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Interview: Eric Kintz, VP of marketing at HP

Posted on November 8, 2006 by Roland

Eric KintzAs Vice President of Global Marketing Strategy & Excellence for HP, Eric Kintz leads HP’s marketing strategy worldwide. He’s also the author of The Marketing Excellence blog where he openly discusses industry trends and writes about the future of the marketing function in the high-tech industry. Despite his busy schedule, Eric was nice enough to answer my questions about blogging at HP and elsewhere. Below is this long interview conducted via e-mail.

Roland: IBM, Sun or Microsoft had legions of bloggers a long time before HP. Who took the decision to catch up these other companies and to start the blogging initiative at HP?

Eric: The way you’ve phrased your question is a bit leading. Most tech companies had legions of bloggers communicating with their peer groups. HP was no different. Employees from HP hosted blogs both internally and externally. In 2004 HP decided to provide a formal space within HP.com for those conversations to take place. I believe IBM made a similar decision later in 2005.

On HP’s side, we opened the formal blog platform because our business leaders saw an opportunity to extend the conversations they were having with customers to a much broader distribution. Our enterprise businesses took the lead with a number of executives launching their own blogs on hp.com. From there, platform use expanded to other business groups within the company.

Roland: As this is your job, you’re writing mainly about marketing: how people react to your posts inside and outside HP? Are you pleased by their comments?

Eric: I have been surprised at how positively people have reacted to my blog both externally and internally. Externally I think bloggers have been appreciative of the fact that I have blogged about the future direction of marketing and how HP is responding to these trends vs. blogging about how great HP is. They also have appreciated that I was willing to engage in the blogosphere and learn from other bloggers, this is a humbling experience and I learn every day.

Internally, my blog has spread through word of mouth and has given me the opportunity to connect throughout the world with HP people who have a passion for web 2.0 and are driving innovation in all corners and levels of the organization. Here is one recent example of a HP viral marketing campaign that I discovered through my blog. I have also connected with HP Labs and discovered the great research they were conducting around word of mouth and social networks.

Roland: When did you start your blog? And can you give me some numbers (posts per month, number of visitors from inside and outside HP)?

Eric: I started my blog in April and my traffic has been increasing every month since. I have approximately 10,000 visitors every month, mostly from outside of HP. I post on average once a week, which allows me to focus on going deeper in the topics/insights vs. just reporting news or what other bloggers say. My blog was recently recognized as the #3 CMO blog by the Daily Fix Blog published by MarketingProfs.

Roland: Has this blog changed your work by reducing the ‘distance’ between you and your customers?

Eric: It has not changed my work per se, but it has allowed me to keep up to speed in a much more effective manner with the most critical marketing innovation developments by writing about new concepts, putting them to the test of the blogosphere and engaging with fellow bloggers.

One of the most interesting and rewarding experiences was getting recently together with leading marketing bloggers and sharing thoughts around the opportunities and challenges of blogging –- we wrote a joint post and cross-posted on all our blogs and it was really well received.

Roland: How many HP executives have a blog now?

Eric: Nine executives have a HP hosted blog but many more have their own blogs outside of the HP platform. A great example is Phil Mckinney, the Chief Technology Officer for our PC business[, who writes the Killer Innovations blog.]

Roland: And how many HP employees blog outside from the official platform?

Eric: It is difficult to say as many have personal blogs talking about their family or hobbies. Clearly many employees have their own blog outside of the HP hosted platform; I think it is a great thing as it helps employees better understand what blogging is about and how they can use these new communication platforms in their work.

Roland: Is there a corporate blogging policy?

Eric: Yes, we do have a corporate blogging policy and guidelines in place. I strongly recommend that every large company have one, even if they don’t want to start their own blogging platform. The blogging policy is structured around 6 key guidelines and best practices to help HP employees make the most of blogging’s potential.

Roland: Time is often an issue with blogging: how do you find the time to do it? and how much time do you spend between reading, researching and writing? Is is part of your official job?

