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Well, it has finally happened.  I’ve been waiting for an event of great enough significance to be considered a sign.  I thought that the recent story of Jeremy Wright showed some promise, but it turned out the guy wanted to be fired anyways so he wouldn’t have to pay back the relocation allowance they gave him when he committed to the contract.  Pathetic. 

An associate of mine was nearly fired recently for blogging about something that was still hush-hush.  I won’t out him here but suffice it to say that had he been terminated, he would have become the Sixth Sign.  The companies involved are BIG (And no, one of them was not Microsoft) and I think the only thing that saved his ass is the fact that he has an excellent professional reputation not only in his work but also in the community and as an author.  Deciding to terminate him would not be a decision taken lightly, but keep in mind, it was really close.  Change of underwear close.

Then there’s the Airline Flight Attendant that was recently dismissed by Delta Airlines.  Another non-starter.  It’s all about the brand darling.  Want to know the difference between the two pictures?  1.) She’s a model; you are not.  2.)  If that truly is a display of the couture version of a new uniform being considered by Delta, then she is modeling it at Delta’s and or the designer’s request in an appropriate manner that is consistent with the message they want to send.  Your display of the current uniform, while equally if not more provocative despite your choice to restrain your breasts, does not portray the current Delta image.  3.)  I have a feeling that there is little tolerance in the current airline security climate for high-jinks.  While waiting to board a plane at SEATAC last week, I watched as each of the cleaning personnel and the security guard accompanying them were scanned with the wand prior to boarding the aircraft.  They don’t screw around when it comes to the airplane these days and you were screwing around on the airplane!

There are other examples out there but none that match the elegant simplicity of the story of Mark Jen.  Mark was hired by Google as an associate product manager for AdSense and started work on January 17th, 2005.  He started his new blog the first day and within a week had violated NDA.  Not only did Mark blog about private financial information from a Google sales conference but also compounded his faux pas by doing it during Google’s SEC required quiet period.  Wowsers.  He did remove the sensitive information and add a subsequent mea culpa blog entry entitled “Ooops” but it seems that Google was having none of that and terminated his employment. 

Mark was previously employed by Microsoft and kept a blog there as well.  As if in an “hommage à l'ironie” his first post there was entitled “this is the sound of inevitability…” and his final post on the Microsoft blog posted before any of this began is entitled “what happened to MarkJen?”  Beautiful. 

Here’s the thing about blogging and sensitive or inflammatory posts:  You can’t just say “oops” and remove the information and expect all to be well.  Once you post it, everyone with a news aggregator that subscribes to your blog (or more importantly, to the base feed of the blog site) is going to have a local copy of the posting stored on their computer.  You can’t take it back.  It’s out there.  And once it’s in the public domain, I’m not sure there’s anything that Google or anyone else can do to keep others from redistributing the information. 

And so, as much as the Scobleizer would like to have it differently, this latest sign sounds the death knell for blogging.  Yes, Mr. Anderson.  That is the sound of inevitability.

Dave
Just because I can…

 

posted on Friday, February 11, 2005 12:04 PM