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Motivations for Corporate Blogging

samzenpus posted more than 9 years ago | from the blog-for-business dept.

Businesses 115

ringfinger writes "Ross Mayfield just posted an interesting blog essay entitled Fear, Greed and Social Software that examines the motivations (Fear and Greed) for corporate blogging. How many slashdotters blog for their companies? Do their companies fear that they might say something embarrasing? Or are they filled with greed for the additional exposure it generates?"

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115 comments

a few thoughts... (5, Insightful)

professorhojo (686761) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643358)

Just a few thoughts...

As a corporate marketing tactic, in my (limited) experience, it only works only if the blog author has talent.

You need someone on your team who can write in a genuinely engaging voice, who can be intimate without telling you what he or she had for breakfast, and who knows the line between openness and damaging innuendo.

Also: blogging's strength is of course, ultimately, its biggest weakness when you view it from a corporation's point of view. You can budget and plan for it, but you can't forecast the results, which is enough to make the suits very nervous.

Re:a few thoughts... (1)

chardash (801837) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643411)

That is the most insightful first post I have ever read. PS: How many people have "failed to prove they're human" while drunk..?

Re:a few thoughts... (1)

mrselfdestrukt (149193) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643477)

PS: How many people have "failed to prove they're human" while drunk..?

I'm one of them! Dude, I can hardly read the letters while sober. Try staring at a monitor for 16 hours a day with fucked-up contacts.
The agony!!!

Re:a few thoughts... (4, Insightful)

Eric Giguere (42863) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643429)

but you can't forecast the results

But that's true about most marketing initiatives. What makes them nervous is that the posters aren't having their material vetted (like press releases and so on) through the usual corporate processes.

Eric
My new AdSense book [memwg.com] will be out mid-June

Maybe, but in general (2, Insightful)

elucido (870205) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644084)

The way to be successful is to be flexible. You have to create your own job and your own situation and the blogs can either be something which help you do this or help someone else depending on how good you are at using the tool.

Blogs are marketing, but not always positive marketing. Annonymous blogs also make it impossible to track where it comes from, so how is this useful? For the worker it allows you to know which places you don't want to work for and which bosses you don't want to be under. It's a good thing for the worker, and its a good thing for the CEO if the CEO treats its workers right. These tools simply enhance workplace freedom and democracy for everyone. This is good or bad depending on the side of the coin you are.

Comedy, not tragedy? (2, Funny)

AussieVamp2 (636560) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643665)

Can always be read and cause tres amusement though :-

Hi,

I'm bobDrone from NoNewsHereCorp, blogging for all you funsters today.

Today I'd like to tell you about why its great that we own everything but the radio stations in this city.

Fantastic news though, PoliticoBot approved our purchase of all the radio station, so everything you see, hear and read will now be produced by NoNewsHereCorp.

I of course, will be having cheese at my lunchbreak (which is now) so blog to you later happy joy NNHC readers!

Re:a few thoughts... (4, Insightful)

ajdavis (11891) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643759)

First of all, I resent the vaguely cultural-studies post-structuralist jargon of the article: "Here the heterarchy transcends the firewall and pressure can be applied from without." What's a heterarchy? Is that firewall a metaphorical one? I, for one, do NOT welcome our Foucault-reading post-modern academic overlords.

As for corporate blogging, the most useful blogs I've come across are from important developers in Microsoft (in particular) & also Google, Netscape, Python, etc. A number of times I've been investigating a fairly obscure question about some Microsoft API (shut up, it's my job), & found an excellent answer in a Microsoftie's blog. E.g., some feature seems blatantly missing, I'm searching for it, & the developer mentions in his blog that the feature IS indeed missing but he hopes to implement it in version 3.

This has nothing to do with marketing. I'm not sure what you'd call it in suitspeak, but it's sort of a conversational style of customer support & community-building.

Re:a few thoughts... (1)

mwlewis (794711) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644093)

I heartily agree. As for suitspeak, I'd say that it's a part of customer relations. It brings the customers' technical people closer to your own, and gives you almost an informal customer service venue. Plus, it gives your corporation a 'face' that the customer wouldn't otherwise get. It's hard to imagine another way of communicating some of the information in those blogs, like reasons behind what deveopers were thinking or dealing with when implementing something.

Re:a few thoughts... (3, Interesting)

emerge-ant (727734) | more than 9 years ago | (#12645393)

Heterarchy [weblogs.com] is a term from social network analysis
Heterarchies represent a new logic of organizing that is neither market nor hierarchy: whereas hierarchies involve relations of dependence and markets involve relations of independence, heterarchies involve relations of interdependence. As the term suggests, heterarchies are characterized by minimal hierarchy and by organizational heterogeneity, a pair of concepts elaborated below.
By firewall, it means use of social software inside the organization.

Re:a few thoughts... (1)

ahem (174666) | more than 9 years ago | (#12646085)

First of all, I resent the vaguely cultural-studies post-structuralist jargon of the article: "Here the heterarchy transcends the firewall and pressure can be applied from without." What's a heterarchy? Is that firewall a metaphorical one? I, for one, do NOT welcome our Foucault-reading post-modern academic overlords.

Hm. I was going to comment on TFA by asking:

  • Was this supposed to have been written in English?

Yours was much better. Thank you.

This is why you become a suit using the blogs. (2, Interesting)

elucido (870205) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644031)

Many pawns with increased communication simply means the suits need to actually work just as hard as everyone else now. Why? Because now the social mobility is increased. What stops you from influencing the corporation from the grassroots?

