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In the largest corporate blogging initiative to date, IBM has published an announcement on its Intranet site encouraging all 320,000+ employees world wide to consider engaging actively in the practice of blogging. It has also issued new, and conservative, blogging guidelines which may inspire other Fortune 1000 companies to set their own blog policies.
Robert Scoble writes about IBM’s new blog guidelines, “Sounds good, although I’ve broken at least three of these in the past two years and now many teams at Microsoft use blogs to communicate news with the outside world, which doesn’t seem to be allowed by these guidelines. I guess my style of blogging wouldn’t be welcome at IBM.”
IBM Corporate Blogging Guidelines
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 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.
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.
James Snell at IBM has an extensive post on the guidelines. Externally, IBM’s developerWorks site is now host to 20+ blogs focused on a variety of developer-focused topics including emerging technologies, open source, the PowerPC architecture, SOA, autonomic computing, industry standards, and so on.
IBM has decided, for now, not to have a centralized resource for employee blogs like Sun Microsystems and Microsoft.