A bit of background, here.
I recieved this email two days after someone I know and like very well had been outed in the media for being Fired for Blogging. Dooced.
She was everywhere. Radio, TV, Newspapers, Magazines, everyone was picking up the story of lovely Cath and her unfortunate hoisting by her erstwhile employers. For blogging. Which is why, I have to say, I was pretty surprised to recieve the following email
Hi Anna,Like many others, Im a big fan of your blog, and I wonder if you could help me with a radio programme Im trying to put together for XXXX XXXX Radio.
Im looking for someone whos willing to record an audio diary about their job.
You mention that you work for a newspaper website. I guess there must be stresses and strains in that job, like any other.
The point of the programme is to share your views and experiences of your everyday working life. Im interested in with how you deal with members of the public, the colleagues who wind you up, bosses with annoying or nasty habits that get on your nerves, problems that could be easily solved to make your working life easier and ways you try to cope – Im sure you get the general idea.
With our wonderful technical wizardry we can preserve your identity and you can use a pseudonym if you wish.
Im in a bit of a hurry on this, so I would like to talk with you as soon as possible.
I sat and looked at it for about a minute and a half.
It summed up everything that annoys me about the perception of bloggers; you choose to have an online site where you write about yourself, therefore you must be COMPLETELY extrovert and willing to felate the mainstream media for ANY ridiculous piece-of-crap opportunity for public exposure no matter how dangerous it might prove to your life, career, your relationships, whatever – because you are a rabid self-publicist, and will take anything thrown at you.
You are percieved as not professional: so for some reason it follows that you must be desperate.
Quite apart from the fact that every media outlet available was buzzing with stories about someone who, through blogging, got themselves out of a job, I couldnt see how anyone – particularly someone who seemed to know vaguely about my site, would think this was a logical thing to ask.
She had asked for a hurried response. So I dashed one off.
Hi [Name here]Thanks so much for getting in touch, and for saying you like my blog – thank you, this is lovely of you. Thanks for considering me an interesting enough subject for your programme, too, thats very flattering.
As for the actual idea – well, how about you come on to the very large and high-profile site I work for, and write us a long detailed column about how you feel about *your* job, the people that annoy you, how much you think you should be paid, instances where you feel youve been right and your colleagues have been hideously and completely wrong
Tell the world (and your colleagues, though well change their names if you like!) how stupid you feel they were at that point. You could also tell them that the bathroom smells after they leave it. What would be great would be if you could expose the Director of [Production Company] as a egomanic, or an imbecile or something. Its just the kind of thing our intelligent, media-savvy readers would go for! We wont pay you for this, but itll be great exposure for you, apart from the fact youll be anonymous, and dont worry, if you get fired for it, we can always do a follow up story!!!
Seriously, [Name], in a week where one of my friends has announced to the world that she got fired for mentioning her workplace obliquely, twice, in her blog, do you really, honestly think that this is NOT a stupid idea?
I do work in the media, yes, which makes me even more aware that no matter how anonymous you think this could be, weirdly, I think someone might just catch hold of it. Yes, you could change names and details or whatever, but this, as you well know, is career suicide, and Im not sure whos going to take you up on your offer, but theyre a moron.
Really, thanks for thinking of me, and if youre ever producing any programmes that arent utterly ludicrous, please do think of me again, as Im always keen for more radio experience. Just not at the risk of my job, reputation, and affection and respect of my friends, family and colleagues.
Im sorry to be blunt, but though my job may not be perfect, Im very loyal to my company. Also, its the only job I have, I need it, and I dont want to lose it, thankyouverymuch, something which your programme is very, very likely to do for whoever is damn fool enough to take part in it.
Thanks again – incidentally, would you mind if I put your email up on my blog? Ill change the name and remove any identifying features, of course: I just think that my readers would find it funny.
Have a lovely weekend.
I mean really