I got an email from Thomas Burg in Austria asking for any hints on introducing blogging to an IT organization. Here's what I told him:
- Don't do it if you're not prepared, as an organization, to speak the truth. Blogging promotes, but also requires to some extent, a culture of candor.
- Start small.
- You need an organizational leader to set an example.
- Set up the infrastructure, buy licenses, etc. early and make it easy for people to get started. I bought Radio licenses for everyone. You could choose Moveable Type as well, but I think Radio has some definite advantages: (a) it includes the hosting that's outside the organization and (b) it brings a sense of user ownership since it lives on the desktop.
- Set a few guidelines (to show you've thought about them) but don't set too many since they will stifle people's creativity.
- Create an aggregator that reads the RSS feeds from the various blogs and presents them for people who don't use blogs and aggregators. Point at it and reference it whenever you can to drive traffic to the information in the blogs.
- Enable comments to encourage participation through feedback and interaction from those who don't write blogs.
- Be prepared for some people to be very threatened and offended when you speak the truth. Be proactive in preparing the people who they'll complain to so that they understand what you're doing and what the goals are.
- Pick out two or three people who like to write and give them special encouragement to get their blogs going. Meet with them often and form a "support group" of sorts to get things going.
Not all of these will work for everyone, but the advice is hard won. These are things I did that worked or things I wish I'd done. If you'd like to talk with me about doing this in your particular situation, send me an email, or comment below.