How to be an interesting civil service blogger (and not get fired)

Starting up your own personal blog is dead easy. Unless you’re a civil servant and want to talk about your work.

If you are, then you face this choice: play it safe and say nothing interesting ever, or do some homework to learn where the boundaries lie. As ‘Mr Newest Blogging Civil Servant UK’, I’ve been doing the latter: reading up on what I can and can’t (or should and shouldn’t) say. For the challengers to my title, here’s a summary of the most helpful links I’ve found so far.

The rules

Since 18 June 2008, we’ve had actual rules for this stuff (one of several catalysts to my starting this blog).

The players

You are among friends: a small but growing group of blogging civil servants offering mutual support, both online and off.

It’s worth noting that the majority of these bloggers are digital media types and not policy makers. It’s no surprise these are the early adopters, but blogging policy officials are likely to face quite different problems, as noted by Jeremy.

Disqualifications

The once anonymous, now fired Civil Serf blogger tested the boundaries of the civil service code so you don’t have to. Sad but essential reading:

…Then draw your own conclusions. For me the lessons are dead simple: declare your name, disclose your employer, disclaim against representing their views, and use discretion. (And the golden rule of social media: don’t be a dick).

Disclaimers

When writing your disclaimer don’t start from scratch, adapt. My own disclaimer owes a lot to:

General tips for new bloggers

Because civil servants are humans too, here are some general ‘how to blog’ links which stand out from the (very big) crowd:

A you can see, I’m yet to put all of this advice into action. And this post could turn out to be hugely ironic if I become a bore or get fired.

Massive thanks to the authors of the linked pages. Please add anything I’ve missed via comments.

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Comments

[...] post by Neil Williams on how civil servants can approach blogging in a way that means they will get readers but [...]

[...] Mission Creep | Neil Williams » Blog Archive » How to be an interesting civil service bl… – via Tom Watson, a guide to blogging if you're a civil servant. Private sector bloggers can learn from this too – a good summary of things as they stand. [...]

I wrote an essay nearly three years ago that still seems to apply, unfortunately:

http://www.globalprblogweek.com/2005/09/23/mckay-gov-blogging/

[...] the way, here’s a great post from Neil Williams, a UK civil servant blogger, that gives some great pointers on personal blogging [...]

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