Can social media get a person fired? Ask Heather Armstrong

August 20, 2010

At the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco earlier this month, WestlawNext sponsored a free CLE seminar called “Legal Issues from the Social Media Explosion,” which explored legal issues associated with Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other social media forms.

Heather ArmstrongThe audience got an entertaining view of the client’s perspective from one of the world’s most famous professional bloggers, Heather Armstrong (dooce.com), who was famously fired (or “dooced”) after anonymously blogging about her boss.

“I felt like I had ended my life,” Armstrong told the 270 people in attendance. “I was valedictorian at my school, I graduated with honors from college, and here I was getting fired for doing something really, really dumb.” Her advice to bloggers now? “Be ye not so stupid.”

The session inspired a number of insightful blog posts and articles. Here are a few that caught our eye:

Attendees also got some expert legal perspective from Marylee Abrams and Kenneth Kunkle, two attorneys who deal with social media in the workplace. Abrams talked about the need for employers to develop social media policies, and Kunkle discussed copyright and trademark concerns stemming from the explosion in social media use.

Oh, and here’s a scary thought: While there are thousands of potential Heather Armstrongs out there, an ABA survey concluded that only about 30 percent of American workplaces have social media policies.