Nothing like a good "blogging" conversation to get motivated to write a little more. I was in a meeting with a group of marketers today, and a good portion of the conversation was about the good (and inevitably the bad) of having employees write about their experiences with a company. Some of these same employees were asking what a blog was a year ago, and now it seems that it's moving more and more into the mainstream.
The topic turned to blogging, and "employees speaking for their company", and where the line should be drawn. For the record, the folks I was speaking with (for the most part) came down on the side of thinking that blogging was a good thing.
Funny that there's still this black and white distinction between the people who work for the company, and the company itself. Among bloggers (or any who's caught a clue-train), we know that a company is made up of individuals--indeed, it's humans who made every single aspect of any successful (or unsuccessful) product or project.
Every choice we make is made by humans, based on human emotions or human logic or human egos or human fear. Humans develop relationships with the journalists we showed early builds of a product to. Humans decide the amount of money we spent on our agency, or which agency to work with. Individuals decide whether we'd attend a meeting where plans are discussed, or (maybe most importantly) whether they'll speak up in a meeting where their opinion should be heard. It's a human who decides what computer code to use, what chip to buy, what color a piece of hardware should be, what developers we hire or partner with or compete against. Today, we were joking about "they," as in "they want us to take this training before we have access to the budgeting tool. Even "they" (in this case "finance") is made up of people doing the best job they can, for what they feel is the best good of the company (or their team, or their boss, or their own ego).
Should an employee "speak for their company"? Or for that matter, can a company really speak for its employees?
But I ain't telling you anything you don't already know.
Among this group, there was talk about some new blogs from employees who work in the Xbox group. So in addition to Major Nelson and Michael Wolf, you'll hopefully have something new to chew on (just don't expect too many secrets--the word about blogging is out, and believe me, we're being watched more closely than ever).