Internal or External Company Blog?

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.

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10 Responses to “Internal or External Company Blog?”

  1. Luis Villa Says:

    Hi Jesper!

    It was all thanks to Linkedin: I used for searching for User Experience people in Capgemini all around the world, and from the results directly to the LDAP and started writing). The people inside corporations care more for their public data (Linkedin) than for their internal information (LDAP), so I had to use that “mixed approach”.

    The UXP Team blog was just a try. Though it unfortunately did not work as a blog, at least served for us to connect with all the colleagues all over the world on the User Experience discipline. (I think is basic in an Technology oriented company for UXP people being connected and collaborate).

    In my new company The Cocktail our “intranet” is our blog planet. We use our personal blogs -more than 30 with different matters!- to publish our thoughts, express ourselves and connect with other people. That has brought new employees, clients and an active role in the spanish web community.

    It’s a win-win situation: you continue publishing on your own personal space, develop your own discourse and also you help your company with more presence.

    Blogs? Always external, that’s my advice. It is something that you’ll feel yours, you’ll take more care and you always can engage in a more open and rich conversation.

    Best regards from sunny Spain!

  2. Daniel Szuc Says:

    2 thoughts:

    1. People may not feel as open to commenting as openly on an internal blog

    2. People may not feel as open to sharing

    Same can be said for collaboration sites in companies – easy to setup, not see easy to get people to share as it takes time to contribute if its not a natural part of people’s exiting writing & publishing tools.


  3. Patrice Says:

    Hi, Site RSS feed seems unreadable. Thanks. Patrice

  4. Lee Provoost Says:

    hi jesper, i am totally not in favor of internal company blogs for the same reasons you said. at capgemini netherlands we have tried a launch with an internal blog which was doomed to fail, luckily we have now our public technology blog at cap. You’re more than welcome if you want to contribute to capgemini’s public blog btw. drop me a line if you are interested

    oh, it’s possible that robert de wolff from the capgemini netherlands will contact you. i forwarded your contact details since you are working on such a tasks dashboard, bit similar to what he is doing.

    cheers, lee

  5. Richard Fahey Says:

    I agree that it would be difficult to sustain an internal blog. The current intranet does not promote blogs and so their visibility is very limited.

    I wish we had a more open blog policy, and believe we could learn a lot from companies such as Sun. At there are hundreds of different blogs by Sun employees all hosted under the Sun domain. Also, the CEO Jonathan Schwartz is a frequent blogger and these are promoted using the Twitter ( Also, Sun promotes employee blogs using ( This is similar to what SAP does for people who blog on

    Jon Mell has a very interested blog today on the ROI of blogging ( There is a cost to blogging, but if it meant that it enhances our image within certain sectors then it must be a good thing.

  6. Arjan Says:

    Interesting thought. As a blogger myself, I am very much in favor of sharing thoughts and knowledge through a blog. I think the most important thing is to keep the goal of your way of communicating in mind. With Capgemini being as global as it is, it might be sometimes useful to start an internal blog. Just to keep your specific group posted on what’s happening and share news. Of course you’ll need two things for that: a subject that is of interest to your audience and some active posters and replyers.
    Since most types of blogs are more about personal expression and a personal view on how things work, I think a blog such as this one is much more likely to survive in the open, public world, than somewhere hidden on one of our intanets.

  7. Jesper Rønn-Jensen Says:

    Capgemins official technology blog has more from a different angle that actually focuses on why internal blogs matter: Internal blogs matter. While I don’t agree with the perspectives, there are some good points, and the linked article at “go big always” is very interesting.

  8. Mark Nankman Says:

    Hi Jesper, Thanks for the backtrack. I totally agree with you that an external blog could be an effective marketing channel. I see the public technology blog as a showroom for displaying our knowledge, views and experiences.

    I had discarded our internal blog-o-sphere for mostly the same reasons you mentioned yourself. But I think Sam Lawrence gave us some really good uses for internal blogs. The fact that they are directed internally has advantages too. For example, account manager’s could blog about opportunities they see at customers. Or we could internally write about ideas for innovation or improvements of internal processes. The internal blogs can be a very useful sounding board for all sorts of ideas that we shouldn’t publicly discuss.

  9. Richard Fahey Says:

    I agree we should start with internal blogs, but I think we should have more external blogs aswell. For example, Microsoft has a UK Government blog at As we do so much work with the UK Government we should also have a blog like this. Maybe a Dutch Government blog etc also.

    We need to be more accessible to our clients and provide them with a better means to communicate with us. The work we’re doing with Clearspace and Jive will help this, but it’s only at the proof of concept level.

  10. SEO Ibiza Says:

    Hi Jesper.

    I’m a regular reader of your blog and would just like to say I for one am very glad you chose external, as I’ve read and learnt some really good stuff here.

    IMO internal company blogs will always suffer from the closed audience and lack of outside perspective.