Monday, May 16, 2005

IBM Blogging Policy

The new IBM blogging policies seen pretty reasonable. Had they been in place when I worked for IBM I would have felt empowered to talk more about technical subjects and the company itself. The one catch-22 that jumps out when reading it however is the section on following business conduct guidelines. Those aren't public but they basically tell you IBM is lord and master and everything you do belongs to them - that's an exaggeration but it's true to the tone. You can read them here. Unless those changed I'd still be mighty careful about what I said.

The short version of the policy as I read it goes like this: feel free to promote IBM on web. Is that bad, no; will it make employees blog like crazy, time will tell. I evangelized the fun of blogging among my peers but few have felt inclined to take it up. The fact is, it takes a lot of time, even for a "E-list" blogger such as myself, and most people already have a hard time balancing work and family without trying to post regularly on a blog.

The one line that drove me a little nuts, and is ironically highlighted by Ed Brill in a recent post, is the one that says: "We believe in transparency and honesty."
I do believe IBM is a very honest company but my recent experience leads me to believe they have a long way to go before they become transparent. For "A-list"ers who report on the world from the stratosphere there may well be real transparency into IBM strategy but for the grunts in the trenches, I really doubt transparency into their world would be allowed. IBM could prove to the me and my readers that they mean what they say by simply allowing me to restore my previous comments. That would be really cool, but I doubt it will happen.

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