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What I will not be writing about online

Monday, April 18, 2005 at 10:14PM
Posted by Registered CommenterPolitical Mammal in Personal

As I become more comfortable with writing online, I am tempted to write about things that have higher stakes for me, for my family, or for my company.

So this post is to help me consider what I should not write about—a quick exploration for my own purposes about what the proper boundaries should be for public writing by the owner of a company.

There are a lot of good reasons for not addressing topics that are of importance. While I love how open our society and this medium is, and I like being able to communicate easily with interested parties, I have to remind myself that this world can be a competitive, dangerous, and peculiar place—and that all interested parties are not friendly ones. The Internet puts us in proximity to all types, including some people who really need to be avoided. And I include in that number whoever tries to post irrational, expletive-ridden comments in this blog. I am sorry, whoever you are, as much as I am looking for input, you are going to need to express yourself more civilly (and more clearly) to be published here.

So I have decided to be careful about writing about my family, my employees, strategic business activities, extra-controversial religious or political topics, and to keep in mind that every possible type of audience might be simultaneously listening. I hope that does not leave me too constrained.

In addition to my family, I feel protective of my employees. From time to time I would like to sing someone’s praises, or poke fun at something that someone did. But that seems like a bad idea, and I have not done so.

With the exception of this story: about four years or so ago, we were on the phone with a client and one of my most trusted employees (who shall remain anonymous) walked by the telephone. He was upset about something and exclaimed (apparently taking words from an Adam Sandler song, but I did not know the reference) “F*ck me in the goat ass.” That event is an example of the sort of thing I will not be revealing about my employees.

I also do not yet feel comfortable writing about sensitive business information—current strategy, thoughts about competitors, ups or downs with particular clients, and the like. I am more likely to write about events in the past, or fairly tame activities, as a result. I will also avoid posting my views about religion, or taking sides in Democratic primaries where I may be supplying multiple candidates with software, or discussing political issues where I am way out of the mainstream. I will leave that to others, or to other venues, for the time being.

I can announce today that our company softball team is ready for our first practice this weekend, and we will be playing the FEC team the following week. We are looking for revenge from last year’s debacle.

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Reader Comments (3)

I for one would like to see more examples of the sorts of stories you will not be revealing about your employees.

April 19, 2005 | Unregistered Commentereve
If you don't write about anything even remotely controversial, nobody will read your blog. You have to be original and cutting edge. Take calculated risks...its obvious by the success of NGP Software, you're pretty well versed in the calculated risk.

BTW I used to love that Adam Sandler CD! I used to quote it all the time.
April 20, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterChris
IBM just published guidelines for the 3000 blogs that have sprung up at the company over the past 18 months. I found this an interesting read and many of Nathaniel's ideas are here
May 17, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterCraig Lebowitz

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