Saturday, February 24, 2007


Making the Case for Corporate Blogging...

Stowe Boyd is seeking information that will make a solid case for blogging as a strategic benefit. Lately, my own thoughts have been to discourage folks in large enterprises from participating especially if they work in IT.

Most folks are incredibly busy and do a lousy job of maintaining work/life balance and blogging will further move them away from it. Consider what happens when an Enterprise Architect decides to openly share information with the community at large on some wonderful open source project that they believe is of high quality. What happens if the open source project competes with commercial closed source products already owned by the enterprise? Do you think that this individual along with his/her peers will not be bombarded by sales folks demanding more of their time?

Consider the fact that external conversations do have an effect on internal conversations and how this too changes the dynamics of work. Many corporate folks are successful because they pay attention to internal conversations so that they can always be in the know. Once conversations start occuring outside the enterprise, many folks lose their ability to observe them which can change the dynamics in a dramatic way. Sometimes, this can be good or bad and is heavily dependent upon the personality quirks of the participants up and down the foodchain.

Have you ever been in a situation where you shared something with others because you were genuine in wanting them to be successful yet they perceived that the only reason you were doing this is because of some ulterior motive? I doubt a month, a week or even a day goes by when I don't run into this phenomena. Part of the dilemma is that for the most part the sole reason everyone else is blogging is that they are attempting to sell something. Analysts are attempting to sell influence, software vendors are selling support and products, consultants are selling their services, but when someone from a corporate environment shares, folks may also be cast into the same bucket.

The rationale of why I blog is simply to be a good citizen and share my perspectives with others in hopes that they can avoid many of the pitfalls I have encountered. I guess at some level, I would like to sell the need for us to be more charitable towards each other as my blog has many wonderful opportunities to contribute, but for the most part I have failed miserably at this as none of the charities have received a single cent from any of my readers.

In the world of venture capital, the notion of the exit is discussed with passion. Before corporations start blogging, they need to also figure out when to stop blogging. For me, the answer became crystal clear. On the way home as I pulled into my driveway, on the radio was a old hip-hop song that talked about power:

For me, my anticipated exit from the blogosphere will be April 1st as blogging has become more pain than joy. When one spends more time, managing conversations and the perceptions that emerge rather than having more conversations, one can consider themselves travelling deeper into a black hole.

If there are folks reading this who are employed by a corporation that desire to blog, I would recommend to you to avoid several mistakes I have made. First, in terms of blogging, I should have came out of the gate anonymously. Sure, if I were say Architect742 and not myself, there would have been less credibility but likewise it would have been a whole lot easier in terms of pain I have experienced. Being anonymous would have also allowed for better separation between my blogging at home and work which I attempt to maintain a firewall between yet others attempt to always penetrate it.

My second recommendation is that folks should never blog at work, about work, nor even from a blog hosted on a work domain. The idea should be sharing and not about branding. In terms of Stowe's thinking, I suspect he would recommend corporations to blog as a matter of interacting with a larger community. The hard part is that communities in the blogosphere are self-selecting which makes it incredibly difficult to have a meaningful conversation and everything digresses to keeping things at such a high-level as to be useful only to a select few.

In all reality, maybe I won't really retire as a blogger as I will still need an outlet to share. Maybe I am like the Phoenix and will destroy and reincarnate myself at some future point in a more anonymous way...

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