Blogging is a strength, so is the internet, but all of this power existed before in other forms so its not really new. The difference now is the fact that the power is distributed to anyone when before it was kept within certain circles of networks of peers.

If a network of peers form an alliance then it doesnt matter who your boss is, that alliance gives power to the peers in the long term. Short term the boss maintains power, so basically any group of workers who are treated badly enough can decide to use influence either from within the company or outside the company. Corporate politics are extremely complex, and a lot of it is based on favors, who knows who, and knowledge of who is in certain circles and how much influence they have.

If you are a smart suit then you have nothing to fear because you'll use your position to make yourself a likeable boss, you'll also understand the office politics, otherwise if you arent able to keep your position then who else is to blame?

Re:a few thoughts... (1)

joshdick (619079) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644294)

Speaking of blogging talent:

The world is flat, and it helps to understand the Ricardian specialization at play, and how clusters of capabilities are not only a natural, but a good thing. The book actually suggests this as a fact and value argument, I am imposing a frame of value.

This guy could use some -- and maybe a lesson in grammar while he's at it.

Bloggin' for the Man (3, Insightful)

lheal (86013) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643403)

>How many Slashdotters blog for their companies?

(Uh, I would, but I'm too busy on Slashdot. )

Why is it bad ("greedy") for a company to have employees pretend to expound on their personal opinions in the form of a blog?

Asked and answered. Official personal corporate blogs are too much like astroturfing.

Re:Bloggin' for the Man (1, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643634)

You can smell them a mile away.

Atroturfer blogger:

Well, we've got this new product in dev., its going to be sooo cool, bhah blah blah, I just had to let you in on some of the advanced features blah blah blah
Real-life
The fucking morons where I work REALLY nead to get a clue. The stooopid lazy bastards ... I swear, their vcr is stuck at 12:00, they can't make change for a $20 without using a calculator, but put them in front of a PC and they're suddenly smart? Fuck them, they want to open attachments, I'm signing them up to a dozen farm-sex pr0n sites. "Gee, sorry, guy ... I *told* ya not to click on attachments ..."

At the same time (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644137)

Nothing stops employees from actually posting blogs under annonymous names and putting it on the internet to tell the truth about companies. This was already done by word of mouth but now word of mouth is increased. I don't think blogs are bad, I think its good.

Re:Bloggin' for the Man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12643930)

Official personal corporate blogs are too much like astroturfing.

I don't think you understand what "astroturfing" means -- an official customer blog would be astroturfing. The term doesn't apply to just any sort of spin.

Re:Bloggin' for the Man (1)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644661)

"too much like astroturfing" I think you misread the GP. It doesn't say "personal corporate blogs are astroturfing", but just that they are too much like it. They show artificial "grass roots" support from inside the company, so no, it's not the same thing, but it's not quite a misapplication of the term, either.

They fell for a buzzword (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12643413)


enjoy your website

Personal blogging... (3, Insightful)

NineNine (235196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643414)

And I have always thought that personal blogging is a result of extreme self-centeredness. Blogging is the ultimate vanity... a public diary about "me" that the rest of the worls is just *dying* to read. I mean, really... who wouldn't want to know what I had for breakfast this morning?

Re:Personal blogging... (3, Funny)

Ziviyr (95582) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643438)

Blogging is the ultimate vanity... a public diary about "me" that the rest of the worls is just *dying* to read. I mean, really... who wouldn't want to know what I had for breakfast this morning?

Yeah yeah, but what about your ongoing internal struggle about choosing which different wattages of lightbulbs to buy?

Re:Personal blogging... (2, Funny)

NineNine (235196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643450)

Yeah yeah, but what about your ongoing internal struggle about choosing which different wattages of lightbulbs to buy?

You're absolutely right... the world needs to know! I am *that* important, that the rest of the planet is hanging on my every word. Now, let me tell everybody about my last trip to the bathroom...

Re:Personal blogging... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12643443)

Totally agree.

And what gets me are the bloggers who feel they are part of some kind of revolution.

Blogs are simply online diaries that have become popular because the simple fact is people like getting attention.

Re:Personal blogging... (3, Insightful)

NineNine (235196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643494)

Blogs are simply online diaries that have become popular because the simple fact is people like getting attention.

Exactly. And the fact is that virtually nobody outside of the "blogging community" even knows what a "blog" is. So the "community" ends up being a bunch of people patting themselves on the back.

Re:Personal blogging... (2, Funny)

SysSupport (872059) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643763)

Ah, a self-licking ice-cream.

Re:Personal blogging... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12646274)

So the "community" ends up being a bunch of people patting themselves on the back.

You mean like this thread?

Re:Personal blogging... (1)

torstenvl (769732) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643869)

I don't think so.

For those of you who have forgotten, Slashdot is a blog. So is MetaFilter. So is boingboing.

Re:Personal blogging... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12644989)

I don't think so.

For those of you who have forgotten, Slashdot is a blog. So is MetaFilter. So is boingboing.


And with a definition so broad as to make that a true statement, the word "blog" becomes meaningless. Now, if we could just get people to recognize this and stop using the word, we'd be set.

Re:Personal blogging... (1)

chrish (4714) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643622)

Maybe if you're an angsty teen. My blog is almost entirely weird/interesting things that I think my friends might be interested in reading about. And ranting. Nothing beats a good rant for reducing stress.

Re:Personal blogging... (2, Interesting)

mwlewis (794711) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644140)

Well, that certainly describes some blogs. But my wife, for instance, uses hers to keep in touch with friends from all over the country. It's a cheap, easy way to stay in contact and communicate with them all at the same time. All blogs aren't really for all the public.

