This article ran on the front page of the PC on Saturday, June 25. (I see it’s originally from USA Today from June 15. Apparently the PC was unable to find anything more worthy of below the fold space on the front page of the paper in the intervening 10 days. But I digress.) The article uses Peter Whitney, who was fired from his job at Wells Fargo for talking about work at his blog, as a cautionary tale. Here’s the money quote:
“Right now its too gray. There needs to be better guidelines” said Whitney, who has found another job. “Some people go to bars to complain about workers, I do it online. Some people say I deserve what happened, but it was really harsh. It was unfair.”
Uhm, Peter? You deserved to be fired for gross stupidity, if nothing else. See, unless the bars people talk in somehow preserve everything said in them and broadcast it to every single individual on the planet, there is no comparison. The Internet is forever. It is undeniable. Even if you edit, someone can probably find the original in some cache someplace. Bars aren’t like that. If I gripe to co-workers in a bar, and I am careful about who I am griping to, there is no record and no one to say anything. But if you post it on the Internet? Anyone, and I mean anyone, can find it. Treat it that way, and they’ll be no problems in the future, mmmkay?