Friday, September 28, 2007

Is it possible to be too transparent?

Sorry for the two-week lag in putting up new posts. I'm in the Boston airport right now waiting for a flight back to Detroit, so I figured now is as good a time as any to catching up the blog. I spent the day today hosting some bloggers at a GM-sponsored luncheon. We had a GM executive on hand to answer questions and then to take them over to the Chevy booth at the AltWheels Festival in Boston this weekend. It's always fun hosting bloggers, especially those who don't normally get invited to be a company's guest at events like this.

Anyway, hosting bloggers is another post for another time. What I want to write about today was inspired by part of the For Immediate Release podcast hosted by Shel Hotlz and Neville Hobson. Shel spent a few minutes discussing how we at GM (more particularly my boss, Christopher Barger) handled a sticky situation through the use of corporate blogs.

GM has recently been in some pretty tight-lipped negotiations with the United Auto Workers Union, and endured a two-day strike while details of the negotiations were hammered out. Due to the confidential and sensitive nature of the negotiations we are limited in what we can say about them, and rightly so.

Shel compliments (click here to hear the clip) Christopher on how he used GM's Fastlane blog to address readers' comments about the GM/UAW negotiations and strike. Simply put, all Christopher did was put up a little post (commenting was disabled) that told people we know they want more info on the matter, but that we are simply not allowed to comment (mainly because we really don't know much more beyond what's in the papers and on the blogs). You can access the post here.

This is one of those times when being completely transparent is actually the wrong thing to do. I'm an advocate of corporate transparency, but I am not naive enough to think that companies should put everything out there for the public to see. To do so is neither practical nor smart.

It's been an interesting week in corporate social media communications. I'm sure learning a ton!

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