Friday, June 13, 2008

Blogging guidelines

Blogging is still a new phenomenon for many people, while it has been around as an activity for thousands of years in a paper form (diaries) and public 'blogging' existed long before the internet in the form of biographies, newspaper columns and radio shows.

Given there are reportedly 112 million blogs active, and thousands of new blogs started every day, there's a very good change that there's at least a handful of people in any organisation who are actively sharing their thoughts online in a blog.

Magnify this by all the online forums, chat groups, social mediums (such as MySpace and Facebook) and I think that every organisation needs to think about having a corporate policy or at least guidelines on what their employees can say publicly online, just as they have policies for speaking to the media, customers and competitors.

These should also apply for internal blogs - which could also take the form of executive newsletters via email or intranets.

These guidelines are not to stop people from communicating online on legitimate topics, nor to force them into a narrow range of acceptable areas, they are to provide ground rules for how people are to represent the organisation and advise employees of their responsibilities.

However they also form part of the employee code of conduct and therefore before enforceable where there are persistent breaches that place the organisation or its staff and customers at risk.

In the last organisation I worked in I developed the blogging policy in co-ordination with the legal team. It wasn't particularly hard as there are many good examples of these policies online.

My current agency doesn't have explicit guidelines at this time, I've had a discussion about it with appropriate people but have not had the time to follow this up, however the APLS guidelines actually do a fairly good job in a general sense of covering the area.

I'm going to pick this up again in the next few months - given that I'm aware of at least 5 people in my agency who maintain personal blogs, we're beginning to engage officially in online forums and there are at least 50 people at work involved in online networks such as Facebook and Linkedin I can see that there is a need for more explicit guidelines for public comment in the online medium.

Here's some good examples of corporate blogging policies and structures to create them:

1 comment:

  1. Craig - I think you're right to point out these guidelines need to cover more than blogging - in fact the reality is that most people will never actually blog, but many more will participate in other ways.