Interesting article in the Wall Street Journal today about the role of blogs in corporations Wall Street Journal . The article raises the question: are blogs better off in the hands of employees, or restricted to senior executive use? With senior execs, the company tends to have a lot more control, and of course it's an effective way to get the corporate message conveyed. In some companies, communicators, lawyers and HR all at least get a glimpse at the piece before it goes out (although this varies widely).
It's a different story with employees blogging, a sort of Wild West by comparison with multiple voices and views--some of this potentially far from the party line. Of course, this is exactly what makes the blogging world go round, a wide range of honest, direct voices "telling it like it is." Critics say that many senior executive blogs read too much like the marketing and PR bulletins they're supposed to be replacing. One source in the article suggests "limiting blogging to lower-level engineers and product experts, and encouraging them to comment on statements about their employers made in other, highly trafficked blogs."
When the dust settles, the two will likely live side by side, if not in harmony at least in peace. For now companies are scrambling to put systems in place to manage this new beast. The article quotes a study that shows only 15% of companies with blogs have blogging policies in place, a corporate lawyer's nightmare. Experts suggest setting up clear guidelines--at least at a high level--so people know where the lines are drawn (example: you can't blog anonymously). Blogging purists may cringe over this, but it's unlikely we'll ever have a groundswell of corporations embracing this without more structure and systems in place.