Just a short note to draw attention to a hobby-horse of mine. Remember how we used to use eMail inappropriately, how we all got insensed about “flaming” and how we all agreed just how bad that was; remember the solemn advice given to all employees – never give bad news by eMail – and particularly not on a Friday!
It’s an area that a colleague of mine (Joe Nicholls) and I are rather interested in. We’re working together to produce guidance specifically for our University on many of the niceties of social networking. Our first paper sets the context for some of the ideas I then further developed at the UKOLN Workshop in November.
Well the same is likely to occur with blogging until the etiquette is firmly established and agreed. IBM have taken a lead with this by producing some blogging guidelines and it’s some of the ideas learnt from them, and from personal experience that I’m keen to discuss here in this posting.
The nub of the issue is when to use a blog associated with the organisation you’re employed by to give information, even your personal opinions, to the outside world. No amount of “the views expressed on this page are those of the individual” can disassociate the fact that views like those ones expressed on a page must in some way be linked to the organisation. That’s why I’m using this blog, not that of my employer, to express these personal views. [Of course in time thay become accepted as official guidance, good practice or welcome advice – but not yet!]
So the very simple message … beware what you blog and where you blog!
Just as we all have multiple eMail systems – I once thought it was a pain to have more than one and tried to integrate them all into one client (Outlook as it happens, using varied combinations of POP, Exchange and IMAP) to achieve what I perceived to be eMail nirvana – I now welcome my multiple eMail systems as a way of compartmentalising my life. I think before I present or offer an eMail address. Is it work, is it eCommerce, is it just a requirement to fill in a form, is it family or friends, is it related to a social networking site?
So with blogs. I have a public personal blog – this one, I have a private personal one (for family news where we all chip in), I use a prototype departmental one and soon we will have an institutional one as well. For each one I will use different language, give different messages and hopefully think carefully before I publish. Of course the advantage of a blog (unlike eMail) is that I can rectify text and context if I get it wrong and of course I can delete a posting as well.
The message is therefore be very aware of the context of your blog postings and use the language appropriate for your intended reader … but then you knew all that already, didn’t you?