You know, I never intended to have more than a follow-up to this topic (How can I encourage corporate blogging? on my old blog, and Corporate Blogging – Part II), but it has become a topic of interest to me. There are times at work when I believe that new ideas are simply “lost in the fog” so to speak. There were a couple of good posts on the topic of risk aversion several weeks ago by Robert Scoble and Kathy Sierra, in both corporate environments and personal lives.
Many times new ideas and technologies get brushed or set aside for reasons other than the obvious. By obvious, I mean something that does not fit the company’s goals, budget, or needs. To be more clear, people are afraid of change. They get too comfortable, too ‘clingy’ to their way of doing things – that’s corporate mentality as well as personal mentality. Last week I was surprised to find an openness to the idea of blogging one of our Disaster Recovery exercises. Not only on my personal blog (which I struggled with), but also as an exercise in communication during the test itself.
Now that does not come along too often, where a virtually unknown, untested technology or idea is embraced without any upfront research and fact-finding. For a corporate IT geek like me, that simply stunned me, right down to my shoes. It was quite an exciting way to start the exercise to begin with, and more so to see many team members utilizing the tool, updating with content, status, news, successes, issues, etc… What I’m really interested in at this point is what the feedback on the idea will be at our post-test meeting next week. Simply getting feedback about how to do it better next time will be the reward I’m looking for, because a simple, free, easy-to-access blog is a great method of communicating information during an event like the one we tested for.
But what about day to day? Not every day is a disaster (thank God), and not everything is critical information that needs instant dissemination. However, the need for simple many-to-many information publication is needed nearly everywhere in a corporate environment. The idea of departments being able to provide information to each other in a more casual way can, in many instances, allow more detail to be incorporated, and more thought in the structure of what needs to be said.
One important lesson that nearly everyone in corporate America has learned, is that mass-mailed email is read by almost no one. We all find them irritating and unnecessary; often they have more in common with Junk Mail than anything useful. And that’s a sad thing – we all have important jobs, and work hard to communicate information to each other. And what is always the number one complaint? That none of us communicate as well as we could.
This is where corporate blogging could really shine. Every department should have a main blog, and probably many personal blogs under it, or that contribute to it. Similar to going to ZDNet or CNet and sorting through dozens of RSS feeds for news on this or that, each department should publish its own unique information. There is always someone in each group, team or department that can or would take an interest in writing up the status of the day and publishing it for the rest of the corporation. Blogs also bring a solution to the problem of corporate Junk Mail. Because you can peruse the information at your leisure, it no longer has to interrupt your work – you can plan to read the information when you are receptive to it: morning, lunch, breaks, whatever. That also means that when a mass email is sent, it would actually have meaning, and would be important enough to stop what you’re working on and read it.
So in the end, blogging in a corporate environment can provide a much more dynamic and streamlined method of publishing information to the users of that information. Keeping email for person-to-person communications, where you can be more specific in the communication. It also seperates out another communication tool that many in IT fear – Instant Messaging.