July 1 2004
Until recently, the thought of employees blabbing freely to the masses about their work on company time -- without the suits from PR hovering over them to stay "on message" -- would have created panic in the executive suite. But in the past year, employee blogs have begun to multiply across Corporate America -- and a growing number of companies approve. It started mostly as a techie thing when engineers and product developers at places such as Macromedia, Sun Microsystems (SUNW ), and Dell (DELL ) began posting first-draft free-for-alls of their own volition as a way of communicating with customers, each other, and the outside world. Though employees represent just a fraction of the 2.7 million bloggers today, experts predict they will grow robustly as consumers demand information in a more unvarnished way.I guess the hype cycle is finally at a point where corporate blogging is becoming mainstream; I consider myself a pioneer in the area, having started lotus.com/weblog 18 months ago; but I wouldn't consider myself a role model. So many things I'd like to do or have done differently with that site.
In fact, had a meeting this morning to start the discussion about what lotus.com/weblog v2 will look like. The current plan is that we'll open it up to multiple authors, based in part on the feedback I received here several weeks ago. We're even looking at it in some interesting ways -- whether my colleagues might have to "audition" to be a part of the writing pool, or whether we might make it a recognition thing -- "fame and fortune -- write for the lotus.com/weblog". I'll avoid the obvious ego-inflating comment (though it was made in the meeting) of how attractive it will be for my colleagues to "be like Ed Brill" ;)
I'd expect to start seeing changes there in the next few weeks, certainly no later than during August. I'm still open to feedback and input; and if you are an IBMer and want to contribute...send me an invite for 30 minutes ;)
Back to that Business Week article for a second...
It's revolutionary because companies have usually been more concerned with controlling their message than conversing with customers. Blogging changes that by establishing "a connection through real human beings speaking like real human beings, which is something companies have forgotten how to do"That's exactly what we wanted to do with lotus.com/weblog. I'm hoping that V2 will deliver on that, by opening up a whole range of humans to that direct 1:1/1:many communication.
Link: Business Week: Blogging with the boss's blessing >