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The Fortune 500's Blogging 42

zlite writes "There's a new wiki that's tracking which of the Fortune 500 have public blogs. So far it appears that less than 20 of them are doing so, and their average share performance badly lags the rest of the F500. Why? This post suggests one reason: it's so risky that companies tend do it only when their traditional corporate messaging isn't working."
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The Fortune 500's Blogging

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  • Corporate Blogs (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mysqlrocks ( 783488 )
    I find that most corporate blogs are BS PR. Few companies want to actually let their employees share their thoughts with the general public.
    • Re:Corporate Blogs (Score:2, Informative)

      by PMoonlite ( 11151 )
      Few companies want to actually let their employees share their thoughts with the general public.

      Traditional companies, maybe. Companies of the future will have to support at least the appearance of openness. See blogs at Google [blogspot.com], Red Hat [redhat.com], Amazon [typepad.com]... See also the Cluetrain Manifesto [cluetrain.com].
      • Blogging can also be a new way of communicating, outside the "normal" channels and/or to expand on the communication from those channels. The article takes an old fashioned view, and also tries to correlate two things that really cannot be show to correlate. Besides they use bad statistics, you need a sample size of at least 30 "blogging firms" to derive meaningful statistics.

        I'll bet there are more than 20 firms that have internal only blogs, but there are not a lot that have external blogs. I don't think
  • by manavendra ( 688020 ) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @12:58PM (#14374597) Homepage Journal
    Public corporate blogging is dangerous territory, as I found out the hard way.

    Whilst being encouraged to record experiences, insights and lessons learnt when working with partners and their products, in a publicly available, searchable format, I found the moment you mention corporate names and *ANY* shortcomings, suddenly this "sharing knowledge" becomes "finding scapegoat".

    I guess what's required is an explicit corporate IT policy, with clear, specific guidelines on what can and cannot be blogged, if at all. This policy then needs to be shared, and "promoted" - beginning with the departments that would use it the most - IT. Unless there's a clear directive that knowledge sharing is appreciated, not much would change in the Fortune 500 world
    • guess what's required is an explicit corporate IT policy, with clear, specific guidelines on what can and cannot be blogged, if at all. This policy then needs to be shared, and "promoted" - beginning with the departments that would use it the most - IT.

      Wouldn't it just be better for all if the Fortune 500 companies just didn't allow "blogging" at all? It would end the astroturfing, googlebombing, and also the need for endless regulations that would make the whole exercise a bigger waste of time than it alr
    • From that perspective, a corporate web log might as well be a PR mouthpiece page. I don't understand how that would be any better than just putting the press releases on an RSS feed and be done with it. Still, I think that's better than the tripe that Jonathan Schwartz puts up on his web log at Sun Microsystems.
      • The people doing the corporate blogging should not be the upper management or PR folks. Their views represent 1% of the company and are always positive. It should be the regular joe in the trenches with a day-to-day grind doing the speaking. Only then would people actually take the message seriously.

  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @01:00PM (#14374607)
    Can someone explain the fuss over "corporate" web logs?

    I've always regarded them as nothing more than "friendlier press releases". Also, with only a few cosmetic changes, the usual "recent press releases" page bears a striking resemblence to "web logs"...

    • by Anonymous Coward
      If you're reading a corporate blog by Google or IBM, for example, you may just be reading a fancy press release, but one with interesting/technical details.
    • Ah, yes. They are cheaper, friendlier PR exercises to begin with.

      However, in this world where corporates fall over each other to promote "do no evil" or appear "friendly" (think of the number of staff employed to provide information to random callers - from students looking to do their internships, to university professors, to competitors fishing for information, to, in extreme cases, corporate spies), they then try to promote blogging to *other* parts of the organization than PR/marketing.

      The impet
    • by Anonymous Coward
  • IBM (Score:5, Informative)

    by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @01:06PM (#14374635) Homepage
    IBM's got a few blogs. [rhs.com] They seem to be doing ok.
    • Tech companies blog because they want to be seen on the cutting edge, and podcasting and blogs are perceived to be the cutting edge of tech culture. Apple, which doesn't blog, is perceived to be creating the cutting edge with iTunes and iPod, so they have no need of it.

