South-Western - Management  
Blogs Begin to Make Their Mark on Corporate Communications
Topic Communication
Key Words Blogs, Internet, web logs
News Story

Blogs are just beginning to catch the attention of employers, but promise to become even more popular. Companies use them to post information daily about product releases and new services. Interactive blogs allow a business and its customers to have a dialog on a wide range of topics and issues. They are also useful as a means of getting up-to-date feedback and input from customers.

Employees and employers have found blogs to be useful for reducing the amount of email they receive. They also forge better working relationships among staff by making communication easier. There is potential for misuse, however.

Companies need to set ground rules for what is appropriate to be posted. Companies should have a written code of conduct and a well-written computer usage policy. Topics should be business-related, and employers should screen their blogs regularly and remove any offensive material. Screening the material before posting is even better.

There are some legal risks in using blogs. If inappropriate comments are posted, it could create a climate for a hostile work environment or sexual harassment. Blogs are also not the place to discuss job applicants or employee reviews.

Questions
1.

What is a blog, and how might it best be used for business purposes?

2.

Have you ever communicated via a blog? Describe your experience. What were the pros and cons of this kind of communication, and do you think these would also apply in a business situation?

Source "Blogs Begin to Make Their Mark on Corporate Communications," Society for Human Resource Management, HR News, July 31, 2003.
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