Saturday, October 21, 2006

Blogger's Guide to Corporate Babble

The easiest American habit to lampoon is babbling, corporate enthusiasm. Judge, then, of my delight when I received Debbie's Weil's masterpiece The Corporate Blogging Book: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know to Get it Right. It's a pity Debbie wasted that sub-title - it would be far better on a new edition of The Bible. This book is not about blogging at all, but about corporate babbling. It is, therefore, unreadable by anybody with a life. However, it does contain the corporate blogging policies of IBM and Sun Microsystems. IBM has eleven rules. Alas, I have broken only ten - I cannot claim to have provided anybody with any of IBM's confidential or proprietary information, though, of course, I would if I could. The Sun guidelines are more sane, they include, for example, the demanding injunction to 'be interesting'. However, here, too, I have failed; I do not, when blogging, 'Think about the consequences'. Never mastered that. If you don't have a life, incidentally, or need a good laugh, Debbie is here.

9 comments:

  1. Your cynicism is misplaced, Bryan. I see from the page that "Readers are saying? The Corporate Blogging Book is "a great read"". You should have thought of the consequences of your post which might have averted this egg on face result.

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  2. Andrew, you have me. I will wipe off the egg and give my all in devotion to Debbie. However, she does seem to look a little like that lesbian comedian whose name I forget.

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  3. Hey there, Laurel & Hardy -- er, I mean Andrew and Bryan!

    Just yesterday at the newspaper, we got a little memo about "additions" to our policy manual. Some of it was about blogs -- those that people have officially linked to the paper (like Frank's books inq. blog) and those that people have outside the paper, but are still identified with. Bloggers were urged to be very careful not to say anything in their blogs they wouldn't say in an article in our paper (well, okay, I guess they could use some words in the blogosphere that would never fly in our 'family' paper). Still. I felt the cold breath of Big Brother on my shoulder as I was reading....

    This makes me wonder about regulations in the U.S. v. England. It seems to me, Bryan, that you are always saying things --very funny, but quite rude & eyebrow-raising occasionally -- that you could not possibly say in one of your articles for the paper.

    Are there no restrictions on you from the powers that be across the pond? Can you write anything in your blog without censure? (Or censor?)

    PS: Another reason I love Bill Nighy: "State of Play." Seen it? Too bad I don't know any papers anymore with an editor like that. Though maybe you've still got 'em in England. Here, they're all under the thumb of the corporate administrators.

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  4. Susan,
    The Sunday Times never censors me, though I do censor myself to the extent of accepting the disciplines and decorum of good journalism. I can be quite rude - see my book review in the paper today - but I can also be quite impersonal - see my news feature on religion. In general, however, I am hired because of the way I write. There would be no point in hiring me at all otherwise.The British press has a long tradition of rude, whmsical and outrageous behaviour. I am proud, occasionally, to be part of that tradition.
    The blog is just freedom. It has no association with the paper and the paper never says that, just because I do, my freedom of expression is limited. The idea that your bloggers are so limited is horrific to me. Not seen State of Play.

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  5. Very interesting comment, Susan. My own company, Nature Publishing Group, does not have an official "blogging policy" but they are formulating one, and I await with interest whether it will be the Oliver Morton/Timo Hannay "blogging for all" philosophy that Bryan espouses, or something more, er, corporate.

    Returning to the more narrow thrust of Bryan's post here, the "ideas for your blog" book arrived over the weekend (the one called "nobody cares what you had for lunch" one, Bryan). It was rubbish. But I do hold to my strange world-view that I like books about blogging. So far, the best of quite a few that I;ve read is Rebecca Blood's "The Weblog Handbook", although it is rather old, it has a heart.
    Hugh Hewitt's (title forgotten) was crowing and OTT, did not like it. "Rough Guide to blogging" is v useful if you haven't started blogging yet. Have not read this corporate one, not sure whether to or not, can i do it in 1 hour speed-reading?

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