Bosses see bloggers as corporate liability

Corporate blogging in Australia has stalled because of a perceived security threat and a belief by employers that an active blogger is a liability.

Blogging is also being gagged by marketing, public relations and corporate communications staff.

Frost & Sullivan security analyst, James Turner, said blogging now is seen as "making a grab for the microphone" and is a classic example of technology moving quicker than policy.

"Blogging is the classic example of needing security policies and employment contracts stating specifically what an employee is entitled to do - and unless you are a spokesperson for the company you have no business writing a blog," Turner said.

"I see a lot of US-based CEOs doing corporate blogs, and they do give tidbits of internal happenings, but you have to keep in mind everything they post has come through the public relations department and it will never be spontaneous; it is designed to build the cult of personality - even the stuff on internal company blogs is designed to be seen in a positive light.

"Companies are putting out blogs with their own spin on things, individuals are doing their own blog."

Hydrasight analyst John Brand said corporate blogging has stalled in Australia, because bloggers are seen as a liability for many organizations.

Brand said less than 5 percent of organizations in Australia actively use blogs as a corporate tool, with some blogs creating an IT security risk.

"Those organizations that have done it use blogs within the IT department as an operational tool; IT workers can get access to history from overnight runs and, combined with a portal, makes that information more visual, but that has created a problem," Brand said.

"I know of organizations sensitive about IT system information being exposed on blogs and being used to conduct an attack."

Sun Microsystems in Australia has strict rules around blogging. Sun's software business manager Laurie Wong said no colourful or discriminatory language or confidential information can be used.

"Sun understands the dual-edged sword of blogging: you cannot legislate the culture, you need to get a good infrastructure of how things are done and nurture a healthy community," Wong said.

"The community is very active if it detects a breach of unspoken or spoken rules and blogmasters at Sun are alerted quickly.

"Blogs that reveal corporate secrets or breach confidence are shunned by other bloggers, because there is a lot of self-policing and self-governance."

Microsoft Australia blogger Frank Arrigo said the company's blogging policy is simple: blog smart.

"Microsoft has reached the stage where it is a faceless entity for some people, but blogs allow us to be transparent ; also it isn't written by marketing people and appears complete with spelling mistakes."

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