Eric: Time is clearly a very difficult issue, which I personally struggle with a lot. I tend to write on planes or in the evening. I usually take a few weeks to write a post, coming up with the initial idea though reading or by connecting with somebody and develop my thoughts over a period of time. Each post takes approximately 2-3 hours to write if you add up the various pieces. Blogging is not part of my official job but driving marketing innovation is and I view blogging as an enabler of that responsibility.

Roland: Besides writing about marketing issues, do you use your blog to stay in touch with other French people living in Silicon Valley?

Eric: Not really… Most people do not know that I am French! Shhhh… But it’s a great idea!

Roland: Besides that, are you happy to live in the U.S? And do you plan to return to France one day?

Eric: I really enjoy living in California. It has an amazing combination of business innovation and great outdoor lifestyle. I would have a hard time living elsewhere…

Roland: Are you hooked to blogs? Could you stop blogging tomorrow?

Eric: I am definitely hooked; I have come to realize how much quicker I get the information I need and learn about new trends. More and more mainstream media journalists get their news from blogs and it is already old news when I read it in the newspaper. I think I could stop blogging but I cannot stop reading blogs.

Roland: Do you plan to use sometimes your blog as a promotional tool, like Jonathan Schwartz does implicitly for Sun from time to time?

Eric: Do you mean for example when Jonathan blogs about publicity stunts (read my answer)? :) I do blog about HP initiatives when I think that we are doing something cool in marketing.

Roland: Where is going HP now that IBM sold its PC division to IBM? Do you want to be #1 and replace IBM?

Eric: According to financial analysts and some media, HP may well be the largest technology company by the end of this year. [For example, you can read “Tech Has A New Top Dog” (BusinessWeek Magazine, June 19, 2006 issue).]

Roland: Finally, do you have a message to deliver to my readers?

Eric: Learn more about the blogosphere (personally and as marketer), understand its power as well as its shortcomings. Is there too much hype? OF COURSE! However remember the hype surrounding the first wave of dot-coms, remember the craze, remember the crash but remember also that Google came out of this period and changed for ever the landscape of advertising.

Roland: Eric, thank you for taking the time for this conversation.

Sources: Eric Kintz, September-November 2006; and various websites

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Interview: Taraneh Razavi, Doctor at Google

Posted on August 4, 2006 by Roland

Taraneh Razavi, Doctor at GoogleTaraneh Razavi is not your ordinary physician. She’s the doctor at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, where she’s in charge of maintaining the Googlers in good health. But she’s also interested in how tech trends affect our health and preventive care in general. A few months ago, she started a very well-done and informative blog about these subjects, Dr. Razavi’s Good to Know Info. And she was nice enough to answer my questions about her multiple activities and how she feels about blogging while working at Google. Below is a transcript of the long exchange I had with Taraneh, who wants to make the world a better place.

Roland: Why did you start your blog? Did you only want to help Google employees or other people in the world?

Taraneh: When I started working at Google, I realized that I had a “captive” audience (that is, I could reach out to employees via general email) whom I could update on health information. It was easy to see that Googlers — and every one else in this industry — works very hard.

Despite our best efforts at Google to create options for balancing work and play, sometimes Googlers neglect preventative measures to health — that can take a back seat to their work because they are so engaged. So they need reminders to take care of themselves. I also realized that those who go to the Internet for medical information often came to me with invalid or confusing information.

So I started by sending general health advice — about ergonomics at work, dealing with stress, advice for people who fly a lot, and so on — to employees via general email. Sergey Brin is the one who suggested writing the blog so that others could benefit from it.

Roland: Did you start your blog just after being hired by Google or after several months?

Taraneh: I started it after a year. I didn’t even know what a blog was when I started at Google. I felt like Dr. McCoy on the Starship Enterprise, a little out of place. However, a Googler named Simon Field helped get me started, and now I rely on three others in the company when I have questions about the high-tech aspects of the blog: Karen Wickre, Eric Case, and Todd Markelz. Initially my posts were featured on the official Google Blog, but as I started writing more posts, then I created my own blog under my own name.

