Video: Blogging about work

msnbc.com
updated 7/25/2005 3:37:42 PM ET 2005-07-25T19:37:42

An annoying co-worker, an office romance and demanding bosses all are staples of the anonymous worker's weblog.  But what happens when the blogger and the place that particular blogger works is unmasked?

Nadine Haobsh, a former assistant beauty editor at Ladies Home Journal and the writer behind the Beauty Insider blog, "Jolie in NYC" joined MSNBC's Amy Robach on Monday to discuss the circumstances behind losing her job after she and her workplace became public knowledge.

To read an excerpt of their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the "Launch" button to the right.

Amy Robach: So tell us, how was your identity ultimately revealed? 

Nadine Haobsh:  Well, basically, when I started the blog, I emailed it to about 30 friends, some of whom were publicists in the beauty industry.  So once the blog became more public, it sort of spread like wildfire.  People became curious about who I was and one of the publicists, not knowing that it was a secret because it really wasn't a secret simply emailed everyone in her office and let them know and that got back to a writer at the (New York) Post who did the story (that exposed her identity).

Robach:  What did you write about?  What was so inflammatory to your bosses, to what you thought was going to be your new bosses?    What made them so upset about this?

Haobsh:  Well, to be honest it was about 80 percent celebrity gossip.  Maybe one in every 20 posts were beauty posts but I guess I was unwittingly exposing secrets of the beauty industry even though they aren't really secrets.  I was just talking about the products we receive, the events we go to and things like press trips.  There were one or two posts that I think were a little inflammatory but I wrote on the post that I was just satirizing the industry.

Robach:  Were you catty or gossipy in any way?

Haobsh:  I was never catty, I was never gossipy and I never named names.  As a matter of fact, there were some posts that were talking about the relationship of their publicists and some people actually did name names.  And I went on the blog and I removed that because it wasn't about that, it was just sort of a fun way for me to talk about the industry I loved.

Robach:  And Nadine, I alluded to this, but I want to make it clear. You already gave your two weeks notice at Ladies Home Journal and you were about to start a new job at Seventeen Magazine.  Seventeen rescinded their offer when your name became public, were you surprised by this?  Did you ever think by doing this, you were jeopardizing your career?

Haobsh:  I was surprised with it only because I was up front with them from the beginning.  I did tell them when I accepted the offer that the Post was doing a story on me.  I did tell them about the blog and I told them I had given my bosses two weeks ... so when the story broke in the Post that day, the HR woman from Hearst did call me and rescind the offer, saying that they thought it was unprofessional, which I understand but I was disappointed.

Robach:  What was your motivation for beginning this blog?

Haobsh:  It was just a fun way to write.  A lot of my friends have blogs.  Blogging has becoming tremendously popular and so it was just a fun way to tell my friends basically what I tell them in person.  I was never trying to expose the beauty industry or to point fingers.  I was including myself in it.  I was just saying- look at what a fun job I have, basically.

Robach:  After your identity was unmasked, apparently, you told readers who were considering blogs to "think before you write and definitely don't write about your industry."  Do you regret anything you wrote?  I mean, obviously, I'm sure you regret the blog because it cost you a job you clearly wanted but do you think what you did was wrong?

Haobsh:  The thing that I think was wrong was that I didn't come clean with my bosses from the beginning.  I think that if I had told them I was writing the blog, I could have prevented all of this.  But, unfortunately, I think it's really dangerous.  There aren't really defined rules for blogs and so the course of action is to not write about the industry you work in because it probably will get back to your bosses and things can be misinterpreted or taken out of context, which is what happened to me. 


MSNBC Live with Amy Robach and Randy Meier can be seen weekdays from 9 a.m.-Noon.

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