Corporate E-Learning
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Corporate Blogger guidelines

Different corporate has different vision and value system. Hence, I won't see a general guideline which can apply to all. Here are some corporate guidelines which may serve as a starting point for you to create your own for your company.

Thomas Nelson spells out the objectives of encouraging employees to blog:
we want to encourage you to blog about our company, our products, and your work. Our goal is three-fold:
* To raise the visibility of our company,
* To make a contribution to our industry, and
* To give the public a look at what goes on within a real live publishing company.

and continue to list out 10 points:
# Start with a blogging service.
# Write as yourself.
# Own your content. Employee blog sites are not Company communications. Therefore, your blog entries legally belong to you. They represent your thoughts and opinions. We think it is important that you remind your readers of this fact by including the following disclaimer on your site: “The posts on this blog are provided ‘as is’ with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.”
# Write relevant. Write often.
# Advertise—if you wish. While there is no requirement to run ads on your blog, you are free to do this if you wish. ... The only thing we ask is that, to the extent you have control, you run ads or recommend products that are congruent with our core values as a Company.
# Be nice. Avoid attacking other individuals or companies.
# Keep secrets. Do not disclose sensitive, proprietary, confidential, or financial informa-tion about the Company, other than what is publicly available in our SEC filings and corporate press releases.
# Respect copyrights.
# Obey the law.
# Remember the Handbook. As a condition of your employment, you agreed to abide by the rules of the Company Handbook. This also applies to your blogging activities.

Here is a version from Sun
Many of us at Sun are doing work that could change the world. We need to do a better job of telling the world. As of now, you are encouraged to tell the world about your work, without asking permission first

After setting up the tone, here are the advice:
#It’s a Two-Way Street. ... Whether or not you’re going to write, and especially if you are, look around and do some reading, so you learn where the conversation is and what people are saying.
#Don’t Tell Secrets.... There’s an official policy on protecting Sun's proprietary and confidential information, but there are still going to be judgment calls.
#Be Interesting
#Write What You Know
#Financial Rules. There are all sorts of laws about what we can and can’t say, business-wise. Talking about revenue, future product ship dates, roadmaps, or our share price is apt to get you, or the company, or both, into legal trouble.
#Quality Matters
#Think About Consequences
#Disclaimers.... a disclaimer on the front page saying who they work for, but that they’re not speaking officially. This is good practice, but don’t count it to avoid trouble; it may not have much legal effect.

The Harvard Law school provides 6 points:
1. Rights in the Content You Submit
2. Conduct
3. Disclaimer of Warranties and Limitation of Liability
4. Privacy Policy
5. Modification of These Terms of Use
6. Copyright Complaints

A short and sweet 11-point guideline from IBM originated from James Snell and summarised by InfoWorld.
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.

Here is a corporate weblog manifesto by a microsoft geek blogger.

On the other hand, Herald Tribune requires editor approval:
Web log postings will meet the same standards of journalism expected for articles published in the pages of the newspaper. This includes the same standards for objectivity, sourcing and ultimate accuracy.

An editor must review entries written by the blogger/reporter before being posted live online.
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