Prompted by the story of a Virginia, USA, state employee being disciplined for some of his blogging activities, I have been doing some online research on the subject of blogging guidelines for public sector employees. Slim pickings so far, but among a few titbits I have found an interesting document, a security alert about personal blogs, from the US Department of Defense (DoD):

“*Blogs,* or web logs, posted to public websites are increasingly used by military personnel as personal journals. Commanders shall ensure subordinates are aware that, in accordance with Dod directive 5230.9, *clearance of DoD information for public release,* and the Joint Ethics Regulation (dod 5500.7-r), personal blogs (i.e., those not having DoD sponsorship and purpose) may not be created/maintained during normal duty hours and may not contain information on military activities that is not available to the general public. Such information includes comments on daily military activities and operations, unit morale, results of operations, status of equipment, and other information that may be beneficial to adversaries.”

US DoD Information security/website alert – 06 Aug 2006

(note: the original of this alert is all in upper case, but out of consideration for the online convention that this would constitute ’shouting’, I’ve converted the case)

One of several aspects of this alert which I find interesting is that the military has implicitly accepted that blogs are a fact of life in today’s military. While banning blogging in on duty hours, the alert does not seek to ban them generally but sets out some security-oriented guidelines and boundaries.

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Des Walsh is a business coach and independent, confidential sounding board for business owners and entrepreneurs. A long term advocate of smart, risk-mitigating business use of technology and a certified social media strategist, he is well placed to support businesses in adapting to the rapid changes in the technological, business and social environments. Connect with Des on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get Des’s weekly Social Business Bites (select snippets of his "best of the week" online finds).

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