The 1st Amendment & You

The Internet has been chuckling to itself since mid-October, when reporter Ric Romero at KABC in Los Angeles got a little too gushy about the “exploding blog” community. (Ow. Sounds painful. Place on ground. Point away from face. :razz:) Related or not, there seems to be a little bubble of student-blog-related stories going around, like “School orders students to remove blogs” (Oct. 26), “Teens wear their hearts on their blog” (Oct. 30), “Online terror threat hits local high school” (Nov. 7), and “Students suspended over web site” (Nov. 19). [Addition, for the record (12/21): Teen’s blog confession forces him to plead guilty in fatal crash]

There haven’t been any conflicts between school officials and student blogs in our area that I know of, but sooner or later (as evidenced by Mr. Romero’s exciting foray into digital publishing), the less tech-savvy adults are going to wander through Xanga and MySpace, even if they’re just being shown around by a benevolent USA Today. All this to say, remember kiddies, if you’re publishing any kind of online journal, the material you publish is public, and to some degree, permanent. (Especially if Google finds it, and caches it.) Remember, too, that a public soapbox not only gives you a chance to speak out, but also comes with certain responsibilities, just like your driver’s license.

This uncharacteristically lengthy post was triggered by an article I ran across on the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s site today that might be of interest to you Xangans, LiveJournalers, and MySpacers out there: The Blogger’s FAQ on Student Blogging. It does a good job of showing where some of the lines have been drawn, without a bunch of legal-ese. Check it out, and be informed! 😀 (I’ll also start a poll and discussion thread in the Forum, too, if anybody’s interested in talking…)