I was glad to have started with the official company blog as the legal department made me aware of the possible liabilities involved with offering health advice to the general public. I was fairly naive about those implications, but now I know about the importance of making the right disclaimer in the blog itself.

Roland: Blogging takes time, especially when you have to deal with health and to check your sources of information. Do you blog on your own time or during the 20% of the working time allowed by Google to its employees to work on personal projects?

Taraneh: You are so right about the heavy time requirement especially for health topics. I reference everything so that takes even more time. (Apparently this is not done too frequently on health and medical blogs — backing up opinions with current research is more labor-intensive for sure.) I do it on my own time.

When Sergey first suggested blogging to me, my response was half jokingly, “What, more work?” But now I’m hooked. Not to be a “company woman,” but what makes me willing to spend the extra personal time is the genuine idealism of our founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and their goal of making the world a better place. It’s easy to be on board with that. Unfortunately I’m too busy at work to have that extra 20% time.

Roland: Are you happy with your blog’s traffic (inside and outside Google)?

Taraneh: I didn’t have any expectations when I started the blog. I am happy to have any one read it, even one person, although I put so much work into it that it would be nice to have as many people as possible read the information.

At this point I know that I’m reaching more people on a daily basis via the blog than I can reach by seeing patients at my office. Sometimes I check Google Blog Search and other blog search engines to see how far and wide my posts are being linked – that’s exciting. I believe I have had about 60,000 hits since April.


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Roland: Do you have positive — and private, by email — reactions of people reading your blog?

Taraneh: Yes, I have been overwhelmed by the amount of positive feedbacks that I have received. That also helps to motivate me. Here are a few comments.

  • “Hello, I have been reading your blog for a few months and felt that perhaps I should let you know that I appreciate it. Thank you for taking the time to inform those of us who may not have knowledge of the information you blog. I enjoy reading your blog and look forward to move to come.”
  • “As a former public health nurse epidemiologist…I am thrilled to see this type of info online. Way to go Dr. Razavi! …”
  • “It’s so awesome to have a real doctor amoung [sic] us!”
  • “I too am new to your site and it is wonderful! Such awesome info! I wish I would have had this info when my family was camping last year. My husband had a “tick attack” and it was pretty scary when you don’t know what to do. Great job!”

Roland: As people don’t read a blog for a long time (15 seconds according to Jakob Nielsen), how can you be sure that people REALLY read your advises?

Taraneh: This is a good question. I was not aware of this 15 second rule. I will have to make the blogs even shorter which is very hard to do when I’m trying to explain medical information in layman’s terms. I suppose that most of the regular readers are going to the site because they are interested in this particular type of information so they are more likely to read the complete blog.

Then again, even in my office, I’m not sure that all of the advice is heard. There is a study that says patients in doctor’s offices (even if they are physicians themselves) only hear 20% of the information that is given to them. At least with a blog they can always go back to it.

When you receive Google employees in your medical office, do you hear people telling you “Don’t talk about what I have on your blog”?

Taraneh: No, no one has asked me that. Googlers seem to be all for sharing information — as long as it’s done anonymously, in the case of medical information, of course.

Roland: Are there any particular health problems at Google because of long working hours or because of the food now that the star cook has left?

Taraneh: Actually we have a number of chefs now, not just one, and many cafes. All of them focus on healthy food now, less junk food, less salt, etc. I have found the chefs to be very responsive to any suggestions that I’ve had. There is also a nutritionist on staff with whom I discuss the menu occasionally.

I think that the long working hours is the plague of the Bay Area, and possibly all technology companies, and not just of Google. As mentioned earlier it often leads to neglect of preventive health measures and a more sedentary lifestyle. I think that one of the reasons that Sergey wanted me to start this blog is that the health problems Googlers may be developing are shared by other companies.

Roland: I’ve seen on your blog that you seem to enjoy quizzes. Are these posts more popular than regular advises?

Taraneh: It depends on the topic. I think people — especially those who are in this industry or in the blog world — may pay a little more attention to this format.

