Blog Post #1: Great Publicity or Foul

Corporate blogging offers  exceptional and cost efficient advertisement.  Corporations have discovered that through the use of blogging they can not only become more familiar with the consumers but also create “two-way communication with their stakeholders (Strother 243).” This use of social media allows the corporations to appear caring, humane, and trusting.

However, though there is a great deal of evidence leading to the conclusion that bogging has become a godsend to battle the harsh, detached, and often destructive beast that is Corporate America, the blog does pose a threat to business. Michelle Evans, Journal of Legal Studies Education, inquires in to the risks associated with corporate blogging and the potential for legal issues and overall monetary loss. She states concern that corporate instituted regulations on blogging may deter damaging use of social media by employees, but could be ineffective.  (Evans 25).  I ask the question: does the benefits of blogging outweigh the potential havoc?

It is apparent the corporate leaders are torn with the question. IBM created “Blog Central” as a internal base for employee morale boosting (Strother 244). For the purpose of internal use, I find the risk of corporate harm to be minimal. However, the use of social media for external communication offers a wide variety of risk and benefits. The benefits being advertisement and publicity, study of public opinion, and a simple way for potential customers to find helpful information (Strother 244). The benefits, at this point, seem to outweigh the risks significantly.

Though the benefits are clear and attractive through the perspective of money generating, the risks hold a great deal of threat to the corporation. Corporate secrets, movements, and developments can, and have been, prematurely offered to the public through the anonymous forum of social media– namely bogging. Apple suffered a great deal when a blogger outed the release of the Asteroid (Strother 246). Such corporate leaks can cause damage to the corporation. Stock can decrease, flux in public opinion, false information can be introduced.

Granted, not much can be done for non-employee blogging; however, it seems that a great deal of negative results from bogging have originated with employees or non-employees posting to the corporate blog. One could make the argument that regulations and guidelines should be created and enforced in relation to blogging. Both Strother and Evans offer a sample of regulation or guidelines. However, it is evident that the court system overwhelmingly rules in favor of freedom of speech over corporate interest in the matter of social media and corporate collaboration.

From the readings and evidence, I have difficulty conceding to the idea that corporate blogging offers more benefits and risks. Perhaps with functioning and legally enforceable regulation, the benefits would outweigh the risk. I pose this question: Can any regulation be realistically implemented that would serve to protect the interest of the corporation while not infringing on the constitutional rights of the people (consumer and employee) ?

 

 

 

 

Evans, Michelle. Journal of Legal Studies Education. Mar2012, Vol. 29 Issue 1, p1-25. 25ps

Strother, Judith A., Zohra Fazal, and Melinda Millsap. (2009). Legal and ethical issues of the corporate blogosphere. IEEE Transactions On Professional Communication, 52(3), 243-253

3 thoughts on “Blog Post #1: Great Publicity or Foul”

  1. Companies need to use caution and protocol in their public blogs. The media managers need to understand the potential influence of each post. If they use the post primarily as free advertisement, they know that such a post communicates in one direction, from company to consumer. The post may not incur any comments or response at all, unless it’s controversial. Just as a vandal may spray graffiti to deface a physical advertisement, a motivated consumer may respond with criticism to a blog post, and the potential for backlash is endless. The company also has the choice not to authorize the comment.

    If media managers or other employees use the blog, or any other social media platform to reach audiences with interesting articles or documents, the publishers should understand the purpose of potential effects of each post. If they want to succeed they will exercise caution but also pursue meaningful discourse in their posts to enhance their company’s relevance and relationship with consumers.

  2. You raised some good points in your post. It is true that blogging may be both beneficial and detrimental to the companies that use blogs in order to promote their brands, maintain relationships with the public, and receive feedback. As you stressed, the companies’ administrators start having doubts about whether the benefits outweigh the damages caused by blogging or not. I guess what you are trying to say is that at the moment weblogs are more detrimental than beneficial as the proliferation of secrets and classified information causes enormous losses of money as well as credibility. You also propose the introduction of guidelines which can limit the negative effects of blogging and regulate the actions of those who post and those who comment on the blogs. This is definitely a valid solution to solve this huge problem oppressing many industries today. However, the promotion and circulation of this set of rules need to be formulated and approved worldwide, which is already a difficult result to achieve, as companies and industries may have different requests and ideas, but it also needs to be followed scrupulously by any user on the web. This is particularly problematic as some of the users may not follow the rules on purpose in order to damage a certain company or for other reasons. I am not suggesting that guidelines should not be taken into consideration, but the process may be longer and more difficult than we imagine. Of course, it would be very convenient to undergo this process in order to promote a safer way to use blogs today.

  3. As you have mentioned, blogging and social media allows companies to appear more caring and humane; it allows companies to build a relationship with the public. In today’s market, if companies want to keep up with their competitors, they have to blog. Nearly every corporation has an online presence because blogging is the most cost and time efficient method of reaching a wide audience.
    I’m glad you have mentioned the legal issues that may arise regarding social media, because lawsuits tend to be costly and can easily ruin a company’s reputation. All it takes is a single inappropriate comment, because sharing information via social media is easy and rapid. With a click of a button, someone can share something on Facebook or Twitter, and that information can be seen by all of their followers. A company may attempt to regulate blogging, but as Michele Evans suggests, it would be very ineffective. It would be ineffective because free speech is difficult to restrict.
    This leads me to your question, “Can any regulation be realistically implemented that would serve to protect the interest of the corporation while not infringing on the constitutional rights of the people (consumer and employee)?” In my opinion, yes, regulations can be implemented without violating constitutional rights. The reason is because the Constitution does not fully protect freedom of speech. It excludes several types of speech, such as speech that incites imminent illegal activity and libel. Libel, which is a written false statement that damages a reputation, is not protected. Therefore, a company can prohibit or fire someone for posting a false statement that is damaging to their reputation, and it would not be a violation of free speech.

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