November 05, 2005

Celebrating the World-Wide Web

Via atrios, we find that the World-Wide Web will be celebrating its 15th birthday this month. This is indeed a cause for celebration albeit with a tang of sadness as James Boyle showed in his reflection that today something like WWW would be strangled at birth by the corporate and governmental forces that would seek to control and own it.

The web is the home of the human hive mind. It has provided us tools for getting information, for building community, for finding that perfect recipe, looking for the right car or car repairman, and for talking to each other. Not since the invention of the printer press has knowledge and the power that knowledge brings flowed so fast from the elite to the masses. Today, anyone who has access to a computer has the ability to join into the fray. Our world will never be the same again. The media knows that. The politicians know that. And even business knows that.

Today, the media, the politicians and businesses are trying to harness the wind. What should be the response to the multitude of voices on the web? How do you respond to the immediacy that is possible via the web? Well, the lots of the media have setup their own blogs as have the politicians, the parties, and the activists. Even businesses are coming to terms with a forum that can't be totally controlled. The Financial Times reported earlier this week that businesses don't want to be left high and dry and some are encouraging a more intimate and non-controlled way to talk in the public sphere.

When IBM decided to encourage its 329,000 employees to start blogging, it asked employees to develop a set of guidelines. The core principles – written by IBM bloggers over a period of 10 days using a collaborative internal web page or “wiki” – drew on the employees’ own experiences and best practices at other companies.

IBM’s core blogging principles:

  • Know and follow IBM’s internal conduct guidelines.
  • Be mindful of what you write. You are personally responsible for your posts.
  • Use your real name and state your role at IBM when writing about IBM-related matters.
  • Use a disclaimer stating that your postings do not necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.
  • Respect copyright, fair use and financial disclosure laws.
  • Do not leak confidential or other proprietary information.
  • Do not talk about clients, partners or suppliers without their approval.
  • Respect your audience. Do not use profanity or ethnic slurs.
  • Find out who else is blogging about your topic and cite them.
  • Do not pick fights, and correct your own mistakes.
  • Try to add value. Provide worthwhile information and perspective.

To my eyes, that is a very good set of blogging ethics to have.

Happy birthday, www, and thanks from someone who appreciates the value you brought to her life.

Posted by Mary at November 5, 2005 12:47 PM | Internet | Technorati links |

My how time flies. Fifteen more years, if left alone, will democratize the world.

Posted by: Thomas Ware at November 6, 2005 10:25 AM

its indeed a remarkably brave step that IBM has taken in giving an impetus to its employees to blog. Incidently many companies have desist from the concept of blogging !
nyway Happy B'day to WWW !

Posted by: Sharaf at November 8, 2005 10:24 PM