• authored by robbie_dee
  • published Mon, Nov 17, 2003

Worker Blogs

Since we were talking about worker blogs over here, I thought I would pass along this article.

Employees Let Off Steam Online (Christian Science Monitor)


When Kristie Helms moved from Nashville to New York City four years ago, she experienced more than a little culture shock. The big-city office politics were foreign to the Southern belle, so she started documenting her workplace woes in an online journal.

"I recorded the nuances of cubicle life," says the communications professional. "Sometimes I wrote about what I was thinking or feeling. Sometimes I included excerpts from my boss's e-mails. I was trying to put the office politics into context."

Like Ms. Helms, plenty of workers are publishing weblogs, or blogs for short. Blogs are websites that allow users to post messages in the form of a diary. Blogs popped up on the Web about four years ago and have gained popularity - and generated controversy - ever since.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Mon, Nov 17, 2003 5:11pm

I am very excited about the blog phenomenon. It's a completely different form of media - one that does not ignore the human dimension in events, but rather presents the human dimension (what people are feeling, thinking, how they are reacting to events and making events happen) front and center. This is completely missing from the mainstream media. Consider the information available at this blog about the Borders Books strike. Compare the information, both the quality and the quantity (and the depth) to what you might see in a mainstream daily newpaper about a strike (if you see anything at all). The blogs are an important part of the wave of the future. They're an invaluable tool for workers to connect with other workers and to start shifting consciousness about work (no more hurried grumbling in hallways or in the lunchroom - on the blog there's all the time and space in the world to speak insightfully about what you're thinking). No wonder corporate types don't like them. Blog on!

  • posted by robbie_dee
  • Mon, Nov 17, 2003 7:21pm

I agree. And I definitely think the Borders blog is a particularly good one.

I've cross-posted this topic to the new Labour Forum on

Thread Link: Worker Blogs

It would be interesting to compile a list of worker and union-related blogs. I also wonder about the link between blogging and discussion forum - based sites like this one here,, or

  • posted by <bl ogre>
  • Mon, Nov 17, 2003 10:34pm

It's probably a mistake to reify the notion of a blog as if it's fundamentally different from any other type of web site.

The key difference is the ease of use for non-technical users, not the temporary social cachet it now enjoys. Blogging is to 2003 as GeoCities was to 1997. The user interface is far superior.

But what comes next, that is anybody's guess.

  • posted by <bl ogre>
  • Mon, Nov 17, 2003 11:02pm

Or to put it the opposite way, the key difference is the social cahet it enjoys, not it's technical superiority to any other content management system available presently.

There is nothing inherently democratic about blogging or the "blogosphere". In fact, blogging world has a (mutable) caste system which is assiduously tracked by sites like

Currently the most popluar blogs are about technology or politics, but those are sure to give way to gossip or porn sites, and while those two areas of interest may both qualify as subversive, it's questionable as to whether they are liberatory.

On the software side, there is no fundamental difference in terms of user experience between a "forum-based" PostNuke site and a blogger TypePad site, except that the PostNuke site offers more options: it can be updated via an XML-RPC interface with the same software that is used to power blog sites, and the functionality also exists to offer each registered user their own blog.

The difference is that the simplicity of install and use of blogger, typepad, and other varients of blogging software has led to its adoption by elite opinionmakers - journalists, technologists and academics - not by the rank and file.

  • posted by remote viewer
  • Tue, Nov 18, 2003 5:28am


The difference is that the simplicity of install and use of blogger, typepad, and other varients of blogging software has led to its adoption by elite opinionmakers - journalists, technologists and academics - not by the rank and file.

I am not sure that I agree with this statement. Certainly the blog has been adopted by some opinionmakers as you call them in the mainstream, however, it is not the case that it has not been adopted by the rank and file. The Borders Workers site is proof of that. The elite opinionmakers will continue to rely most heavily on more conventional sources of media as those lend themselves more readily to control.

I'm not so sure that it's a question of "who's using it" or "who's using it first" or "who's using it for what purpose" that will determine how effective a form of media the blog might be for working people. What matters the most is how accessible it is and whether working people use it. From what I can see, the answer to both questions is yes. The only question mark is how extensively working people will use the blog and related online communications media and for what purposes.

I'm not sure that it matters that blogs may eventually be used for gossip and pornography. Print media is used for that as well so what's it matter? The important of the blog, and where it may be quite effective for working people, is that it allows them to communicate on a very deep level if they want to, with likeminded others (an important step to empowerment) and also allows them to get their messages and their ideas out into the public domain.

  • posted by siggy
  • Tue, Nov 18, 2003 6:56am


(WeBLOG) A Web page that contains links to Web sites that cover a particular subject or that are based on some other criterion, such as interesting or entertaining sites. The blog typically provides a short summary of the referenced sites and may also contain commentary and humor. Blogs have become a form of artistic expression, enabling anyone to personally publish a directory about a subject that interests them.

bold add'd.

Blogs have been around since the beginning of the internet, simply a website. Isn't the proliferation of websites, blogs, just a damn good indication that more people are stepping up, stepping out?

Once again, nothing like the internet has ever happen'd before in history, look out machineheads, corporateheads, control freaks and oppressors (sorry is that redundant?).

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