Wednesday, June 18, 2008

3C's to take care when blogging about work

"Publish or perish" is repackaged in a new wine bottle by many corporates by encouraging employees and associates to blog about work and life. Many people see this as a way to publish and distribute best practices, publish amateur papers which otherwise may not get published in established journals, or talk about experiences.

Many people see blogging a way to become famous overnight while others try to make it a living resume with all gory details about projects, clients, etc. While we all do have a right to publish, we need to be careful while we do so about work related stuff. Remember, all the work that you do in a company, the intellectual property either resides with your company or its clients.

You must be careful about the the 3 Cs before your publish: Company, Competitors, and Clients. I am putting together some questions within each category that people must ask before they write an blog entry or just before publishing.

a. Does the article contain description about processes, methods, or workflows proprietary to my company?
b. Does the article contain information that can give away my company's future directions, future products, or services?
c. Does the article contain references to the financial information about your company?
d. Does the article contain any information that will embarrass the company in any way?
e. Does the article contain any information that you remotely think is confidential for any reason?
f. Are you criticizing your company or your colleagues in any way?

a. Does the article contain information that your company's competitors may benefit from?
b. Does the article refers to named competitors or identifies competitors in an indirect way (like "large mobile handset company in Finland")?
c. Does the article talk about yours or your company's capabilities that may benefit the competitors?

a. Does the article contain specific information that identifies specific clients or projects?
b. Does the article contain references to any project done at any point of time with any client? These can be methods, processes, workflow, blueprints, images, etc.
c. Does the article contain any information that is proprietary to your client and not a public knowledge?
d. Does the article contain any information that reduces or eliminates your client's selling or competitive ability?

If the answer to any of the questions is Yes, please do not hesitate to either change the article or run it in writing by a director level person in your organization.

If you do want to become famous, do blog wisely -- success is seldom overnight!


Archana Narayan said...

Just for the sake of a discussion... Isn't this the era of knowledge sharing? Today companies are becoming more and more transparent and quite willing to share their work and how they work with the rest of the world. I understand that confidential information should not be shared... but best practices, processes?? If we can learn from what others are doing why cant others learn from what we are doing?

I do understand where you are coming from though...

Satyajit said...

There is a fine line between what is right and wrong and in most cases people do not know where to stop.
I understand the virtue of sharing knowledge but who is to determine what is legal and what isn't.
Its a matter of time before the moral/content police comes into the picture...lets blog shamelessly till then....

ripul said...

An adage all of us know well -- with freedom comes responsibilities.

On one hand we all want freedom but on the other hand we try not to honor responsibilities. Policing is patchwork and does not work in rule averse society (read India's Uncertainty Avoidance Index in Geert Hofstede Cultural Dimensions) like India -- encouraging responsible blogging is the key.