A public servant recently wrote about how he chose not to be featured on television with another higher ranking servant of the people.
One reason he cited was the absence of guidelines by his own employer on blogging.
Last year, my own workplace considered the value and the inherent risks of blogging by our employees.
After all, we are quite possibly among a small group of organisations where a Chief Executive Officer blogs actively.
We decided that it was necessary to put in place some sort of a policy to deal with the issue.
This is an edited version of how the policy reads:
PERSONAL WEBSITE / BLOGGING POLICY
We encourage you to express yourself through your personal websites and blogs. As your readers may link your views to us, we request you to use these guidelines.
DISCLOSE & DISCLAIM
1. Disclose your personal website or blog to us if you intend to write anything relating to us, our subsidiaries or to your work by informing your supervisor.
2. If you use your website or blog to earn money, please declare to our Human Resource team.
3. Make it clear that your views are personal. You may wish to use this disclaimer in a prominent area of your website or blog: "The views here are mine. They do not necessarily represent the views of my organisation and its management".
4. As your website or blog is a public space, be respectful to us and our colleagues, customers, partners and competitors. Take steps to protect your privacy.
5. Respect your audience and be positive. Do not use racist, vulgar, seditious, defamatory and other negative remarks.
6. Only share information about us, which is available to the public and not confidential or sensitive. You can provide links to our corporate websites. To use our trademarks, seek permission. If you are not sure, please check with our Public Affairs team.
7. Your personal website or blog may be covered by the media. If any person from the media contacts you about us, please inform our Public Affairs team.
8. Respect the law, especially intellectual property and financial disclosure laws. If you are not sure, please check with our Legal team.
9. Add value and be constructive. Correct your mistakes and apologise, where necessary.
10. Write about what you know. Check your facts and strive for high quality. Disclose your sources and include links to other websites.
11. Be interesting, clear and concise. Accept feedback.
12. Ensure that your personal website or blog does not interfere with your work commitments.