Saturday, March 05, 2005


Corporate vs. academic blogging

Steve King's post at IFTF Future Now on IBM's internal use of blogs reminds me how fascinated I've become with organizational blogging, and the contrast between the rapid rise in corporate blogging and the relative dearth of academic blogging. When even fairly stodgy corporations like GM are blogging, its pretty clear that corporations are way ahead of their academic counterparts in the blogging business.

MANE IT Network has a post on academic blogging that links to a nice article (registration required) in the Guardian that lays out the landscape of academic blogging. At this point, it appears largely to be a grassroots affair by faculty and students. The Guardian article cites a number of uses of academic blog, none of them administrative:
Why aren't more academic leaders blogging their brains out? Blogs are bully pulpits for expressing a point of view, for highlighting your work or that of your organization, If I were the head of an academic unit (a dean, a department head, a president) I'd be blogging til the cows (or donors) come home. Maybe this says less about blogging as an idea and more about the vision and creativity of those who lead our academic institutions.

Many of the emerging rules and guidelines established for corporate bloggers, are appropriate for blogging within and about academic institutions. An April 2004 MarketingProfs article lists and elaborates on 10 Rules for Corporate Blogs and Wikis here (signup required):
  1. Be authentic
  2. Be an unmatched resource
  3. Once you start, don’t stop
  4. Keep it relevant
  5. Measure your effectiveness
  6. Monitor other blogs
  7. Trust your employees
  8. Use blogs for knowledge management
  9. Use wikis for employee and customer collaboration
  10. Develop an organizational content strategy now

Sounds good to me. Now let's see if all you profs, deans, department heads, and university presidents can keep up with Bob Lutz.

I think the main reason we aren't seeing more academic blogs is cultural. In academic settings people are rewarded for deep and thorough analysis, and academic writings tend to be scrutinized by their peers. Because of this, academics tend to be very careful about what they "publish".

Blogs tend to be quick and dirty, and often full of mistakes. For example, I made a mistake on the IBM Blogging post you commented on "Future Now".

Having said that I think there are a growing number of academic blogs and bloggers. One of my favorite blogs is Future Pundit ( and although I don't whether or not the author is an academic, the posts sure read like he/she is. The site also links to academic blogs and a lot of the comments have an academic feel to them.

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