Blogging: Professional Development?

There’s a scene in the movie Uncle Buck* where Buck is speaking to his nephew and niece (Miles and Maizy, played by Macaulay Culkin and Gaby Hoffman) regarding their before-bed dental care regimen. That is to say, he sent them to brush their teeth and they said they had already done so. The following exchange then occurred:

Buck: Did you brush your teeth?

Miles: Yeah. Feel my toothbrush.

Buck: I have a friend who works at the crime lab at the police station. I could give him your toothbrush and he could run a test on it to see if you actually brushed your teeth or ran your toothbrush under the faucet.

Maizy (to Miles): If that's true, we're going to really have to start brushing our teeth.

Where was I going with this? Oh, yeah: Internet monitoring. In a similar vein to another blogger, my place of employment has long since adopted (and often adapted) the services of a certain well-known website monitoring software, and as such, the following are verboten:

- Third party email providers (yahoo, Gmail, hotmail)
- All instant messaging.
- Flickr and other other popular photo storage sites (like photobucket)

To be fair, I understand the main reasons why it’s done. On top of, shall we say “productivity issues”, there are security issues associated with email and the employer's ability to track what goes out (including leaks and whatnot). So I’m okay with the email, and it’s tough to crack down on that and not do so on instant messaging. I personally managed to get myself into some hot water with the tech department when I was first hired on, as I didn’t know they could not exclude Gmail as a rule because they would have to exclude Google as well. Apologies and red faces ensued. I'm better now. Mostly.

During the last server maintenance and upgrade, I noticed the issue with Flickr, but then it seemed okay again for a few days. I learned shortly thereafter that they were tinkering with the settings. Now, it’s not outright banned, but instead the user must click a button indicating his or her intended use is for work purposes (something I could probably convince myself, but would likely not be willing to do to my superiors).

And I heard my internal monolog say: “Huh. If this is true, I’m really going to have to start working around here.”

The filtering of photo storage websites is really cramping my ability to catch up on blogs during my breaks and at lunch. Now, my bloglines reader and the associated websites will give me text but not photos, making entries immeasurably complicated to understand. And so my bloglines unread entries number skyrocketed past 300, where I used to have 30-40 unread a day before. It’s also affected my ability to view or post anything Flickr related. And you'd be surprised how many sites are using Flickr or photobucket, and how many times my clicks have resulted in the STOP! This website has been filtered" page showing its ugly head. Sooner or later, tech support will come down and say, "

Christ, Mike. Give it up already."

As of this moment, my blogging tool is not filtered, but how long could that last?

*Go ahead. Judge me. That movie was a big part of my formative late-teen years, and I still smile as I recall lines from it.

Posted bythemikestand at 7:16 AM  

6 stepped up to the mike:

SRH said... 5:22 PM, October 25, 2006  

My company shut off all blogs for a time being, but since we work with public involvement campaigns for major transportation projects, a whole bunch of the anti-project rants are posted on blogs, and we needed the blogs to do research into how the public is reacting to our plans. We were lucky that way. My bet is that if you do not a good business reason to get to blogs, they are going to cut you off.

SRH said... 5:22 PM, October 25, 2006  

wow, that was rambly.

eclectic said... 9:19 PM, October 25, 2006  

Self-employment has its downside, to be sure, but at least I don't have to worry about the I.T. nazis shutting down my blog habit. ;) Good luck, man.

canadian sadie said... 8:49 AM, October 27, 2006  

I have no internet at all at work. We have to justify and request special permission from our CEO in order to gain access to the interweb. It's just not worth it to me. I'd rather pay the $45 a month and do it from home :)

You work downtown, don't you? Is the library a feasible option for your lunch-break? (Granted, it's getting COLD out there!)

Christine said... 10:25 AM, October 28, 2006  

Working in an educational setting, and *teaching* computers, I do have liberal access to the internet, MSN, blogs.. I am just careful about what I do and say at work, knowing that THE MAN can oversee it all.

But yes, I absolutely abuse all privileges.

Steph said... 9:04 AM, October 30, 2006  

We're expected to do work at work?

What the HELL!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?

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