Christopher Barger Presentation on Blogging at IBM

Chris is the uber-blogger for IBM. He tells how IBM used a Wiki to develop a blogging policy within about two weeks. They did this whole project in exactly two months, because wikis speed the process of collaboration. They found about 25 people who were familiar with blogging. The goal was to encourage external blogging and also finding ways to use blogs internally.

Here’s an interview with Chris published previously.

Here’s that policy. The NewPR Wiki has a directory of others you can compare.

Informal networking would be the best way to identify the contributors to a blogging policy. Find out who blogs, and who they know is blogging.

Now more than 300 IBMers blogging externally, and letting them know about the business. By providing the information to these bloggers who are talking to the outside world, they can clarify the information and break down hierarchy.

Since formally launching blogging guidelines they have tripled the number of active blogs and registered users. Talk to the employees on the blog platform, on their turf.

In response to a question about management fears that the blogs will be just a platform for airing gripes, he share the story of the lay-off of 15,000 employees and how someone posted a blast that got lots of attention. Chris posted a thoughtful response, which turned the conversation as others chimed in. Instead of a complaining session, the conversation became constructive on how to turn the company around.

People who comment must be identified by name. No such thing as anonymous posting or commenting. People need to be willing to stand behind what they post.

Chris was peppered with questions, and the group was really engaged. He says the good from blogging for IBM has FAR outweighed the risks. He says he would never let blogging go forward without a policy. Since blogging is happening anyway, what that means is everyone should have a blogging policy.

He says the most skeptical people were the communications staff, because they were resistant to having the rank-and-file employees control the messages. IBM’s pension change roll-out earlier this year worked really well and led to a healthy dialogue. If a situation as perilous as that could work well, anything can.

He also says don’t try to convince the skeptics to blog, because they will be lousy blogs. Let the people who are passionate do it. The best assets we have are our employees. Hand them the keys.

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Author: Lee Aase

Husband of one, father of six, grandfather of 13. Chancellor Emeritus, SMUG. By day I'm the Director of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. Whatever I say here is my personal opinion, and doesn't reflect the positions of my employer.

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