More news from the corporate blogging frontier:
The latest issue of FastCompany magazine includes a great article by Jena McGregor, It’s a Blog World After All. One thing I love about this article is that she offers a diverse collection of examples both in terms of company types, and in terms of how they’re using weblogs internally and externally.
I’ve added this article to my list of corporate blogging resources. Here are a few of my favorite highlights…
- “From tech companies like Microsoft …and IBM to decidedly nontech outfits like Dr. Pepper, companies are starting to use blogging both as a medium to market products and monitor brands and as an internal knowledge-management tool. To meet corporate demand, both UserLand and Six Apart, makers of popular blog software programs, are coming out with enterprise-level products later this year.”
- “So do blogs hold the key to seamless sharing of collective corporate intelligence, the holy grail of knowledge management? Web log software is cheaper to install and maintain than many knowledge-sharing programs, and it’s extremely simple to use. Knowledge software often requires employees to take both an extra step and extra time to record what they know, and to fit their knowledge into a database of inflexible categories. Internal blogs are more integrated into a worker’s regular daily communications. IBM began blogging in December, and by February, some 500 employees in more than 30 countries were using it to discuss software development projects and business strategies. And while blogs’ inherently open, anarchic nature may be unsettling, Mike Wing, IBM’s vice president of intranet strategy, believes their simplicity and informality could give them an edge. ‘It may be an easy, comfortable medium for people to be given permission to publish what they feel like publishing,’ he says.”
- “But that informal transparency is precisely why many companies’ embrace of blogs is at best uneasy. Internally, blogs have the potential to let employees who wouldn’t otherwise be seen as authorities have a voice with a lot of impact. “[Companies] are not going to be able to stuff it back into the box,” says Greg Lloyd, CEO of Traction, a business-oriented blog software company. Externally, the fears are even greater. Letting employees speak directly to customers requires a huge amount of trust. A loose cannon might reveal corporate secrets, give out the wrong message, or even open up the company to legal trouble.”
- “Tiny 10e20, a Web design firm in Brooklyn, recently began requiring employees to post updates on their progress to a blog twice a day. Within the first six weeks, 10 projects were turned in early. Having a central repository for information helped–but so did the added scrutiny that came from letting everyone see how a project was progressing. Software maker Macromedia, one of the first companies to adopt blogs for customer service, saved tens of thousands of dollars in call-center support when it released a crop of new products for software developers in 2002. A trusted group of employees started blogs to answer users’ questions, and the blogs have grown into online communities that give Macromedia valuable customer feedback.”
…Many thanks to T+D Blog for bringing this article to my attention.