Employee blogging: personal or work-related?


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Presented at ECSCW'07 workshop "What is missing in Social Software? Current collaborative practices in social software", Limerick, Ireland, September 24, 2007

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Employee blogging: personal or work-related?

  1. 1. Employee blogging : personal or work-related? Lilia Efimova Telematica Instituut iceberg.telin.nl blog.mathemagenic.com
  2. 2. <ul><li>As long as your company views your blogging as &quot;you chatting with your neighbors on your personal time&quot;, you pose little risk.  But the more that co-workers, CEOs, and so on are on-record as being cool with blogs, the more that blogs take on the timbre of being &quot;official&quot;.  The more &quot;official&quot; that blogs are, the more perceived risk the company takes on by allowing you to blog.  And neither you nor your CEO is really keen to make things more complicated than they need to be.  And this is why, IMO, you see most companies and employees today still dancing around the issue of employee blogs and seemingly settling on a &quot;don't ask, don't tell, and please for the love of God don't do anything stupid&quot; policy. </li></ul><ul><li>Joshua Allen, 26 May 2003 </li></ul>
  3. 3. What is missing? <ul><li> Employee weblogs </li></ul><ul><li> Missing boundary? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Approach <ul><li>Based on study of employee blogging at Microsoft </li></ul><ul><ul><li>10 weeks, summer 2005 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>38 interviews++ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lilia Efimova & Jonathan Grudin (2007). Crossing Boundaries: A Case Study of Employee Blogging . Proceedings of the 40th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS'07) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ad-hoc feedback round via my weblog </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dimensions of employee blogging </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>My weblog </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other bloggers </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Weblog shape Business Personal [Business, objective, defined by corporate communication policy] Some degree of filtering or editing to fit professional norms and business requirements Personal, subjective, confessional Content style Primarily work-related Mix of work and non-work content Primarily non-work matters Content focus Only business-related (good for my company) or work-related (good for performing well at work) Mix of personal and work-related uses Not related to work Blog uses Corporate servers (part of corporate official presence online) Company-affiliated servers (e.g. funded, but not a part of a corporate online presence) Personal server Public hosting platforms Location
  6. 6. Decision-making Business Personal [Full control by the company] Technology is provided by the company, but I have control over some parts of it (e.g. template customisation, adding plug-ins, etc.) Control myself Company doesn't influence it Technology control Who controls blogging tools? Defined by work needs Defined by others at work [Defined by business logic and exiting workflows in my company] Myself, but I listen to others at work Myself, but I have to get permissions from others at work Have to be negotiated with others at work Some moments are defined by work workflows (e.g. editorial processes of product weblogs) Myself Micro-level decision making Who decides when and how to blog? What goes into a specific post? Was prescribed at work Decided myself, but checked at work Decided myself given positive signals (that blogging is allowed and encouraged) at work Was convinced by others at work Decided myself Initiative
  7. 7. Integration with work Business Personal [Explicitly copyrighted by the company] Both parties accept some rights of another side Nobody knows for sure since it's too complicated My copyright Content ownership Yes, only blogging at work time To some degree: not officially, as a way to do the job No, never Time blogging Yes, my job responsibilities explicitly include blogging Not explicitly, but as an &quot;extra&quot; during evaluation Blogging as one of possible ways to get work done I can blog, but I don't have to No Part of job description Impact my company, but not me Impact myself as an employee (e.g. by helping to do work better) Impact both, myself and my company (e.g. an incident gets into media) Impact myself as a person Impact (attribution) Yes, explicit Implicit – not immediately visible, but not hidden Disclaimer No Explicitly hiding Affiliation with company
  8. 8. Ad-hoc feedback
  9. 9. Ad-hoc feedback: 15 blogs
  10. 10. Ad-hoc feedback: one blogger, two blogs
  11. 11. Discussion <ul><li>Refining </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dimensions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Systematic analysis of blog profiles </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Business application </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Extremes are not that interesting; the value is in the middle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where does it make sense to draw the boundary? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How that would translate into actions? </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Follow-up? <ul><li>Permalink http://blog.mathemagenic.com/2007/09/24.html#a1944 </li></ul><ul><li>More on my research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In progress: blog.mathemagenic.com </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Published: iceberg.telin.nl </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contact: lilia.efimova@telin.nl </li></ul></ul>