Roughly 2 years ago we started an international User Experience network in Capgemini. And everybody aggreed that we should have a blog. After a short period of time, the blog became stale and I have not visited it since then.
A colleague of mine wrote me today and that reminded me of that old, stale blog. He wanted to know who administers the internal blog system. Sadly, I couldn’t help answering that exact question. On the other hand, I felt that I could give this on as advice in case others have the same considerations.
Here is part of my reply to my colleague:
For my part, the UXP blog was a very good idea started by another former colleague (Luis Villa del Campo) from Spain. I liked the idea and joined in.
However, the experience has shown me that it’s very hard to keep an internal blog alive. The format of an external blog is better suited for my use: I want to be able to put stuff somewhere were I can easily find them again. The web search machines help me a lot. Being public also enables other people to comment on my stuff, and correct me when I’m wrong. Point me to better solutions over time. Writing stuff about usability, i had suddently people like Jakob Nielsen and Jared Spool commenting on my stuff. Something that would never had happened on an internal blog.
Furthermore, an external blog is (usually) good marketing of Capgemini itself — employees are known to love this company. I hope you can use this input in your struggle to get a blog up and running — wether it’s internal or external :) Feel free to contact me if there is anything you’d like to discuss.
Why did didn’t it work with the internal blog? Many things kicked in, but most importantly I think it boils down to the limited audience internally in the company. I admire that network effect that can make my heroes like Jakob Nielsen and Jared Spool comment on my stuff, and that was a completely unwanted side-effect at the time Thomas Watson and I started this blog.
Furthermore, as search engines index the contents, your stuff will eventually show up together with other related articles. Furthermore you have other smart people comment your stuff and question your decisions in the public. Not just the smart people in your company, who will probably only comment if they’re allowed to spend time on you.
That’s the rationale behind my recommendation to keep blogs public.
PS. Despite the sounding of the headline “internal or external company blog”, the purpose of this blog is not a company blog, but a private blog of Thomas Watson and I where we sometimes write about stuff at work. Back in 2005, we considered if the blog should be internal facing (only for colleagues) or external. We chose the latter, but see the headline as the considerations between those choices.
See also “Happy Birthday Justaddwater” (October 2006) with more background on why we started the blog as an external blog.