From the first, hesitant attempts at this newfangled hobby-thing called blogging, MUDGE has been very concerned about how any employee’s blog would be received by his specific employer.
We’ve tried to err on the side of… circumspection. Thus, the pseudonym, both for this writer, and for the occasional references to that employer in basically general, not to speak of generic terms: HCA, the Heart of Corporate America.
There’s bad and good to pseudonomity [did we just coin a new term? or just misspell an old one?].
The bad: as MUDGE, I lack a certain amount of credibility, especially when I write on the topic of web conferencing, one that I would like to be perceived as owning some expertise.
The good: as of this writing, I still have a job at HCA.
Which brings us to the cautionary tale of John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods. You might remember the story: during a turbulent acquisition of Whole Foods competitor Wild Oats, Mackey was exposed as having blogged anonymously, denigrating Wild Oats management and talking up his own company’s stock.
So one guesses that Mackey violated protocol: one supposes that it’s okay to do the above as a third party, unaffiliated with either entity, but it’s entirely too self-serving to do so when one is the CEO of one of the principals in the transaction.
And of course, Mackey violated the first rule of miscreancy [did we just coin a new term? or just misspell an old one?]: don’t get caught.
Whole Foods to restrict online postings by execs after CEO brouhaha
They’re not supposed to post to blogs, message boards and other forums without approval
November 07, 2007 (Computerworld) — After its CEO got caught bashing competitors and talking up his company’s stock in anonymous Internet forum posts, Whole Foods Market Inc. late last week changed its corporate conduct policy to ban company leaders from posting anything online about the company.
John Mackey, chairman and CEO of Whole Foods, came under fire in July after eight years of anonymous posts on Yahoo bulletin boards were cited by the Federal Trade Commission in a lawsuit against the company. The lawsuit, filed in June, sought to prevent Whole Foods from acquiring competitor Wild Oats Markets Inc. because the FTC contended that the deal would be anticompetitive.
And so we get to the heart of the matter: is there a place for blogging about a specific corporation? Is it appropriate for employees of that corporation to blog about it?
[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]
Some companies think not, at least Whole Foods’ board thinks that its top employees should refrain.
Some companies aren’t so skittish (of course, their CEOs have not gotten caught!). We’ll explore this issue further next time.
BTW, for those not tuned in to the latest in blogosphere shortcuts: NSFW — not suitable for work. Usually used in the context of articles or blog posts containing what might be construed as racy photographs of young women.
It’s it for now. Thanks,