Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Blogging in the Workplace

At a conference held in central London in early April, business men and women were encouraged to let their employees blog. Darren Strange, an employee of Microsoft, was a guest speaker who blogs regularly. He gets about 200,000 hits per month. Some people are reading because they want to be up to date on the latest tech that Microsoft is producing. Others read because they can relate to the issues that he faces with co-workers and supervisors. No matter what they go there to read about, Darren considers his blog “a conversation about something I am passionate about."
Strange spoke about letting their employees blog freely, yet within guidelines. He encouraged the assembled mass to at the very least entertain the idea of a corporate blog. Darren suggested that this blog could actually benefit the organization. By blogging, they can directly address concerns that anyone may have rather than ignore them.
However, blogging about your work life can have a detrimental effect as well. Several years ago avid blogger Heather Armstrong was fired for the blog she had at the time. She worked for a web design company and wrote about everything from the computer problems she dealt with on a daily basis, to commenting on her supervisor's looks.
When her employers found out about her blog she was immediately terminated from the company. She even wrote about that experience. Since her termination and the blog posts that followed, a term has been created for what happened to her. It is called being, “Dooced,” dooce being the name of her blog site. Since then it has circled the globe and is referenced whenever someone gets fired for what they write on their blog.
Heather still has her blog and writes almost every day. She no longer writes about her job. She writes about being a mother and wife, and everything in between.
So whatever you decide to do, blog or not blog. Just be careful what you write. You never know who is reading.


nklarich said...

I think blogging would benefit the internal relationships between co-workers. People
Understand communication is essential part of business, leaving issues un-resolved would delay efforts on conflict resolution. Blog’s could be used to eliminate the communication barrier, and lead to productive conversation amongst internal networks of the workplace.

Swamp Boy said...

Wow. Does that woman get consistant readers or what?! Her posts she opens for commentary get hundreds of comments. Talk about getting a faithful redership. I guess you would too if you coined a phrase for having been fired for blogging.

I liked that idea about blogging in the workplace. I'm sure that in some places it would work better than others but the principle is good. Employees need a place to vent. Take my wife for example, she works with one woman that is seemingly incapable of multitasking and politely dealing with customers simultaneously. Now, that may normally be an unreasonable expectation for some but this woman's job depends on her competency with those exact tasks. Others in my wife's company also have issues that need to be addressed and since they do not have weekly staff meetings, blogging might be a productive venue where employees could give their insight and feedback while following some previously established guidelines for doing so.

I wonder if that company you mentioned, Shawn, continues to implement that blogging practice?