Speaking of blogging…

Published by Richard Hare on

It was a thrill to speak at Melcrum’s recent Social Media Forum for Communicators. I’d been looking forward to it since agreeing to speak last year. Although I’ve facilitated workshops before, I’ve never stood up in front of a room full of people and told them about what I do.

As I said in my presentation, it was either brave or foolish to commit to talking about our new internal blogging platform when it had only been live for a week. And it was rather late in the day when it dawned on me that I would be speaking to a room of around 100 communications professionals. To put this in perspective, I asked myself how I would feel if one of them attempted to facilitate a KM event for me. “Good on them for having a go”, I decided, steeling myself.

Our main focus over the past few years has been improving the intranet. We weren’t originally interested in blogs (a nice “Refusal of the Call“-style mythic touch). A communications manager asked us to create one for him to experiment with, but it remained a low priority until we decided to start blogging ourselves.

There were some good questions – and only one that felt I failed to answer satisfactorily. Most seemed to be a variation on “how do we control blogging?” As Neville Hobson had pointed out in an earlier session, if you’re asking this question, you’re probably not ready for blogging or social media.

The question that derailed me was about how we would react if someone in a factory started posting about their dissatisfaction and organising employees against the management. I fudged it a little, saying we’d have to refer it to HR and while it’s true this is should be dealt with through line management, it highlights the fear that of Social Media in existing management structures. As Philippe Borremans had already pointed out, when you sign a contract with an employer, you agree to certain standards of conduct. These don’t change just because you have access to a blog.

For me this is one strength of Social Media: if we’re listening properly, it can help us surface issues and resolve them. And those who aren’t ready for it yet need our help.

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