Yes, public blogs can be "dangerous" but if you are going to walk the talk about empowerment and transparency that most executives are spouting these days, then you will have to endure the rare pain from employees disclosing stuff publicly they should not. My guess is that this small pain will be greatly outweighed by the positive benefits of engaging your customers and the world in a meaningful dialogue and conversation.
Indeed, blogs can be dangerous, representing a new legal netherworld. Microsoft's most famous blogger, Robert "Scobleizer" Scoble once got into big trouble in a previous job for talking up a rival's products. Therein lies the rub: The more truthful they are, the more valuable blogs are to customers. It's likely only a matter of time before some workplace pundit spills a trade secret, unwittingly leaks a clandestine launch date, or takes a swipe at a CEO that turns into slander.
For now, though, many are running the risk. In an era of fragmented media, with companies struggling to get their message out any which way, blogs are becoming a kind of undercover megaphone. One way to think of them is as the latest guerrilla marketing tool, a new kind of brand bait.
They'll likely backfire, though, if employers attempt to exert control. "Companies inevitably will try to co-opt blogs," says Dan Gillmor, author of We, the Media, a book about blogging due out next month.
Until then, happy reading.