Why employees don’t want to blog

by Toby Ward - Blogging is more than popular, it’s revolutionary. Blogging has turned ordinary Joe and Janes into celebrated authors, and celebrities. However, for every Arianna Huffington, there are millions of Joes and Janes that have contributed one or two posts and subsequently never return again to the blogosphere, hundreds of millions that will never try blogging.

Consider for a moment some telling statistics:

  • 2+ billion unique users
  • 150+ million blogs (some estimates exceed 200m, but blogs come & go)

By the numbers, the number of blogs to unique users is about 7.5%. However, many active bloggers have multiple blogs. The reality is, less than 1% of Internet users have an active blog. However, those that regularly write and contribute to a blog is a fraction of that 1%. Employee blogging statistics are far less impressive.

If only a fraction of individuals write and blog on the Internet, what percentage of workers are truly motivated to blog while performing their job?

Consider the results of The Intranet 2.0 Global Study 2010 (526 respondents):

  • 53% of organizations have blogs on their intranet
  • 18% of organizations have enterprise wide intranet blogs

Thomson Reuters Blog

Blog selection form; Thomson Reuters intranet (June 2010)

Less than one-fifth of organizations have made available blogging to all employees. IBM is one example, and less than one-quarter of one percent of employees are active bloggers (see Employee intranet blogs wanted). Thomson Reuters is no different. Unlike IBM, Thomson Reuters actively promotes blogs and blogging on its intranet home page, but less than 1% of employees have set up a blog (see Intranet blogs hit critical mass).

So, what’s up with that!? I thought blogging was so damned hot and revolutionary that everyone was doing it?! Let me answer a question with another question: who said everyone was a writer? For every Dickens and Hemmingway there have been millions of failures, and billions who have no interest in picking up the proverbial pen and paper – or keyboard and blog. For every Bob Woodward and Huffington, there are millions who try writing, and fail (or simply drop it), and nearly 2 billion who are not even interested.

As I wrote in Intranet blogs hit critical mass the low adoption rate of blogs by employees shouldn’t surprise anyone: most employees are not writers, let alone citizen journalists, and have work to do when they are at work. Don’t be fooled though, employees do want to hear more from the executive suite, and they are eager to learn more about and better understand their business, and the direction of the organization. Employees want to read blogs, they just don’t want to write them.

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