Let employees do your blogging

04 November 2005

There’s an interesting article in today’s Financial Times (p12) by Kevin Allison, titled Who’s afraid of the big, bad blog? (also online). All the usual suspects (plus a few unusual ones) make appearances: Kryptonite; Scoble; Plaxo’s Mark Jen; Suw Charman; and IBM’s James Snell.

The main point of the story seems to be that letting employees blog could be the key for companies being successful in the blogosphere. I’ll gloss over the obvious question of “who else would you get to do it?”, and jump straight to the bits I found particularly relevant.

Firstly, I think Allison frames the dilemma that companies face quite well. He says that “on the one hand, avoiding the blogosphere altogether seems a bad idea” (cue Kryptonite story), and “on the other hand, companies that wish to engage with the blogosphere face an intractable credibility problem.” I’m not sure I totally agree with this latter point – surely it’s the companies that engage with the blogosphere badly that face the credibility problem? But there is undoubtedly a dilemma to be dealt with, and I think it’s more that companies don’t know whether or how to engage, or where to get the advice to do it well.

This credibility problem is compounded, argues Allison, by the fact that “bloggers are an anti-establishment lot, and messages from big business are automatically suspect”. Nothing like a good generalisation in a national daily, eh? That’s a bit like me saying that all journalists are an anti-blogosphere lot. Oh, hang on…

The article goes on to tell us that Robert Scoble (pictured in the article waving his hands around on a couch) “frequently promotes Microsoft products” on his blog. To be fair, we are also told that he is not afraid to criticise his employer but by then the inaccuracy is lost.

The rest of the article is essential about blogging guidelines. The best quote comes from Suw Charman who offers some sage advice:

“Business is used to inhabiting a broadcast environment, and that is not what the blogosphere is about. Companies need to learn that they can’t control the message any more, then they have to learn that that’s good.”

I think there’s your communicators and marketers dilemma in a nutshell.

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One Response to “Let employees do your blogging”

  1. Easton Ellsworth

    I did Kevin Allison, the author of the FT article that was the subject of my last post, a great disservice. The disappointment of seeing the ubiquitous Kryponite lock story yet again meant that I missed this gem…

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