Management By Blog?

from the nothing-wrong-with-that... dept

Jimmy Guterman’s latest column is looking at the issue of how corporations are using blogging. Nothing earth shattering here: many companies are pretty cautious about jumping into the blogging world. A few are experimenting with outbound blogs, to communicate with customers (or potential customers). A few are experimenting with internal blogs, mostly for knowledge or project management. However, a command from upper management to “start blogging now” doesn’t seem to work (nor should it). What we’ve found with Techdirt Corporate Intelligence’s enterprise blogs (where we do the blogging for our clients, making sure they have the daily news and analysis they need every day) is that companies like our approach to knowledge management because we’re the ones supplying the knowledge. When companies ask their own employees to start dumping knowledge into a blog – they hesitate. Not everyone is a “writer”. Not everyone likes to express what’s in their head. So, having a dedicated staff (such as those of us at Techdirt) supplying the information for you seems to work much better than setting up internal blogs for employees to fill themselves. That’s not to say there isn’t a space for employee-owned blogs – but they’re clearly not for everyone.

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Comments on “Management By Blog?”

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David G. says:

The problem with blogs from a communications persp

Corporate blogs in a company can be very tricky – I worked at a Fortune 50 comp. where everything that went out was vetted by the Comm.Dept and usually 2 of the highest managers …and with good reason, as nothing ever came across any of Communications desks without needing some corrections. Aside from that, there’s been any number of embarrassing memo’s and emails not checked by a Comm.Dept. that has shown up in places like I’m sure you’ll see many more up there if corporate blogging takes off.

There are several reasons why corporate blogging by employees are the wrong strategy (in no particular order)

1) I would say the majority of the best managers I’ve worked for are mediocre writers at best; it’s not where their strengths lie, it surely doesn’t come easy to them, and they don’t have much motivation to do so. Their emails are the shortest out there, and often devoid of “personalty” (which makes this publication, and others like it, enjoyable) And if its not enjoyable, ultimately it won’t be read.

2) People are overworked as it is. Try adding any new project to anyone…particularly the managers or people with the most knowledge; they’re already pulling 60 hour weeks…

3) Informal writing can be dangerous to a company’s health. Writing like I’m doing here – it doesn’t stand up either professionally or legally. Anything you publish can end up in the hands of the competition, or as mentioned above, on the Internet. All it takes is one tired or frustrated employee to make a knock on the competition or about a troublesome customer to end up embarrassing the company and costing a lot more in PR work to cover it.

4) Employees meant to read the blogs are overworked. They’re expected to keep up on what’s happening in their dept., their workgroup, the company as a whole. Now add in a daily stream of tidbits? This helps productivity how?

5) This is a Big One – the more communications that bombard an employee, the weaker the overall message AND the weaker the retention rate. Trust me, everyone studies this. Our particular company shortened their company-wide communications to 3 per week, delivered personally BY your local manager, in two minutes or less. Things posted up, or handed out were NOT read, or if they were read they were NOT retained. Add another stream of constant “babble”, and at the best you get diminishing returns.

Chris (user link) says:

No Subject Given

I think the real value of internal corporate blogs isn’t so much real time information dissemination as it is real time info capture. Imagine a project team managing their project via an internal blog instead of 300 emails over the course of a month. When the project is done the emails will dissapear, the blog will still be there. Do this hundreds of times across a large company, add the Google intranet appliance, and voila, an indexed and searchable knowledge management system that cost practically nothing and is far more effective than any of the bloated multi million dollar systems the big consultancies have tried to implement over the years.

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