2008_05_doeblog.jpgThe Sun reports that a new Department of Education policy that "bans employees from linking to their Web logs in their work e-mail signature" is making at least one staffer with a blog unhappy.

Lisa Nielsen, who is "the professional development manager for educational technology" at the DOE (according to her blog's About Me section), had included a link to her "professional blog," The Innovative Educator, where she discusses how technology can enhance teaching, but the DOE took exception to that. Not only was Nielsen asked to remove the link, the Sun says "she would also have to add a disclaimer to every post on the blog saying that her views represented her own opinion, not the Department of Education’s."

Nielsen wrote in a post on her blog:

What happened to the idea of celebrating the successes among us and promoting the idea of authentic publishing and sharing and collaboration of ideas? I'm okay with a disclaimer on my blog (although I think a disclaimer on comments is extreme), but not so happy on the mandate to squelch the sharing of the existence of my blog ideas by eliminating the url from email signatures.

I'm well aware of other ways to share my blog url, but putting it along with my contact information helps identify me with more than just and email and phone. It enables me to connect my name to my ideas in a signature which enables my network to learn and grow as well. Yes they are my ideas, but so are all my emails. If people want to brand themselves (with a professional blog or an ethical quote for that matter) and share and establish their safe, appropriate, and acceptable professional digital footprint...shouldn't they be able?

It's an interesting question--the DoE must feel there are some legal issues, but if the employee's blog is an extension of professional and responsible dialogue, why not let someone show he/she is thinking about issues all the time via their blog?

And Nielsen shows how she's supposed to format her email signature here.