Amazingly, I'm still hearing from many people that the geniuses who run their companies forbid employees to blog and prohibit posting in online chat rooms.
I think that these misguided executives simply don’t understand new social media tools and therefore in their confusion and fear, they just ban participation.
Many employees lament to me that they know the policy is a bad one. They want to participate in social media. But they can’t because they risk being fired.
The most common reason given for the company position? "Fear of revealing company secrets." Yikes. That was the same excuse given 15 years ago for supplying computers and email addresses only to people of director level and above.
People want to know, how do I convince management to let me blog?
The most important thing is to take it in steps.
Here's a plan that I would suggest you implement with the leaders of you company:
1) Monitor what millions of people are saying about you, the market you sell into, your organization, and its products. Read important blogs. forums and chat rooms. Bring any interesting tidbits to the attention of your bosses. Do it in writing.
2) Stick your toe into the water by getting approval to place a specific comment on a particular forum entry or blog post. Get the agreement in writing and show the link that you created to your bosses.
3) If this goes well, see if you can get approval to comment as a full participant in conversations on other people's blogs without gaining approval on each one.
4) After a few months, share evidence with your bosses that you have helped shape conversations and see if they'd be willing to let you create a mockup (password protected) blog of your own.
5) After a few months of trial password protected posts, show your bosses that you aren't giving away secrets and perhaps you will become a celebrity by being the first person in your company to be allowed to blog.
6) Become a thought leader in your marketplace through your own blog.
Where people end up hitting brick walls with management is starting with step 6. That's too big a leap for people whose closest encounters with blogs are reading about them in BusinessWeek Magazine.
And if you're successful with this strategy, let me know so I can blog about you!