I mentioned a couple of days ago that at our recent bloggers gathering we discussed whether there should be some voluntary blogging guidelines for Methodist bloggers. If you’d asked me a year ago, I’d have pooh-poohed the idea, but now I’m starting to feel that the need for something like this is becoming urgent.
As a further contribution to working this through, I came across the guidelines developed at IBM for its blogging employees. Here’s the summary.
2. Blogs, wikis and other forms of online discourse are individual interactions, not corporate communications. IBMers are personally responsible for their posts. Be mindful that what you write will be public for a long timeâ€”protect your privacy.
3. Identify yourself â€“ name and, when relevant, role at IBM â€“ when you blog about IBM or IBM-related matters. And write in the first person. You must make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of IBM.
4. If you publish a blog or post to a blog outside of IBM and it has something to do with work you do or subjects associated with IBM, use a disclaimer such as this: â€œThe postings on this site are my own and donâ€™t necessarily represent IBMâ€™s positions, strategies or opinions.â€
5. Respect copyright, fair use and financial disclosure laws.
6. Donâ€™t provide IBMâ€™s or anotherâ€™s confidential or other proprietary information. Ask permission to publish or report on conversations that are meant to be private or internal to IBM.
7. Don’t cite or reference clients, partners or suppliers without their approval.
8. Respect your audience. Don’t use ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, etc., and show proper consideration for others’ privacy and for topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory â€“ such as politics and religion.
9. Find out who else is blogging on the topic, and cite them.
10. Don’t pick fights, be the first to correct your own mistakes, and don’t alter previous posts without indicating that you have done so.
11. Try to add value. Provide worthwhile information and perspective.
I notice that IBM used a wiki to develop their guidelines collaboratively, and I humbly suggest that Methodist bloggers could do the same.