Saturday, December 03, 2005

Does your library belong in the Blogosphere?

From Harvard Business School website - Does Your Company Belong in the Blogosphere? [alerted via Kevin's post at theory.isthereason]
Bloggers have damaged a number of companies, but it's time to think of the blog as your friend. Skillful blogging can boost your company's credibility and help it connect with customers

The article mentions that General Motors has a corporate blog ( Sun Microsystems have a group blog ( that aggregates the employee blogs.

Article also shares "How bloggers connect", how to "Take a lead in the conversation", how blogs "Boost credibility and get closer to customers", how "To get the most from your blog".

That last point is worth noting if your library intend to start a blog. The article advises:
  • Have a distinct focus and goal
  • Feature an authentic voice. "Don't let the PR department write your blog"
  • Are open to comment. "Permit both positive and negative posts on your blog, and reply to comments made on other blogs pertinent to your area of focus. Respond in a professional and businesslike way. If you don't want to hear from your customers and critics in a public environment, don't blog."
Their final word - update the blog at least once a week. "If your legal department requires three weeks' review time before you turn around a posting for your blog, you are not a good candidate for blogging."

Question is "Does your library belong in the Blogosphere?"

A no-brainer?



  1. I think most of the points mentioned about whether a company belongs to the blogopshere applies to the library too as you said. But the last point is the most defining one:

    How liberal is your organization towards blogging?

    Right now blog efforts are limited to unoffical ones by individuals on my campus. Librarian blogs are ideal since the earnest is on them to be professional.

    However the biggest difficulty I'm facing when evangelizing blogs in my university is the paradigm of control. If you look at the big picture, for an organization with individuals who blog, "control" is really something that is now in the hands of grassroots individual bloggers, rather than the upper management.

    This is the big switch which I've to figure out a gradual solution for.

  2. Maybe another way of looking at it, Kevin, is not "control" but of "trust". How much does "upper management" trust the "grassroots" to communicate responsibly? Also, how much trust do the "grassroots" generate for management? It has to work both ways. Both management and grassroots have is often an illusion of control. I think if we see blogging as a grassroots movement, then trust ought to be generated from the grassroots too, where some degree of "face" is to be given to "management" and gradually win them over. We cannot expect management to ease up just by saying "it's inevitable" or "you're control freaks".

  3. Looking at trust instead of control is a more matured way of looking at the same problem... both of which are still things you can't just build overnight. What I'm trying to figure out is a forumla for this to happen more visibly, without clamming down the need for vetting of blog content.

    For example, one simple idea I shared with a few collegues was to make a university blog aggregator, which makes selected blogs and their content visible on one page. This might remind bloggers that their audience doesn't just consist of publics, but of their own people as well. I've got something like that running for Singaporeans bloggers in North America at (click on titles to see blog posts).

  4. Some libraries have a high focus on marketing. In fact, for some libraries it seems that marketing is more important than the actual services the library provides.

    I would like to see libraries that have blogs and utilize xml feeds in their web sites to also practice the idea of "grassroots" content that seems to go hand-in-hand with these digital tools.

    Content from library paraprofessionals, workers, and even patrons would make such a blog much more engaging and interesting to patrons. The patrons will be more likely to get involved in the library physically (i.e. visiting the library) if they are able to engage with the library electronically and feel like a part of the library's community.

  5. Thanks Stephanie. I look forward to a day when libraries would have the equivalent of what Sun Microsystems and Microsoft are doing. Sure, there would be problems like Comment Trolls and flamers, but the good will outweigh the bad.


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