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Personal vs. business dimensions of employee blogging

One of the things I’m trying to do is to figure out how to talk about work-related blogging given that this is something in between personal and business interests. A weblog by someone who works for a company (=talking about employee blogging here) could be anything between my personal diary that doesn’t have to do anything with my work and it’s not really me blogging, but my work.

To position a weblog I’m thinking of using a scale between personal and business (re: personal vs. organisational perspectives ). However, a scale by itself is not enough: in case of blogging about work decision-making is multidimensional.

Below is an attempt to identify the dimensions of choices on personal vs. business scale (a lot of it comes from the Microsoft data, but I tried to generalise based on my own experiences and other sources). Personal and business columns describe the extremes, the middle one includes examples of how different interests could mix.






Initiative – who initiated a weblog

Decided myself

Decided myself, but checked if it’s ok at work

Decided myself given positive signals (that blogging is allowed and encouraged) at work

Was prescribed at work

Location on corporate servers

Personal server

Public hosting platforms

Company-affiliated servers (e.g. funded, but not part of an official web-site)

Corporate servers (part of corporate official presence online)

Technology control

Control myself

Company doesn’t influence it


Full control by the company (don’t know if those blogs exist: I expect that at least some degree of personal customisation should be possible)

Affiliation with company


Explicitly hiding

Implicit – not immediately visible, but not hidden

Disclaimer – I work for company X, but this is my personal opinion

Yes, explicit

Attribution to a company (this is reputation related, but I don’t know how to formulate it well)

Things happening as a result of blogging influence mainly myself

Mixed: if something happens other think it’s a mixed responsibility of myself and my company

Things happening as a result of blogging influence mainly my company

Access, audience


Selected by the author


Other employees only

Content focus

Mainly non-work matters

Mix of work and non-work

Mainly work-related

Content style

Personal, subjective, confessional

A degree of filtering/editing to fit norms of professional writing

Business, objective

Micro-level content decision making (e.g. what goes into a specific post)


Myself, but listen to others at work

Myself, but have to get permissions from others at work

Defined by work needs

Defined by others at work

Process decision-making (have to be worked out)

I decide when and how to blog


When and how to blog is dictated by business logic and exiting workflows in my company

Blog uses (functions? purposes?)

Not related to work


Only business-related (good for my company) or work-related (good for performing well at work)

Blogging as part of job description


Not explicitly, but brought in as an “extra” during evaluation

Blogging not as a purpose, but one of the (officially) possible instruments to get work done
I can blog if I want, but I don’t have to

Yes, my job responsibilities explicitly include blogging

Work time spend blogging



Yes, only blogging at work time

Content ownership

My copyright

I can decide to give it away (e.g. under CC licence)


Both parties accept some rights of another side

Nobody knows for sure – it’s too complicated to discuss

Explicitly copyrighted by company

Content access

Me and those I decide to give it (e.g. company can’t access it if I leave the job)

Shared: both parties can have their own copy of it

Corporate (I can’t access it when I leave the job)

From what I’ve seen so far most of the tensions around employee blogging are in the middle. A weblog purely on personal end is not likely to be very interesting for a company (I can’t think of any business benefits or risks in that case ;). Something purely on business side I wouldn’t call a weblog at all (biased by my own definition of a weblog), but in this case benefits and risks are defined by the way a company works.

Some dimensions are interrelated. E.g. if you blog as part of your job you are likely to do it at work time; if your weblog is on a corporate server you don’t have full technology control and anyone can easily figure out the affiliation, but a configuration for any specific blogger is likely to be different (an example of my weblog).

Does this whole thing makes sense given your own experiences? Did I miss any important dimensions?

UPDATE In case you want to try it for your own weblog: use empty image or .xls file. Don’t forget to link back or let me know in some other way 🙂

Archived version of this entry is available at http://blog.mathemagenic.com/2006/11/17.html#a1854; comments are here.

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