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By Perry Binder

Today, about 70,000 new Web logs—or blogs—are created every day, according to blog search-engine and measurement firm Technorati. In addition, a 2005 Pew Internet and American Life Project report indicated there are more than 32 million blog readers.

HR leaders may be stunned to read what some former employees, current employees, and even potential hires are saying on blogs about various companies. And depending on the size of their companies, such leaders may also be surprised at how many competitors and customers are blogging about their products or services.

The question then becomes what to do when unflattering or damaging comments are discovered, such as when:

• A health-care worker blogged about being able to surf the Web for three hours since the company's server went down; or

• An employee criticized his boss for not permitting the employee to go home sick one day.

In those cases, the employers opted to fire the workers.

Negative comments can affect competitive advantage, reputation, retention and recruitment. This is an evolving area that requires HR to step up and protect their companies. HR leaders need to assess the situation in their companies and create a business plan to respond to this complex, emerging arena in risk management.

Companies need to decide whether they want to take advantage of the buzz corporate-sanctioned bloggers can create as well as how to handle employees who blog without authorization. HR leaders need to assess the situation in their companies and create a business plan to respond to this complex, emerging arena.

Perry Binder is an Assistant Professor of Legal studies at The Robinson College of Business of Georgia State University.

Perry Binder is a legal studies professor at Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business.
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