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Corporate blogging rules : from Scoble

Law firms are adopting blogging policies. I know because I have been asked for input in drafting them.

Problem many firms have is that the law firm administrative partner has no clue what a blog is and how they are used to effect marketing and public relations for their law firm. So it doesn’t hurt to have one of the true leaders in blogging, fellow Seattleite and Microsoft Blog evangelist, Robert Scoble offer some sage wisdom.

After following a skirmish between a company founder and an employee regarding blogging and blog censorship, Scoble offers some possible rules when blogging as a corporate employee. Here’s the highlights.

  • When you are identifyable in public as part of a company you must be much more careful with using corporate imagery than other people need to be. People get very nervous whenever you talk about competitors or partners in anything but the most glowing terms.
  • Always be sensitive to your boss and what he/she expects to see in public. Whenever I (Scoble) post I think about how I’ll justify my post to my boss, my wife, my readers, the execs, my coworkers. I imagine how that post will look on the front of the New York Times.
  • When people are yelling at you and you aren’t sure what to do, stop. Stop posting. Don’t push back. Listen. Get in the person’s shoes who is yelling at you. Even if you decide that they are an idiot and you’ll go ahead anyway, at least understand the other person’s point of view and understand the consequences of continuing down a certain path.
  • Don’t post when you’re pissed. It’s too easy to have a snarky post make a situation even worse.
  • If you posted it and you pull it down, it’s too late. Someone will have seen it. Search engines will have cached it. News aggregators will display it. Yes, do pull it down, but put up a message explaining that it was the author that voluntarily pulled it down.
  • If you make a mistake, admit it. Say you’re sorry. Fix it. Make a penance. Link to people who are talking about you or the mistake.
  • Make sure you properly represent all the points of view. In times like these it’s not good to be selfish and try to make yourself look correct.
  • Get into real space as fast as possible. Text is so easily misunderstood. Why not do an audio or video podcast? That way we can see just how sorry you are, you can cover a lot more ground, we can hear your sincerity in your voice.
  • Overcommunicate. The more you communicate, the less serious these problems will be. With a lack of communication people start making things up. Or at minimum they start rattling the cage to see what’s up behind all the silence.
  • Offer yourself up for additional questions.

The Scobleizer may not have gone to law school but he is going to help shape corporate blogging policies, whether for law firms themselves or corporations that will ultimately seek a law firm’s advise on a blogging policy.

Why Scoble? Because his sound judgment is based on first hand experience of participating in the blogosphere. I’m listening and will be passing on the advice to a lot of law firms. Just don’t know if I’ll get the ‘Don’t post when pissed’ by the administrative partner at Jones Day.

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