Corporate Blogging, Problems With

There’s much ado about the value of blogging in the corporation – and I like the idea in principle- and miss the blogs inside IBM that let me hear about what is going on all over the company because there’s apparently no such system at {new company}.

I’ll start by saying it’s clear that the First Ammendment doesn’t apply for corporate communications.

A few months ago I had a run in with my old management chain at IBM in which I wrote on an internal blog about a guerilla effort I undertook with a colleague to improve part of the product we worked on, which ultimately succeeded when I showed that a work estimate (apparently attempting to kill our initiative) of a couple weeks was really more like several hours.

I recieved not one, but two, shoot from the hip emails (one sentence each, like 40 minutes apart) from a certain second line manager critical of a minor detail of the post I made which were just splitting hairs. I invited him to point out clearly where by post violated the corporate blogging guidelines, and recieved a response of indirect pressure through a friend who worked there that “hr was reading my blog” and I “could be terminated for my post” or just that “.” Ultimately I took the post down rather than have to hear about it anymore. *(Note this was against the backdrop of being in the process of being laid off)*

Then I hear about some folks who were scolded by their management chains for posting critiques of corporate initiatives.

It’s clear that people are most sensitive to information that comes the closest to the truth. If one reports manager X has three hands, he or she won’t be all that bothered, but if one puts up thoughtful (emperor has no clothes-style) critique of some straw-man corporate effort with executive-attracting glitter and little substance, then suddenly the claws come out.

Now that’s its easy to make public knowledge of ridiculous management antics, or critique weak proposals, one of two things could happen – a) don’t do or propose dumb things (or accept thoughtful criticism gracefully) b) come down hard on people who criticize those things.

Which one do you think will happen?

3 thoughts on “Corporate Blogging, Problems With”

  1. Considering that most of the people in this world choose to hide faults rather than to fix them, I would have to say that option B is more likely to happen. People hate having the obvious pointed out to them. If they knew something was a problem, they would rather it slowly get dissolved into the background than to have the problem aired out in the open by people who make way less money than them. It’s lame, but that’s how I see things work in the corporate world.

    I’ve been scolded for what I would say is being realistic (but I guess in a James-esque no holds barred kind of way), and it’s funny to know that the most recent incident wasn’t even because my direct management felt strongly about it, it was like “so-and-so was upset about your post”, and I got the whole, “these are the people who are going to help you in your career in the future” kind of argument, which to me is meaningless if a person gets all crybaby about it and has to escalate up my management chain instead of being normal and talking to me about it directly.

  2. This is classic. You point out the obvious and you get scolded while all the STSMs and DEs that fucked up Workplace and ruined a promissing new product get a pat on the back, stock options and get a free ticket to a new project Accountability and honesty are alien concepts inside IBM. You’re lucky to be out of the place.

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