Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Establishing a Weblog on Your Organization's Intranet

Today's talk by Sabrina Pacifici of LLRX.com and beSpacific.com fame and Dennis Hamilton, Information Services Manager, KZF Design was very interesting. Rather than a laundry list of blogs, they gave a dynamic talk on why we should blog, whether we should blog, and how to go about blogging inside an organization.

Dennis is from a 90 person organization, and he is the sole blogger. Inside his corporation, he blogs about the life and culture of KZF, including:

  • announcements

  • employee news, including photos of people who have had accomplishments

  • facility news

  • community-related items

  • relevant internet sites

  • media coverage of the company

  • project-related news
  • and
  • new jobs

He showed us examples of some personal notes and photos that he has posted to his blog. This really looked to be a great way to capture the life and culture of a firm, make an on-going bulletin board of internal happenings. It would be of particular use to anyone new joining the organization, since he or she would be able to read through past postings and get a feel for the culture. It would also reduce the need to hang onto the myriad of e-mail messages that buzz around a typical organization in any given day, and allow people to post in more detail.

Dennis spends about 15 to 30 minutes a day posting, with the aim of posting something every day. He calculates he is currently posting on average 3 1/2 posts per week.

He advises not to forget the bottom line, that you may need to justify your time spent on this project. And of course remember things like confidentiality and not being critical of the organization for which you are blogging.

He reviews each post numerous for content, writing, grammar, and correct information before posting since he wants each post as perfect as possible before it goes out.

While not every senior person has been supportive of his blog (some see reading it as a "time waster" for staff), overall he has had excellent feedback and had an enthusiastic response from his organization. It has a real "human face" to his firm.

Sabrina, on the other hand, writes a number of very highly focussed blogs that cover specific practice groups in her law firm (areas in which the lawyers practice). She may post to each many times a day. She is a "solo blogger" in a large organization. She keeps it all very text-based and fact-oriented, pointing her lawyers to the documents and allowing them to make up their own minds about things, as she also does for legal researchers with her public blog beSpacific.com.

I quite like her analogy: she sees her blogs as "live things that need to be fed all the time." She needs to continually feed them content. In other words, good, current content is what makes a good blog.

Some additional pointers from the speakers:

  • they both use Movable Type

  • everything you see externally on the web can be used internally

  • RSS can be sent internally to people; you can create topical RSS feeds based on a taxonomy

  • Movable Type can allow to send out postings by HTML e-mail

  • reduce images to 72 dpi using an application such as Adobe Photo Shop or Photo Shop Elements

  • store photos as .jpg files and graphics as .gif files for best results

  • great way to brand yourself, market yourself and show your expertise

  • encourage other employees to contribute

  • Wall Street Journal has made available on their website several articles on blogs a week for the last while

June 11/05: The full presentation is NOW available here: Establishing a Weblog on Your Organization's Intranet. There is lots more content than what I've posted here, so it will be worth a read!!

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