The downside of corporate transparency

July 10, 2007 at 3:08 pm 2 comments

Ars Technica chronicles Google’s recent employee blogging snafus (Google vs Sicko, its alleged promotion of spam) and explores the tension that can arise between the desire to be democratic and transparent and the need to protect a company’s image:

“Google’s current approach of using blogs as both a means of casual communication and a formal channel for announcing products and events, while laudably democratic, paints a large (and constantly growing) target for reporters and other Google watchers who are looking for evidence of Evil—whether real or manufactured—within Google’s corporate structure and business plans.”

The company is undoubtedly experiencing the downside of transparency, but I hope the experience doesn’t cause it to change its approach. Most corporate blogging policies that I’ve seen advise employees to use their best judgment and consider the consequences before posting (here‘s Sun’s). I can’t help thinking that had the authors of these two posts exercised just a little bit more common sense and judgment, these ‘crises’ could have been averted.

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Entry filed under: Media, PR.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • […] of speech in corporate blogs? Thanks to Judy at point being for posting about this article in ars technica. It highlights corporate blogging and the dangers of […]

    Reply
  • 2. Simon Phipps  |  July 13, 2007 at 3:36 am

    Rather than focussing on the (important) concept of transparency, I’d suggest considering the main dynamic of blogging to be “authentic voice”. I regard the ability for our staff to blog with an authentic voice as being the greatest benefit of Sun’s blogs. The fact they largely succeed at this without corporate interference then leads to the result of transparency without harm to the company image (assuming we are hiring the right people, of course!). Nat Torkington of O’Reilly is controversial but correct in his analysis of the Google debacle, in my opinion.

    Reply

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