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Safe Blogging Practices: It’s Not WHAT You Say…

The story of the nursing student who was expelled for blogging got me thinking.

(If you haven’t heard the story, check out What Can Nursing Students Blog About? at Code Blog, with an update at Kevin, MD)

Just what can you write about on your blog?

Well, you can write on just about any topic.

It’s not a case of what you say, it’s how you say it.

*****

So how can you make sure that your blog post won’t get you fired (or expelled)?

Three things come to mind:

  • Blog about the issue.

Got a co-worker that is driving you nuts because they steal your Diet Pepsi from the fridge?  Got a manager that makes life hell? Tired of taking abuse from the “regular” drug-seeking patient who has called you fifty different names for a female dog?

Great! You have blogging material! But…instead of insulting the people involved (as tempting as that may be), make that blog post about respecting your co-worker’s space and property. Or the top five traits you think a manager should possess. Or how to stay cool in the face of verbal abuse.  Whether you use real or hypothetical examples to illustrate your point, make your point about the issue,  not the person.

  • Wait.

Did something good/bad/funny/sad/dumb/crazy/awful/miraculous happen on your shift?

As a blogger, you’re first thought is “whoa, I am so blogging about this!” And you can!

Later.

Let some time pass before blogging. This is prudent whether you blog anonymously or under your own name. Time gives perspective,  a chance to see underlying issues and an opportunity to keep emotions (and any inappropriate statements) in check.

  • Choose your words.

It is possible to blog about a difficult, sensitive or emotional topic and do it without being derogatory or insulting.  You can be humorous, sarcastic and over-the-top or angry, frustrated and at the end-of-your-rope and still convey an underlying sense of empathy and respect.

What is laughed at over a margarita after work is not necessarily appropriate for a blog.  What we post in a blog is a reflection of ourselves (and the nursing profession). Don’t just hit the keyboard in a blast of blogorrhea. Think about how your words will “sound” to someone else’s eyes.

If you do these things, I think you can pretty much blog about anything and everything without worrying about your blog bouncing back and biting you in the butt.

Because it’s not so much what you say…

…it’s how you say it.

*This blog post was originally published at Emergiblog*


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One Response to “Safe Blogging Practices: It’s Not WHAT You Say…”

  1. TBTAM says:

    Great advice, Kim.

    I’d like to add this piece of advice I got from blogger Lisa Williams, who has written a similarly nice set of blogging principles at http://www.cadence90.com/wp/?p=2179
    - “Don’t blog what you don’t own”. I would add to that this caveat -Unless you have permission”.

    Here’s a piece I did on the topic some year back when I first started blogging – The comments section has some more great advice from experienced bloggers. http://theblogthatatemanhattan.blogspot.com/2006/01/dangers-of-blogging.html

    This is a topic that can never be discussed enough.

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