Dear Abby

Dear Abby,

In your December 4 column, "Chicago Employer" asked you to warn readers that publishing a blog could dim their employment prospects:

Employers are not seeking political activists, evangelizers, whiners or tattletales. They do not want to find themselves facing a lawsuit or on the front page of a newspaper because a client, patient or parent of a student discovered a comment written by an employee.
Employers certainly don't need those headaches, and you were quite right to remind readers that their online writing is both easy to discover and impossible to erase.

Here's something to consider, though. A blog can be used to narrate the key events and accomplishments in your professional life, to establish your reputation as an authority on subjects in your areas of expertise, and to educate the world about your company's products and services.

It's true that many bloggers haven't yet learned to use the medium to communicate in focused, responsible, and professional ways. But those who can are more interesting, not less so, to employers who value these skills.

If you're one of those employers, how might you judge a blogger's abilities? That's easy. Instead of extrapolating from a two-page resume, you can evaluate months or years of exposition and online interaction. And you can tap into other evaluations too, thanks to the blog network's highly-evolved mechanisms for measuring citation and influence.

Jon Udell
Lead analyst and blogger-in-chief, InfoWorld

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