Re:Personal blogging... (1)

YouHaveSnail (202852) | more than 9 years ago | (#12645131)

When you get down to it, all personal writing requires some degree of self-importance. Anyone who posts here on /., myself included, presumes that his or her opinion is interesting enough that others will want to read it. The only difference between us and Dave Barry, for example, is that Dave is actually correct in that presumption. Most bloggers fall in the realm of the /. poster, but a few succeed in being interesting, informative, relevant, and/or entertaining.

ATTENTION NOBODY GIVES A FUCKING SHIT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12643433)

SLASHDOT FUCKING SUCKS

To confirm you're not a script,
please type the text shown in this image:

corporate 'greed' (5, Informative)

mark_jabroni (547666) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643434)

Corporate officers try to make profits for their companies because that's what corporate officers are supposed to do. Shareholders (usually including employees) have invested large sums of money into the company, in return for which they expect profits.

Interestingly, a brit pop star recently said that the real evil is 'shareholders'. That would be great, except that in non-socialist countries there's no good way to retire without being a shareholder at some point or another.

Re:corporate 'greed' (1)

Donny Smith (567043) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643535)


> That would be great, except that in non-socialist countries there's no good way to retire without being a shareholder at some point or another.

The same thing happens in socialist countries where everything belong to "the people".

> Interestingly, a brit pop star recently said that the real evil is 'shareholders'.

Which is why socialist societies are evil by definition :-)

If you want to retire (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644238)

Stop working for the company and start your own, otherwise have fun fighting to save social security and fighting for wages.

It's better to use motion against itself than to fight the current.

Instead of being a socialist, start your own business, make as much money as you can, and buy a bunch of companies like George Soros and Warren Buffet. Then you can promote socialism through capitalism, but you arent going to get anywhere if you are going to just yell and scream at people to pay higher taxes, and you arent going to get anywhere if you ask your boss to give you retirement or pay for your health expenses. Your boss does not care about you, so take advantage of the ownership society and become an owner like your boss.

Re:If you want to retire (1)

cicho (45472) | more than 9 years ago | (#12645081)

You know how socialism began? One of the first early movements in 19th century came from the rich, bored kids of burgoisie, who one day realized that plenty of kinds under twelve years of age were working on mines, and they decided to do something about it. Marx was part of that, though he was - a bit like Emerson - more of a thinker than doer. Anyway, they succeeded and a law was passed in England that prohibited childre nunder twelve from being employed (not sure about the extent of that law, i.e. if it only applied to mine work or any employment).

The kicker is, before the law was passed, there was a huge outcry from the "business community". The Economist, which aready existed at that time, published an article where they calculated that without the toil of under-12 kids the whole frigging economy would surely collapse. The way they saw it, there was no to ways about it. It was going to be but economic doom if kids inder 12 could not work anymore.

Think of that whenever business today hollers about mininum wage.

Shareholders? Fuck them. Sorry, they do absolutely nothing except move money. They bring exactly zero value to the system. Accumulation of wealth is not creating wealth.

Re:If you want to retire (1)

cicho (45472) | more than 9 years ago | (#12645475)

self-correction: "bourgeoisie". I knew it all along, of course :)

Re:If you want to retire (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 9 years ago | (#12646436)

The Economist, which aready existed at that time, published an article where they calculated that without the toil of under-12 kids the whole frigging economy would surely collapse. The way they saw it, there was no to ways about it. It was going to be but economic doom if kids inder 12 could not work anymore.

Actually, this sort of argument has been used everytime someone has tried to make working conditions better. One example is the decrease in the work week. The work week was something like 85 hours and the "logic" used against it was that all the profit was made in the last hour of work, so they had to keep the long work week or the economy was doomed. After the law lowering the hours in the work week was passed, the economy kept moving along just fine.

It's horrifically amazing reading modern day excuses from the business community and seeing people swallow them hook, line and sinker. Remember, it wasn't too long ago (late 19th, early 20th century) in America when people would lose their jobs if they were horribly injured on the job and the excuse given was something like "well, if your horse is lame, you get a new horse don't you?" And then, in 18th century America, you could be arrested and sent to prison for striking. It was considered some sort of conspiracy charge to force your boss to raise your wages.

So, back to the topic at hand, I could see corporate bloggers justifying this sort of thing as we continue our long march back into the past.

Re:corporate 'greed' (1)

hyfe (641811) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643598)

Corporate officers try to make profits for their companies because that's what corporate officers are supposed to do.

Correction; you think that's what corporate officers are supposed to do.

Some of us actually hold the radical and crazy opinion that a company should make decisions based jointly on their own need and the needs of society. If a new chemical was discovered to be extremely polluting, yet slightly cheaper than the alternative and not yet covered by emmision controls, would you be comfortable with companies adopting it widely?

That would be great, except that in non-socialist countries there's no good way to retire without being a shareholder at some point or another.

First of all, there is a difference between owning stock and being an active shareholder. I'd say the mindset prevailent among the latter of these to be a major problem. Secondly, why is it difficult to retire without being a shareholder? It ain't difficult over here atleast.

Re:corporate 'greed' (1)

mwlewis (794711) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644211)

No, that's what corporate officers are supposed to do. You may not like that, but that's the whole point of being a corporate officer. Some take shorter term views than others, though. If it's extremely polluting, a smart corporate officer would recognize that this is a very short term course of action, and probably not very profitable, except perhaps for the very short term. It could be that the shareholders really just want a short term profit, and if so, the company isn't likely to last too long.

