Ada Lovelace Day

About The Authors

Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson is a social software consultant and writer who specialises in the use of blogs and wikis behind the firewall. With a background in journalism, publishing and web design, Suw is now one of the UK’s best known bloggers, frequently speaking at conferences and seminars.

Her personal blog is Chocolate and Vodka, and yes, she’s married to Kevin.

Email Suw

Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson

Kevin Anderson is a freelance journalist and digital strategist with more than a decade of experience with the BBC and the Guardian. He has been a digital journalist since 1996 with experience in radio, television, print and the web. As a journalist, he uses blogs, social networks, Web 2.0 tools and mobile technology to break news, to engage with audiences and tell the story behind the headlines in multiple media and on multiple platforms.

From 2009-2010, he was the digital research editor at The Guardian where he focused on evaluating and adapting digital innovations to support The Guardian’s world-class journalism. He joined The Guardian in September 2006 as their first blogs editor after 8 years with the BBC working across the web, television and radio. He joined the BBC in 1998 to become their first online journalist outside of the UK, working as the Washington correspondent for BBCNews.com.

And, yes, he’s married to Suw.

E-mail Kevin.

Member of the Media 2.0 Workgroup
Dark Blogs Case Study

Case Study 01 - A European Pharmaceutical Group

Find out how a large pharma company uses dark blogs (behind the firewall) to gather and disseminate competitive intelligence material.


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All content © Kevin Anderson and/or Suw Charman

Interview series:
at the FASTforward blog. Amongst them: John Hagel, David Weinberger, JP Rangaswami, Don Tapscott, and many more!

Corante Blog

Thursday, November 11th, 2004

Blogs are evil. Really evil. Really, really evil.

Posted by Suw Charman-Anderson

We know this to be true because Dublin-based Research and Markets says so. Michael O’Connor Clarke has already begun the initial fisking of Research and Markets: Companies Need to Raise Employee Awareness Regarding Blogging and Associated Threat, but I can’t stop myself from weighing in on the subject. In fact, I have started a whole new category just for this post: Blog Fuckwittery.

Anyone involved in introducing new technologies to business is aware of the fear that mere newness can create. Even if the thing you’re dealing with is not new, the fact that it may look new or have a new name causes a certain risk-averse portion of the corporate population to come out in boils and see visions of their firstborn being eaten alive by Beelzebub with a warm Chianti and French fries.

This report is the very essence of that fear of the unknown. Over on Flackster, Michael deftly deconstructs the abstract, so I shan’t repeat his words here, apart from these ones:

“Viruses, worms, Trojan horses, Remote Access Trojans, hackers, organized crime, terrorists, and others continue to make the Internet a dangerous place due to fraud, extortion, denials of service, identity theft, espionage, and other crimes. Now, blogging is emerging as a threat to the Internet user community.”

Blogs are like terrorists? Like viruses? Sorry. My flabber is too gasted to permit any kind of rational response here.

Quite. My personal flabber feels currently like it’s been taken out back and beaten senseless with a cricket bat.

The table of contents hints further at the evil that blogs do:

- Introduction
- Notice to Clients
- Blog Policies & Procedures Needed
- What is a Blog?
- Who Uses Blogs?
- Why Do Employees Use Blogs?
- Why Companies are Vulnerable to Blogging
- When Do Employees Use Blogs?
- Is Blog Use A Risky Behavior for the Enterprise?
- Home, Office Blog Linkage
- Internet Crime Overview: These Entities Can Scan
- Blogs, in Addition to the Crimes Noted
- Three Acceptable Use Policy Variants for Blogging and Bloggers
- Blog Acceptable Use Policy: ZERO TOLERANCE
- Blog Acceptable Use Policy: LIMITED USE
- Blog Acceptable Use Policy: PERMISSIONED USE

Note the use of inflammatory language, such as ‘vulnerable’, ‘risky’, ‘crime’, ‘entities’, and ‘zero tolerance’. This is using the language of the terror alert in reference to blogs in order to whip up anti-blog sentiment and trade off businesses’ fear of being somehow abused by bloggers, a fear which is quite frankly ludicrous.

There is undoubtedly a lot of sense in having a blog policy for your employees so that everyone knows where they stand, but if your employees have signed an NDA, yet you don’t trust them not to disclose your secrets, then one has to wonder why you are employing them in the first place. If they haven’t signed an NDA, maybe you should think hard about what you’re actually afraid of.

Opening a dialogue with staff who blog is easy, need not be confrontational, and should result in an acceptable use policy that both parties can live with. Yet if we take this report at face value - and until I actually get a copy of it, that’s all I can do - it seems to imply that blogs are all evil, evil things which will induce crime and corporate vandalism and spying and, oh fuck, entities! Which scan! Ffs.

Oh, I’m trying so hard not to get all ad hominem here, but the people that wrote this obviously have their head stuck up their own colon so far that their eyes are brown. I suspect that these people have no real understanding of blogging or the blogosphere at all. They conflate potential problems with blogs* and problems with emails (viruses, worms, Trojan horses etc.), phishing sites (fraud, identity theft) and hackers (denial of service attacks). I’m still not sure where the organised crime, terrorists or extortion come into it, but they are nice scary words which look good on the page.

The thing is, if there is anything nasty going on with blogs, it has nothing to do with viruses, worms, Trojans, phishing, fraud, identity theft, DoS attacks, blah blah blah, and much more to do with bloggers saying things that companies wish they hadn’t.

And porn. Strange how they haven’t mentioned porn.

Blogs are not a threat to business. Stupidity is a threat to business. Ergo, this report is a threat to business.

I can’t wait to read it, to see how they justify all this fuckwittery.

*I sincerely doubt that blogging is an important tool for corporate spies what with the traceable and non-ephemeral nature of blogs, but if there are any espionage experts who can disabuse me of this notion, please do fess up. I’d like to know: Blogspot or Typepad?

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2 Responses to “Blogs are evil. Really evil. Really, really evil.”

  1. Tom Reynolds Says:

    Hmmm…

    May be having that blogger/employer discussion soon…

    Currently gathering ammunition - which thanks to folks like yourself is rather easy to find.

  2. Saltation Says:

    >Blogs are not a threat to business. Stupidity is a threat to business.

    No, stupidity is the ESSENCE of business: http://saltation.blogspot.com/2004_04_01_saltation_archive.html#108129427328651669

    Blogs are just another specious topic for the seagulls to panic.