personal vs. organizational blogging

A question I get asked about blogging is whether to do it with a personal name or maintain a corporate identity. In other words, wouldn’t people get confused between DJ Chuang the person vs. DJ Chuang the Executive Director of L2 Foundation, or DJ Chuang the Director of Digital Initiatives and Asian American Church Research of Leadership Network, or whatever, because he wears so many hats. Sometimes people do get confused, but I’m kind of a complicated multi-faceted person, and not simplistically one-dimensional. (And to keep the boundaries from being less fuzzy, regular readers here know that I rarely blog about my work here.)

So here’s a few examples of how (I think) blog identity works on the internet. There’s a difference between unofficial vs. official, personal vs. organizational, individual vs. corporate communication / blogging.

1. Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, the largest Christian publisher in America, has a personal blog at www.michaelhyatt.com, and what he writes there is solely his own personal opinion, and does not represent his company or employer. He actually writes quite a bit about the company on his personal blog, so it’s like a “behind the scenes” look at how his company runs. Transparency is a valuable asset for many companies in today’s climate, and a personal voice on a personal blog accomplishes that.

2. David Gibbons, Mark Batterson, Ken Fong, Perry Noble, Craig Groeschel, Eugene Cho, Dave Ferguson, all have personal blogs, and yet are lead pastors of notable churches (Christian organizations). There are many many other notable church pastor bloggers, but for this example, I used more commonly known pastor names.

3. When Tim Keller adds a comment on my blog and other websites, he speaks for himself as an individual, and does not speak on behalf of Redeemer Presbyterian Church or the PCA denomination.

4. JetBlue’s CEO writes a “blog” at www.jetblue.com/about/ourcompany/flightlog/, on behalf of the company. But it doesn’t look like it has a personal voice, and from one communication perspective, it is not as effective. Other examples of effective business blogging (executives who write blogs on behalf of their company) are Bob Lutz for GM at fastlane.gmblogs.com and Ted Leonis for AOL at ted.aol.com

So here on my personal website, djchuang.com, that is my individual and unofficial voice. On the L2 Foundation website, L2 blog, Leadership Network Books, Leadership Network Learnings, those are written with an organizational and (more) corporate voice.

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