Re:corporate 'greed' (1)

hyfe (641811) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644879)

No, that's what corporate officers are supposed to do.

Says who? So far I've counted you and grand-parent, if you keep on like this you can start a petetion!

It could be that the shareholders really just want a short term profit, and if so, the company isn't likely to last too long.

So basically, you don't see anything wrong with a company causing massive long-term damage as long as it's what the shareholders want? It's the rest of the world that has to live with the consequenses..

Re:corporate 'greed' (2, Insightful)

mwlewis (794711) | more than 9 years ago | (#12645103)

Says who? So far I've counted you and grand-parent, if you keep on like this you can start a petetion!
Well, the whole point of a corporation is to make a profit. The duty of a corporate officer is to run the corporation. Therefore, a corporate officer tries to make profits.

So basically, you don't see anything wrong with a company causing massive long-term damage as long as it's what the shareholders want? It's the rest of the world that has to live with the consequenses..
I'm having trouble finding that in my post. In fact, I think I said just the opposite. That corporate officers will generally try to avoid that sort of thing, becaus it's bad for profits. Of course, we all have different views on what long-term damage is or how bad it is. But companies generally don't do things that are contra societies desires. If they did, no one would buy from them, and they wouldn't make money. I'm not saying that there aren't exceptions, but it's important to remember that they are, in fact, exceptions.

Re:corporate 'greed' (1)

Shajenko42 (627901) | more than 9 years ago | (#12645394)

No, that's what corporate officers are supposed to do. You may not like that, but that's the whole point of being a corporate officer.
When the company tells a corporate officer to break the law for profit, they should be held responsible. They should get jail time if they poison people, even if it would up their stock price.

The company doesn't get sole say in how they act.

Active Shareholder (1)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644580)

This is also a somewhat flaky definition.

I'm might be considered a passive shareholder through my 401(k) holdings, but I can assure you that JP Morgan is probably pretty active on my behalf.

And of course i expect to see decent returns on my 401(k), which puts pressure on them to have companies run profitably.

Re:corporate 'greed' (1)

NewStarRising (580196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644763)

IIRC, there have been cases of shareholders sueing companies for not returning enough on their investment. A company taking the "ethical" route rather than the "profitable" route can be liable not just to its shareholders selling up/voting out the board, but also for legal action.

Re:corporate 'greed' (1)

hyfe (641811) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644822)

IIRC, there have been cases of shareholders sueing companies for not returning enough on their investment. A company taking the "ethical" route rather than the "profitable" route can be liable not just to its shareholders selling up/voting out the board, but also for legal action.

That sounds absolutly ridicilous. If a controlling majority is for a non-profit route (else they'd just switch out the leadership) why in heaven should the courts interfere?

Re:corporate 'greed' (2, Funny)

NewStarRising (580196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644872)

sounding ridiculous has never been a block to legislation/litigation.

Re:corporate 'greed' (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 9 years ago | (#12647428)

Because the company has fiduciary responsibility to all its shareholders, not just the majority. If the moajority is found to have been abusing the minority shareholders rights, the minority can sue. If a company starts out "ethical" the minority wouldn't have much of a case, but if a company were to change directions, the "unethical/profit driven" minority could claim this wasn't what they invested in and they'd like to be reimbursed for their "decreased ability to profit".

It all started out the other way around(allowing "ethical" shareholders to prevent companies from getting hijacked and going profiteering), but of course it all gets coopted.

Sigh...

Re:corporate 'greed' (1)

hyfe (641811) | more than 9 years ago | (#12650416)

Because the company has fiduciary responsibility to all its shareholders, not just the majority.

Wow.. that's fucked up

Re:corporate 'greed' (1)

winse (39597) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644857)

First of all, there is a difference between owning stock and being an active shareholder. I'd say the mindset prevailent among the latter of these to be a major problem. Secondly, why is it difficult to retire without being a shareholder? It ain't difficult over here atleast.

OK I'll bite. I'm interested in your retirement story. Your IRA/401k/whatever retirement strategy doesn't and hasn't historically contained any US stock holdings? I've been looking at what to do for retirement myself and I'm very interested.

Re:corporate 'greed' (1)

hyfe (641811) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644984)

I'm interested in your retirement story

Goverment pension funds are more than adequate here in Norway, and as far as I can tell the same holds for most of Europe.

Granted alot the money I have to pay to it will ultimatly be placed in stocks, but the fund has extremely strict ethical rules (basically, don't invest in anything anybody finds controversial (which for contrast, does not rule out abortion but does rule out most military stocks)), and they are required by law to be passive owners (ie; don't vote)(from a 100% justified fear of them becoming too large a financial player in our fairly small stock-market)

working (NOT blogging) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12643447)

als companies want that their employee work dont chit-chat

when someone has to much freetime, its a good and serious time waster. But not during work hours

Will blog for food (2, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643453)

and a nice cardboard box to sleep in.

It's not an "either/or" question (5, Insightful)

MichPOSDude (681182) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643460)

I'd say those aren't the only two scenarios for corporate blogging. But I maintain this is a bit of a fad, anuway. At least in publicly held companies in the US, this isn't going to fly for long, if at all. Sure, there will be some exceptions, but there are issues here. This requires a company willing to give up control of its corporate voice, and that just ain't going to happen without a lot of preconditions. Conditions such as censoring the blogs, "training" the bloggers in what can be disclosed and what can't, legal review, etc. I think both the bloggers and the companies allowing it are going to pull back on the reins before this ever really takes off, because corporate America is just not this democratic. The first time a company is held liable for the misstatements of a corporate blogger, or for the public's misunderstanding of a blogger's seemingly innocent remarks, the party's over.

