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Shel Israel says CEO’s shouldn’t blog, but instead encourage openness and blogging within their organization.

CEOs of public companies are hamstrung by security and other regulatory restrictions. Even if the company is private, the CEO’s primary accountability is to investors. A product manager, on the other hand, is mostly loyal to his or her product and accountable to customers. The CEO’s future is tied to company growth and profits. The product manager’s is often tied to happy customers.

I’d beg to differ, because:

  • The primary skill of a CEO is communication
  • The CEO is the most accountable to the public
  • The CEO is the expected voice of the organization
  • CEOs learn to balance what is appropriate for public and private audiences
  • Most CEOs simply need introduction to the form of blogging, just like they did email
  • There is a spectrum of opportunities for engaging in blogging, from reading, to blogging internally, to group blogs, on out
  • Regulatory restrictions can be managed

I won’t list all the risks and rewards of blogging here. But Shel is right in one area, you cannot compel your CEO to blog. I’d start conservatively, offering her a channel to directly and efficiently communicate to employees while building an asset in the process. The result may be they demand a wider audience.

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Ross Mayfield is CEO and co-founder of Socialtext, an emerging provider of Enterprise Social Software that dramatically increases group productivity and develops a group memory.

He also writes Ross Mayfield’s Weblog which focuses on markets, technology and musings.

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