In a piece near the close of last year I asked whether the corporate blogging revolution had been cancelled, suggesting there was a dearth of words online from C-suite executives, and the hortage was especially acute if you were betting without the technology industry itself.
In a response to my post, Naked Conversations author Shel Israel pointed out that other social media had provided “a whole arsenal of tools” and that “two thirds of the Global 100 companies now engage in social media”.
It certainly wasn’t my intention to suggest that social media was an irrelevance to blue-chips; only to state, as I still hold, that the vision of leading executives revealing their souls to the great unwashed was one that has failed to materialise. And when you could really use a comment, the corporate bloggers go MIA. Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz has been pretty vocal about his company but with a gazillion reports circulating about Sun getting blue-washed through an acquisition by IBM, it’s all gone very quiet down on his blog, unless you care for thinly veiled commercial presentations.
Of course, if as you might suspect Sun is still in talks with IBM and/or others regarding a formal combination, you wouldn’t expect Schwartz to speak out now, even if rivals such as larry Ellison have in the past been outpsoken on their plans. But the radio silence at Sun only reinforces the fact that blogs are considered by corporates to be just another channel to market, and one that needs strangling with red tape, legal protection against forward-looking statements and the like. Intel CEO Paul Otellini can say that Sun has been looking to sell for some time, but at Sun, the only conversations going on about the big stuff are being held under NDA and behind locked doors — same as it ever was.
Maybe this is the last remaining positive thing to say about corporate blogging: that if you really want to know what’s going on, silence sometimes speaks volumes.
UPDATE: Sun has just cancelled its press conference for next Monday that was to have covered new Intel-based servers. Another clue?