Does everybody need a blog?

Posted by Brett Young | Friday, March 27, 2009 | , | 0 comments »

We introduced blogging within our enterprise nearly two years ago. It has been an excellent way for senior managers to connect with people at all levels of their organizations. The executive blogs have been extremely popular among individual contributors who enjoy the opportunity to interact directly with their senior leader. They see it as a refreshing move toward transparency and breaking down traditional hierarchy. Based upon the number of comments, these blogs are generate a lot of interest and passion. At this point, there are about a dozen senior leader blogs across the enterprise. However, as we look to the future, we would like to enable any person within the enterprise to publish their own blog. The response from some executives is, "Why does everyone need a blog?"

Given that we have only used blogs for a single purpose to date, namely for senior executives to communicate, share, and interact with their large organizations, it's no wonder they're not familiar with other use cases. Here are some use cases that support the idea of giving everyone a blog:
  • Knowledge Management - Blogs can be used to capture and publish knowledge that someone else can later find and use. A personal blog can replace a paper notebook or diary and contain ideas, best practices, and lessons learned.

  • Personal Branding - Blogs can be a platform that individual use to sell their personal brand. It can highlight skills, accomplishments, and results. This information is searchable to those who are looking for people with particular experience.

  • Meeting Notes - Blogs are a great repository for meeting notes/minutes. People with a wireless laptop can "live-blog" during the meeting and publish their notes in real time, for the benefit of others who will be able to search them later.

  • Status Reports - Status reports for individuals or projects can be stored within a blog. This makes it easy to view a series of status reports in context. Managers can subscribe to the feeds of their employees' or projects' blogs so that they are kept informed, with minimal overhead.

To be successful, blog technology should be accompanied with specific process change that incorporates blogging. These process changes must be driven from the top-down. For example, a manager might mandate that going forward all status reports must be recorded within a personal blog, and not in email. This type of mandate provides the necessary impetus to begin changing the culture. You cannot expect most people to voluntarily adopt new technologies if the technologies are perceived as being separate from their work processes.

In most cases, blogging replaces functions that are performed within email today. However, a blog has tremendous advantages over an email message. A blog has single instance storage. It is sharable and searchable. A blog can be tagged or categorized, to make it easier for people to find content later. A blog is linkable. (Try linking to an email.) You can syndicate blog content using RSS or ATOM. Blogs maintain context and allow people to comment on posts and other comments.

What are some creative ways that you are using or plan to use blogs within your enterprise? What are you doing to encourage blog adoption among the masses?

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