The HR Juggler

Blogging At Work

Posted on: November 18, 2012

When I started this blog two years ago, I happily posted the links to Twitter, but felt quite shy initially about letting any of my friends or work colleagues know that I was writing.

It took me ages to feel comfortable with posting blogs to Facebook and talking to my friends and family about it…all of whom were really supportive. My brother even read the entire back catalogue of posts (at least a year’s worth by that point!)

This week marks the start of a new experiment, as for the first time, I will start linking my blogs to my profile on my work’s corporate intranet and publicising them internally. In many ways, it is no big deal, as lots of my colleagues know that I blog; some to choose to follow or check out posts, which I always appreciate. Yet, to be honest, it does feel a little different!

So, why am I doing it and why now? A few reasons, really. Our intranet platform has the potential to be very social, yet we are really only starting to explore how we can best utilise it and adapt our communication styles to make the most of all of the possibilities it brings. And in common with many organisations, communication is frequently raised as an issue and something that we all need to work at to improve. Written communication is only part of that, of course, but hopefully every little helps. It is also easy to forget how others see us, and recent feedback to the Board from the delegates we sent to One Young World made it clear that many staff perceive senior managers as distant and inaccessible, which was a good nudge to try some different things.

Will it make any difference? Time will undoubtedly tell. More than anything, it feels to me like squaring the circle between work and home, colleagues and friends, corporate and social. Perhaps they are not as different as we sometimes think.

What are you trying that’s different? Any thoughts about personal blogs and corporate audiences? I’d love to know.

12 Responses to "Blogging At Work"

Hi Alison – congratulations. You say it’s no big deal – I disagree. Bringing the outside in is still a big deal. It shouldn’t be – and it is. We need more people like you willing to create a situation where the organisational lines can blur a little. My Stop Doing Dumb Things experiment started in a similar way back in 2008, I didn’t ask for permission – I just got on with it and it proved to be very useful and a lot of fun.

I think what you are doing is great and if my experiences are anything to go by I think that you will be pleasantly surprised by what emerges from this.

Best wishes – Doug

Thanks so much Doug. Yes, I agree – in the cold light of day, it is still a big deal – or feels like one anyway! Thanks so much for your support…must have taken lots of guts to do what you did, when and where you did it…I remain in awe!

I think anything that helps us to bring ‘our real selves’ to work can only be a good thing. I’m sure that those who are personally close to senior mangers and directors don’t see them as distant and out-of-touch, so if everyone can be encouraged to be ‘themselves’ at work more it will break down all sorts of barriers, and I am all for that!
I used to keep Facebook for ‘personal’ and Twitter for ‘business’ but over the past couple of years those boundaries have become blurred as people I have met through business activities have become personal friends. Lives with fewer barriers are often more enjoyable and productive!

Thanks Graham, that’s definitely true 🙂

Authenticity is the new rock’n’roll as far as most leadership gurus are concerned, yet you are right to strike a balance. There can be too many interruptions to ‘the work’.

Keep breaking down those barriers Alison and blurring the edges. Two of the generations now in the workplace don’t distinguish between work and non-work so we should in our communications.
Ben

Go for it. I totally agree with Graham when he says that lives with fewer barriers are easier and more productive. Also Doug’s right about it being a big deal and a bit scary.
I don’t post my blog on our intranet (it’s not that sort of intranet at the moment!) but I do share links to posts that people at work might find interesting. Shameless self promotion maybe – but actually it’s more a way for me to express my ideas and if people are interested, then great. Certainly I am always mindful that a few people within my workplace may be reading my blog, and I’m pleased if they do. But I do bear in mind that simple test of imaging that what I say online could be seen on a giant billboard by colleagues, family, friends etc.
Actually I think that the biggest barrier for most people to blogging or even commenting (whether internal or external) is that they find it scary to state their opinion in writing for lots of other people to see. So showing courage in stating your opinion is great leadership and I’m sure it’ll be well received.
Good luck x

Love your comments, thanks so much. Incidentally, ours isn’t really that type of intranet yet either….;)

I found it much easier to blog inside the fire wall. I went outside it for a while but found that really hard.

I have thought about it in recent weeks as I migrated back behind the fire wall and wondered why.

My original sequence had an objective, to build the PM Community in TR, it was easy to write because I did it out of choice and enjoyed it very much. I was amazed when anyone read it, and even more so when anyone commented. It ebbed and flowed, loosely connected to the topic and it was eventually quite widely read in TR. The sequence outside the firewall was part of connecting that community to the wider one. It was read by those we aimed it at, though difficult to write because it was written to deadlines of a sort.

I now have a new role and am back behind the firewall. My blog is now read by a very few but given my new audience I expected that, though my ego disagrees and demands sulkily that I run back to my larger audience.

Mean time I wonder at the purpose of my external one which has ebbed. I have developed a habit of writing down things I think, exploring ideas and being happy with that. Most of them start and finish in my Evernote stack, read only by the chap next to me on the 0713 from Whitchurch who rightly thinks I am mad.

Anyway, the whole thing, depends on this, http://t.co/R3tzlXhO , subject to a definition of “mass” which has veered in my case from 0 to 100s to 10s. It is the word of the year, but “purpose” is the important bit for me. Add that, you are off. Take it away, or move it to something else and I se no reason to be shy of stopping even if only for a while.

I find your comments really interesting and have been ruminating on them for a while. I’m kind of the opposite insofar as I find it easier blogging externally and am finding it a little strange making the posts available to both audiences. Albeit I am not convinced I have a huge internal readership, by any means!

I think your point about purpose is an interesting one…and I am not yet certain as to whether my internal purpose and external purpose are aligned, or whether they are potentially contradictory. Time will tell I guess..and perhaps more ruminating required!

Hi Alison, I hear you! It is big and brave, but doesn’t seem like it should be. I, for one, would love more people to do the same. As a communicator – especially communicating inside knowledge to the ouside world – things like this help me to understand companies’ go-to experts, those with opinions and willing to stand by them. It adds personality and strength to a business and its communications – less ‘corporate’ and more real voices. Excellent, excellent.

Thanks so much Kay, Feedback (although limited!) has been pretty positive from the internal audience, that it is potentiallty a good tool for being more accessible and as you say, demonstrating more personality.

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