The buzz around collaborative Web 2.0 technologies keeps going, and it is easy to think that every firm now has a blog, a wiki and an RSS feed. In fact, a global survey of internal and corporate communications professionals found that more than half use blogs, online video and RSS, or plan to do so in the next 12 months.

The Melcrum study of communications at large firms also found more than 40% are using podcasts and social networks, or say they are planning to do so.

Social Media* Applications that Communications Professionals Worldwide Use or Plan to Use in the Next Year, 2007 (% of respondents)

Other data suggest that while a lot of firms say they plan to start blogging, that remains a matter of intent, not reality. Moreover, few companies have public blogs. Those that do appear to blog mainly for internal communications.

Socialtext tracks public blogging by Fortune 500 firms and Global 1000 firms. The ongoing study, headed by Chris Anderson of Wired, currently credits 8% of the Fortune 500 with public blogs, and just 4% of the Global 1000.

Public blogging by Fortune 500 firms has actually doubled since April 2006.

Fortune 500 Companies and Forbes 200 Best Small Companies with a Public Blog, 2005 (% of total)

However, "doubling" does not indicate an explosion of public blogging.

The word "public" is key here. Although firms may use Web 2.0 for internal communications, putting company details in plain view for second-guessing by armchair CEOs still lacks appeal. Responses in the Melcrum study confirmed this.

Almost half of respondents agreed that employees discussing their organization online posed a significant risk to the corporation’s reputation. Another 70% said that they had no guidelines or policies relating to blogging or other social-media tools, indicating that they were unprepared for public-facing communications.

Social media are well-suited to internal communications, with communications professionals believing they help with employee engagment and internal collaboration.

Top Benefits of Social Media* according to Communications Professionals** Worldwide, 2007 (% of respondents)

Firms looking to open two-way dialogue with senior executives, however, need to decide who they are willing to have on the other side of the conversation.

Via eMarketer

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