Yesterday say the Blogging 4 Business conference in London where Microsoft executive, Darren Strange, revealed some shocking news about the company. He announced that Microsoft has no policy on blogging for its staff. People who work for Microsoft are allowed to blog away happily. This is stunning news, considering several speakers were encouraging companies to allow blogging, but within a firm policy. They argued that having a blogging policy meant that it was fair to both sides – the employees knew what was within the rules, protecting their jobs and the employers had the security of knowing that secret company information wouldn’t be leaked so easily. However, perhaps Microsoft is right; perhaps the calls for a blogging policy have missed the point. Microsoft, indeed no employer, can control what you say at dinner parties, or down the pub. There is no “dinner party policy” to prevent you from saying certain things about your employer. Neither could an employer sack you for what you said in your own home. Blogging is, from a psychological perspective, nothing more than conversation. True, you can argue it is publishing – and no doubt the lawyers do. But from the perspective of the blogger, it’s just a chat. And regulating conversations is tantamount to a police state. So is it any wonder that bloggers with freedom, such as Darren Strange are against the principles of blogging policies? Indeed, Mr Strange said at the Blogging 4 Business conference that he would leave Microsoft if they introduced such a policy. So, if your business is considering a blogging policy you clearly need to balance the arguments of the lawyers against the psychological impact such a policy has on staff loyalty.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+