Blogging is an increasingly popular method for people to express their thoughts and opinions. However, in a professional setting, it is especially important for bloggers to understand the nature of liability for online postings.
Policy for Responsible Blogging
1. You are personally responsible for your posts. Remember that what you write online will be available to anyone with internet access. Be mindful to protect yourself and others. The union is not responsible or liable for your posts.
2. Use disclaimers and identify yourself. A disclaimer such as, “The postings on this blog are my own and do not represent the views or opinions of my union or fellow union members,” makes it clear that you are not speaking on behalf of the union.
3. Don’t insult people. You may feel inclined to rant about a co-worker, principal, or superintendent. However, personal attacks against a person’s professional competence or character may amount to defamation and result in a lawsuit against you personally.
4. Use good judgment. You may feel inclined to make off-color remarks, but be aware that posting sexually harassing, vulgar, lewd, or obscene remarks or material is strictly prohibited and may result in a lawsuit against you personally, or may result in a disciplinary action if it affects your working relationship.
5. Be respectful of your audience. Having opinions is not only okay, it’s encouraged. But insulting a person or persons based on race, ethnicity, sex, marital status, political beliefs, gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or military service is not.
6. Respect copyrighted material. If it’s not yours, cite it. Better yet, cite it and link to the original material. Being sued for copyright infringement is not fun and can be costly.
7. Try to provide valuable information and perspective. The purpose of blogging is to enhance community interaction. So, use accurate information, correct your own mistakes, and don’t alter previous posts unless you indicate that you’ve done so.
8. Don’t spread rumors. If you don’t know personally that an item is a fact, don’t pass it on.
9. Don’t tell secrets. If it’s confidential, try to keep it that way. Respecting others’ privacy is key to successful blogging.