Many corporations and other organizations now use social networking platforms (such as Jive) as their corporate intranet. These platforms allow any employee to post material such as technical and business documents to their entire organization. The platforms also offer employees the opportunity to blog about their work—again to their entire organization. I call this practice internal blogging to emphasize that potential readership is limited to company employees.
The rationale for posting business and technical documents on a corporate intranet platform is obvious. But what value do individuals’ internal blogs have to the organization? Having written multiple internal blog posts covering a variety of subjects, that question occupies my mind as companies consider new ways to optimize business performance. Here I outline how internal blogging contributes to the business and provides value to the individuals who do it:
Internal blogging broadcasts useful insight
Corporations are flattening; innovation is expected from all levels. Technical or business insight posted to an internal blog can move around the company quickly, and any employee’s analysis and wisdom has potential to gain wide attention.
Internal blogging builds individuals’ comfort with risk
Risk-taking is vital to business and personal growth. Maintaining an internal blog provides ample risk-taking practice—posting thoughts and experimental outcomes to a potential audience of every employee in a company requires some nerve. A compelling post can stretch comfort zones. Therefore, internal blogging can be risky, but individual development of comfort with risk-taking is great for the business’s long-term prosperity.
Internal blogging enhances project/task clarity
Explaining something effectively in writing forces the writer to think deeply about the subject to ensure the message is presented clearly. Project and task updates posted as internal blog entries, visible to everyone in the company, are no exception. When anyone in the company can read such a progress report, the writer has incentive not only to detail progress made, but also to illustrate how the work fits into overall company initiatives. Great projects, if inadequately explained, become inadequately supported. Internal blogging can help ensure great projects receive great exposition.
Data Mining (this part is ridiculously speculative)
Blog entries usually offer first-person, exploratory narratives. This writing style differs considerably from “normal” intranet documents, and therefore embeds a unique kind of business intelligence. Algorithms that search internal social media for business insight are strengthened by content variety. Internal blogs, by their often exploratory nature, likely represent the dataset’s avant-garde. Therefore blogs may bias data mining algorithms toward future-oriented insights.
Internal blogging promotes visibility
In our dynamic work environments, visibility is capital. Internal blogging enhances team and individual visibility, thereby increasing opportunities for the folks involved.