Re:It's not an "either/or" question (1)

corblix (856231) | more than 9 years ago | (#12649354)

This requires a company willing to give up control of its corporate voice, and that just ain't going to happen without a lot of preconditions. Conditions such as censoring the blogs, "training" the bloggers in what can be disclosed and what can't, legal review, etc.

I don't get it. Big companies have have PR/advertising departments for decades. How is a blog any different from that? Of course companies want to keep control of their "corporate voice", but they already know how to do that, and they have been doing it for a long time. This is just more of the same in a different medium. I don't see why you think it's such a difficult thing.

greed first (4, Insightful)

alexandreracine (859693) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643468)

Do their companies fear that they might say something embarrasing? Or are they filled with greed for the additional exposure it generates?"
Usually it is greed first and then if there is something embarrasing, they will delete it. Is there others thinking the same thing?

My blog (5, Funny)

mrselfdestrukt (149193) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643471)

Hello. Today is stardate 26-05-2005

I work for a large company. We are greedy, we steal and we overprice our products.
Today I had meetings about how we can enter other markets by utilizing our evil techniques.
I also tried to get a gmail account, but my name was already taken.
Tomorrow I will think of a new way to charge customers for all the security holes in our software. An antivirus combined with spyware-removal tool updated daily by my company maybe? hmm. I like that. I hope nobody reads these blogs. That's all for today

William Gates.

PS: I hate this FSCKING "confirm your not a script"!

Re:My blog (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643538)

Hello. Today is stardate 26-05-2005

I work for a large company. We are greedy, we steal and we overprice our products......


Nothing wrong with that! I quote:
Rule of acquisition No.1 - Once you have their money, you never give it back.

William Gates.

What a coincidence! You have a William Gates on Ferenginar too?

Re:My blog (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644187)

Today's breakfast: Newborn baby, marinated in the blood of peasants. It was delicious. When dining, I find that no napkin is as good as using the US Constitution to wipe my mouth.

Mood: Vengeful yet gay

B. Gates

IBM encourages company blogging (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12643511)

There have been several new blog efforts at IBM recently.

1. They provide internal blogs to everyone. Anyone within the company can view any employees blog. Confidential material relating to specific works in development to you are not permitted though as the controls on the blogs are rather weak. But still, there are blogs from both personal and professional topics hosted internally.

2. Recently guidelines for public blogging were released. They were rather straightforward and obvious in the following tone:
- Post freely, be helpful, seek help
- Don't post trade secrets, use best judgement
- Don't engage in online arguments, once again, be helpful

It appears they would have us out there talking about anything and all things, including company products, helping others with our products, etc.

Of course, it's written with perspective of "help the greater good, don't make us look bad", but I still think it's a great step forward and a proactive approach to forwarding the community.

Here's my last required gem:

These are my opinions and not those of IBM.

Re:IBM encourages company blogging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12643890)

Sounds like they've working towards to the idea of having culture evangelists, mentioned here http://www.bluedust.com/blog/?view=plink&id=116 [bluedust.com]

Re:IBM encourages company blogging (1)

Destoo (530123) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644283)

It describes another brand of astroturfers, right?

We can also draw a parallel between those "culture evangelists" and what is happening with asia right now.
To win business in a country, it's easier if you hire people there beforehand. you're already seen as a good guy creating local work. And those new employees are bound to "spread the word" about their employer to their peers.

Re:IBM encourages company blogging (1)

Destoo (530123) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644130)

>These are my opinions and not those of IBM.

Actually, the disclaimer goes like this:

"The postings on this site/posting are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions."

Meaning what you just said might or might not be the company's position.

Example.. If I made a comment that would include the term "Free as in Free from Microsoft", it would not necessarily reflect my employer's point of view.

Re:IBM encourages company blogging (1)

CorpDrone_1001001 (886446) | more than 9 years ago | (#12645329)

This seems like a wonderful idea, at least blogging to the insiders. I would imagine that in most corporate environments, external blogging by anyone in the company would be generally frowned upon unless the blogger has been through a comprehensive training course, had some larger posts reviewed, etc. I may be a bit jaded, failing to see more of the positive side in this.

It's extremely cool that IBM has gone so far as to post guidelines for external blogging...maybe they will blaze a trail the rest of us could follow?

I say it's another crass form of marketting (4, Insightful)

ShatteredDream (636520) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643533)

One of the reasons that I pretty much never read corporate blogs like Schwartz's is that they are usually just launching pads. Some of the Microsoft employee ones are kinda interesting because you get to see a little bit of what goes on with the development of IE and stuff like that. Yet I don't know anyone who really takes Schwartz seriously at all except for a few entries I have seen on the copyright expansionist blog IPCentral [ipcentral.info] .

I think it is only a matter of time before the bigger corporate bloggers screw up and get censored or fired for being too honest. What would happent to an IE developer that grudgingly admits that they're making CSS2.1 and 3.0 support top priority for 7.0 because Firefox's CSS support is better right now? They'd probably be fired. The same goes for a Sun developer who says that Apache's Harmony project may be what saves Java from being destroyed by .NET.

