Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
  How to Blog Anonymously


I've been blogging about my job for about a year and a half without anyone even having a clue that I'm doing it. At least my own paranoid "Cog-sense" hasn't picked up any danger (it's like Spidey-sense, but much more pathetic).

I came up with some rules early on before I even started the blog and put a lot of thought into how I could rant about this place without getting caught. There are more and more anonymous work bloggers out there, and people thinking about setting up a work blog. I'd like to give you some suggestions and ideas to keep you from blogging about unemployment, instead of fighting the good fight from inside the belly of the corporate beast. Together, we can give bad corporations indigestion, and be a voice of conscience for good corporations.

Many of these are very simple, and go without saying, but as much as I respect you all, I never like to assume the intelligence of anyone. If there weren't people buying the Weekly World News and believing in Trickle Down Economics, maybe I wouldn't be so cynical. Many of these may seem extra paranoid, but this is written by a man whose favorite books are 1984 and Fahrenheit 451, so I assume you will take all of this with a grain of salt.

1. Check your company's policies on blogging, check it through the web site or publications. I wouldn't go asking a lot of questions of the H.R. department or your supervisor if you work for assholes-remember, you need to keep your head down if you are going to pull this off.

2. Never, ever, ever, blog from work. At least don't blog to the site that tells of the evil of your company. If you want to set up a decoy blog that tells of the wonders of your company, but hey,that's your call, it seems sort of schizophrenic to me...

3. Make sure that you date and time stamp your blogs in such a way that no one can determine your schedule, either change the dates, and times, or do like I do, use the same time for every post.

4. Get an email address that you use only for things related to your blog. Do not have it forward to your primary address, or you may reply using your "real" identity. The truth is email has more tracking abilities than your posting does. Like an IP address, it is possible to get a geographic location from an email message besides when it was opened. There are more secure email systems that hackers use if you are really paranoid. Go to google and check this out. Use the same caution with your email that you do with posting, only check your email away from work and at certain times. If you want a Gmail account, drop me a line. I will delete your real address after I send you your gmail invitation.

5. Don't tell anyone at work that you are doing this. Don't even hint at it. You have no idea what a blog is and you certainly don't keep one. This will be very hard. When everyone else is ranting about what a stupid place you work at, you will be very tempted to say something. Don't do it!

6. You will probably tell someone. Check them out first. The world is incredibly small and people talk a lot. The less people that know the better, if nothing else, make sure they aren't local or that you can count them on less than three fingers.

7. Keep your home computers clean. Find a secure place to keep your blog files and favorites. We let other people use our computers all the time. You know they are going to poke around, just like some digital version of your medicine cabinet.

8. Ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish. Are you a whistle-blower? Are you an amateur journalist trying to expose the evils of your company from the inside? Or do you just need to rant? How much are you willing to risk here? For me, I started the blog not only to rant, but to help change the way people think about bigger issues related to call centers and the nature of work as a whole. I am not willing to try to change my company, I don't think its worth it. That's the decision you've got to make.

9. After you answer that question, then decide how much you will share. What events and people will be easily recognized? How much will you change to protect yourself? Just using people's first initials is probably not enough. Don't put yourself in harm's way unless you are ready to take a hit.

10. Writing a sensational blog to get you a bunch of hits is good, but not if you lose your job in the process. Be disciplined in how important you allow your blog to become in your life. Don't take yourself too seriously. There are things outside of your blog that are much more important.

Thanks for reading,

AC

For more info on blogging anonymously about work, check out Ian MacAllen's essay "Blogging with a Rubber".

 
Comments:
You are a bit paranoid! lol

Everybody needs to remember to not mention names and not to spill any "trade" secrets. Calling your boss/co-worker an asshole/idiot/jerk will not get you fired and if it does, take them to court for it! Who knows, you might get to retire early and wealthy.
 
These steps seem a little extreme for blogging about work.

I agree that being anonymous is important but this isn't a matter of national security! =)

I blog from work and am proud of my rants/journalism/spyworks.

My only problem is that I signed a confidenciality agreement.

But encouraging people to write how they feel brings us all together.

Rage On,
Sinned Often
 
Great, and I had just gotten my paranoia to calm down a little...I'm just sticking with the "no actual/ full names" rule and hoping for the best!
 
Whoa, I never noticed that your posts all had the same time on them. You sneaky Cog, you.
 
Are companies really that aware of blogging? I'm just asking - I haven't the faintest idea...
 
Good tips!!
 
To Bossman and Sinned Often: Hey, at least I know I'm a little paranoid. It's not like I believe everyone is out to get me. They might be, so I'm trying to be non-chalant...;)

But as they say, the proof is in the pudding. My wife would kill me if I lost my job to something stupid like blogging.

To Gone Away:
Many people have been fired for blogging about their workplaces. Its a very touchy subject with many big companies and government agencies.

AC
 
I'm very careful, myself. It's just too easy to figure it out if you drop lots of hints. There are only so many call centers out there...
 
Yes indeed, a friend recently was escorted out of her office after some other blogger exposed her blogging to her boss.
 
only so many call centers? they seem to be popping up everywhere. but i do agree with the changed names and all that stuff, and being careful about doing it at work. i would say just about any call center has confidentiality agreements, i signed my name so many times, i stopped reading most of them...lol
 
oh sh*t! I told everyone at work! Just kidding. There are hundreds of us and who at a call center has time to mingle. But I HAVE shared with the 'coolio co-workers'. Remember Night Of the Living Dead...when you fall asleep 'they' lay a pod by you and then you die and the pod hatches an alien imposter? Come on...you know you saw it a million times. Well, when I see a brown noser ass kissing brain washed co-woker I like to say "there's another one who fell asleep". Of course, I only say that to sleepy co-workers.
DON"T FALL ASLEEP!
 
LOL I read the bit about blogging at work. Oh man, I was dumb enough to download software for Livejournal at the time and then I had to remove the damn thing after I realised that anyone could access it. The realisation came on the weekend, I panicked and padlocked all my work 'hate' entries, returned to work to clean sweep my pc.

IT managers can track anything and everything on work servers. It doesn't pay to use the Internet at work.
 
INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS you stupid movie buff....
 
There's two things I can wholehartedly agree with in this post: check company policy (review the contract you signed when you got the job!) and don't blog from work. Company internet access is easily logged and tracked. Anyway, shouldn't you be using that access to do your job not just blog about it?

The other rules I find too paranoid for my taste. Besides, if you were cought, imagine your new "job" of being interviewed for talk shows and book deals!
 
There has always been a part of me that secretly wants to get caught and fired...
 
i started working at a call center about a month ago. i just found these blogs. god. fucking brilliant. today they told us we can't sit at our desk during lunch. not surf the net. not work. not sit at our fucking desks. it's 5 degrees outside and i don't want to sit in the cafeteria with the people i'm already spending 8 hours a day with. i could not fucking believe it. but i need the work, so there it is. i'm considering cranking up one of these things myself. the people aren't bad, but the corporate spew is bad. very very bad.
 
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Exploring the mind numbing insanity and childish corporate culture of an unknown call center employee.
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