Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Corporate blogging as PR

Blogging as a communications tool

ND Batra
From The Statesman

The other day I wandered into bloggers’ land and came across an interesting blog by Jonathan Schwartz, CEO and president of Sun Microsystems, which truly made me like the man, albeit, I never met him. Schwartz talked about five things that he wanted the readers to know about him and he got many friendly responses.

Americans are fond of enumerating things: counting steps on a ladder to some place up and down, such as 10 ways to lose a girl friend; eight simple rules for innovation; seven habits of highly unsuccessful leaders; and the tenth rule for whatever… American society is predicated upon metrics. Everything has to be measured and assessed, including the American dream of an immigrant like Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of “Kaalifornia”.

Schwartz’s five-point list about himself is revealing and makes him look like just an average genius, Joe extraordinaire; for example, once upon a time he was a security guard in a museum (that must be before the Americans learned how to spell Al- Qaida); that he is a mongrel, one quarter an India man (no wonder he is so good with computers), and the rest (especially his handsome youthful looks) of East European stock; that 20 years ago he was in a train crash and to prove it he put up a picture on his blog; that he loves cooking, which is not an uncommon American boast; and the last blah, blah: “I sincerely believe technology improves the world ~ from the solar panels on my home, to my choice of employer….”

Schwartz must have read How to Win Friends and Influence People. It won’t hurt if you praise your employer, especially if you happen to be the CEO of the company. Sun Microsystems says that its employees might say anything to explore “the magic of hyperlinking and the Web” while blogging, but issues a clear warning that “it’s not OK to publish the recipe for one of our secret sauces…. Talking about revenue, future product ship dates, roadmaps, or our share price is apt to get you, or the company, or both, into legal trouble”.

Schwartz’ blog is an exemplar of employee blogging. It puts a human face on the man who must think of the next quarterly performance or else….

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