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Blogging Policy and Guidelines

Part of our “blog usability” series.

IBM’s frontpage focus on blogging inspired me to dig into their blogging policy and guidelines (created by the bloggers in an internal forum):

Guidelines for IBM bloggers: executive summary

  1. Know and follow IBM’s Business Conduct Guidelines.
  2. Blogs, wikis and other forms of online discourse are individual interactions, not corporate communications. IBMers are personally responsible for their posts. Be mindful that what you write will be public for a long time—protect your privacy.
  3. Identify yourself – name and, when relevant, role at IBM – when you blog about IBM or IBM-related matters. And write in the first person. You must make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of IBM.
  4. If you publish a blog or post to a blog outside of IBM and it has something to do with work you do or subjects associated with IBM, use a disclaimer such as this: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.”
  5. Respect copyright, fair use and financial disclosure laws.
  6. Don’t provide IBM’s or another’s confidential or other proprietary information. Ask permission to publish or report on conversations that are meant to be private or internal to IBM.
  7. Don’t cite or reference clients, partners or suppliers without their approval.
  8. Respect your audience. Don’t use ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, etc., and show proper consideration for others’ privacy and for topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory – such as politics and religion.
  9. Find out who else is blogging on the topic, and cite them.
  10. Don’t pick fights, be the first to correct your own mistakes, and don’t alter previous posts without indicating that you have done so.
  11. Try to add value. Provide worthwhile information and perspective.

After blogging for one year, we find ourselves applying similar guidelines. Though we have not written down guidelines in Capgemini for this (not that I know of), we can easily nod to each of these guidelines.

Back in May we discussed the value of a blog commenting policy, which is mostly directed at a blog’s audience. The guidelines here are aimed at the authors.

I’m quite curious here: Who else have blogging guidelines at work, or privately? Please post links or text from similar guidelines.

Could guidelines like these help people that want to start blogging? Or does it scare people off? Your comments appreciated!

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5 Responses to “Blogging Policy and Guidelines”

  1. Thomas Baekdal Says:

    As a blog policy I do not think it is that good. Sure, every item makes sense, but it does not encourage great blog post.

    There are two things wrong with this:

    1: IBM tries very hard to stay out of blogging as a company. They encourage blogging, but only as long as people point out that it IBM is not responsible, nor is the sender. This is like saying that we do blogs because that is what everyone is talking about – but IBM hate it because then the top managers lose control over the information. This way the managers can claim information control, because they are the only ones who can really speak on behalf of the company.

    2: Asking bloggers not to pick a fight, is very effective way of encouraging mediocrity – and as Kathy Sierra points out, that is not good thing.

    I would encourage them to trust their employees, and let them speak for the area that they are responsible for. Be loyal to them, and support their views – and they will find that the loyalty is rewarded. Like what I assume CapGemini is doing here.

    Encourage people to pick fights, and stop the mediocrity thinking. But, pick the right ones. Just look at Apple, they always pick fights – usually against Microsoft, and that often results in something positive. Fight for what is right – and do it with passion.

    Blogging is one of the most effective branding tools in existence, but you have to stand out to make a difference – and you have to support it, even when things go wrong.

    I think a blogging policy should contain a set of corporate and ethic values. This way you can protect what is important to you (your values), and fight everything else with passion and devotion.

  2. Keith Instone Says:

    The IBM blogging guidelines were announced in May of last year. Here are some links (by IBMers and others) from that period.

    http://www.edbrill.com/ebrill/edbrill.nsf/dx/IBMbloggingefforts

    http://vowe.net/archives/005881.html

    http://news.com.com/2061-10809_3-5708645.html?part=rss&tag=5708645&subj=news

    http://www-03.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/jasnell?entry=blogging_ibm

    http://koranteng.blogspot.com/2005/05/on-blogging-at-ibm.html

    http://www.intertwingly.net/blog/2005/05/16/Disclaim-This

    I am sure you could find more mentions of this on your own, but this is a start.

  3. Andre Charland Says:

    Thanks for posting this. Quite helpful:)

  4. Andre’s Blog » Blog Archive » links for 2006-10-23 Says:

    [...] IBM Blogging Policy and Guidelines IBM’s blogging policy. I’ll use this in my blogging for business talk at massive. (tags: blog blogging marketing communication personal ibm corporate massive) [...]