Today's media integration on the Internet and smartphone usage have made the introduction of web logging, or blogging, in the workplace inevitable for the technical professional.
Independent and freelance technical professionals often use a blog to showcase their skills and also to provide inferential material to their qualifications and expertise.
This is critical to their consultative resource model, and is often published in conjunction with their own websites or channels.
But in addition to this, there is now a secondary stream, where the blogs are hosted on the Intranet within corporate networks.
This ensures that communications in the blogs are proprietary to the company as well as confidential.
They can reach a limited and captive audience within their midst and still provide wide access to the employees within the company.
These days, different corporations worldwide use blogging platforms for internal communication.
This offers employees the opportunity to blog about their work, post work-related material or share useful information with the entire organisation.
The main objective of corporate blogging is to improve the discussion platforms within the organisation, but there are also intangible benefits:
• It enhances internal communication;
• It helps to promote connections between employees within the company;
• It promotes visibility and boosts team-building;
• It promotes better writing and communication skills and creates a useful information resource; and
• It serves as a knowledge platform, especially when coupled with internal Wiki platforms.
As corporate blogging becomes more prevalent, it is important to establish a few ground rules that are applicable in most online situations, but especially so in a corporate network:
• Be professional: This point may elicit a number of views from different people, but at its most basic, it means being able to substantiate your statements sufficiently, maintain proper grammar and spelling, and, most importantly, keep to the context.
• Mind your language: Heartfelt comments are probably better left for the social blogs and Twitter. And speaking your mind often sounds better in your head. Remember, you cannot retract your words once they go public.
In the absence of company guidelines on blogging, it is important to get it right the first time. Checking with your human resource department or someone with authority is helpful.
Stay away from hearsay, and stick to technical or workplace topics that you are actually working on.
Refrain from free-wheeling opinions and criticisms, hateful comments or personal attacks. These points are usually covered in essay writing 101, and it is good practice to revisit them.
• Don’t ‘twitterfy’: Though this may not be an actual word in the dictionary yet, it refers to the tendency of new engineers to favour brevity.
Sometimes, this is a good thing if one has little to say. However, in a blog, your idea must be expanded to clearly explain the basis, insight and conclusion of a given point of view. This helps to maintain the usefulness of the blog as well as its usefulness to the reader.
• Value context: This point is often omitted in commonplace discussions.
The Internet allows for information and comments from the search engines of the world to be snipped and gathered together. As a result, these statements are taken out of context and may elicit responses that consider only their content.
In today’s web sphere, comments are free and immortal. And context will always be important.
• Pay attention to vocabulary: It is not just the content that differentiates a blog, but also its terms and how they are used. This is especially true in technical blogs.
Writing that “the part was behaving erratically” is much better than saying “the part was going crazy”.
A professional blog should always maintain some formality and use a suitable minimum vocabulary that applies to the content and the knowledge within its sphere of influence.
• Be objective: It is important to ensure that the blog has an objective viewpoint. It should be accessible to a wider reader base beyond the blogger.
This requires eliciting feedback or at the least, assessing its objectivity before publishing, rather than after.
There are many other elements of etiquette and style that may vary from company to company. The above points are a basic guide that will help your blog to maintain the look and feel of a professional commentary.