Personal vs. business dimensions of employee blogging: affiliation and attribution

by Lilia Efimova on 13 December 2006

Just came across and couldn’t resist quoting :)

Alex Barnett on why moving his blog from Microsoft blog server to his own:

Well, there’s something about knowing that your thoughts are hosted on your employer’s infrastructure that I think has tended to constrain my writing somewhat – not much, but enough to be aware of it as I blog. And not because of company policy (i.e. ‘blog smart’).

While on MSDN, I always got a slight guilty feeling whenever I posted about purely personal or technical but non-Microsoft related stuff. I know there are bunch of posts I’ve written or wanted to write but didn’t because I’m on ‘official’ territory.

Does that mean that my personal thoughts to be published on my new blog can’t be intepreted as the words of a Microsoft employee, just because they live on my personal domain? No, I’m not thinking that at all.

If there’s one thing we’re all learning as ‘Microsoft bloggers’ is that what you write is considered a view of a Microsoft employee and therefore is quoteable and abusable as evidence of Microsoft’s position on a matter. It doesn’t matter how much you point out disclaimers (ah, that reminds me! I should add one to my personal blog…) that “your views are you own and not those of your employers’ “, that fact it is that it is the perception that counts. Even as I write this post and know that I’m publishing from my new blog on a non-Microsoft-owned site, I am aware of my contractual agreement with my employer, I am aware the information that I know of but can’t share publicly and the conversations with colleagues that cannot be made public. While at Microsoft, Robert Scoble and others regularly reminded us of that. This exit video of Scoble on Channel 9 is must-see viewing for any blogger in my view (most people are employed by somebody) – he talks about the fact that everytime he blogged he was very aware of the associated risks. I was sad to see him go – he taught me and the rest of us a lot about this topic. The fact that you might think that I’m writing ‘on behalf of Microsoft’ (which is not the case :-P ) is a fact that any blogging employee of any company needs to be mindful of. Blog smart in other words.

In relation to several things: the importance of weblog location, affiliation and attribution in Personal vs. business dimensions of employee blogging, ongoing thinking on how to incorporate quotes from weblogs next to anonymous interview quotes and an abstract for Methods of blog research: Behind the scenes – possible panel(s) for AoIR 2007.

Archived version of this entry is available at http://blog.mathemagenic.com/2006/12/13.html#a1870; comments are here.

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