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Many businesses are reluctant to blog because they fear its reputation for drawing renegades and hipsters, according to Debbie Weil, a consultant in the District who helps companies market their products and services online and identify commercial applications for blogging.

“A lot of them think, ‘This is supposed to be cool. Gosh, I’m not cool.’ Well, it doesn’t have to be cool,” she said, citing the ACCA blog as an example.

“All you need to do is be useful, and useful can be as simple as linking to another Web site. You don’t have to write an opus,” Ms. Weil said.

Her blog — Debbieweil.com — includes links to articles on blogging, as well as personal asides.

For example, Ms. Weil posted five messages Aug. 5 — four involving blogging and one that paid tribute to French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, who died the day before.

Employers should be careful when turning their employees loose in cyberspace.

“Blogging is just ripe for trouble,” said Rose Kenyon, a Raleigh, N.C., lawyer who specializes in employment matters.

Before a business gives workers permission to blog in the workplace, management should lay out clear guidelines and expectations, Ms. Kenyon said.

For example, Microsoft discourages its employee bloggers from talking about upcoming products before they are introduced, but it allows them to criticize company management.

A Canadian law firm fired an employee in 2002 after he criticized his bosses on his blog.

“You probably don’t want to make fun of someone in your workplace, or in essence harass them. There are all sorts of ways it can be misused,” Ms. Kenyon said.

Blogging professionals

Topher Matthews, a lawyer in the District, said he began blogging about a year ago, primarily because he wanted to see whether he could handle the technology.

Now, he’s hooked.

Mr. Matthews logs onto his site, timesnewroman.org, every day, weighing in on matters such as his career as an amateur musician and his work.

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