I used to like 'em
June 8, 2004 3:35 AM   Subscribe

Sun Microsystems gives each employee a blog. Will other companies follow?
posted by PenDevil (16 comments total)
Before sgi started it's downward spiral there was an employee operated webserver, reality. The company paid for it and employees donated time to keep it up and running. It wasn't just a blog (in fact this was well before that contraction was ever uttered), you were allowed to host your own personal website. After the company axed the service to cut (non-existant) costs involved with it's operations some employees got together and restarted it outside the company.

Apple used to have something similar as well.

The fact that they're only providing employees with a blog is a sign that it's more of a press release attempt than a carrot for employees.
posted by substrate at 4:49 AM on June 8, 2004

Will other companies follow?

Might be Sun who are doing the following, for once?
posted by berto at 5:08 AM on June 8, 2004

Tons of companies are doing it, at least for the co. as a whole if not for each employee. We got a pr call pushing one just yesterday from a organic baby food co.
posted by amberglow at 6:14 AM on June 8, 2004

A refreshing alternative to morose teenagers complaining about their parents, at least until they run out of things to say.

Too bad Sun is becoming irrelevant.
posted by tommasz at 6:35 AM on June 8, 2004

It can't be long now, soon they'll discover IRC.
posted by yonderboy at 6:52 AM on June 8, 2004

Perhaps they can also create an OPML feed listing all of the blogs from the site, and maybe even a changes.xml file.
posted by jeffbarr at 7:32 AM on June 8, 2004

Pardon my cluelessness, but why? Just to be a perk, like being a free ISP or something (I had a company paid home ISDN line once upon a time)? There are plenty of free blogomatic tools out there. Are they planning to catch Joe Employee sliming the company?
posted by yoga at 7:58 AM on June 8, 2004

Pardon my cluelessness, but why?

They might just think it's cool. Several other reasons, not intended to be paranoid, spring to mind.

1. Get all Sun employees used to using blogs, so that Sun can start to use blogs as project knowledge management tools, at least as an alternative to other KM tools. Instead of having to train people to use the tools, people will train themselves.

2. Lots of interesting data to scrape and analyse for employee 'tacit knowledge.' If they wanted to.
posted by carter at 8:16 AM on June 8, 2004

3. Not A Bad Thing. Sun benefits when employees are spending their free moments at their desks writing blogs rather then at the "water cooler".

4. Monitoring employees web habits must be prohibitively difficult and futile. If employees are *voluntarily* posting their web habits, then they are not at their desks surfing for porn.

Also not intended to be paranoid. It costs little and they get publicity.
posted by xtian at 11:39 AM on June 8, 2004

In the olden days -- back when "internet" meant the interconnection of networks -- just about every desktop machine at Sun had its very own routable IP address. If an employee wanted to serve something, she could just do it from her workstation.

Obviously that's not likely to happen in this day and age, where paranoia is often more than justified, but it does go to show you how far we have fallen.
posted by majick at 12:07 PM on June 8, 2004

tommasz: Why is Sun becomming irrelevant? With Java desktop and Solaris going open source, they're just starting to become interesting to me.
posted by Hackworth at 2:12 PM on June 8, 2004

My question of why wasn't implying it was a bad thing necessarily. It was more along the lines of, how can blogs be a productive corporate work tool? In a previous life at a major dot com, blogs didn't take off. Thinking it would be a great way to capture informal ideas and resources, most folks were too guarded of their thoughts to put out there free for the taking, even if on an intranet.

And I'm not sure I see the difference between hanging at the water cooler and time spent blogging. Other than the obvious.
posted by yoga at 2:47 PM on June 8, 2004

Further thoughts: if one wants to keep personal and profesional lives separate, it doesn't work. eg. I wouldn't want the company knowing what I do with my own time, and company intellectual property shouldn't be public.

In some cases, intranet blogging might be helpful if maybe it was non public (even internally) for collaboration working, maybe. Still, the paranoia factor, in a smaller circle.
posted by yoga at 2:53 PM on June 8, 2004

yoga, Are you quibbling? Spending time at the desk working on a blog project is time not spent socializing.
posted by xtian at 6:45 PM on June 8, 2004

most folks were too guarded of their thoughts to put out there free for the taking, even if on an intranet.

Interesting. But this might have been another instance of how we adjust our notions of privacy in electronic communication. For better or worse, IT often seems to compromise established notions of pivacy, and then somehow people get used to it. The Sun folks linked above are early adopters who are not worried about 'putting it out there.' Maybe it will spread; people do after all seem to like/want to blog.
posted by carter at 9:25 AM on June 9, 2004

The University of Minnesota offers all faculty, staff, and students their own free Movable Type-based blog. Nice interface, convenient structure, and very, very easy for all of us.

All (approximately) 65,000 of us, I should say.

I see more colleges and universities beginning to provide this for all of their students and employees.
posted by mooncrow at 9:47 AM on June 9, 2004

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