Should Your CEO Be A Blogger?

Here are some questions a number of Human Resources Directors and Heads of Leadership are aksing today:

Should our CEO start a blog?
Do our top three competitor CEOs have blogs?
Are these competitor CEO blogs a corporate communications play or does the CEO really post about significant issues?

Interesting questions to ponder as more companies begin experimenting with social media to build their brand with consumers, improve two-way communications and increase vehicles for employee development.

To find out about what your competitor CEO’s are doing in terms of blogging, I recommend you go to TheNewPR CEOBlogsList Wiki.

To date, 58 of the Fortune 500 companies have blogs. But in most cases, the blogs are company blogs, many maintained by corporate communications departments (like Clorox, which has one that answers questions about stains), rather than CEOs penning their own blogs.

But there are notable exceptions and two CEOs come to mind that regularly post to their blogs. One is Jonathan Schwartz CEO of Sun Microsystems who posts on a regular basis about his interactions with customers around the world. The other is Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and CEO of HDNet.

As you continue to research what strategy to adopt and to create a set of guidelines with regard company blogging, I recommend consulting a survey recently conducted by content security company, Clearswift.

The survey was conducted among 939 corporate decision-makers on matters related to corporate blogging, wiki’s and participation in online networks/forums and other aspects of the so-called Web 2.0. Some highlights from the survey found:

- 20 percent of IT and business decision-makers don’t have a policy governing appropriate use of the Internet, including social media sites.
- 39 percent of IT and business decision-makers consider social media to be relevant to today’s corporate environment, while 36 percent do not see social media as relevant to their businesses.
- 13 percent of organizations are not aware of social media and have no policy on it.

So before your begin to develop a policy for your human resources and/or corporate learning department regarding blogging, wikis and other social media, first find out your company policy regarding the usage of social media at work. For HR and corporate learning professionals, I find the Sun blog policy to be highly informative.

Finally, let’s continue a dialogue on CEOs as bloggers:

Should more CEOs be bloggers?
Should this be part of every CEO job in next 5 years?
Should reading the CEO's blog be part of every New Hire Orienation Program?
Should CEO bloggers participate as part of a corporate communications strategy or use blogging to begin a "real" dialogue with customers?
What is the new role of the Human Resource and Corporate Learning departments? How about developing new guidelines? Should blogs be internally focused or externally focused?

Thanks and I await your comments.

Jeanne C Meister

Founder, New Learning Playbook

jeanne@newlearningplaybook.com

 

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1 Comments

  • Jay Tatum

    This is an interesting ethical dilemma for HR Departments and Senior Leadership. The challenge that transcends the larger part of the question about whether the CEO should blog is the problem of discourse analysis. An academic endeavor, to be sure, but when Senior Leaders begin to blog and articulate themselves to the general public, a discourse will follow as well as an analysis of such dis-course and I haven't encountered too many Senior Leaders that want to indulge themselves in that kind of public scrutiny, Mark Cuban aside.
    I don't just know whether many of the top Fortune 500 companies are even at the point where there is discussion concerning the internet and policies that encourage, discourage, and otherwise inhibit or prohibit usage let alone blogging. If the enterprise isn't hard-wired for it, few will open themselves up to the blog-fest-a-go-go that can ultimately consume a significant portion of the CEO's time as well as those who serve at the pleasure of the CEO. Is it any wonder that the corporate-speak being passed off as the CEO's blog is so criticized already?

    Take a look at the CEOs blogging on Fast Company. Are these CEOs from the top Fortune 500 companies or are they from the smaller, more autonomous, independent variety? And who would read them if they did? I would think that the juice ain't worth the squeeze for many of the top CEOs to even bother - and that's just from an ethical and practical perspective. The ethnocentric nature of the question seems to assume that because the collective "we" who are blogging see this as a ready medium through which Senior Leaders and HR Professionals "should" be doing the same. And my question is whether the collective "we" who blog are "shoulding" on those who don't, won't, and shouldn't? I like the question and I think the discussion is a worthy and worthwhile venture, but ethically and practically, I just can't see this medium becoming as valuable a resource as the traditional corporate-speak already in play. There could be potentially too much risk to manage when the HR Departments and Senior Leadership have to be accountable for the words being blogged at their expense and that may very well be the reason we're not seeing this happen yet. There is no doubt in my mind that this would be a tremendous and valuable learning experience, but at whose expense? That's my perspective. Thanks for raising the question and soliciting my comments.