Why an “e2i” blog would be a good idea for Nokia

In a comment to my status update on Facebook,

"http://ping.fm/73D1E Should I wait (forever) until "Updating Nokia device view" in Ovi Suite ends, before I can sync the photos from my N97?"

…one friendly ex-colleage wrote:

"you should get an internal blog"

…immediately followed by:

"ahh you are not in Nokia anymore…"

It's funny you should mention that, my friend 🙂

As it happens, I was the first person in Nokia's global corporate communications team to start an internal blog, back in January, 2005. I called my blog 'theCapture', to reflect the immediacy of blogging; that it enables us to capture our (hereto mostly tacit) thoughts and ideas, and to make them explicit in order to grow our shared knowledge together.

You know, standing on the shoulders of giants and all that.

cap-ture (…) -n. 4. the act of capturing. 5. the thing or person captured.
(source: Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language)

I had fallen in love with the cluetrain and developed a strong belief that blogging (outside AND inside the company) would inevitably help 'Fortress BigCo' to actually start conversing with its customers AND itself (i.e. its employees), rather than continuing on the cul-de-sac of broadcasting sanitized packages of strategically aligned "messaging".

NRC's Bob Iannucci said it well in December of 2005, when he contemplated the main drivers for internal blogging:

  1. Flattening the organization
  2. Speeding up communication and decision making processes
  3. Reinforcing ideas

I considered it a test bed for the way we would develop the Nokia News Service – the main news channel on the intranet at the time – into more of a social medium. We re-branded and relaunched the service as the 'News Hub' in November 2006.

Judging by the jury of the CiB Awards 2007, we did a reasonably nice job.

(The concept caught on; suddenly we had a VideoHub, a BlogHub, a Hubcast…)

But I digress; back to your suggestion, [NAME OMITTED].

You know what? It would actually make sense for Nokia to "syndicate-in" a blog produced by an external.

By the end of this month it will be a year ago since I left the company. During this year I have learned how being a "real" user – having to compare the devices, the operator plans, the software and  services, and having to fix bugs as well as features – is very different from being a Nokia employee with full technical support and money being no object (to using the best fit-for-purpose tools). Now, on a daily basis, I run into challenges relating to my Nokia brand experience that I didn't use to encounter while on the inside.

Take for example my current issue regarding the N97's synchronization to the Nokia Ovi Suite and Nokia Photos. At HQ in Keilalahti, tech support would have fixed this for me – or actually, the problem likely wouldn't have occurred in the first place.

So, why would an "external2internal" blog be a good idea for Nokia?

The benefits of an "e2i" blogger are a combination of increased diversity, balance, and reality check.

The internal culture reinforces a positive bias towards the company and
the brand.

Don't get me wrong: Nokia is an admirable company and I'm
a fan! I care! Otherwise I would be wasting my breath. Did you
notice that I'm hanging on to – and publicly defending – the Nokia N97
in spite of all the (social) iPhone pressure? 🙂

And it is exactly because I care that I also point out
concerns such as the ones expressed by Robert Scoble. Tell me whose job it is
inside the company to bring this kind of stuff to people's attention. And yet, I think it's relevant to everyone in Nokia. An "e2i" blogger would add value here.

The external world is tougher and more real. IMHO and FWIW, it would be
of value to Nokia people – be they in comms, marketing, design or
R&D – to read how people in the real world experience their brand.
After all, who owns the brand, anyway?

The external view is different. The daily challenges to someone on the outside are different. With diversity you generate more, and often more creative, ideas.

(See also Hugh MacLeod's diagram explaining why corporate blogging works.)

Now, I might be inclined… But first we would really need to talk about that small dilemma of "sponsored conversations" 🙂