Does Your Company Have a Blogging Policy?

Web Worker Daily » Archive Open Thread: Does Your Company Have a Blogging Policy? «
I know it is in vogue to say “feh” to blog policies and focus more on blog strategies, but this post on GigaOm’s WebWorkerDaily provokes a $64,000 question:

“What comprises an effective blogging policy? How do you go about developing such a policy? Do employers have authority in dictating what an employee blogs about, given the company’s name is never mentioned? [emphasis mine] Do you know if your company has a blogging policy? If so, is it too restrictive?”

The question is more accurately stated as: do employers have authority in dictating what an employee blogs about on a personal blog, given the company’s name is never mentioned?”

I say no way. No authority. If an employee wants to blog about some heinous activity or state some very radical opinions that is entirely their free right to express those opinions as their own. I do believe a company has a right to request that an employee blogger not blog about work on a personal platform, or, if they do, to insure that the Golden Rule of Cross Examination applies, to wit: “Would you want what you said or wrote read back to you by the plaintiff’s attorney when you were sitting in the witness stand.” I would imagine most confidentiality agreements and intellectual property covenants that are de rigeur for new employees would be binding.
In other words, blogging about work on a personal blog and saying, “Man, working like a dog on a big project. Sucks the vending machine is out of Cheetos” is a lot different than saying, “I think the new Gonkalator project is going down the tubes fast. It’s a shame, we invested so much money in that and to see it die is really sad.”

I mentioned Lenovo here from time to time. I actually blog about the company to give it some link love. I try to be a good corporate citizen here. But, I always go back to the late Tony Churbuck’s advice after I was caught mooning the M/V East Chop one summer afternoon in 1976 from the deck of my sailboat somewhere near Horseshoe Shoal (the captain recognized my boat, and I worked for the same company, I was not known then, as now, for my good discretion). The old gent said: “Buddy: Never $*%& where you eat.”

Mooning Amtrak

Customers Should Avoid Community Software Vendor Lock In: Own your data

Customers Should Avoid Community Software Vendor Lock In: Own your data

Jeremiah is right — a company entering into SMM should be very wary of outsourced relationships. If you do go outside for support, make sure you are in a portable format so when and if you decided to bring the operation in house, you can easily import the data accumulated under the outsourced relationship:

“I’ve been talking to more and more companies that are creating their own corporate communities around their brand. For the most part, they lean on the SaaS models that the white label social network, collaboration, or even insight community vendors provide. While it certainly makes sense for marketers to lean on application service providers (it’s all setup, ready to roll, without the hassle of dealing with internal IT) and a decent to moderate price.”

We used Ogilvy Digital Influence to launch our first corporate blogs, but insisted it be build atop WordPress so we could migrate the archives onto our own boxes when we hit the tipping point that justified a self-serve. Photos are all in Flickr and easily exported and migrated (well, not exactly “easy”), videos are moving to YouTube.

Massive head cold, serious Cement Head

In case you were wondering why I am more abnormal than usual, I am definitely out of my mind on over-the-counter cold medications this week. I find a blend of DayQuil, TheraFlu Severe Cold (“Severe,” mind you), Cold-Eeze lozenges, Advil, Rolaids and Kleen-ex puts me into Timothy Leary territory.

And here I was thinking I was going to dodge the 2008 bug. Apparently there is a flu — a two week version — right out of Steven King’s The Stand. I cannot afford a case of it and have become agoraphobic as a result.

Questioning Ad Networks

Jason Calacanis tossed a grenade into the burgeoning field of online ad networks in a guest post on Silicon Alley Insider.

The question comes down to Long Tail economics in a mass audience world. How can a small, but strong “niche” site, get paid for its pageviews without assuming the massive cost structure of its own salesforce and ad ops team?

How can a mass site move its unsold remainder inventory without devaluing itself?

The answer is ad networks, but Calacanis writes:

“I’ve never liked the ad network business. They’re a very short term solution and they are very damaging to high-end publishers because they create massive channel conflicts (i.e. many people selling your inventory confusing advertisers), they run horrible ads that people hate (think punch the monkey), and the space is filled with dishonest players (i.e. they promise to not run certain types of ads… but they do).”

