The Dangers and Promise of Blogging

Today’s Washington Post has an Amy Joyce story on the pitfalls of blogging in the workplace. Some bloggers who have said unkind words about their employers or their workplace have free expressed themselves into the unemployment line.

I suppose I am one who courts danger by occasionally blogging from work. I’ll put my productivity up against anyone’s and I am careful in writing about certain subjects, but I never write anything that I wouldn’t say to my boss or say to my whole organization in a staff meeting. But there’s the rub–the opportunities to speak frankly are few and far between. Most organizations don’t want to hear criticism, constructive or otherwise, and most subtly discourage innovate thinking or changes in time-honored practices or approaches. The “go along to get along” mentality is very strong.

Nonetheless, I’ve been surprised that blogs are almost exclusively the province of individuals who are not in positions of authority. In most organizations, much time is wasted at the water cooler wondering what the boss is thinking, what plans are being hatched, and what the organization’s leaders are really trying to accomplish. A boss with a blog and a vision could change the dynamics of an organization overnight.

Sadly, few private businesses, even the most successful, have a leader bold enough to share his/her ideas, observations, and passion on a regular basis. It’s also a lot of real work, not something to blow off on a subordinate.

I know that at one time Gov. Warner’s staff at least thought about him having a blog. Imagine if he did! Over the heads of the media, through the information barriers set up by the cabinet secretaries, past the tea leaf reading agency directors, and straight to the state employees who do or are supposed to do the work, straight to citizens, unfiltered–it would be amazing.

It would also be dangerous in this time when no utterance goes unrecorded or unnoticed by crack oppo researchers. It is said that the GOP has a treasure trove of questionable Howard Dean plain-speaking, recorded when he was a Governor trying to discuss issues as if he was just a regular Joe. When he turned out not to be the nominee, they didn’t need it.

Maybe someday we’ll see an organization with a leader whose primary means of communication with his/her far-flung empire is a blog. I’d like to be there.


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Comments

  1. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Comment One: If Bill Clinton can blog, surely Mark Warner can. I never was a fan of the ex-prez, but I’ve got to say, I found his daily ruminations pretty interesting, even humanizing. (I loved the post where he waxes indignant about Chelsea’s main squeeze showing up in sweatpants.) Check out http://www.billclintondailydiary.blogspot.com.

  2. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Point Two: Forbes magazine recently ran an article (two, three issues ago) about the business uses of blogging. Apparently, blogging is taking off as a business tool, though mainly to communicate to constituencies outside the organization. Another sign of the times, a Maryland communications company recently issued a white paper on business blogging. Before it’s all over, blogs will be touted as the greatest panacea since… since websites. But I’m betting that, used judiciously, they’ll be around a long time. There’s undoubtedly a business opportunity for, say, a frustrated state employee looking to go into business for himself.

  3. Oh man – I hate to point this out, but that’s definitely a hoax. And a bizarre one at that.

    It’s really weird…the time and effort this person puts into that diary. They seem to keep track of Clinton’s daily movements sync them with their posts.

  4. Jim Bacon Avatar

    It occurred to me that the website might be a hoax. But, if so, the author is remarkably convincing. … Maybe Mark Warner needs someone to impersonate HIM on a blog

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