It’s no secret that I work for a big corporate, and the PTB are aware that I blog about a range of things that interest me and affect both within and outside work.

My colleague Richard Dennison wrote an interesting post about the risks of blogger/social media interaction from disgruntled employees.

“On the one hand, you invited them to join the conversation in the first place and they’re just expressing their views … on the other, they’re damaging your brand. Leaving them to continue making negative comments feels uncomfortable … leaning on them through their line managers feels like censorship. “

It might show I’m old style, but I reckon that you shouldn’t sledge your employer in public – OK, I’ll make an exception for whistleblowing – when there are avenues for dealing with issues internally. I’m certainly happy to draw attention internally to people who damage the brand of the company that feeds me.

Now, if you feel those avenues aren’t delivering an open, honest and credible response to your people… there’s a nice improvement project to work on.

So, what to do?

First, make it clear what you expect people to do. The BBC have a nice blogging policy

“Personal blogs and websites should not reveal confidential information about the BBC. This might include aspects of BBC policy or details of internal BBC discussions. If in doubt about what might be confidential, staff members should consult their line manager.

Personal blogs and websites should not be used to attack or abuse colleagues.”

Seems pretty fair to me – and incidentally, the BBC explicitly allow staff to blog from work, as do my employers.

Who else has a sane policy? In a reaction to the Civil Serf furore, Tom Watson has come up with some suggested points for Civil Service blogging. Something I’d like see enacted.

Then, accept you are going to get some posts you don’t like … so, you do have hate groups – including employees or not – what to do? Engage where they are? – as Richard says

“Accepted social media ‘wisdom’ says you should engage ‘in the channel in which the comments were made’ to try to turn things around … but do you really want to get into a ‘dialogue’ with a mixture of disgruntled customers and employees?? “

I’d have said “No.” Well, maybe a qualified “No, but…”

…but there has to be an easy way for people to get human interaction. Don’t insist they go through callgate hell. Let’s bite the bullet, and take all the feedback we can get. Let’s really be customer connected.

Sandy Blair in an engaging and typically erudite comment says

“Much better to join the conversation with positive comments (and fix the issues people are raising).”

I know Apple, Verizon, Oracle and Microsoft all have some presence at Do you want to do that? A *big* corporate would bring loads of traffic to someone else’s site. Publicity for them and impact on their infrastructure. You’d need loads of folk handling enquiries, and you’d still get posts elsewhere – so perhaps not.So, just do it. Get a group of people on “20% time” to start digging at the issues raised in these individual sites. “My appointment failed…” Why? Sort that and we’ll sort issues for lots more than that individual. So, engage individually, sort root cause, and fix globally – meaning you’ll get more Right First Time.

How do you choose the people who’ll get the 20% time… well, they just volunteered, didn’t they? They saw and raised the problem… let them help to fix it.

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3 thoughts on “Personal Blogging from within a Corporate?

  1. Steve, only just discovered your blogs and there’s some powerful thinking in here. Particulalry like the 20% time – is that the same as “skunk work”

    There is a school of thought that says if you’re not working on funded work then you’re not contributing. I disagree. Yes, you need to fund what you’re doing – the organisation wouldn’t last long without it – but you also need to make those links, those mental leaps to the next place we need to be or you’ll be taken by surprise and not in a good way!

  2. “Weird ideas that work” – nice book – 11 ideas to which I think blogging could be added as a twelfth. My new employer loved the idea of me creating a blog in our technology space – saw it as a way to build credibility and presence. If only all employers (and bloggers?) were so enlightened….

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