I maintain a few blogs, well I maintain a personal one. The one here at SQLServerCentral.com doesn't get so much work, but I'm trying to get better at that. It's hard for me since this editorial is almost like a blog, so finding a whole separate set of things to write about, and then separate them from articles, is tough.
Lots of companies these days are looking to get their employees to blog, with various degrees of success. Some want the exposure, some want to show off, some think of it as another marketing channel, and some just do it because everyone else is.
However it's not that easy a thing to maintain for a company. I follow lots of blogs and I've seen so many die after a few months because people don't want to be bothered to write. I've got almost as many dead blogs to watch as I do live ones. Thank goodness for Google Reader to allow me to only see new items.
But allowing everyone to blog and express themselves doesn't always work out well. I saw this mention about Google and some employees that write something about the movie Sicko. I could see what the employee was trying to say, but it didn't sound good. And it makes you think that Google puts their profits ahead of the "right" thing to do by supporting companies that we feel aren't being fair with us.
There's also the side of things where bloggers talk about all types of things and get some benefit for their employers because more people read the blog. I guess that's what I kind of do here. I call this an editorial, and it is, but it's also a blog in some ways. It also keeps me busy enough that I tend to neglect my SQLServerCentral.com blog.
There are many thoughts on successful blogs and how to build one for your company. I think that can be good for the company, but what about you personally? What happens if you leave the company? Is your blog lost forever? Most likely it will be, slowly dropping out of the massive cache that Google maintains.
My advice has always been for friends that they should have a professional blog, but keep it professional. No stories about your cats, dates, etc. I know I blur the line here, but I think this forum is a bit of an exception.
My new advice is as follows: keep 3 blogs if you have a corporate blog.
Sounds like a lot of work, but really it's two blogs giving you some disaster recovery. First keep a personal blog if you want. Actually just set one up and put stuff in there that's not related to your career. Put the stuff in there that you wouldn't want someone to ask you on your next interview.
I think it makes some sense to have a corporate blog if you're asked. Use it to put out interesting technical things related to your job or company. But don't expect this blog will get you your next job. It probably works for Raymond Chen and Linus Torvalds, but for most of us this won't help. And you don't want to lose your great technical posts, so set up a third, professional blog for your career. Copy over those posts you want as a part of your online career CV and reference them when you are looking for a new job. Give out this blog to recruiters, interviewers, etc.
You should easily know where a new post should go and try not to mix your professional and personal documentation. Write a new SQL CE app? It could go on all three blogs, but your dog munching on your shoes definitely should only be in one place: the personal blog.
>>Lots of companies these days are looking to get their employees to blog...
Why would they enable yet another waste of company time using company resources?
Another great editorial Steve!
Corporate blogging is a great way to get the word out about your product or service. It's the internet equivalent of word-of-mouth advertising. It can also provide powerful journalism / evangelism.
You're absolutely correct: it's always a good idea to maintain your own blog separate and distinct from any corporate blogging you do.
I tried maintaining a professional blog but I found I didn't have something to say often enough to make it worth it. Instead, when I've got something I really want to share, I write it up & submit it to you guys as an article. I get more readers than I'd ever get on a blog and, in terms of a resume, it looks pretty good to say you're published as opposed to saying you run a blog.
I wouldn't keep anything of a personal nature in a blog on the internet...HR departments use this stuff to weed out candidates/target employees for dismissal.
Keep your personal life personal...and private.
I think good blogs are pretty hard to do. Most of us don't solve interesting problems all that often, and blogging about something you read elsewhere isn't very exciting. I pretty much fall into that boat too! I've been blogging for a couple months to see what I could make of it and the answer so far is Im not sure. I've been mixing SQL and user group posts, but out of all of those Im not sure that if someone else was writing it I'd read it directly, though it would have higher value if found as part of a search (due to relevancy only). Blogs work where personal web sites usually fail only because RSS makes it painless to check for new content and it makes loading content super easy.
I do like the idea of a 'professional development' blog that is a lot more like a diary and a lot less about come read what I wrote. One of my fav interview questions is to ask someone what kind of professional development they do to sustain and astonishly few have much of a plan. If you blog about articles you read, some nice tip, etc, it gives you a focus for your blog and conceivably would be helpful to someone following the same path but not quite as far along as you are. It's a great way to keep track of little bits and pieces, and it sure would be nice to have that available for the next job interview.
I agree with Grant that a lot of the 'good stuff' is far more likely to be seen and used when posted as content vs blogged. One thing you might consider is doing an SSC based blog, Steve aggregates all the blogs into one feed (in addition to the standalone blog feed) so it might increase the chances of people seeing it.
I enjoy living next to our bog. We can see moose, coyotes, eagles, geese, lynx, fox and the occasional bear. Even had the kids watch two cow moose trying to attract a bull during the fall rut. You don't see that in your backyard every day!
Wait, you said blog.
Sorry, I get those two words mixed up because when you dig into either one of them (corporate blog), it really starts to stink up the place quickly.
Just because you read it in a blog, doesn't make it true. I read that someplace on the Internet.