Today, I came across Irving Wladawsky-Berger’s blog post on The Essence of Blogging. Irving is the Vice President of Technical Strategy and Innovation for the IBM Corporation. I enjoyed Irving’s perspectives on the influence blogs are having on society, as well as the importance they can play in business when it comes to public relations, increasing awareness (and traffic to your website), and education.

The fact that IBM encourages employees to blog echoes the same policies of my employer, Twelve Horses. But what I especially enjoyed reading were the Policy and Guidelines that IBM established for the purposes of employee blogging.

The introduction for the Policy and Guidelines is refreshing because it illustrates the value of blogging for a company like IBM, and many others. The first paragraph states, “…it is very much in IBM’s interest – and, we believe, in each IBMer’s own – to be aware of this sphere of information, interaction and idea exchange.”

IBM recognizes the positive influence blogging can have on their company culture and encourages it. Employee blogging will assist IBM in continuing to be innovative and competitive because they are learning and contributing to a sphere that is rich with applicable and interactive information. Furthermore, it extends the company’s reach and influence because they are actually participating in the conversations that are going on in the blogosphere. The opportunity to form meaningful, valuable, and even profitable relationships with customers, resellers, or other partners can be just a comment, trackback, tag, post, or StubleUpon away.

Here is the Executive Summary, but I do recommend that you read the whole document because it goes into a more detailed discussion of each item.

Guidelines for IBM Bloggers: Executive Summary

  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.

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