Thoughts from the Top

July 26, 2008 at 1:21 am Leave a comment

During class a few weeks ago we took a look at a wide variety of corporate blogs. What caught my interest were the blogs by CEOs. Even at my relatively small, nonprofit organization, the majority of the employees are only exposed to our CEO’s thoughts during monthly staff meetings. And while our CEO is constantly traveling, networking, speaking at conferences, and collaborating with others in the education world, he can’t possibly reach as many people as he might through a blog.

Besides finding the time to blog, I think the challenge for CEO bloggers might be blogging with an honest voice. In Naked Conversations, Scoble and Israel write, “If you are going to blog, be authentic. Keep your conversations naked. Let people know who you are and where you are coming from.”

I think Ted’s Take, by Ted Leonsis, is a great example of a CEO blog. Leonsis is vice chairman emeritis of AOL, chairman of Revolution Money, owner of the Washington Capitals hockey team, an active philanthropist, an avid blogger…the list goes on and on. But despite all those impressive credentials, Ted blogs like an average guy. Sure – not everyone can write about their thoughts and experiences as the owner of a professional sports team. But Ted writes about these extraordinary experiences in a very down-to-earth and accessible way. In short, he blogs authentically. He also intersperses his team owner and CEO-type blog posts with random everyday thoughts on everything from the stupidity of Step Brothers to how he’s spent his summer “vacation.

Blog Maverick, by Mark Cuban, is another example of a great CEO blog. Like Leonsis, Cuban is an entrepreneur and owner of a professional sports team (the Dallas Mavericks). And like Leonsis, Cuban blogs about social media, the pro sports world, and movies, all with an authentic voice.

But not everyone’s a fan of CEO blogging. The Vancouver Sun recently published an article about corporate blogging that stated:

These [CEO blogs] seem to be the first thing marketers look at when thinking about implementing corporate blogs. Don’t fall into this trap. Unless your CEO has the passion, desire, time and dedication to commit to frequently blogging and to curate the comments, I’d avoid this at all costs.

I generally agree with this statement. I think Cuban and Leonsis are exceptions to the CEO rule because they’re passionate about blogging and willing to devote the time to it. I think their blogs also work because they function largely independently from their various business endeavors and aren’t riddled with obvious self promotion.  In short, forced blogging and self promotion kill authenticity.

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