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Johnson & Johnson Enters The Healthcare Blogosphere With Official Corporate Blog

Over the past few weeks, rumors have been flying about whether and how Johnson & Johnson will engage with social media.  For example, there was much discussion when the company decided to host a dinner with pharmaceutical andjnjlogo.jpeg medical bloggers in New York City earlier this year.  The questions of the moment were:

- Is Big Pharma trying to co-opt bloggers?  

- Will J&J encourage all of its employees to blog?

We now know that the answer to both questions is no.  By hosting the dinner, Johnson & Johnson was simply trying to get a sense of the blogosphere before they decided to jump in.  And, recently they did, -- in a big way.  The company launched its first official corporate blog on June 4.  

While this is not the first blog Johnson & Johnson has launched, it has the potential to become one of its most important.  (Johnson & Johnson launched  Kilmer House, which focuses on the company’s history in October 2006.)  This is because Marc Monseau, J&J’s director of corporate communications, is writing it.

In his blog, JNJ BTW (BTW stands for "By The Way") Monseau will discuss a range of subjects relating to the company.  However, he warns that he won’t be able to be as candid as some may like.  In the about JNJ BTW section of the blog he writes:

“[Launching a corporate blog] is a big step for us as a company. Anyone working for a large corporation will appreciate that there are many internal limitations on what we say and how we say it. . . . On JNJ BTW, there will be talk about Johnson & Johnson -- what we are doing, how we are doing it and why. There will be comment on the news about our company and the industry -- occasionally correcting any mistakes (not that that ever happens!) or simply providing more context.  I hope and expect that some of my colleagues will eventually join me on this blog.

We may not always be able to talk about product-specific issues, news from our operating companies or issues that fall under regulatory or legal constraints. But we’re going to do what we can to talk openly, directly and to the best of our knowledge.”

J&J Promises Meat With Those Potatoes

Based on Monseau’s opening post, I get the sense that he is going to be talking about some meaty and relevant issues.  This is good.  One of the complaints about some corporate blogs -- especially those written by communications professionals -- is that they seem scripted, safe and boring.  While Monseau isn’t likely to be anything like Robert Scoble was during his days at Microsoft, hopefully we can expect to read some edgy, relevant commentary on his blog. To achieve this, Monseau will have to:

-Read pharma/healthcare blogs and participate in the conversations taking place on them -- where appropriate

-Be unafraid to tackle key, controversial issues of the day -- as they are happening

-Grow a thick skin because Big Pharma has a lot of foes -- online and off

I wish Johnson & Johnson luck as it navigates the stormy waters of the healthcare blogosphere.  Everyone will be watching to see if the company sinks or swims.

(Disclosure:  I have spoken with J&J executives -- in a very unofficial, informal capacity -- about the company’s corporate blogging efforts over the past few weeks.)

3 Comments/Trackbacks

» JNJ BTW from Trusted.MD Network
Johnson & Johnson is fighting back with their own blog. Pharmalot and HealthcareVox with coverage. [Read More]

» Fortune 500 Blog Project: Johnson & Johnson Adds A Corporate Blog from BusinessBlogWire
Johnson & Johnson, #36 on the 2007 Fortune 500 list, has added an official corporate blog to its medicine cabinet (rimshot).  Fard, Toby, Mark, Ed, Neville and others have covered the news well; I just want to add my own... [Read More]

» Communications Minute: Vertex Revamps Website, Decides To Become More Transparent – Or Maybe Not from Trusted.MD Network
This week Pharmaceutical Executive reported that pharmaceutical company Vertex recently revamped its corporate Website in order to break away from the staid online presence maintained by many drug firms.  According to the magazine: “Vertex Pharmaceutic [Read More]

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