It's happened at last. Someone has come unstuck because of the contents of their blog. And, relief of reliefs, it's not me.
I should explain. Among my activities as a journalist I offer media training - coaching for people who're about to talk to the press. Not how to spin or lie, but how not to be intimidated, how to stand your ground and get your message out there as well as answer the journalist's questions. It's not always as easy as it sounds.
One of the questions I often get asked is: what about bloggers and other new media types? They publish what they want without any fear of any comeback, don't they?
And the answer is always the same - they're regulated by the same laws that regulate everyone publishing anything. They may not defame, lie, mislead, all those things for which you've seen journalists and newspapers sued successfully - they're off limits. Except nobody wants to take action against the little people, as they see themselves.
Until today. Granted, a British member of parliament isn't all that little a person, but at last someone is suffering some sort of financial consequences because of publishing whatever they feel like on their blog.
Now, I have to grant you I find the man's comments amusing and since they're insults rather than lies they're not actually actionable. But if this is the start of some sort of movement towards awareness that there needs to be some sort of quality control regardless of which medium you're using to publish, and no matter whether you consider yourself professional or not, it's probably a good thing eventually.
I'm still waiting for the first major lawsuit connected with a blog, Twitter or some other sort of social media. It's going to happen and the ramifications will be far reaching.