Study: Blogging for Fun, Blogging for Work Should Harmonize in Corporate World
A new study suggests leisure-oriented blogging at work can – and should – coexist with job-related blogging.
The study, conducted by researchers at New York University and Carnegie Mellon University, indicates that when employers embrace leisure-oriented blogging, it benefits the writing and sharing of work-related blog posts. Abolishing leisure blogging at the office “can inadvertently have adverse consequences on work-related content creation,” the researchers said.
The researchers – Anindya Ghose of NYU and Yan Huang and Param Vir Singh of Carnegie Mellon – also found that employees compete fiercely to attract readers for their in-house blogs.
“Social media technologies such as corporate blogging have the potential to be of enormous value to firms. In addition to bringing together employees at a lower cost, when used effectively these technologies can encourage knowledge sharing and can enhance and increase firm productivity over the long term,” Ghose said.
The study monitored internal blog posting and reading over a 15-month span by nearly 2,400 employees at a Fortune 1000 IT services and consulting company. During that time, employees wrote more than 26,000 blog posts. The multibillion-dollar company, based in the United States, wasn’t identified.
According to the study, 6 percent of employees at the company posted on work-related blogs and 11 percent posted on leisure-oriented blogs. Meanwhile, 17 percent read work-related blogs and 24 percent read leisure-oriented blogs. The average work-related post was read by 40 employees, while the average leisure-oriented post was read by 108 employees.
All of those blogs are posted for anyone within the company but can’t be read by people outside the organization. The bloggers put their posts into an array of categories, such as software testing, knowledge management, movies and history. The company tracks when and how often the blogs are read.
“Since employees … have limited time available to devote to blog reading, this causes intense competition among employees for readership in order to vie for their attention,” the researchers wrote.
The study noted that prominent adopters of “enterprise blogging” include Charles Schwab, General Motors, Google, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Microsoft.
The researchers cautioned that companies must strike a balance between leisure-oriented blogging and work-related blogging, as employees’ motivations for blogging may not always mesh with corporate objectives.
Companies “often observe that some employees’ blog postings are not relevant to their work knowledge or expertise. If unchecked, such behavior can undermine the very goal of enterprise blogging,” the researchers wrote.
Ghose is an associate professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business. Param is an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business. Yan is a doctoral student at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Information Systems & Management.