Martin Dugage writes about a blogging executive, who has built social/trust capital via a weekly forum he has written for three years. Corporate Democracy in Action
Just had a conversation on corporate blogging with Eric Juin, my counterpart at Bouygues Construction. He told me about one of their senior execs who started a forum (a.k.a. blog) about three years ago. Every week from Monday to Thursday he collects comments and questions from any employee. On Friday his assistant hands him the most tricky ones and he fires some of those to the experts he knows, asking for immediate answer. On Sunday morning he answers all questions one by one from home in a personalized manner.
It may not be a purist's blog, but he appears to be speaking in a his own voice on a regular basis. And based on the remainder of Martin's article, the executive is building trust and drawing employees together.
This effect of honest conversation, whether online or in-person, is something everyone seems to understand (i.e. The Cluetrain Manifesto). However, it seems difficult to talk about in terms of what value these conversations add to the organization or to the person. I wonder if a missing factor is the notion of time. It takes time to build that trust and build a community of people who are curious / interested in your topics. Do people and organizations hesitate because of this unknown factor when starting a blog or joining an online community?
One of my students at Northwestern is looking into this question from the perspective of the person who might start blogging: what might prevent them from taking the step? Maybe this aspect of uncertainty will be a component of what she discovers.