Hugh Hewitt. The subtile "understanding the information reformation that 's changing your world" and the blurb "why you must know how the blogosphere is smashing the old media monopoly and giving individuals power in the marketplace of ideas" capture the main ideas of the book... but Hewitt spends a good deal of time trying to convince leaders of any organization that they need to have a policy on employee/member blogging. These are issues worth thinking about for educational technologists.

Hewitt, H. (2005). Blog. Nashville, TN: Nelson Books.

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