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Bloggers think blog-reading should be allowed at work

By Published on .

In a nutshell, here's what happened to our poll this week: We were Gawkered.

Shortly before our weekly Advertising Age survey about blog reading at work was to close Nov. 3, Gawker.com plastered the top six inches of its home page with a headline warning: "A Disaster Awaits at AdAge.com." Below that was a graphic of our voting page with its question "Should employers allow their staff to read blogs in the workplace?"

Hinting at the dire threat such poll results could pose to all bloggerdom, Gawker proclaimed "You've got little more than two hours, kids. Go vote, vote, vote, vote before companies take Krucoffing to the next level-you know, because they all listen to what unscientific surveys tell them to do-and make decisions that would hurt us (traffic! ads! income!) and, even more, you (must actually do work!)." ("Krucoffing" refers to Andrew Krucoff, the freelance research analyst at Conde Nast who was terminated last month for leaking an internal company document to Gawker.com.)

The response of the bloggian hordes to Gawker's call was as swift as it was impressive. Before the Gawker post, the AdAge.com vote tally was running 58% against employees reading of non-work-related blogs during working hours. But within minutes after it, that began to change. By the time the poll closed 120 minutes later, the tally was 85% in favor of allowing unlimited blog reading by employees.

But the final, lopsided vote belied the broader mix of the sentiment echoed in more than 120 comments submitted by readers. Some, like Aaron Atkinson, owner of GrowthInc of Idaho Falls, Idaho, indicated that they favor quite restrictive office policies. "Blogs," wrote Mr. Atkinson, "must be approved by management as having to do with the job at hand. Computer privileges could be jeopardized by visiting unauthorized sites."

For others, it was a moral issue. "Whatever happened to the concept of having a work ethic?" asked Siobhan Marks, managing director, Brand Thirty-Three, Milwaukee.

Yet others saw blogs as a useful workplace tools. Prashanth Mysoor, partner at Shanth Interactive in Los Angeles, argued that "We actually encourage our staff to read blogs, listen to podcasts and stay abreast of the changing media landscape."

Waxing somewhat more sarcastically in the same vein, Tom Messner, partner at Euro RSCG, New York, noted that "Even if employees don't read blogs, they might turn to Dante, Dostoevsky, or Twain. Then the employers might really be in trouble."

What you say: 85% of voters to AdAge.com supported the idea of employers allowing blog reading at work--but don’t take that number too literally. Results were skewed by Gawker.com, which linked our poll to its site and urged the blog reading public to weigh in. Not surprisingly, that audience upended earlier results in which a much slimmer majority--58%--said employers should allow blog reading at work.

Next week’s question is "Is the avian flu scare likely to disrupt the marketing of poultry products?" To answer log on to AdAge.com, QwikFIND aao29v

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