Back the blogging bosses


Matthew Taylor, at the RSA, is one of relatively few chief executives of nonprofit organisations who have a blog ... now others are joining in, and getting encouragement.
Following news here that that Stephen Bubb, chief executive of the organisation for nonprofit chief executives acevo has started blogging at Bubb's blog, a couple of more established bloggers have launched a support group.
First of all Shane McCracken set up a Facebook group, now Paul Caplan has a public page on his blog inviting more nominations and offering a badge.
 Wp-Content Uploads 2008 03 Back The Boss 125All good fun - with the very important underlying purpose, as Paul points out, of helping encourage the non-bosses to believe they can speak up too:

Some heros are breaking free and we salute them. There are brave men and women bearing the title CEO or Director of this, that or the other who are stepping up and talking as the passionate and interesting men and women they are. They are brave and forward thinking and they make it easier for those of us who are talking to the frontline troops in the public sector and saying: “Yes it’s OK to get out there and have conversations. Yes it’s OK to talk like a human being and tell stories.” Because now we can add: “… because look, your Boss is doing it!”

That's best answer to We can't do that - and they mustn't do it either, and The committee won't go for it. More examples of public or nonprofit blogging bosses over at Paul's place, please. Maybe Matthew could invite some other chief execs across to John Adam Street to give them some first-hand encouragement, and also explain how the RSA Networks project is changing his organisation for the better. (Disclosure: RSA is providing some support for this project, so I am rather well-disposed).


blogging in the USA

The Director of the RSA United States also blogs. Visit and click on "Frank's Blog".

Local government is at it too...

I spend some of my week working with Kent County Council and the Leader there has recently started his own blog. OK, so you can't see people's comments on it, but one step at a time...

What's interesting is the patchy nature in which new media is being adopted by councils such as Kent. So we have Cllr Carter's blog, we have Kent TV which has recently incorporated YouTube-esque functionality; and yet staff members are barred from accessing any form of social media. In fact last year I had to write a business case for why the social innovation lab team needed access to Facebook (we were supposed to be doing a project on online access to information about social care...)

So yes, I do think it's great news that leaders and chief executives are blogging more, and in many cases I think it has a very positive impact on the organisation's wider engagement with social media. But I don't think its guaranteed: what is equally essential is that decision to blog has come from an authentic desire to connect to people in new ways, rather than being managed by the marketing department as an attempt to make big bureaucracies look like they are keeping up with all of us. No fingers being pointed here, just some observations!

Blogging Bosses

Over on my blog I have links to some CVS Chief Officers - (try Rugby or Hastings) who blog. Also a number of the Regional ICT Champions - are Chief Execs of their Charities / Social Enterprises working and blogging in the Third Sector (try Julie Harris or Colin Harrison) telling it how it is about how they see ICT used and what readers / small groups need to know.

These blogs may not set the world alight with cutting edge comments but DO SET an example for the many small front line organisations that read these stores and have been inspired to blog or use social media themselves.

Thoughts ?

Blogging Bosses

Thanks Paul - these blogs clearly are an encouragement and inspiration. Do you think it is difficult for middle-level staff to introduce social media if the bosses aren't using it?

Blogging Bosses - Other Staff


As you know I blog; I also have a Cheif Exec who is open to use of Social Media tools - he doesn't blog but he is on Facebook.

In my case it is easier for me to talk in NAVCA about use of these tools which we have discussed and he can clearly see the value of sites like Facebook to draw together groups of like minded individual to campaign for a common cause (his latest is for a group of walkers in Humberside).

We also have a semi-regular totally open meeting in the office which any member of staff can attend where Facebook, Twitter, RSS etc are openly discussed, critisised, bigged-up and played with to see if they are relevant for us (next one end of April).

Regarding your question, I think the answer is Yes. If we didn't have this open acceptance of their potential worth, my blogging and twittering would probably be seen as "wasting work time" and Facebook etc would have been blocked on our server by now!

What we are lots of the simple guides (see Paul Caplan, Tim Davies) that present Social Media as adding value to Membership Orgs.

Keep on it David and let me know if NAVCA can help / be involved in groups etc etc.

Paul Webster / watfordgap

re: blogging bosses - other staff

That's really helpful ... as ever! We are still figuring out how to develop this Membership Project. Should it have members:-)? Current thinking is some main partners (currently RSA and NCVO) with a core group of enthusiasts emerging who want to take forward particular work packages or events. How about a coffee next time you are south of Watford?

Further thought - are their any upcoming NAVCA events we could hitch into? We are doing something at NCVO membership conference April 22 for example.

bosses blogging - other staff

Just thought I'd put my two-penneth in...

I'm a one of the 'other staff' guest writers on Matthew Taylor's blog at the RSA, and I think it helps that there are more junior members of staff writing along side him to show that the whole organisation is on the same wave-lenth, and also to foster a more sociable relationship with Fellows (and other readers)

re: bosses blogging - other staff

Laura - Matthew's RSA blog is going really well with other staff input, maybe to the extent that it could be re-branded:-). I think it is really encouraging that staff feel able to engage with Fellows, and anyone else interested, on a public blog. Interestingly, it gets more staff input than the private RSA Networks site. As a blogger, I'm much more interested in posting in public because of the greater chance of links and unexpected conversations. I wonder if it is the same for RSA staff? Teasing out what works best where is one of things we hope to do here, and RSA is proving a great test place.

re: bosses blogging - other staff

Speaking from personal experience, I often find it easier to blog than comment on the networks site for the following reasons:

I am following my own train of thought rather than catching up with someone elses

I feel I am qualified / experienced / interested enough to write on the subjects I pick to write about

I don't think the blog participation is driven by a public/ private distinction, as you pose the question. Perhaps more a leaning towards commenting publically on subjects that we are more at ease with. (And to be honest I'm not certain that there is more staff participation on the blogs rather than the network - I think maybe it's just more obvious).

Actually down in London

Actually down in London tomorrow (Monday)

May be free to grab a coffee late afternoon if you are around?

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