Should employee – and executive – blogs exclude public relations? Interesting post by Chris Anderson (author of the Long Tail) on how blogging has inverted corporate norms, particularly shifting from secrecy to transparency as a default communications mode.
He states that employee bloggers are increasingly trusted to blog without “PR review” and that there is a new “radical transparency” in some companies including early product development discussions, CEO venting and management in public.
Clearly the public relations function, cannot (and I believe should not) seek to control all communications from employees (from blogs to presentations to chats in the pub). But there has to be a role for ensuring conversations do not overstep the mark and cause either legal or other crisis for which PR will be expected to pick up the pieces. PR must be seen as the experts regarding employee blogging and other communications by employees – by opening up debate internally on strategies, skills training (whilst not impacting on employees’ original voices) and ensuring awareness of how online issues can quickly become corporate crisis.
Blogging may be no different to executives being able to speak off the cuff at other times and openness is to be applauded. But this doesn’t mean to say they don’t need PR counsel to avoid faux pas which frequently bring down those who speak injudiciously in public. The trail of celebrities who then call their PRs to get them out of trouble should be avoided by company personnel.