Saturday, 25 April 2009

Facebook in the news...

As a 'netizen Facebook accounts for a reasonable amount of my time online, certainly while in procrastination mode, even when I'm not I probably check it daily. This makes stories like this all the more interesting for me.

I can understand the rationale that "those who are well enough to use Facebook with a migraine are well enough to work with a migraine" but it does raise an interesting point: what activities are reasonable if you are off sick?

For me I would be deeply angry if I was sacked for checking Facebook when ill - firstly my computer is logged on almost 24/7 so it would be hard to tell when I was actually using Facebook and not just logged in. Secondly I would consider checking the net (if not Facebook certainly gmail) as normal as checking my snail-mail; its just one of those things I do everyday (yes, I'm an addict but I like it).

It seems daft that an employer would expect you to spend the whole day immobile in bed if you are ill; even if that illness is a migraine you might listen to quiet music or read a book for a bit between sleeping. While superficially this seems the same as being caught out and about in town when ill I would argue that it is very different. Its akin to being caught out of bed when ill. I suppose this is just part of the penalty we pay for being more connected at all times; we get more information on each other and so everyone else gets a little more information on us.

Hopefully situations like this will be few and far between. I certainly hope that no employer (should I ever get one) thinks that it's okay for them to follow me online. I don't mind work colleges, even my boss following my Facebook or similar but when it becomes the company as a whole or is done for reason other than genuine friendship I get worried. The age of privacy is essentially dead - but that doesn't mean that we can't protect what privacy we do have (which is one of the reasons I don't like to make it too obvious who I am in the blog).

All that being said I can't help but wonder if this is something along the lines of the straw that broke the camels back. Unless the employer is truly draconian I suspect that the person concerned has probably had a few run-ins, especially if either they were spying on here or that the hear-say of a college spotting you online is enough to be sacked for.

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