Roland: Speaking of quizzes, did you have to solve some math puzzles or riddles before being hired?

Taraneh: No, I did not, although I know that some people are asked these types of questions. If I were asked a riddle then I would have had to ask them a medical question :)

I have to say that I have also benefited from having a blog. By writing the posts, I reinforce the information that I have read, and I am more motivated to read after a long hard day at work.

Roland: Taraneh, I want to thank you for the time you spent with me — and for the long hours of work you put to publish your excellent work.

[Note: if you want to subscribe to Taraneh’s news feeds, here are the links to her RSS feed and to her Atom feed.]

[Disclaimer: As I didn’t want Taraneh to get into trouble for publishing her views outside Google, I’ve asked her to be sure our exchange would be approved by her company. So this interview has been read by Google PR department.]

Source: Taraneh Razavi, August 3, 2006

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The first blogger ‘dooced’ in France

Posted on July 19, 2006 by Roland

We all know that bloggers can be ‘dooced’ — or fired — because of their blogs. Until now, this phenomenon was pretty much limited to the U.S. and the UK. But yesterday, the Daily Telegraph reported that a 33-year-old British secretary working in Paris, France, ‘petite anglaise,’ had been sacked by her company because of her personal blog. She will sue her employer, British accountancy firm Dixon Wilson, and ask for a financial compensation of up to two years’ salary. Read more…

Before looking at the Telegraph report, here is how ‘petite anglaise‘ announced that she was fired.

I was “dooced” today. Suspended without pay, pending a dismissal meeting in ten day’s time. Asked to collect my belongings together and leave the building immediately. The words “faute grave” were used. Translated into English: gross misconduct.

In fact, even if the punishment is largely disproportionate, she was aware of the risks. In October 2004, she wrote about what could happen if her boss was reading her blog. Here is an excerpt of a post titled risky business.

As for my own boss reading this blog? It is my worst fear. He’s an expat it the land of the Frogs, as is his wife, so you never know whether one day their internet surfing might wash them up on these shores. I imagine the main issue my employer would have with my blogging would be to establish whether I post on company time.

And this is what she did, at least occasionally, according to Colin Randall, who wrote about ‘petite anglaise’ both in the Telegraph and in his own blog.

She admits that she sometimes worked on her blog in office time but only when she had no work to do. “Other employees would often read books at their desk if things were quiet.”

Catherine[, her Christian name,] also admits twice taking half a day off work, after citing nanny problems, when she had arranged to meet a boyfriend. But she said there had been no complaints about her work.

And Randall adds that she never named her employer. However, But partners at [her company] alleged that she made herself and therefore the firm identifiable by including her own photograph on the weblog. So they sacked her and gave her five minutes to pack her belongings and leave the building where she worked. After the initial shock, she decided to sue her former employer.

Her lawyer has lodged a claim, one of the first of its kind in France, with the prud’hommes — a French employment tribunal — claiming compensation of up to two years’ pay, or about £54,000.

Will she win? I don’t know, but the reasons for firing her seem weak. However, it reminds us that even if you use a pseudonym, it is always better to tell your management that you’re having a blog.

Sources: Colin Randall, The Daily Telegraph, July 18, 2006; and various other web sites

You’ll find related stories by following the links below.

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Some reasons why businesses don’t blog

Posted on July 12, 2006 by Roland

In The 12 reasons why UK businesses don’t blog, the UK firm E-consultancy.com looks at why businesses and brands are reluctant to use blogs. Many of these top reasons are valid for other countries as well. For example, you might be the CEO and be afraid that your employees start to write inappropriate things. Or simply, your PR agency or yourself don’t understand what a business blog would bring to your company. But read more for my favorite reasons…

Chris Lake, the author, writes that to the contrary to what happens in the US, UK and European marketers are ignoring blogs. And he decided to find why. Here are two of these reasons.

You think it is too risky to allow your colleagues to write blog posts.

Maybe it is. But it probably isn’t, with appropriate guidance and a little prior training in the arts of SEO and copywriting.

