Blogonomics: The Upside of Transparency

You won’t be surprised to hear that I think it pays for companies to encourage

their employees to blog, and to be as open as possible. But don’t take my word

for it. Instead, take the word of Rohit Aggarwal, Ram Gopal, and Ramesh Sankaranarayanan,

all of the University of Connecticut, who have just published a 37-page paper

on the subject, entitled "Negative

Blogs, Positive Outcomes: When Should Firms Permit Employees to Blog Honestly".

I’ll let Chris Dillow sum

up the upside of negative posts:

Such postings attract more attention and page views than bland pro-company

posts, which means that subsequent, positive posts get more attention. What’s

more, because the employee is free to post bad things, these positive posts

are more credible.

The paper does get extremely technical, and I’m not remotely qualified to judge

the methodology, which includes things like this:

An empirical model is developed to account for the inherent non-linearities,

endogeneity and unobserved heterogeneity concerns, and potential alternative


But if anybody at Condé Nast ever complains about me criticising the

mothership (and to their credit, they never have), I’m going to point them right


And while I’m on the subject of transparency, many congratulations to Andrew

Leonard, who writes the excellent How

The World Works blog for Salon: as of today, he has a full

RSS feed! There’s now no reason at all not to subscribe to his blog: go

and do it, now.

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