Chief Blogging Officer, Social Networking?

The world is getting more complex, so skills that simplify it are more valuable than ever. Small businesses must go nuts hearing data such as Workforce Management’s revelation this week that 11% of large companies now have corporate blogs, some even appointing Chief Blogging Officers. Should they try to keep up and what has to give elsewhere if they do? 

This raises tons of questions. How many companies at this point even have Chief HR Officers for instance? What are the priorities – people or some poorly understood marketing or recruiting tool? More to the point, where should they do be to be successful and sustain their people through these turbulent times?

In this start-up period, while we figure out the place for Social Networking in business, we need to remember we can’t do everything. There’s a growing need to understand blogging and other Web 2.0 and 3.0 options – what can they do, what does it take and what are the best ways to use or not use this vast array. Can we have it in simple terms – and perhaps even more importantly, what do they replace or what do we drop to fit them in?

I just heard a marketing guru who successfully specializes in getting PR at every turn say, “I’ve got a blog; I have no idea why, but they say you have to have one, so I got one.” He was articulate and to the point about what other things you need to do to boost PR, but here he was clearly lost – and not even touching on newer social networking alternatives.

The best advice this past week came from VP, Susan Van Klink, of Select Minds (www.SelectMinds.com) where they specialize Social Networking tools for use within companies to get employees sharing information and networking better. She advises: avoid knee-jerk reactions and watch security.

Don’t ban employees from blogging and networking, but help them understand company rules still make sense – pay attention to confidentiality of information, the fact your words will live forever on the Internet (and may reflect badly on both you and the company) and don’t get hooked into something you haven’t thought through from a security point of view, whether individual identity or leaking company information might be the issue. In general, proceed… but watch and think first, cautiously and with small steps till you have a feel for where things are going. If you don’t have time for much, let others make the mistakes while systems and approaches shake out. Look for the simpler, single, proven uses.