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27 Colum. J.L. & Arts 145 (2003-2004)
Say What: Blogging and Employment Law in Conflict

handle is hein.journals/cjla27 and id is 155 raw text is: Say What?: Blogging and Employment Law in Conflict
Paul S. Gutman*
Like so many internet activities, from e-mail to e-commerce, web logs, or
blogs, shifted rapidly from hypertechnical origins into a mass phenomenon.1
Once the province of the technically adept, blogs have proliferated rapidly, mutated
into a tool for the people, and have been co-opted by mass media.2         With its
passage into popular culture, blogging brings interesting legal questions,
particularly regarding speech. This Note will discuss blogging's pitfalls and
windfalls, as well as some specific employment concerns that blogging raises. It
will conclude with advice for blogger-employees and employers who aim to
maintain blogs or limit their use in the workplace.
Initially, web logs emerged as a way for technically savvy individuals to help
others unearth useful internet sites. Simply put, the first blogs listed websites
visited by the writer in chronological order and occasionally included a line or two
of commentary about those sites. These comments guided a reader to favored sites
more pointedly than traditional search engines.3  Such guidance was useful in the
internet's early days, when high-speed access was rare and users paid an hourly
fee-visiting these content filters could save dial-up time over aimlessly surfing
*  A.B. cum laude Government, 2000 Harvard University; J.D. expected 2004, Columbia
University School of Law. Thanks are due to June M. Besek, Esq., Executive Director of the Kernochan
Center for Law, Media & the Arts, and Cynthia Estlund, Professor of Law, Columbia University School
of Law for their time and legal guidance. The author also thanks Elaine and Stacey Whitaker and
Richard and Rosann Gutman for their support.
1. The term has spawned a host of variations. A web log is a blog, one who maintains or creates
it, a blogger, and the activity, blogging. The community of all bloggers is sometimes known as the
blogosphere or even blogistan; see Steven Levy, Will the Blogs Kill Old Media?, NEWSWEEK, May
20, 2002 at 52. A special variant exists for those who maintain law-related blogs-they are blawgers
who blawg. See Denise Howell, BAG AND BAGGAGE, at http://bgbg.blogspot.com; see also The Blawg
Ring at http://www.geocities.com/blawgring.
2. See Levy, supra note I (Old Media, instead of being toppled by [blogs], will successfully co-
opt them); see also Weblog Central MSNBC.COM at http://msnbc.com/news/809307.asp?Odm=
3. See Gregory Boyd Bell, Blogs Here, Blogs There, THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR, Aug. 31, 2002,
at M 13 (Jorn Barger's ROBOT WISDOM was the first to publish frequent updates in a recognizable blog
style, beginning on Dec. 29, 1997.).

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