When will the snow end, and the art of STFU

They say tomorrow, but it certainly dumped a good amount today. Where we live, at least 6 inches. More in some other places in Seattle. Lots of schools and such announced closures last night due to the impending storm. Snow was supposed to turn into rain by now, but hasn’t yet. The latest reports suggest this will occur at around midnight, making for some nasty road conditions later on. I think we’ll stay home until the roads clear out. 🙂

I keep reading/hearing about people getting fired by their employer over what they say in their blogs. Now I don’t pretend to know all the circumstances behind this, I think it points to a problem that many people have: they don’t know the art of STFU. For those who haven’t seen the acronym before, it means shut the fsck up, except you replace the ‘s’ with a ‘u’ in the word before ‘u’.

One thing that I’ve always made it a point to do online is never to directly discuss or make direct reference to my employer. Not because I’m ashamed of where I work (quite the contrary), but because I do not want to give anyone the idea that I, in any way shape or form, am representing or speaking for my employer. The work I do on phoneboy.com does relate to the work I do for my employer, and in fact I’ve used some of my work from phoneboy.com in my work. The bottom line is: I am only paid to speak for my employer in a very well-defined set of circumstances and situations. Outside of those circumstances and situations, I don’t do it. Period. I might talk about work online (heck, I’ve talked about FireWall-1 a lot), but only in the most general terms, and I never discuss confidential information about my employer.

For the couple of weeks or so that my site was down, you could see SQL errors when you tried to access a page. Guess where those errors were showing up: on Google. Not only did I see them on Google, so did everyone else (my visitors reported the error sighting on Google). The Broadvox Direct page I did was discovered by Broadvox Direct’s Market Research people, and I started the page less than a week ago! Google indexes my site at least once a day.

The fact is: the Internet is getting much smaller. If you put something on a web page, chances are someone will find it. Maybe the right someone, maybe the wrong someone. If you wouldn’t want someone to find out you said something, then practice the art of STFU: DON’T PUT IT ON THE INTERNET.