Temp learns the hard way the big risks of blogging

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 November, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 November, 2003, 12:00am

The blogging phenomenon may have brought free speech to the masses but it is becoming increasingly dangerous to practise it if you value your job.

The latest victim of employers getting tetchy over their staff's online activities is Michael Hanscom, a temp working for Microsoft.

Mr Hanscom spotted a truckload of dual-processor Apple G5s being delivered to Microsoft's Seattle headquarters in the United States, and took a quick snap for his website.

He posted it under the caption: 'Even Microsoft wants G5s'.

Four days later, his manager told him: 'As it's your site on your own server, you have the right to say anything you want. Unfortunately, Microsoft has the right to decide that because of what you said, you're no longer welcome on the Microsoft campus.'


Online travel site Zuji opens its Hong Kong business this week. We know this because they held a launch event last Tuesday. When we politely turned down the invitation, Zuji's puzzled PR asked us why.

'Because it's not news,' we told her. 'It's been open for a year.'

We know this because we've already bought tickets from it.

'But it's official this time,' she said. 'We didn't tell anyone about it before.'

Which must come as a surprise to the 20,000 people Zuji claims have registered through its website.

It certainly surprised us. Zuji has been sending us publicity about the site since it first launched - in August 2001.

Music download service Emusic upset many users last month when it announced that it was abandoning its unlimited downloads option and limiting users to a set download ratio per month.

But subscribers have found an easy way to vent their disapproval: Emusic's 'Make your own list' service.

Over recent days, users, who can post lists of their favourite downloads, have taken to naming their lists with eye-catching titles such as: 'Say goodbye to your consumers Emusic, WE ARE LEAVING!'; 'Albums that make that monthly fee worth it'; and 'Music that the Apple Store sells too'.

Beware the hidden risks of letting your customers produce your content.

The Hong Kong establishment was shaken to its foundations last year when an exclusive Backspace investigation revealed the existence of the sinister Brain Voice Read/Write Machine, which was being employed by Hong Kong bin Laden and the Stench Rotten Police 'to kill the Hong Kong peoples'.

Before we got to the bottom of the mystery, however, our sole source for the expose, Cheung XXXXX, stopped replying to our e-mails. But it seems the vile plot did not end there.

Eighteen months later, Cheung has just updated his or her webpage (at www.geocities. com/enaaaaa), to announce that the English devil machine has so far killed 50 Hong Kong people.

The site also now features a selection of pop stars and models, just to remind us all of how precious life can be.

Interestingly, Hong Kong bin Laden has disappeared from the page. Maybe there is something to all this after all.

Any gossip, rumours or ignominy to share. Write to Neil Taylor at back.space@scmp.com