Blogging at work!?

Published 2 March, 2007 in Misc - 0 Comments

Corporate blogging is getting more and more common and me and the editor at work have been talking about trying to get people at work adapting that as well. Since we’re a utility company dealing with stuff like district heating and cooling, waste and recycling, we’re operating power supply systems, municpality broadband network, we’re producing biogas and what not, there are plenty of knowledge in and about our corridors that would be worth writing about.

What’s important I think is that we find the right incentive for people to start blogging. Many people don’t really understand what it’s all about and what the gain would be. I can see two major reasons for blogging:

  1. Public opinion building/public education
    You primarily write to create opinion, to share knowledge, to debate and so forth. In our case I can see how to apply this on our line of business: We do stuff that can have inflictions on the environment but everything we do we do with the environment in mind (we’re ISO 14001 certified). If you live in the municipality of Linköping you most certainly get a bill from Tekniska Verken (we supply water, broadband, heating, waste management, electricity and so on) so of course our activities, pricing and so forth is often up to debate.

    I think blogging would be a great way to give the inhabitants of Linköping better insight into what we do, why we do it, how we are govern by the municipality, why our pricings are as they are and so on. We have experts on energy efficency who could educate people on how to decrease their usage of energy (a contradiction of terms for an energy company right!) and so on.

  2. Personal knowledge aggregation/documentation
    You necessarily don’t have to write primarily for the public, but rather write for your self as a way to document your work, to keep gained knowledge/progress at the same place (my primary reason for this blog). Since alot of the work we’re doing is project based blogging could serve as a way to document projects, and of course share knowledge between projects, departments and subsidiaries.

Implementation

So, I think we will manage to find the right incentives to get a few people blogging so I started working on creating a blogging system on our Roxen CMS platform. I think the right way to get people blogging is to go along the line of the second reason above, so I though beginning on the intranet is the way to go. Now, it hit me that we have all the modules (foremost the category module) and that Roxen have alot of to the infrastructure already built in to easily create a blogging system.

The only thing I had to implement from scratch was the commenting feature which I created a Pike module for. The module is a couple of RXML tags; emit blog-comments to list comments to a specific entry, emit blog-comments to save a comment, emit blog-comments does speak for its self, and emit blog-comments which returns 1 if a comment is written by the author of the blog post and 0 otherwise.

Then I fixed some with a few XSL templates and then it was done! It took me about 6 hours to create a multi blog system we’re each blog can have multiple authors and that features searching, archiving and categorization. I don’t know how many hours I’ve spent on my PHP blog engine that I’m running this blog on, but I can tell you it’s 6 multiplied with alot ;) Roxen simply is really nice to work with!

Well, there’s a little polishing to do and some work to do to sell the blogging idea to the co-workers but I don’t think it will take too long before we’re blogging on the intranet and hopefully we’ll get some blogs out into the public as well later on.