An important international company in the web space recently discovered one of my blog posts and contacted me to tell me that I jeopardised the potential for future cooperation with it by being critical of it in my posts. I didn’t think I was being critical of the company, but it didn’t think so.
This got me thinking: a blog is an incredible tool for carrying your mostly ill-informed, unresearched and potentially libelous statements far and wide across the open expanses of the internet, so that they can gather enough momentum to boomerang back and bite you in the arse later on! To make matters more interesting while you’re being a smart-alec blogger, you’re really only going to be making these potentially career-limiting statements (career-limiting moves, or CLMs in incuBeta-speak) about big companies or powerful people, because they’re the only ones that people want to read about. In other words, you have to pick on people who have the money and the egos to make an example out of you.
I was so concerned following our tête-à-tête that that I thought that I should talk to Vincent about getting a special M&G-sponsored Legal Wise deal for us Thought Leader bloggers: statistically, every new post increases my chances of attracting a ruinous libel lawsuit brought by an international tech company seeking to immortalise me as the legend in my own lifetime that dared to show some finger in the real-world game of Monopoly. But no more my friends, like manna from heaven, I have learnt the ways of the No-Libel, Pass Begin, Collect $200 (“No-Libel”) card.
I have imported the No-Libel card directly from the US, straight from an acquaintance who is currently completing a Harvard MBA. I have received the usage instructions first-hand and I believe deep in my soul that its correct usage is best explained as follows:
If you want to make a written statement that could be libellous in the wrong hands (which, by Elbonian blogging convention, must be arbitrarily hyperlinked to a downward spiral of increasingly loosely related and less credible posts, in order to indicate that you have a source), for example, “Mark Zuckerberg pees in his bed “, then you can’t just go out and make statements like that, not even if you qualify it with “for example”: you’re going to lose your shirt to The Man. By invoking the No-Libel card, you can say: “I’m not saying that Mark Zuckerberg pees in his bed, I’m just saying“, without anyone being able to claim that you’ve defamed them. It’s amazing what an Ivy League education gets you these days!
But don’t think that the No-Libel card can be used only in the web technology space; oh no, its application is almost unlimited. For example, you could say: “I’m not saying that Robert Mugabe is a land-grabbing, mofo space cadet, I’m just saying,” or if you insist on being gentle: “I’m not saying that Martina Hingis is more interested in the white lines than the balls at Wimbledon, I’m just saying.”
In order to make sure that you young grasshoppers have learned the ways of the No-Libel card, I’m going to award Noddy badges to the first 10 bloggers who use the No-Libel card in a real post (without flinching and giving away the game to their blog readers!) and link back to this post. Simple!
*Disclaimer: If you are a blood relative of a past winner of the Darwin Awards and you actually manage to get sued or kill yourself while using the No-Libel card, then this disclaimer is written especially for you (or your surviving relatives)! I am not a lawyer. I cannot vouch for the legal accuracy of what I have termed the No-Libel card. I take no responsibility for any damage — emotional, financial or otherwise — that you may inflict upon yourself or others by following my instructions. Using the No-Libel card is dangerous: never use it while under the influence of alcohol or when operating heavy machinery.