There is one thing that all of the elitists who post here saying how worthless blogging is ultimately fail to comprehend. Blogging gives the average citizen a stake in online free speech. It makes censorship actually hit home and does anyone honestly think that the average blogger is going to vote for a candidate that supported a measure that directly censored them? A lot are already jumping ship from the GOP because of Bush's uncritical support for McCain-Feingold. Sadly, blogging may be the last, best hope for restoring a drive for liberty in this country post-9/11 and the elitist nerds here and elsewhere should accept that and embrace it. So what if someone's blog is asinine, don't read it. Problem solved. Ironically I have seen few blog posts as utterly asinine as 90% of what gets posted by Anonymous Cowards here.

Re:I say it's another crass form of marketting (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643732)

FWIW, I'm also repulsed by McCain-Feingold, and agree that the average Joe needs a better understanding of how communicating online does (and spectacularly does not, sometimes) contribute to our wider cultural discourse. That being said, the topic here is corporate blogging. Censorship, per se, isn't an issue. Forget the web, blogs, the net. 20 years ago, people working for publicly held (hey, private, too) companies were always told to refer press inquiries to the people in the organization that were trained and authorized to handle them well. Plenty of companies got in hot water for something an employee wrote in a letter to editor, or communicated incorrectly to a customer, vendor, or partner. This is nothing new, but the wide reach and spontaneity of a blog has made it that much more delicate of an issue.

The result is anonymized rebel blogs that actually mean something, but which by their nature aren't trustworthy... or, sanctioned blogs that pretty much cling to the press release theme either on purpose or at least in practice. Juicier internal blogs are probably going to get toned down some, too, because they are still "discoverable" like e-mail, and can immortalize Really Dumb Things Someone Said.

Now, none of this has any bearing on the general issue of free speech, but when we talk down blogging (in this context - as company communications, no matter how formal or informal) we want to be sure that we're not letting that spill into the concept of more free-wheeling public blogs by enthusiasts and know-it-alls like the people here. Personally, I find forums like this, even with the impact of the periodic Moderation Insantity to be a more likely spot to find some insights (in the same amount of time searching) than I'd experience in the "wild" looking through blogs.

Re:I say it's another crass form of marketting (1)

Gotebe (887221) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643746)

"...they are usually just launching pads"

Not only that, but they are shamelessly trying to get public attention by "exposing the human side of the company", or whatever. Gimme a break! Joel Spolsky's, Eric Sink's, Microsoft's blogs are in sooo many ways simply PR stunts, that I am sometimes quite disgusted. Yeah, it may be worth reading these, (interesting, informative), but I really wander how much are these guys into it because it's good for their company (as opposed to, let's say, "I want to say something to the world and make it a better place" blogging).

Sorry, but blogging is way past its naivety phase. Yep, now it is a corporate agenda pusher.

Getting fired (3, Informative)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643549)

In TFA:
"Nobody gets fired for blogging"

If you search on google [google.com] , it is pretty easy to see that someone has been fired over blogging already. Its actually a fairly serious issue, one we spent time discussing in my ethics class. Granted the firing may have been over the content he posted, but he was fired because of the blog.

Re:Getting fired (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643909)

Its not a fairly serious issue, employees (in the case you link the moron was a contractor who clearly didnt realise one of the features of contracting is that you can be fired on a whim) have been fired for doing stupid things since the concept of a company was developed, the only difference with blogging is the stupidity is made available for all to see.

Re:Getting fired (2, Interesting)

joshdick (619079) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644394)

It's not the medium that gets people fired; it's the content.

When people misrepresent their company, they get canned.

Doesn't matter if they do it in a blog.
Doesn't matter if they do it with a frog.
Doesn't matter if they do it in a book.
Companies only care how they look.

Re:Getting fired (1)

sharpestmarble (875443) | more than 9 years ago | (#12646158)

Why limit it to Microsoft? Check out Dooce [dooce.com] . She coined the term dooced: to lose one's job because of one's website. Or do a plain google search.

Re:Getting fired (1)

g0at (135364) | more than 9 years ago | (#12647162)

it is pretty easy to see that someone has been fired over blogging already

Also: Dooce [dooce.com] , etc.

-b

Re:Getting fired (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12649048)

I was fired for blogging.

Forget why they DO - tell me why they DON'T (4, Interesting)

Brento (26177) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643550)

I read Macromedia's blogs religiously because I find 'em very interesting. It helps me build a personal, emotional connection to software. The guys behind the software are real people with ideas and struggles just like me, and that gives me warm and fuzzy feelings.

Why would any company not want to establish personal, emotional connections to their software?

Yeah, sure, there's risks involved if your employees reveal corporate secrets or turbulence, but if you trust them enough with your source code, why would you think they wouldn't be smart enough to walk the line with blogs as well? If you don't trust your employees enough to blog, it doesn't say anything about your employees - it says something about your paranoia and your inability to hire reliable staff.

(And yes, I have a personal blog, and no, I'm not allowed to talk about company stuff in it, and yes, I've been disciplined for even coming close to the line.)

Re:Forget why they DO - tell me why they DON'T (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12643597)

I read Macromedia's blogs religiously because I find 'em very interesting. It helps me build a personal, emotional connection to software. The guys behind the software are real people with ideas and struggles just like me, and that gives me warm and fuzzy feelings.

Please seek help.

Re:Forget why they DO - tell me why they DON'T (0, Offtopic)

Brento (26177) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643860)

Please seek help.

OK, sure. What's a good psychologist blog I could read?

Re:Forget why they DO - tell me why they DON'T (2)

cicho (45472) | more than 9 years ago | (#12645618)

Do you also have a personal, emotional relationship to Coke or Pepsi or your Nikes? Just curious.

