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« Wikipedia Reputation and the Wemedia Project | Main | Stress Testing Wiki Authority »

August 31, 2004

Fired From Friendster for Blogging

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Posted by Ross Mayfield

Joyce Park claims she got shitcanned from Friendster for blogging.

Apparently because she blogged about Friendster moving to PHP for scalability over JSP, which got picked up by Jon Udell in a great piece that shitcans the Myth that IT Doesn’t Scale (it can start small too) and Slashdotted. Anyway, they are making their money through soap operas.

A social networking company firing a blogger a common ingredient of success?

Jeremy Zawodny has already found out how easy it is to unsubscribe (credit due for having the feature).

She happens to have written a book on PHP , contributes to open source, and shares some good research on semi-permeable blogging. Who knows, she might have been hired by blogging in the first place.

But I’ll hold opinion until the other side has its say.

There are so many threads in this to be explored. Employee blogging policy, education, leadership, PR, setting market expectations, architecture, supporting advocacy, supporting research, supporting open source, competitive strategy and social network relations.

But, wait, the other side isn’t going to have its say. Any company that comments on the details of the termination of an employee opens themselves up to lawsuits.

It’s a good time for a standard employee blogging policy that bloggers can bring to their companies to set expectations and a way of doing things right.

Comments (11) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: social software


1. Heath Row on August 31, 2004 11:48 AM writes...

Was she fired for blogging? Or for releasing company information that she should've kept proprietary -- regardless of how that information was released? I don't know. But I'm curious, how long before Blogger fires someone for having a Friendster profile?

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2. Adina Levin on August 31, 2004 12:21 PM writes...

If it was really about those posts, that's not bright on Friendster's part. The platform is often apparent in urls, so a platform change isn't a big secret. Friendster had a bad reputation for being unbearably slow, so getting the word out about faster performance could only be good.

That post generated a lot of cross-blog conversation about techniques for improving web application performance. Joyce Park was known as a PHP expert -- her participation in technical discussions about scaling techniques would be good for Friendster's reputation.

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3. Adam Rifkin on August 31, 2004 12:57 PM writes...

Thanks for reminding us that we only know one side of the story.

The uproar in the blogosphere about this incident over the last day reminds me why companies shouldn't comment on the details of an employee termination at all; by mentioning her blog at all, what Friendster has said can (and has!) been used against them.

It's likely that Joyce's blog posts gave Friendster lots of (very good) publicity over the last few months. It's a shame that Friendster doesn't appreciate that.

I'd like to think that companies that embrace (blogs, wikis, RSS, etc.) will do better going forward than their counterparts who don't embrace interesting new communication techniques. Time will tell.

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4. Mike Weeks on August 31, 2004 3:36 PM writes...

This makes me wonder....danah boyd isn't blogging anything about her working with/for google about social networking...does that mean that she is bound by a confidentiality agreement ?

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5. Evelyn Rodriguez on August 31, 2004 7:36 PM writes...

You are so right there are so many sides to explore to this. It goes well beyond setting policies however. I've been doing some online and
Joyce did not say anything that wasn't public knowledge. However, she did apparently speak to press without going through the proper PR channels which is certainly outside of most company's policies. Not typically grounds for dismissal though.

I think having a clear-cut blogging policy isn't going far enough. There needs to be more discussion/communication/education to educate corporate PR/marketing departments on the shifting dynamics and customer mindsets (after all, it's not just your employees but also your customers could be blogging).

I'm working on a 'magic quadrant' to explain this marketing/PR mindset shift. Still needs fleshing out...Imagine zero-sum game thinking to non-zero sum game thinking on one axis. Then I/You communication and We communication (using language from "The Art of Possibility") on the other axis. Friendster is squarely in the zero-sum game, I/You box but that's not where I think the world is headed.

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6. Peter on August 31, 2004 11:33 PM writes...


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7. zephoria on September 1, 2004 3:11 AM writes...

1. I am not working at Google on social networking.
2. I am studying blogging and comment on the topic regularly
3. I regularly choose to respect the privacy of the companies/organizations with whom i works, sometimes by contract, but often out of respect. Google has been very gracious to me and my academic endeavors. Some of the research that i did will be published in upcoming academic journals.
4. I often don't blog about my work-related thoughts

I decided to post a full explanation on my blog:

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8. Maya Drozdz on September 3, 2004 12:29 PM writes...

We're designers, not programmers, but we stand behind Joyce Park. Read our discussion on the matter here:

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9. oxroy on September 6, 2004 2:24 PM writes...

how i can join friendster

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10. Thomas on September 11, 2004 5:03 AM writes...

I cancelled my FriendSter account, and joined the Force!

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11. M on September 12, 2004 8:58 AM writes...

If you want something really ironic -- you can always use Friendster's Bulletin Board feature to tell all your friends about troutgirl's termination.

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