You set the guidelines, the subject matter, the overall content framework. They will abide by those rules, because that’s what employees are generally good at (the ones who aren’t good at obeying rules tend to become ex-employees rather quickly).

Well, this is pretty straightforward. But let’s jump to the final possible motive for not starting a business blog.

You think blogging isn’t right for your business.

You might be right. But at least be aware of the benefits of blogging before you make this call. Remember that you do not have to talk exclusively about your business on your blog, nor give away any trade secrets. Nobody cares that you got a new printer for your office, and that it makes a whirring noise that is annoying everybody. They do care about what you have to say about subjects relevant to your business, your products, your policies…

Lake also links to a list of British corporate/brand blogs compiled by Suw Charman from Corante.

What do you think of these reasons for avoiding business blogs? Are they valid in your country? Do you know about additional ones preventing a company or a brand to start a blog?

Source: Chris Lake, for E-consultancy.com, July 5, 2006

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Are blog comments important?

Posted on June 15, 2006 by Roland

How do you measure the success of a blog? There are many different metrics, including the number of unique visitors, the number of pages viewed or the number of external links to a particular blog. But some bloggers claim to be successful because they attract a large number of comments. Is this a good measure? Are comments really meaningful? And are they visible? A recent study from the Informatics Institute at the University of Amsterdam and Nielsen BuzzMetrics gives us some insights on this phenomenon. One of the conclusions of this report is clear: comments are not explored even if they represent 30% of the contents of a blog on average. Therefore, it can be argued that they’re almost useless and that their number doesn’t count — except for the blog owner and the commentators themselves. But read more…

The full survey is available online as a PDF document, “An Analysis of Weblog Comments” (8 pages, 260 KB. And you’ll find some essential numbers below. Of course, you can disagree with the method used by the two researchers, Gilad Mishne and Natalie Glance. Nevertheless, they looked at about 36,000 blogs picked from the Blogpulse index, which is large enough to draw some valid conclusions.

Below is a table showing some of the key numbers of the survey (Credit: report mentioned above).

Survey about blog comments

What are the essential conclusions of this report?

  • Comments constitute a substantial part of the blogosphere, accounting for up to 30% of the volume of weblog posts themselves.
  • On average, comments are shorter than weblog posts (in terms of text length); we estimate that the textual size of the “commentsphere” is 10% to 20% of the size of the blogosphere.
  • [Comments are invisible:] Less than 2% of comment content is currently available in syndicated form.
  • A large number of comments is consistent with the influence level a weblog or post has.
  • Clearly, commented weblogs are substantially more read and linked to. However, there is a chicken-and-egg situation here: assuming a fixed percentage of weblog readers post comments, weblogs which have more incoming links and more readers are more likely to have higher amounts of comments.
  • Finally, we offer a novel way to determine the level of controversy caused by a weblog post by analyzing the type of comments written in response.

After reading the whole survey — or my selected excerpts — a question remains: are comments a good indicator of the success of a blog? As they remain invisible for the most part — you have to visit a blog and voluntarily click the “Comments” link of a post to read them — it seems that comments are only important to the blog owner and to the commentators themselves.

So what do you think? Do you read the comments addressed to you? Do you count them? Are you proud when one of your note attracts a dozen comments? Please post your thoughts.

Sources: Informatics Institute, University of Amsterdam and Nielsen BuzzMetrics, April 10, 2006

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Can you be ‘dooced’?

Posted on June 4, 2006 by Roland

In case you don’t remember the first employee who was fired because of her blogging activities, it happened in 2002 to Heather Armstrong who was a Web designer at this time. And as she was — and still is — blogging under the pseudonym of Dooce, ‘dooced’ became a synonym for getting into trouble because of comments found on a Web site. Four years later, NewsFactor Network publishes a long article about people who still ignore the rules of the Internet age and are overexposed in the blogosphere, putting their jobs — or their future careers — at risk. Read more…

Before going further, let’s look at Heather Armstrong. Here is a link to her story, written by herself.

