Ben Metcalf's post about the London Geek Dinner raised some interesting points which were a topic of conversation during the evening. Let me quote Ben for a moment...
"Robert Scoble was interesting to talk to, and we exchanged numerous notes about Channel 9 and backstage.bbc.co.uk. He spoke about the fact that whilst his blog was sometimes critical of Microsoft, it’s what kept it honest. It all meant that when we spoke about the good that Microsoft was doing, it had some integrety because it wasn’t all one-sided. I think that’s a very useful thing to remember - particularly when if your employer takes to you task over your own blog."
At Microsoft we have a really simply policy - blog smart. Now I can't claim that my posts are always intellectual but I am confident that before posting something new I consider "how would my boss feel if he read this?". This is the public domain after all.
I'm a firm believer that posts should be open and informative(and hopefully interesting too) rather than being anodine - hence I am able to write without having someone from marketing or legal scrubbing everything I say. Imagine going to a conference and hearing a presentation that's scripted to the letter following multiple levels of review by teams of legal/marketing folk - it's unlikely to result in an interesting session!
Personally I aim to write in the form of a conversation rather than a speech.
Of course there are consquences if I post something that's confidential or offensive - these are exactly the same as those that apply to me when speaking in a public forum - worst case scenario is that I can be fired for exposing company secrets or those of our customers or partners. This strikes me as common sense.
I always bear in mind that "there isn't a delete button on the Internet"! Hindsight is always more informative than real time.
I hope I never live to regret these words...... Actually thinking about it that's almost the definition of "blog smart".