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dooced

adjective

having lost your job because of something you have put in an Internet weblog

dooce

verb [transitive] [usually passive]

doocing

noun [countable/uncountable]

'But he did not really take the company to task until last week, when he was sacked after 11 years in his job. "They took great exception to my mentioning of work on my blog," he wrote. "They said I had violated the rules and brought the company into disrepute" … Mr Gordon's was the first publicised example of a British blogger being "dooced." … With dozens of blogs springing up in Britain every day, many work-related, doocing is a risk for online diarists.'

Times Online 15th January 2005

If you've had a particularly bad day at work and you're about to vent your frustrations by posting them on your blog (online diary), then after reading this article you might want to think again. If you write something in your blog which can be perceived as incriminating, you may unwittingly expose yourself to the possibility of being dooced!

bloggers waking up to the possibility of doocing and adopting a more measured approach to what they write are increasingly being described as dooce dodgers

The term dooced made its British English debut in January 2005, when Joe Gordon, a senior bookseller in the shop Waterstone's in Edinburgh, was sacked, allegedly having made offensive remarks about the company in his online satirical newsletter, Woolamaloo Gazette. The affair was a British precedent, though over in the United States there have been various recorded incidents during the last couple of years of what has been referred to as doocing, the noun deriving from dooced. Doocing may not always result from what people have written. Among the more high-profile examples in 2004 was the case of Ellen Simonetti, a flight attendant for Delta Airlines, who was sacked when her managers found 'inappropriate' photos of her in her uniform on her website.

The term dooced most commonly appears in a passive construction as in She got dooced or His comments resulted in him being dooced. Bloggers waking up to the possibility of doocing and adopting a more measured approach to what they write are increasingly being described as dooce dodgers, with the noun dooce dodging for the activity.

Background – dooced

The word dooced was coined in 2002 by Heather Armstrong, a Los Angeles web designer who lost her job after writing about work colleagues in her personal blog, dooce.com. Her subsequent advice to fellow bloggers is straightforward:

'Never write about work on the Internet unless your boss knows and sanctions the fact …'

The emergence of the term dooced has brought with it a range of legal and ethical considerations surrounding the activity of blogging. Increasingly, Internet lawyers are advising companies to set out clearer guidelines for blogs written by their employees, and at the beginning of 2005, a Bloggers' Rights site was launched, which lists 'blogophobic' companies that have dooced their staff and urges employers to establish specific policies on blogging.

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

This article was first published on 31st January 2005.

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