Now, the NewsFactor Network article is a little bit too long to summarize. So I just selected the specific case of someone looking for a new job but didn’t know that what she wrote on her blog was public.


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When CollegeRecruiter.com was looking for student bloggers, chief executive Steve Rothberg got an application from a strong candidate who not only had a blog already, but also articulated her skills well in the cover letter. Rothberg was eager to interview her, but first popped onto her blog to see how she handled content. It turned out that she was handling a whole lot more than that.

“With one click, I got information about her sexual behavior that I really didn’t want to know,” he says. “There was no password protection, and it wasn’t like she had tried to hide her blog from me. She told me about it and gave me the link, like she was proud of it.”

When Rothberg rejected her application, he detailed his objections, noting that he would not want to risk having the candidate post inappropriate material to a professional blog. The blogger sent back a deeply apologetic note, writing that she had no idea that he would see that part of her blog, even though there was a clear link to the content right on the blog’s home page.

“She just had no realization that the things she posted for friends could be seen by other people,” says Rothberg. “She thought that whatever she wanted to be private would just magically be private because she wanted it to be. I think many people are going to find out that once you put something on the Internet, it’s public.”

As you’re reading this, I’m sure you know that everything being put on a Web site — or a blog — is public and can haunt you one day. But it seems that many people don’t know that yet.

Source: Elizabeth Millard, NewsFactor Network, May 30, 2006

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BBC blogging policy

Posted on May 27, 2006 by Roland

BBC is the world’s oldest public-service broadcaster, but it has also embraced the online world — and blogs — for several years now. For employees who want to blog on their own sites, BBC has recently revamped its blogging policy and published new guidelines which do not apply to employees who write about personal interests.

BBC’s position about blogs has recently evolved, as you can see by reading an article which is only six months old, Blogging and the BBC (by Torin Douglas, BBC media correspondent, October 26, 2005). At this time, Kevin Anderson, of BBC News Interactive, was in charge to write “a guide to blogs and blogging for journalists.”

“Blogs can sharpen our journalism, introduce us to new sources, widen our agenda and maintain our position as a trusted source,” he writes, in a discussion paper called BBC Blogs: News as conversation.

Now, these new guidelines have been published after a wide discussion with BBC bloggers and are available via one of them, Jem Stone. Here are the principles behind these guidelines.

Many bloggers, particularly in technical areas, use their personal blogs to discuss their BBC work in ways that benefit the BBC, and add to the “industry conversation.” These guidelines are not intended to restrict this, as long as confidential information is not revealed.

Blogs or websites which do not identify the blogger as a BBC employee, do not discuss the BBC and are purely about personal matters would normally fall outside these guidelines.

There are three sets of guidelines, for regular employees, for managers, and for journalists, for which impartiality is required.

Nothing should appear on their personal blogs which undermines the integrity or impartiality of the BBC. For example, news and current affairs people should not:

  • advocate support for a particular political party
  • express views for or against any policy which is a matter of current party political debate
  • advocate any particular position on an issue of current public controversy or debate

The other guidelines are more traditional and will not stir any controversy.

Finally, if you want to read “official” blogs written by BBC employees and journalists, here is a link to the BBC Blog Network.

Sources: Jem Stone, BBC employee, on his Common Sense blog, May 5, 2006

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IHT workers launch a blog

Posted on May 1, 2006 by Roland

Today is the International Workers’ Day, also known as May Day or Labor Day, and it seems appropriate to focus on a blog opened by employees fighting for their jobs. Last month, the management of the International Herald Tribune (IHT), an international newspaper owned by the New York Times but still headquartered in Paris, France, decided to suppress some jobs and to move others to Hong Kong. And the IHT workers have opened a blog, IHT en lutte, to fight again this decision. Will it be useful? We’ll see in the coming weeks.

This blog has an interesting motto: “quotidien américain, fabriqué à Paris, partiellement délocalisé à Hong Kong, 100% New York Times” (”American newspaper, made in Paris, partially outsourced to Hong Kong, 100% New York Times”).

