Corporate Blogging

George Lenard, Steve Rubel and Jeff Seul

Sound Policy with Denise Howell
50 minutes, 22.9mb, recorded 2005-04-13
Howell, Rubel, Lenard and Seul
Though the mainstream media too often dismisses them as "personal web diaries," weblogs are becoming a powerful force across the spectrum of modern culture. Regardless of whose numbers you consult, there is no denying the sheer volume of blogs, in all their infinite variety, is already staggering and growing exponentially. As more businesses awaken to the reality that their workforce has an independent communication channel to the world at large, several high profile incidents of blog-related firings have made the rounds, as have anonymity guidelines for employee bloggers, and at least one legal marketing piece specifically aimed at the "significant legal risks."

But not all lawyers think business employee blogs are a pair of hazmat gloves shy of a corporate biohazard, and savvy marketers know the standing, credibility, and good faith blogs bring to the table are impossible to ignore. Forward looking companies are finding ways to benefit from employee weblogs, and to help their workers understand where lines need to be drawn. While weblog guidelines and policies begin to address the concerns, others spring up organically around the behavior patterns companies and employees adopt as each navigate the blogosphere's waters. What are the implications of the way a blog is hosted or branded? Is it any easier or more difficult to require employee education and common sense in this context than any other? Do companies need specific guidelines to address Web communications, or might other policies suffice? Can official business weblogs achieve the same kind of integrity and sincerity, and thus the same kind of power, as the blogs of affilliated employees?

This show in the Sound Policy series takes on these questions and more, as Denise Howell talks with lawyer and employment law blogger George Lenard, PR strategist and blogger Steve Rubel, and Groove Networks General Counsel Jeff Seul about what weblogs and tools like them mean for the future of employment relations and business marketing. Recommended additional reading:

IT Conversations' publication of this program is underwritten by your donations and:

Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 15 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as Vice President, Client Services at CooperKatz & Company, a mid-size PR firm in midtown New York City. Rubel heads up the agency's new Micro Persuasion practice, which helps clients launch conversational marketing programs that include blogs, podcasting and RSS. He also widely evangelizes the use of these new technologies via his well-read Micro Persuasion weblog.

George Lenard has practiced law with the same firm, Harris Dowell Fisher & Harris, for over 18 years. The firm is devoted to providing legal services to businesses in all aspects of labor and employment law. His weblog, George's Employment Blawg ( grew out of an attempt to keep track of all his work-related reading. George has lived in University City, Missouri, an older St. Louis suburb, for about 15 years. He is married, with three children, a daughter (16) and two sons (12 and 7).

Jeff Seul is general counsel of Groove Networks, Inc., a Boston-based provider of "virtual office" software that was founded in 1997 by Ray Ozzie and recently was acquired by Microsoft. Prior to joining Groove in June 2000, Jeff was a Lecturer on Law and Climenko-Thayer fellow at Harvard Law School, where he taught courses on negotiation and dispute resolution. At the request of two exceptionally conscientious early bloggers who are Groove employees, Jeff created Groove’s policy on employee blogs in his backyard one weekend during the summer of 2002. Ray Ozzie posted it on his own blog that week, and now Jeff regularly finds himself giving interviews about legal aspects of blogging.


This program is from the Sound Policy series.

This free podcast is from our Sound Policy with Denise Howell series.