I had the interesting opportunity to take part in the blogging4business conference today in London. I was part of a panel who took questions on corporate blogging from the audience of mainly PRs, marketing agencies and journalists. I also did an interview for the Radio 4 today programme which luckily went out before anybody was awake (including me, in fact I haven't listened to it yet).
Some of the points I made that seemed to surprise people:
- of the 71,000 employess of Microsoft, about 4500 of us choose to blog, often in our own time, about what we do.
- Microsoft encourages people to become bloggers and there is no formal HR policy about the rules of blogging. The longer this has gone without such a policy being drawn up, the harder it is to write one. Now, if they ever did create a blogging policy, many bloggers would either stop or leave the company but I doubt this will ever happen now.
- In the UK we've started getting together for lunch once a month to exchange tips and encourage other colleagues to start a blog
- I welcome debate on my blog and although I'm an advocate for Microsoft and so am usually positive, I also learn a lot from the engagement with customers (thats you) through officerocker. Blogging is a conversation first and foremost. It is not so much about being right as being able to learn from each other. That can involve taking strong feedback but how else can we improve our products if we are not really in conversation with our customers?
- I think blogging can work for any company size. In fact you can see how my wife, who runs a veterinary practice (she is a reference for officelive by the way), and writes a vet blog to build relationship with her clients at fullyvetted.com
If you are one of the delegates who found me through this conference (or indeed whoever you are) and you have questions, feel free to add a comment here and I'll try to give you my perspective.
Another good resource if you are interested in business blogging is the excellent naked conversations blog and the associated book by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel which includes the experiences of setting up channel 9. I found this book very useful when I was starting OfficeRocker.