Calacanis points to’s decision to drop the network model. And this morning, my colleague Gary Milner points out:
MediaPost Publications – Forbes Joins Ad Network Fray – 03/25/2008

“THE GROWING CROWD OF VERTICAL ad networks got bigger Monday, with Forbes announcing plans to launch a network spanning more than 400 business and financial blogs.Forbes is among the latest media companies trying to squeeze ad dollars from the Internet’s long tail by aggregating niche blogs and Web sites around specific categories and selling targeting advertising across the sites.”

From an advertiser’s point of view, networks are convenient touch points for achieving broad reach with a low “relationship task” — it is unwieldy to negotiate and deal with insertion orders on a site by site basis. Sure, I like dealing directly with the publisher, but it simply isn’t feasible with a tight staff to develop and own relationships with dozens of media properties.

On the other hand (a weasel world I despise), I don’t want to see my brand in the company of Lowermybill’s roof dancers, the punchable monkey, and the other bottom feeders that dominate the display/banner advertising space. There’s a reason one doesn’t find those ads on the higher quality sites, and that’s because those sites have invested in their own sales teams and have the traffic and audience to justify the relationship cost.

Evolution of Security: Meet The TSA Bloggers

Evolution of Security: Meet Our Bloggers

I’ve wondered what it would be like running a blogging program for a generally despised industry or organization. Imagine what online customer service is like at a health insurer? At an airline? One organization that needs all the goodwill it can get is the Transportation Safety Administration, or TSA. Colleague Lisa S. sent along a link to their blog. I think I knew it existed by I never visited it until this morning.

It’s pretty candid, makes fun of itself in all the right places, puts a human face on some of the bloggers who are actual screeners and managers, and in general provides some good insights into what is happening when you line up in the cattle chute, unshod, jacket off, your one-quart ZipLoc of private toiletries dangling in your hand.

As a guy who clears security at least twice every week, sometimes six times, here’s my drill and recommendations.

  1. Be fast and be smart. Don’t be the mouth breather who goes through carrying an anvil in your pants. “Duh, how did that change get in my pocket.”
  2. Two bins is all it takes. I approach the bins and start the disrobe before it is my turn to unload. Change, pens, phone, blackberry, etc. all go into the jacket/blazer. Boarding pass in shirt pocket,
  3. Laptop in its own bin.
  4. Shoes (always loafers, laces slow you down), then coat, then bag o’shaving gear on top of that.
  5. Bin with shoes, coat, bag does first on the belt. Then carry on. Then laptop. Then backpack.
  6. Look the screen in the eye, wait for the signal, pass through, hand over boarding pass.
  7. Collect gear. Get dressed, repack.

It’s not that bad. In fact, all things considered, it’s down right tolerable. The only time I start to smolder is during school vacations when a ton of families are flying and the lines get longer and less experienced. I would love a priority line for frequent travelers, but so far the concept hasn’t really taken off.

Launch day

I impulsively got the boat in the water today. Didn’t wait to paint the bottom. Just gave the battery a quick charge, screwed a skid plate into the skeg of the dinghy, spliced on a new paintaer, hooked it all up to the back of the car and ten minutes later discovered my new Stearns waders had a leak in the right boot.

Boat started right up, slick as could be, so I towed the dinghy out to the mooring (still in summer mode without a winter stick because I stayed in the water so late last December the mooring guy could’nt service it), tied it off with a bowline on a bight, then tightened down my hat, zipped up snug and floored the Honda for a quick tour of the three bays.

I brought the Flip cam and even tried some narrated tour for those faithful readers who have no clue what Cape Cod looks like in late March. The wind noise is wicked and the image is all over the place.

GM Shifting 50% Of Ad Spending Online – Silicon Alley Insider

GM Shifting 50% Of Ad Spending Online – Silicon Alley Insider
Think about it. Half the spend goes online.  What percentage of a PC marker’s ad budget should be online?

“Here’s the reason so many Web publishers are optimistic about the future, even if the ad model isn’t clear yet: GM, the nation’s 3rd-largest advertiser, will move half of its ad spending–$3 billion in 2007–online within three years, reports AdAge, citing unnamed GM executives.

GM spent $197 million on online advertising in 2007 according to TNS, a figure that includes gaming, search and interactive appilcations.”

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