Blogging and fear of the boss
David Weinberger on Passionate Work
Scott Rosenberg writes about the future of corporate blogging. Here's an excerpt:
I'm sorry to be the pessimist at the party. But for large numbers of workers in America, particularly those at big companies, the dominant fact of life remains don't piss off your boss. And, in an era of health-insurance lock-in and easy outsourcing and offshoring, many U.S. workers remain doubtful that they can simply waltz into a new job should their activities displease the current hierarchy to which they report. So the odds of them feeling at ease publishing honest Web sites about their work lives are extremely poor. The blogs you're going to see from within most traditional companies will be either uninformative snoozes or desperate attempts at butt-covering and -kissing. Not because people don't have great stories to tell -- but because telling the truth has too high a cost.
I do agree that it'll take a long time for corporate public blogging to spread beyond easy industries, such as high tech. But, I think it'll happen faster than Scott does. First, internal blogging will happen relatively quickly because it's a great way for employees to build their reputations, a motive as powerful as the urge not to piss off your boss. Those internal blogs will go onto the extranet and eventually some will make it onto the Internet.
Second, the first public blogs we're likely to see outside of the sw industry will be more like the Dean blog than anything else: They'll be always upbeat but still lively, full of voice, and worth reading by enthusiasts.
[Note: I have never been right with a single prediction.]