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Corporate Blogging Not A Common Practice

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Author David Kline wondered aloud in a blog post today about the lack of corporate blogging taking place, and speculated on what may be holding it back.

Kline noted only about 3 or 4 percent of the Fortune 500 practices what he calls “strategic blogging initiatives.” While tech companies like Sun and Microsoft have notable bloggers working for them, and IBM has a formal approach to employee blogging, the rest of the high-powered business world has taken a pass so far.

He cited opinions from a couple of fellow writers covering the topic of business blogging; Jeremy Wright opined more time, better blogging tools, and a defined return on investment would be required first, while Debbie Weil noted fear probably has a hold in a number of companies.

Kline added an exclamation point with this comment:

Blogging really is not for the faint of heart or the control freak — two personality types usually thought to be well-represented in the ranks of management.


It’s a good point, and there are a couple I’d like to add. Publicly traded companies have to abide by the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation on Fair Disclosure, aka Reg FD. The corporate message has to pass through a lot of filters, particularly legal and public relations, before becoming public.

No one wants to incur the post-Enron wrath of the SEC because some stupid blogger posted something material to the corporate business on the company blog and a couple of traders took that post to the bank. And no CEO wants to be that stupid blogger and jeopardize a lavish salary, corporate jet, golf club memberships, and year-end bonuses just to have a conversation with the masses.

Beyond the issues cited by Kline et al, there’s an even simpler reason why blogging probably won’t happen at the executive levels, again tech companies like Sun and its president Jonathan Schwartz notwithstanding: writing every day is not easy. Blogging isn’t just typing a memo, because memos don’t type back at their creators.

Blogs do. They demand constant care and attention, and a nigh-continuous stream of new content. Believe it or not, writing is work, and blogging can be very hard work on top of an executive’s duties.

A comment from TechTrader on Kline’s blog disclosed what may be the ultimate catalyst for enterprise blogging – the me-too syndrome:

Whomever breaks rank and scores a big win will open the floodgates. As noted, because large corporates are risk-averse, they’re not going to move unless they see proof that blogging provides a competitive advantage. So, if a shower soap manufacturer develops a new soap based on blog conversations and gets an amazing launch based upon that same conversation – it will get all other soap manufacturers’ attention. It’s the natural order of things in the business world.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Corporate Blogging Not A Common Practice
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