Many Fortune 1000 companies are still treating social media like the Coney Island Polar Bear Club treats the ocean on New Year’s Day – dipping a toe and running out of the water.
A lot of companies that allow employees to blog still have legal vet every blog comment, block Facebook on corporate servers, forbid employees to talk about their work in forums. Some companies simply don’t trust their employees, and others fear lost productivity.
But the social media train has left the station, and the smartest companies are developing social media policies or updating their blogging policies to include social media.
Protecting intellectual property is key, of course, but social media, like Twitter, is used by smart companies like Zappos, Dell, Southwest, and H&R Block for networking, PR, customer service, raising the company’s profile with key influencers, attracting employees, research, learning, broadcasting company news, driving traffic to the company website, and increasing search rankings.
IBM & Sun were among the first Fortune 500 companies to publish their employee-created corporate blogging policies, and now both have updated those policies to include social media participation, which both companies encourage.
The introduction to IBM’s Social Computing Guidelines, created by IBMers, says
“…it is very much in IBM’s interest—and, we believe, in each IBMer’s own—to be aware of and participate in this sphere of information, interaction and idea exchange…
for learning – “The rapidly growing phenomenon of user-generated web content—blogging, social web-applications and networking—are emerging important arenas for that kind of engagement and learning.”
To contribute: it becomes increasingly important for IBM and IBMers to share with the world the exciting things we’re learning and doing, and to learn from others.”
Sun’s Guidelines on Public Discourse, updated last month, says:
“By speaking directly to the world, without prior management approval, we are accepting higher risks in the interest of higher rewards. We don’t want to micro-manage, but here is some advice that we expect you to follow to help you manage that risk.
Have you seen or been involved in the development of an enterprise policy on social media participation? Please tell What’s Next Blog readers how your company is approaching employee participation in social media. Posted by B.L. Ochman
My 2005 post comparing IBM & Sun’s corporate blogging policies
Jeremiah Owyang, The Variance of Corporate Social Media Policies