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Encouraging Anonymous Bloggers

An opinion column in today’s New York Times by Jeremy Blachman of Anonymous Lawyer weighs the benefits and drawbacks of legislation protecting employees for being fired for blogging. As unrealistic as the practical execution of such a law would be, Jeremy defines the problem very concisely in the following excerpt:

But here’s the problem: Weblogs are worth protecting. It used to be that if you wanted to know what it was like to work for a law firm or a beauty magazine, you had to have a friend on the inside. But now that everyone can publish online, we can get these incredible glimpses into worlds we might otherwise never get to see. People across the world can share stories, commiserate and connect with each other. Potential employees can see beyond the marketing pitches.

If no one was reading, employers wouldn’t be concerned. There’s a demand for the first-person narratives people are writing about their jobs. There’s nowhere else to go to create honest conversation about the working world.

So maybe it does make sense that the law should provide special protection for bloggers, because of the social benefits Weblogs provide. The simplest place to start would be to put the burden on employers to show actual harm, if they are firing someone because of her Weblog.

Good points, Jeremy. Now let’s just hope the legislation is in place by the time you graduate and start looking for a job yourself.

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