“Scared to let our people blog”

Kevin O’Keefe points to an excellent post by Liz Strauss, an expert in corporate online communications.

Whether they say the words or not, many companies are afraid to let their employees blog. Liz wonders "is the blog the problem?"

"Look to the people. Isn’t the issue one of trust and control? The employer is concerned about what employees might write on the blog.

We let employees talk to customers daily — answering email, answering phone call, answering questions at exhibits, and answering letters at the office. We trust what they write on behalf of our company. We once worried in the same way about the telephone and email.

It comes down to hiring and training employees who make good decisions.

If we trust our ability to choose the right employees and to let them know the values that we hold for our company and our customers, the question of whether we should let them blog falls away as an issue.

A blog is a powerful, customer-facing tool. Like a computer, it’s as strong as the people we choose to use it."

Kevin was told recently of one senior lawyer who was told by the firm that they would not be permitted to blog. ‘The firm does not allow its lawyers to blog.’

The lawyer responded with a question. ‘Why am I working at a place that does not trust me to talk about what I do – about a niche in the law I am passionate about?’

2 thoughts on ““Scared to let our people blog”

  1. When I read this, I thought of the Cluetrain Manifesto. Have you read it? Here’s an excerpt (the first 12 theses):
    95 Theses
    1. Markets are conversations.
    2. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.
    3. Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.
    4. Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived.
    5. People recognize each other as such from the sound of this voice.
    6. The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media.
    7. Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.
    8. In both internetworked markets and among intranetworked employees, people are speaking to each other in a powerful new way.
    9. These networked conversations are enabling powerful new forms of social organization and knowledge exchange to emerge.
    10. As a result, markets are getting smarter, more informed, more organized. Participation in a networked market changes people fundamentally.
    11. People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors. So much for corporate rhetoric about adding value to commoditized products.
    12. There are no secrets. The networked market knows more than companies do about their own products. And whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone.
    Number 12 is the one. People are talking about these companies whether they like it or not.

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