Rules for Blogs

I suppose everything has to have rules. Especially in blogging. The latest set of rules comes from Nicholas Carr -- Seven rules for corporate blogging -- in response to Robert Scoble's somewhat interesting week. You gotta admit, Scoble just lets it all hang out there, right? I continue to be impressed with his daily displays, too. It's just too much fun to watch and learn from -- even though I obviously disagree with his Windows and Office stuff. I also wonder what he eats to keep up that pace. I only met Scoble once, but he has a remarkable ability to make you feel comfortable, which is cool because I tend to freeze up around stars. I suppose that's why he's a good blogger. Seems like an interesting guy.

Anyway, Carr (also an interesting guy, although he's more quiet than his writing implies) offers seven rules to guide new corporate bloggers. I can see how Carr's ideas would be useful for a fairly conservative company offering a marketing-based corporate blog experience. Not Sun, in other words. But there are three sentences stuffed in his list of rules that really go against my experience blogging for Sun.

According to Carr:

If you give bloggers too much freedom, they may "go native" and tarnish your reputation by writing something stupid.

I'm not sure what it means to "go native" but here at blogs.sun.com we have a massive amount of freedom. Heck, the original blogging policy was simply "don't be stupid" or something like that. Even the current policy is very empowering. For Scott and Jonathan to have given us all this freedom is extraordinary. It builds trust. And when someone gives you a gift like that, they are telling you that you've earned it. As a result, you honor the relationship, and you don't really need rules to keep you in line. I'm sure we've had a few people do a dumb thing or two these past two years, but it's really quite rare considering how many bloggers we have.

Next ...

For companies, blogging should be treated as another channel for corporate communications, with its own strengths and weaknesses. You should use that channel to get your message out, not to give employees a sand pile for self-expression.

On this one, I think blogs.sun.com is successful because we don't deliver messages from corporate communications, and the team that set up blogs.sun.com had nothing to do with corporate communications. Blogging and corporate communications are two entirely different paradigms. And as far as the "sand pile for self-expression" is concerned ... well ... after two years of blogging I still here from developers and customers that they are thankful for all our blogs because they can get to know the Sun people because we are trusted to express ourselves personally. That's a powerful community-building dynamic. So, I think we need to keep the sand pile. It's fun playing in the sand, you know.

So, there you have it. I hope I didn't take those three sentence out of context too much. Carr's post (as usual) is long, so take a peak and see what you think.
Comments:

I completely agree with the last part of your post. I read some of the blogs from sun employees especially since it is not corporate communications. Keep up the good work.

Posted by Admar on March 28, 2006 at 11:14 AM JST #

I agree with freedom with some duties here too.

Posted by Amit Bharti on March 28, 2006 at 06:59 PM JST #

Thanks, Amit and Admar. We are on the same page. And I think most Sun bloggers would agree, too. :)

Posted by Jim on March 29, 2006 at 07:32 AM JST #

[Trackback] Nicholas Carr (famous for stirring things up with his book Does IT Matter?) gives his Seven rules for Corporate Blogging. Rule #1 is the one worthy of most of the conversation: Don't do it. If you have no compelling business reason to get involved in t...

Posted by Inside the Cubicle on March 31, 2006 at 05:08 PM JST #

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