In the past few days I’ve been reading about the increased use of bans on blogging. One company held a meeting where it banned anyone from blogging. The company, Nielsen, is a well known and respected media business, so why did they ban bloggers from their meeting? They claim it’s because the meeting was a private client meeting. But that misses the point. Every day, there are private client meetings in offices and hotel rooms worldwide. And after every one of those meetings the clients come out and talk about what happened in the meetings. Almost never are those meetings kept secret. It is normal human behaviour to want to talk about what you discovered in a meeting. Blogging is merely an online replication of that behaviour. To ban it is to straight-jacket people. It’s the same as saying you must never, ever, talk about what was said in a meeting. Even if a meeting is “held behind closed doors” and is supposed to be confidential, we still find ways of anonymising the details so that we can discuss what happened. Banning blogging from conferences will feel like a huge restriction to delegates and will make them less likely to attend.
Plus, there’s another problem. Blogging from meetings adds to the reputation of the company who hold the meeting. Banning blogging makes it more likely that there will be negative blogs from the people who cannot write about what they hear or who feel restricted. The result in the “blogosphere” will be more negativity and less positivity about the company involved. In other words, banning blogging will reduce a company’s reputation, not enhance it.