"The layoff will be blogged" – blogging the downturn

Good piece in the New York Times today on how “the layoff will be blogged”. It picks up on how this downturn is more public than any before it with bloggers covering not only each other’s but their own departures as well.

Oddly, and dispiritingly, some people are even reading about their own layoffs on blogs. The paper reports on Elon Musk, chief executive of the electric-car company Tesla Motors in San Carlos, Calif., who said (get this) “he had no choice other than to blog about the Oct. 15 layoffs at the closely watched company — even though some employees had not yet been told they were losing their jobs”.

The Gawker Media Valleywag blog gets a mention (you know the one that said blogging is dead. Lol), which is publishing a lot of the job losses in Silicon Valley where the geekstream is broadcasting departures as they happen via blogs, sites like Techcrunch and Twitter feeds.

The papers says that the tendency to blog layoffs is one that is going to spread to companies of all sizes and in all industries. It quotes Rusty (love the name) Rueff, a former human resources executive at Electronic Arts and PepsiCo, saying “whatever you say inside of a company will end up on a blog. That is kind of scary, not to mention a little dangerous for those still in employment (so I can’t tell you about the secret memo I just got, sorry). So you have a choice as a company — you can either be proactive and take the offensive and say, ‘Here’s what’s going on’, or you can let someone else write the story for you”.

One company more than most has learnt this the hard way – USA Today-owner Gannett. When it told staff it was laying off 10% one journalists, Jim Hopkins, set up an unofficial Gannett Blog, which has since been writing daily about the rise and fall of Gannett since August.

Gannett doesn’t have a company blog. No shocker there as many companies do not. Who gives them advice? Oh right PR firms many of whom still don’t get it. Yet.

It also mentions Steven Carpenter, chief executive of a two-year-old investing advice site, Cake Financial, who blogged the night before he laid off 30% of staff and directly after he met them.

“It let them know what we were up to in real time, so they didn’t get nervous about what was going on,” he said.

Okay so some of this is new, but some people sure have short memories. Having sat through the dotcom boom and bust does no one remember Fucked Company? Fucked Company reported many thousand job lost in the last Dotcom boom bust circa 2001. Although, Fucked Company, as its homepage tells you, has long been frakked itself like many of the sites and companies it reported on.