Blogs can help boost a career or sink it

One From The Philadelphia Inquirer on the pros and cons of blogging. For businesses, blogs and other forms of personal Internet communication constitute a new frontier fraught with promise and peril. On the one hand, companies are scrambling to use them as a recruiting and marketing tool, and are encouraging some employees to blog. On the other, they are wondering how to deal with the damage that current and former employees and dissatisfied customers can do on the Web.

The result is a “mild level of social panic,” Rainie said. “The lawyers and the marketers are, in many cases, at least in covert war with each other.”

For the moment, much of the news falls into the “cautionary tale” category. In August, a California automobile club fired 27 workers for posting messages on the Web that offended co-workers. Not long before, a Boston University instructor was fired for blogging about a distractingly attractive student; a blogging nanny was fired for telling too much about herself and her employers, and a New York beauty editor lost a new job because of blogs about the fashion industry.