Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The dangers of blogging

It's hard being a humor writer. We find humor in everyday situations, whether it's work, school, or home. The problem is that most situations are only funny to us and the people around us, so they don't make good topics. The other danger is that a situation could be hilarious but you'd end up offending an awful lot of people. Maybe even your bosses.

That's why there are sooooo many warnings to bloggers not to write about work or your industry. It happened to Nadine Haobsh, fellow blogger here on She publishes Jolie in NYC, an insider's look at the beauty industry. She used to be anonymous, but was outed somehow, and was not only fired from her job, but had another job offer taken away.

Definitely a raw deal! Of course, she now has a book deal out, so I can only hope she makes more money than she would have at both jobs.

Jolie/Nadine's situation definitely served to educate me: don't blog about your work, I told myself. Then I realized I didn't have a blog, which made it a moot point. So I created this blog so I could specifically not write about work. So thank you Jolie, and good luck. As a Guy with a capital G, I don't do beauty stuff. However, I'm a sucker for a story like yours, so I'll buy the book when it comes out.

Coincidentally, I have found myself tempted to violate my own rule of not writing about work. I had an extremely funny situation happen to me a few weeks ago, and it became the topic of a column. I showed it to a few people, and they all said the same thing.

"It's freaking hilarious. You can't publish it."

So here I am with my own now-solved dilemma. I have a great story that I can't -- and won't -- tell (so don't ask). I like my job too much to even risk such a thing. And while I'm inspired by Jolie in NYC, I somehow don't think people will be clamoring for a book written by a Midwest small business marketing director-slash-weeekly humor columnist. So the column has been pitched -- my first spiked story after 525 consecutive columns, I'm proud to say -- and I'm working on a new one.

Oh well. Maybe I'll publish it when I'm fabulously wealthy.


  1. Thanks for the nice comments, Eric. I'll buy your book!

  2. There's something to be said about starting an anonymous blog and keeping it anonymous from the beginning. The only thing that went wrong in Joile's situation was that she never thought it would get as big as it did and didn't keep it a big secret in the beginning. She was outed by someone that didn't really think it was a big secret (at least that's how I interpret it). So, that being said, you can always start an anonymous blog and easily keep it anonymous.
    Brooks Blog

  3. Brooks said you can always start an anonymous blog and easily keep it anonymous.

    This is true. And I considered it. But my industry is small enough, and I'm known enough, that I would hate for one of my stories to cause a huge stir, and thus get me fired when someone says "I know EXACTLY who that is!"

    But I believe in anonymous blogging, and think people should do it if and when their posts would result in their job loss (assuming they're not posting anything illegal, of course.)

    So if you're going to do an anonymous blog, guard your identity jealously. Don't even tell your best friend.

    BTW, Brooks has some gorgoous photos on his blog and on his website. Check them out! He does outstanding work.


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