Blogspotting (1)

YouHaveSnail (202852) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643575)

BusinessWeek ran an article on blogging called "Blogs Will Change Your Business" in the May 2 issue. The article is written in the form of a blog, and the main idea is that no business can afford to ignore blogs. My opinion when I read it was that the article was a little heavy on hype, but for a businessman who knows nothing about blogs it's probably a good introduction. In any case, the article also announced that BusinessWeek was starting its own blog, called Blogspotting [businessweek.com] , to continue to follow blogs as they relate to business.

On the Other Hand (1)

part_of_you (859291) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643601)

How many of you look at the advertizing that's done for the sake of companies, in blogs?

I know I just scroll down to the blog. I never take the time to look at the advertisements. I know the whole point is the mere suposition, but hell, I don't really even remember the slashdot articles 15 minutes after I read them.

Good business... (1)

gerbalblaste (882682) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643613)

Thats all that corporate bloging is good business practice. It promotes interest in the company while allowing for transparency and the chance to get to know one of the employees of the company. Of corse its motivated by greed. When does a corporation, whose only goal is to make money, do something that is not motivated by the the want for more money?

Emotional Contagion (0)

CHESTER COPPERPOT (864371) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643647)

"A wise man associating with the vicious becomes an idiot;

a dog travelling with good men becomes a rational being" Arabic Proverb.

Emotions on blogs! who woulda thunk it?! Emotions are also at play on /.. In the book Emotional contagion [amazon.com] the authors talk about how emotions are spread as contagions through mimicry. Similar to memes. Basically states that people mimic each other and that emotions cross over in that mimicry.

He talks about how some people are more potent at infecting others with their emotions than are their peers. THese powerful communicators possess three traits:

1. They feel strong emotions.

2. The express those strong emotions.

3. When others are experiencing emotions incompatible with their own, they must be relatively insensitive to and unresponsive to the feelings of others.

On the other hand, people who are susceptible to emotional contagion, or carriers, are likely to catch emotions if they:

1. rivet their attention on the others.

2. construe themselves in terms of their interrelatedness to the others;

3. are able to read others emotions.

4. tend to mimic emotions.

5. are aware of their emotional responses.

6. are emotionally reactive.

People are also most likely to catch others' emotions in two kinds of relationships - those involving love or power. Interestingly enough, introverts are more likely to be strong carriers of emotional contagion.

So next time an article comes up, remember, it only takes a handful of guys to spread FUD or excitement about the topic. THen the rest of the nerdy introverts will jump in on the emotional bandwagon. I have other thoughts on this related to /. sub-culture but I'll leave it at that lest I get modded down for pointing out the emperor has no clothes.

Safety first (1)

betasam (713798) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643661)

Many companies seem apprehensive of allowing publicly accessible employee blogs. This follows from the fact that most company PR is regulated and "meant" to be positive for the company. It takes only one rogue employee to tarnish reputation in an "unmoderated" blog. When it gets moderated it almost becomes another launching pad (which most people don't want to read.)

Those companies that have managed to do this see no harm in trying out publicly accessible Wikis too. However such companies usually are small sized and in most likelihood populated by code monkeys. I don't see many medium and large companies successfully launching unmoderated blogs and/or publicly accessible Wikis. If you've ever tried managing a company you'll know the "risks."

Here at disney.. (1)

xENoLocO (773565) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643812)

... they encourage you to blog (Disney Internet Group). The only thing is, the blog is on an intranet...

Internal Opposition... (2, Interesting)

johnhennessy (94737) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643893)

Blogging (truthfully) about something your company is doing might go completely against what a lot of people in the company are hired to hide.

Accountants, marketing and HR are all responsible for bending the truth in such a way to put a positive spin on something that might not be so rosey.

A prime example is Paul Otellini's (Intels CEO) interal blog which has been leaked at least once. I can't find the link to the original article where I read about it (help appreciated) which stated that he quite openly admitted that they had a lot of work to do to catch up with AMDs Opteron architecture.

If you are to take a step back and think about it, he's openness makes perfect sense to anyone who's been following processor trends for more than a year or so. The only problem is the accountants and marketing folks are trying to tell the opposite story - "AMD, no, ours is better".

I personally would prefer to hear my leader tell the truth and not simply try to keep the stock market happy. The only reason why the stock market gets upset by comments like this is because they aren't said often enough.

It's just business stupid. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 9 years ago | (#12643936)

The key to success in business is social magic. Guanxi as it's called in China, it's a form of office politics. Social software and blogging simply adds a new dimension to it all. If the world was flat, now its round. If the world was 2d, now its a 3d world. The internet and advanced communication plays a role in everything, and for most people in a good way.

Corporate Blogging (1)

bigmurd (884582) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644079)

Working within Digital advertising, we see blogs as more than simply gaining exposure. Corporate blogs should be about providing more information to people who are already interested in your company. In order to gain from this, the company needs to be doing something interesting enough for people to want to read it. Shell (a british oil company) interestingly started a message board on their site so that they could respond directly to people's accusations. A good corporate blog should encourage dialogue and allow the company to respond accurately to people's concerns. The comments feature will allow people who genuinely care about the products to give their feedback.

Motivation : low (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12644146)

given the number of answers to this post

Why the company I own blogs (1)

tjic (530860) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644290)

I run Technical Video Rental [technicalvideorental.com] , a small firm that rents out specialized instructional videos (welding, bowl turning, case mods, etc.) and we have a corporate blog.

The reason is two-fold:

1) community for greed's sake.
2) community for its own sake.

