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Nov 7
The Evolution Of Corporate Blogging: Can Blogs Be Used For Corporate Disclosures?
Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of Sun Microsystems, has long believed that blogs can help corporations better communicate with their stakeholders and increase the transparency of these organizations.  Schwartz practices what he preaches, maintaining a blog, “Jonathan’s Blog,” which attracts 50,000 visitors per month. 

Last month, Schwartz talked about how he would like to use his blog to disclose material information to the public (i.e., earnings reports, material transactions, etc.)  However, he noted that federal regulations do not provide guidance on whether he would be able to do so via his blog.  Curious about what the response of the SEC would be to his proposal, he wrote a letter to Christopher Cox, chairman of the agency, about this issue.  In the letter Schwartz said:

“Our corporate website (www.sun.com) currently receives on average of nearly a million hits per day. This website includes a blog that I write as CEO of Sun Microsystems (www.blogs.sun.com/jonathan), as well as the blogs of over 4,000 of our other employees. My blog is syndicated across the Internet by use of RSS technology; thus, its content is "pushed" to subscribers. This website is a tremendous vehicle for the broad delivery of timely and robust information about our company. The Commission should make clear that options such as adequately noticed website postings, fully accessible webcasts and electronic mail alerts would satisfy [government regulations].”

Interestingly, Cox decided to respond to Schwartz’s letter via the Sun CEO’s blog.  In his comment, Cox said that the idea of disclosing material information on blogs is interesting.  However, before doing a company have to ensure that people could easily access the information regardless of their level of technology.

The Implications For Healthcare

The online conversation between Cox and Schwartz has interesting implications for healthcare companies.  If the SEC encourages firms to use blogs and other technologies to help investors and the public access information, it might accelerate uptake of these communications vehicles.  It would also help executives better understand the utility of these technologies and aid them in efforts to provide valuable and relevant content to their stakeholders. 
More On Corporate Blogging: Backbone Media/Northeastern Study  


In other news, Backbone Media, blogging expert John Cass and Northeastern University recently released the results of the Blogging Success Survey.  The study was designed to “determine the reasons, conditions and factors that make a blog successful, and to create a list of criteria to help companies assess whether and how they should engage in blogging.”  The researchers identified five factors that contribute to the success of a corporate blog.  They are:

•    Culture
•    Transparency
•    Time
•    Dialogue
•    Entertaining Writing Style

Click here to learn more about this study. 

3 Comments/Trackbacks




A recent Jupiter Research report stated that many large companies (those with over $50 million in sales a year) are planning to start a blog in the next six months. It makes perfect sense to me - already almost 40 percent of Americans are reading blogs and the number grows every day. It is amazing how fast you can build up an audience if you write relevant content and offer information that resonates with others, and yes, it does take time to create a good corporate blog, but it can be amazingly effective.

Manida:

Thanks for your comment. One clarification on the JupiterResearch study though. The company did not find that many large companies are going to be starting public facing blogs. Rather, they will deploying blogging technology. There was quite a flap over this study.

I must say that The Company did not find that many large companies are going to be starting public facing blogs. Rather, they will deploy blogging technology.

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