Ive been doing some research to put the finishing touches on an upcoming presentation on technology use policies.
I was struck by the number of breathless warnings I found about the need to have corporate blogging policies and the hand-wringing concerns about the consequences for corporations who do not step up to the dire need for these policies. Fortunately, and perhaps not surprisingly, the law firms of the authors of most of the articles are prepared to draft these policies for unsuspecting corporations.
If you read enough of these articles, you have the sense that youve gotten a glimpse at the legal marketing playbook for 2005.
I dont mean to diminish the importance of having some kind of coverage of blogging within the context of an overall technology use policy, but Im a little suspicious of dire warnings on these issues from law firms that show little understanding of or experience with blogging or technology use policies.
Heres the tip-off why is anyone talking about a corporate blogging policy as if it is something separate from an organizations other technology use policy?
Ive heard people try to argue that blogs are somehow different, but I dont buy it. Maybe my point of view is different because Ive had a website for nearly ten years and a blog for more than two years, but I just dont see how blogs raise issues that require a separate kind of treatment.
Blogs raise the same issues as any public-facing technology or, for that matter, any public communications or appearances. If you have a policy that covers websites, email, chat rooms, newsgroups, public speaking, letters to the editor and the like, its hard to see how blogs would not be covered.
The irony in all this hype about corporate blogging policies is that ten years ago, the same breathless concerns about websites and email from lawyers prompted the rise of Internet use, email use and technology use policies. How quickly we forget.
Look, using the appearance of blogs as a reason to review and reconsider your existing technology use policy is not a bad thing, and its something you probably should do. If you have no technology use policy whatsoever today, using blogging as a catalyst to get that done is a good thing. However, dealing only with blogging issues while leaving security, password, document retention, confidentiality and alone is not a wise move.
Recognize the focus on blogging policies by law firms as the marketing effort that it is, but look behind the marketing message to see if it suggests some re-evaluation that you want to make.
And, if you have the sense that youve heard the rationale for blogging policies before, you are correct. I heard most of these arguments almost ten years ago from lawyers who didnt have much experience with or understanding of the Internet back then either. In the rush to develop the new corporate blogging policy industry, they apparently have forgotten about the other policies they helped you put in place years ago.