To expand on the first: I get lots of email from customers who are anxious to share the details of their metalworking and electronics projects with someone; hardware hacking can be a bit of a lonely hobby. By helping customers share their stories with each other, it gives customers an outlet, and a sense of shared community...which gives them positive associations with the website/service/brand...which keeps them coming back (or at least, adds a very very minor reason to check out the corporate website with some regularity).

To expand on the second: running a small corporation can be a lonely activity as well. One spends a lot of time coding, dealing with customer support issues, dealing with vendors, etc...and not nearly as much time hanging around the water cooler or throwing nerf footballs as one might have done as an engineer. So, putting my
own [technicalvideorental.com] projects [technicalvideorental.com] in the blog lets me interact with my customers, which is a nice break from regular work.

Blogging for the Enlightened Man (1)

miller60 (554835) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644536)

I read a lot of "corporate" blogs, and I think it's pretty easy to spot the ones that understand blogging, those that are chasing the bandwagon. Blogs are a really effective tool for sharing business expertise in a way that builds relationships with potential customers and partners. They work well because they're different from the tired old approaches to sales/marketing communications. The key is to talk about your industry using an authentic voice rather than marketing-speak. Some enlightened companies are figuring that out and making effective use of blogs. Other posts are sharing some fine examples of this. I'll offer one that doesn't get talked about much: Go Daddy's use of a CEO blog [netcraft.com] accompanying its Super Bowl ads. But for every clueful effort there's plenty of other companies who see blogs as a way to deliver the same old sales and marketing message, only via a blog. It doesn't work, and is painful to read. Those companies will claim blogs are a fad, and blame the format. Doh!

goa7 (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12644545)

However I don't = 36440 FrreBSD more. If you feel dim. If *BSD is

mod dow8 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12644756)

Just another way of communicating (1)

Phronk (887260) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644922)

Blogs are just another way of communicating, like static web pages are, except blogs are 'faster' and more interactive.

Blogs are quite new, and it will take a while before they are popularly understood as well as say a telephone is understood as a communication mechanism.

However, by the time effective use of blogs is on its way to being commonly understood, the Next Big Thing in Internet based communication will be on the way in, and people will be grappling with the same questions.

BTW, the Next Big Thing will FINALLY be the 'semantic web', but will hopefully be named something OTHER THAN 'the semantic web' cuz that term sucks. It will be a melding of P2P, something similar to del.icio.us, instant messaging, etc. And it will be harder for people to advertize and spam, I hope.

And the domestication of the dog will continue unabated.

Cluetrain manifesto (1)

worldcitizen (130185) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644924)

Corporate blogging. Why? Read the Cluetrain manifesto [cluetrain.org] and it will make an awful lot of sense. Corporate blogs are ways to create communities.

weather forecast blog (1)

KavanaghNY (246972) | more than 9 years ago | (#12644957)

Earth Satellite [earthsat.com] (the same folks who deliver the global imagery in Google Maps) recently deployed a weather blog [earthsat.com] with posts from the weather forecast editor. Subscribers to the company's line of weather forecast products can use the forum to discuss the products and asks questions of the weather scientists.

Blog software tools, but not blogging (1)

richyoung (721218) | more than 9 years ago | (#12646258)

At our company, we use Movable Type to give non-IT folk the ability to put stuff on the web site more easily. There seems to be a lot of activity in this front - understaffed small businesses using blogging software to create normal, non-blog content pages. (I'm not a big fan, personally. I think blogging software makes a poor CMS.)

As for actual corporate blogging, we're not doing it. We talked about it, but decided we didn't really have that many pressing things to say, and couldn't imagine that people would actually want to read a company blog.

But if you want a positive example of a corporate blog, look no further than Google Blog.

Blogging under a pseudonym (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12647623)

The Oswald Project [blogspot.com]

I blog about my company, not "for" my company. (Important distinction) Because I work for a small company in a small industry, it'd be too obvious to blog with real names. Some of what I blog about is technical and some is inter-personal. I've told a few coworkers about it, and they read it regularly, but other people just don't know.

Whether it stays that way or not, I don't know. But I and my readers are assured that the blog isn't motivated by the fear or greed of my company.

Back in the bad old days (1)

gone.fishing (213219) | more than 9 years ago | (#12648924)

Way back when, I used to represent a company on CompuServe. As a corporate representitive I took heat from customers and from bosses. I had to hold the company line at all costs and frequently caught heat from one boss because of something another boss told me to say. It was nerve-racking and carried a great deal of exposure. I loved it.

I used the flames that the customers sent me as a sort of moral guidepost. If I had enough complaints, I'd print off pages of them and use them to show the bosses how loud the customers were yelling about some practice that they found unfair. Not that it did a lot of good. I did occasionally win a battle though.

All too frequently customers asked for way too much. My computer went out of warranty just six months ago and then the video card fried so I want a replacement computer. Ahhh, no. If you had asked nicely, I may have been able to arrange a replacement video card for you to install but since you are a jerk, go to hell...

Sometimes people would go into our forum and outright lie about the company. I had the power to delete the posts and get them banned from the forum. I didn't use this power much, but when I did they had it comming.

Canadian business blogs? (1)

westendgirl (680185) | more than 9 years ago | (#12650187)

Does anyone know of a list of business blogs in Canada? I haven't been able to find many Canadian companies that blog. All I can find is a Toronto Star [thestar.com] article that glosses over the subject and some Globe and Mail pieces about how US firms are blogging. I'm interested in corporate blogs, as opposed to the one-person consultancy. There are tons of blogs run by freelancers and consultants, even in Canada.
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