I fear blogging about my job because what I say might come back around, but I would never know that the blog is what bit me. There’s a lot more to it than just convincing my manager (and his manager) that blogging would be good for the company’s relationship with its employees and customers; unfortunately, my company is in an industry which itself shuns change and fears that the public will discover their dirty secrets of inefficiency-at-the-public’s-expense. It’s a mess. We’re trying to fix it but you become like what/who you associate with and entropy is not on our side.
Fear of being different. Fear of telling your boss your ideas. Fear of speaking up in meetings. Fear of going up to someone you don’t know and introducing yourself. Fear of doing something that might destroy your career.
Fear of weblogging.
It’s time we get over our fears.
I meet a lot of people around the industry. Almost everytime I meet someone, I ask them “do you have a weblog?” That’s my way of saying “I like you and want to hear more of your ideas.” Even deeper: I want a permanent relationship with you (and not of the sexual kind, either).
I’ve asked this question of people at Apple. Google. IBM. eBay. Real Networks. Cisco. Intel. HP. Amazon. And, yes, here at Microsoft.
Too often the answer is “I couldn’t do that.”
“Why not?” I ask.
“Because I might get fired,” is often the answer. I hate that answer. It’s an example of corporate fear. An artifact of a management system that doesn’t empower its employees to act on behalf of customers.
I find this fear disturbing. Imagine being a flight attendant with this kind of fear. “Sorry, I can’t talk to the passengers in this plane today cause I might get fired.”
I’m not the only one who sees it, either. John McCain, in the September 2004 Fast Company, went looking for courage.
Lately, more and more people, both inside and outside of Microsoft, have been asking me for ways to convince their boss to “get” weblogging. Translation: they are trying to
…excerpt from: radio.weblogs.com…
As someone who has been blogging for a few years now, I am a bit startled by all the attention that is coming to weblogs recently. The political campaigns seemed to be the first to bring the whole blog issue into the mainstream media. I couldn’t watch CNN for an hour without hearing mention of blogs at least once.
The point this article made about Ford and blogs by people working on the cars as opposed to some official press release is a good one. There are issues all over the place with this, though.
Allowing your employees to do your PR requires that you 1) have happy employees and 2) Trust those employees to convey that happiness.
Blogs at their best eliminate the opportunity for a company to control their PR machine.
Blogs at their worst are just another part of the PR machine and are filled with propaganda and the company line. I mean…why not just -hire- someone to blog for your company. It can be their full time position.
In a country filled with people that value their freedom and first amendment rights, we’ve become total weenies when it comes to letting our employers take away our liberties. I’m as guilty as anyone. It is in my contract that I can’t talk to the press about my job without clearing it through our PR person. And yes…we HAVE a PR person…and she has damned near as much power as any of my official bosses.