Monday, January 19, 2009

Who controls my expression of opinion?

I was inspired by a post all the way on the other side of the world - Buckeyebrit posted a blog called Blogging and the day job. And it got me thinking - who owns the information and who is entitled to say where and when I can express my thoughts and opinions. I work in a Government organisation and they have very strict rules about confidentiality, so I am careful to never name the organisation and always talk about what I think, rather than something that happened at work. And I am always conscious to be careful about what I say about the organisation in the public domain.

Sarah Stewart has written extensively on topics like 'An ethics question', and privacy and confidentiality, and suggests that Health Professionals that blog about their clinical practice should be prepared for scrutiny. This resonates for me and it is something that I agree with.

As a PhD student I always identify with La Trobe University, the place where I am enrolled. But I have never asked anyone there if they are happy for me to blog about my experiences as a student. Imagine if they tried to stop all students from blogging? Is there a line between my thoughts, experiences and reflections as a Social Worker employed in a Government organisation, and a Social Worker who is a PhD student? How could I possibly separate them?

As I build my portfolio and reputation as a Researcher, these lines will continue to blur. If I write a paper or present at a conference and identify myself as belonging to one organisation or the other, it will soon become obvious that I belong to both organisations, and it will become more difficult to separate them. Have other people experienced this situation? What do you do about it?




Tania said...

I originally started my blog for my reflections on practice to go with my e-portfolio, but I have quickly realised I am unable to truly reflect in a blogging format. So for now my blog has general postings about my profession. I will still write reflections, but in a private platform. I am interested in having someone "audit" my blog, as mentioned by Sarah, so I know I am not doing anything unethical?

Helen said...

Hi Tania
Thanks for your comments - I am coming to the same realisation that there is a place for my reflection about my practice, but there is also a place for a private journal.

Nice to hear from you