Robert Scoble responded [website no longer online] to my post about embarrassing yourself. His comments are down, so I’m going to post about them here, with confidence he’ll find this post. 🙂
I agree 100% about getting to know a blogger and a personal blog is a good way to do that. However, a business blog can do this as well. If you posted nothing about your personal life (Robert) I would still have an idea about what type of person you are because it comes through in your work-related posts.
I also agree 100% that a business blog has the potential to give a small business a lot of power. The internet made it possible for a small local company to become a global company. Blogs give small businesses the power not only to show off but to advertise their company without directly advertising. Interacting and pleasing their customers is the best word of mouth advertising there is.
But as I wrote earlier a blogger (business or personal) needs to understand their niche crowd and the product that is being blogged about. Robert, you work for a company that makes products for both business and personal use. Again, that’s unique. So yes Robert, you should have an interest in the personal and business lives of the people you are interacting with. The better you understand them the better you can interact with them.
The key thing I think you’re missing Robert is that everyone doesn’t have the experience that you do in knowing what they can get away with. You know what you can and can not say. Most bloggers start off blogging with the assumption their words will not be read. 99% of the time this is what gets them into trouble. They said something months ago in an attempt at humor when no one was reading their blog that gets them into trouble today. They might have matured since then, changed their outlook: they may have even changed jobs. But their posts are archived, cached and the words can not be taken back.
This is what businesses are terrified of – a blogger not thinking things through and writing something that can result in a loss in sales or even worse, degrade the faith their customers have in the company. It is very easy for a blogger to do and extremely hard for a company to fix.
This is why I strongly urge bloggers to keep things separate because most bloggers aren’t thinking in terms of the future. Especially if the blogger starts talking about their job on an already established blog. If the average blogger looked back at their posts with the viewpoint of “what if my boss read this” I am willing to bet that most bloggers would feel uncomfortable or there would be something in the blog that might get them into trouble.
This is not including the fact that most companies prefer that employees keep their personal lives to themselves, if only to ensure and maintain objectivity. Robert if you open your blogroll you’ll find that the average blogger doesn’t want their boss reading their blog and most business owners (bosses) don’t want too much information about the personal lives of their employees.