We are here this week at a strategic planning meeting for a major group affiliated with our organization. We have started having interesting side conversations one of which is about the trend for blogging and how some major businesses have been encouraging all staff members to set up blogs. Apparently Microsoft has over 1000 bloggers on staff. Other businesses have equally liberal viewpoints on blogging and actively encourage it as a way to open direct conversations with customers. The new book, Naked Conversations, by Soble and Israel, talks more about this radical transparency which is increasingly seen as having business value.
I am intrigued by the fact that when we started our blog 7 months ago, we were not exactly encouraged to blog as there was no policy about that in our institution. In fact we did not advertise the fact that we were experimenting with this new medium of expression, and working to understand how it could contribute to our learning in the organization. Now, half a year later, we are talking about it openly in organizational meetings and handing out our URL to those interested in interacting with us in virtual space. We have even given two internal workshops on setting up and using blogs and wikis. At the same time, we still do not have a policy on blogging, nor our institution’s name on our blog.
Perhaps the next step is to draft our own policy and to use that to start an internal discussion about this. What might our policy entail? I understand that Microsoft is using the phrase Blog Smart to underline their policy – don’t expose trade secrets, don’t discuss personnel issues or company finances, be honest. That’s a lot of don’ts, and perhaps that is still a form of guidance that can help people get the good out of the practice.
For our blog we have decided on some parameters, which include being appreciative, being authentic, be personal, and focus on learning. Maybe some of these could feature in our blog policy. We would be interested to hear from others about their policies – are there some good guidelines, or examples that we could draw from while we draft our own?