      Company blogging is a double edged sword... it helps you connect more with clients, but also gives more fodder to your critics and competition. Just wait for the first major lawsuit against a company that uses its own blogs as evidence agains
    • Re:IBM (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by Heembo ( 916647 )
      This Chuck Norris Website is like a message from the LORD above himself. Thanks for passing on this crucial wisdom.
  • risky buisness (Score:2, Interesting)

    A quick look at Ford weblog reveals the chance for something scandalous reaching the masses is nearly inevitable. Why are they risking it? I see a lot of companies playing with new ideas, but this one reaches a new level of employee trust that is unwarrented. Whistleblowers dream.
  • It does not make sense to say that some companies "lag behind" others, when the selection criteria for which companies to study (Fortune 500) is based on performance. That's stupid.
  • by Servo ( 9177 ) <dstringf@NOsPaM.gmail.com> on Sunday January 01, 2006 @01:45PM (#14374781) Journal
    A friend of mine was fired from a job because he posted negative commments in a public forum about the employer. He didn't identify himself by name, or that he was employed by the company at that time. He just said something along the lines complaining the way management hanadled customer issues and security (i.e., ignoring them) and the fact that the entire support staff was outsourced. Apparently they tracked him down and confirmed he was an employee and fired him. Which in the long run was probably best for him anyway, because he doesn't call me all the time stressing out from work.

    At my current job, there are several outsourcing companies that work onsite for the customer I'm assigned to. I was hanging out late after work one day and one of the guys I'm friends with was taking an "ethics in business" test. The company he worked for had recently been aquired by one of the three letter telco's so all the aquired employees were having the drink their corporate koolaid. So I'm shoulder surfing looking at the test he's taking. The material was such a corporate CYA it wasn't even funny. It could be easily boiled down to "don't commit anything to paper so that its not a lie later." It went into such detail as to recommend "sensitive issues" not be submitted by internal email or memo's since those details could be obtained during a deposition. Instead, invite relevant parties to a meeting and discuss it verbally so there is no record. Yeah, that's real ethics in business for ya.

  • Usual blogodreck (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @01:48PM (#14374794) Homepage
    So we have a Slashdot link to a blog discussing another blog which links to another blog which links to a list of about fifteen companies which links to blog landing pages which finally link to the "corporate blogs". And every step of the way, there's advertising.

    When you finally get to the "corporate blogs", they turn out to be PR pieces.

    Nothing to see here, move along.

    (It's striking how few blogs use a moderation system, like Slashdot's. Of course, Slashdot still doesn't let you moderate the stories.)

  • Blogging isn't risky at all. I can see why companies that have trouble getting their message out would be more likely to use blogging, but blogging shouldn't be considered a risk to the more successful ones.

    In one of Seth Godin [typepad.com]'s online talks, he talks about how he stuck a suction cup to his head (he's bald) and burst all the blood vessels underneath, so he had a huge red mark for three or four months. He says, "blogging is like this; what may seem funny at the time may make it impossible to get a job for

  • I go to the few blogs "sponsored " by corporations to get info for my trading site but none of them offer one bit of information that can't be found in the millions of press releases that come out every day. The only useful blogs are the "rogue" blogs of the employees of the companies. It takes a while to find them but when found they are a great insight into the company. Blogs tend to be off the cuff and interesting. Corporate blogs are forced to be boring and regulated. I use blogs mostly for enterta
  • by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Sunday January 01, 2006 @02:20PM (#14374958) Homepage Journal
    Another possibility is that you don't become one of the biggest companies in America by paying people to dick around with things like blogs. Slashdot and Fark were bad enough already.
  • Huh? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by LiquidEdge ( 774076 )
    If blogging is the last resort of a failing company, why are companies such as Oracle, Sprint, and Boeing doing it? Yes, it's regularly a press release in blog form, but that's a much more digestable format, imo. I'd rather get company news in plain talk over a quote that marketing told the CEO to sign off on as his.
    • Sprint merged with Nextel, and Boeing has sold off their Wichita plant and has been laying tens of thousands of people off for the last 5 years. Not sure if I would call them failing companies, more like beleagured.
      • Sprint merging with Nextel has given it an entire new upside, once the merger is complete internally, every analyst out there expects it to take off. Boeing's story is different, they've come out of a slump and now have more orders than they can handle, their stock has gone from 50 a year ago to over 70. They sold off their Wichita plant in normal consolidation, this is one of the best looking companies for the next 5-10 years. Neither is proof that crappy companies go to blogs just because they're hurti
  • Microsoft has the biggest blogging presence of any corporation, and I can say that their blogs are working extremely well. Channel 9 (http://channel9.msdn.com/ [msdn.com] in particular is very successful. The video interviews and real-world feedback from the developers is really helping Microsoft connect better with its users - note the recent Firefox "Genuine" plugin and WMV plugins, Firefox compatibility with MSN projects, and a bigger push towards standards. Moreover, blogging has raised much more enthusiasm for Vi
  • The one thing about Corporate Blogging is a company (anyone, not just on the F500 list) doesn't need a blog unless it serves as a useful and quick forum to get information to/from customers. Traditional corporate companies which get successful, at some point of time get their support equation right besides the product(s) themselves. So, unless the Blogs were a forum to communicate to Customers, Shareholders and also add one more channel of reaching out safely, both Moderated and Unmoderated blogs would be u

The absent ones are always at fault.