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Thanks for visiting the Digital Workplace Group (DWG) website. You'll see this post may refer to the "Intranet Benchmarking Forum (IBF)," the "Digital Workplace Forum (DWF)" or "IBF Live." But that doesn't match our website name!

In a nutshell, we merged IBF and DWF into one service and changed our name to "Digital Workplace Group." The new name represents the broader set of services we've grown to offer, beyond an original focus on just intranets. We also changed the name of our monthly webinar from "IBF Live" to "Digital Workplace Live."

Although we've relabelled things, we're proud of our decade+ history and have left this page intact. Enjoy your time on our site and please contact us with any questions or comments.

It may seem a little perverse to write a blog against blogging, but I bet I am not the first. It is not that blogging is of itself a bad thing, but that blogging in certain contexts – and intranets specifically – may be counterproductive.

In an organisation, the main purpose of a blog is to encourage a sense of community and inclusiveness as well as to inform. This can certainly be achieved with blogs by the chief executive and a small number of other senior leaders (as mentioned earlier by Paul Miller) but as blogging moves further along the branches of the organisational tree that advantage can be lost. The issue is that blogs help to fill a gap when there is a large organisational distance between two roles. So, for example, as a technical writer I would not expect to have much direct contact with the chief executive of my large organisation and might get that by reading and responding to a blog. However, I would expect to have more intimate contact with managers closer to me in organisational terms. If blogs are used to reduce that intimate contact, by replacing say, regular meetings or casual discussions, they start to damage rather than bolster that sense of community and inclusiveness.

There are some other more practical issues to bear in mind as well:

  • In a large organisation, the number of potential bloggers increases dramatically as we move further away from senior leaders. This would similarly increase the overall cost of writing and reading blogs.
  • In most cases what intranet users want (and often do not get) is easy access to the information they need to do their jobs. If blogs get indexed by search engines, this will make it even more difficult to find hard facts.
  • Blogs do not make very effective collaboration tools, especially if what is to be shared centres on projects rather than individuals. Wikis or team-oriented packages such as Microsoft Groove and SharePoint 2007 (and others) are better solutions.

If well-defined needs can be established, there may be a place for blogs on an intranet. However, in their November 2006 report, researchers at Northeastern University and Backbone Media reported on 20 corporate blogging success stories. (The report is available by request from http://www.scoutblogging.com/success_study/download.html) Not one of these relates to regular use of blogging on an intranet.

About the author

Nancy Goebel - DWG's Managing Director for Member & Benchmarking ServicesNancy Goebel is the Digital Workplace Group’s Managing Director, Member Services & Strategic Partnerships.

During her tenure with DWG, Nancy has been involved in account management, benchmarking, research, blogging and executive producing Digital Workplace Live and DW 24.

Prior to joining the Digital Workplace Group, Nancy was a accomplished executive at JPMorgan Chase where she built and led a global team in desigining and implementing an award-winning intranet. She also led digital enablement and business re-engineering initiatives.

Outside work, Nancy is a wine maker, fundraiser, meditator, wife and mother of two.

Connect with Nancy on Twitter: @nancyatdwg or on Google +.

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