Apparently I prompted a mandate by the NYC DOE that no employee can have their blog url in their email signature. I find this particularly upsetting because as the PD manager for the Office of Instructional Technology for the NYC DOE I think having a blog is a great way to get the digital footprint conversation going as well as model best practices for using 21st Century tools to build professional learning communities and personal learning networks that support the work we do. In fact, I think it would be terrific if all educators with blogs celebrated and shared their work in their professional email signatures. Heck, I think it would be great if educators were just consumers of the blogosphere and if we held them accountable to standing behind a blog url in their signature…that would be a fantastic professional learning vehicle for them and modeling tool for their students and/or staff. But alas, as of today, if you work at the NYC DOE your blog url must be removed from your signature. Additionally, I will have to add a disclaimer to all posts and comments (that I will receive soon from legal) that goes something like...the views expressed here are my own and do not represent that of the DOE. What happened to the idea of celebrating the successes among us and promoting the idea of authentic publishing and sharing and collaboration of ideas. I'm okay with a disclaimer, but not so happy on the mandate to squelch the sharing of their existence by eliminating the url from our email signatures.

I'm well aware of other ways to share my blog url, but putting it along with my contact information helps identify me with more than just and email and phone, but also the ideas of the person signing the email and enables my network to learn and grow as well.

Thoughts? Opinions? Feedback? If so, please share and perhaps also visit my blog which contains a parallel post (of my views and opinions only...).

Tags: administration, aup, bloggging

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Update - The issue was picked up at:
The Gothamist
Department of Education Restricts Staffers From Publicizing Blogs i... By Jen Chung on May 9, 2008
Thanks to everyone for your kinds words, attention and support about this issue. I invite interested parties to check out my new email signature and read my latest post The Creative Workaround and A Great Idea for Professional Email Sig....

Excellent workaround! I thought "googling" was the way to solve the problem, too.

If you are an active web contributor, your name should pop-up at the top of a Google seach. (Jack Olmsted)

If you have a common name, the workaround is to create a unique user name.

google me at: digitalreporter
Hi Jack,

Yes, it does. Good idea for keeping ourselves accountable to personal branding.

I have to say, your workaround seems to me to be problematic still. You removed the link to your personal blog, but replaced it with an advertisement for a for-profit company. The "Google Certified Educator" is a way that Google has chosen to promote its use in K-12 education.

I'm not saying it's not valuable, and I know it's free, but still, you are using NYC DOE email to promote another company. If I were a DOE policy maker, I'd be unhappy with this solution.

I think the second part, the "Google me at..." might withstand scrutiny since "to google" has essentially become a verb somewhat detached from the actual company. If this sounds like hair splitting, it might be.

Consider this analogy. If you worked for the NYC Health dept, would you put "Get a free McDonald's healthy living guide" in your email signature? However, you might put "Live a healthy life" or something similar. Even though the message of health is the same, one promotes a company, the other is a generic message.

I'm not trying to judge one way or another, just thinking out loud. If you've run this by the powers that be and they are OK with it, I certainly am!
Personally, I think this type of a mandate is silly. I don't have such a requirement by my school district, thank goodness. I do however have a disclaimer on my blog stating that "The opinions expressed ...." on my blog, just in case it were to ever come up.



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