But it’s not terribly active: only 7 notes in 2 weeks. Most of these notes are informative about the conflict between the management and the employees. But it seems to me that the employees are not promoting enough this blog to support their fight.

For example, to my knowledge, only one French newspaper, Libération, has published an article about this conflict, “L’International Herald Tribune licencie.” The journalists at the IHT should search from more support from their peers.

And here is another example. This blog is written in French, so I doubt it can become an efficient tool for the employees. In my opinion, this blog, as the IHT itself, should be published in English. What do you think?

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Southwest Airlines blogs from the sky

Posted on April 30, 2006 by Roland

In fact, it’s not entirely true, but Southwest Airlines blog really took off last week. Nuts about Southwest is a moderated blog hosted by about 20 employees who write about their jobs at the airline, but also about the travel industry. So you’ll find posts from managers and mechanics as well as captains or flying attendants. The airline says it will welcome comments from customers, but one thing is sure: these comments might be edited — or not published. Anyway, when will we see an official blog from Air France?

But let’s look at the Southwest Airlines blog user’s guide.

Our goal with this blog is to give our readers the opportunity to take a look inside Southwest Airlines and to interact with us. This is as much your blog as it is ours. We have lined up a crew of bloggers representing a diverse cross-section of our Company. The most current postings will be found on the home page, and we have organized the archives by category. We want to build a personal relationship between our bloggers and you, and we need your participation. You are the “other half” of this blog, and our bloggers can’t wait to communicate with you, so get busy posting.

Nice words: it almost looks like a press release. But wait, there is more.

This is the point where we insert the “fine print” and discuss the guidelines for posting. The Southwest Blog is starting out as a moderated site because we want to ensure that everyone stays on topic. We would LUV for you to post your thoughts, comments, suggestions, and questions, but when you post, make sure that they are of general interest to most readers. Of course, profanity, racial and ethnic slurs, and rude behavior like disparaging personal remarks won’t be tolerated nor published.

The key word here is “moderated.” I’m sure some of you will object to this, but this is exactly what I’m doing here. I only accept relevant comments — no spam, no rude language.

So what do you think about this Southwest Airlines blog? Is this a PR trick or a real effort by the company to connect with its customers?

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Honeywell starts recruiting blogs

Posted on October 10, 2005 by Roland

Several weeks ago, I read in Workforce.com that Honeywell was about to launch blogs to ease its hiring process of young students in the U.S. The starting idea looked promising: leave the animation of these blogs to recent recruits by the company. And to be sure to put fresh content on these blogs, these new recruits would write only for a period of three months before being replaced by new ones. After doing some investigation, I sincerely think that this initiative will be a flop.

First, here are some details provided by Workforce.com.

To reach candidates with different backgrounds, Honeywell has enlisted people from IT, human resources and the supply chain to write three weekly entries on topics they choose. The idea, [says Kevin Gill, the company’s director of global staffing,] is for content to lean toward ideas about career development instead of dry talk about benefits. To keep content fresh, three people will blog for three months, then relinquish their duties to new bloggers. All writers are volunteers who are recent recruits to Honeywell and hold graduate degrees.

Gill says the bloggers will help one another to ensure that posts comply with corporate governance standards, decency and grammar. As long as those requirements are satisfied, bloggers will be free to write about anything that they want, including negative experiences. “The sites will exist to relay what’s gone on in your job,” Gill says, “whether something is working out well or not.

Now, let’s discover how this experiment is progressing by visiting the home page of these recruiting blogs. What is available here? The blogs from Caralyn B (Marketing, Specialty Materials, 2 notes, 10 comments, last note dated September 15), Kara K (Human Resources, Aerospace, 2 notes, 7 comments, last note dated September 19) et Jon K (Integrated Supply Chain, Aerospace, 3 notes, 5 comments, last note dated October 3).

In other words, our new bloggers have not reached their objectives. The starting idea was good, but its execution is pretty poor. If this situation doesn’t improve soon, do you think that this experiment will be a success or a failure?

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