Blogging at Sun Microsystems

As a blogging lawyer, I tend to keep an eye on Mike Dillon. Mike is the general counsel of Sun Microsystems and writes a blog: The Legal Thing.

Mike was interviewed by Real Lawyers Have Blogs. A few things caught my eye in the interview.

One, Sun has between 3,000 and 4,000 employees blogging externally, including their CEO. As of this morning, they had 4039 blogs, with over 94,000 entries and over 96,000 comments. They leverage these blogs in one platform so you can search across all of this blog posts: http://blogs.sun.com. I ran a search for “knowledge management” and got over 8,000 results back. This robust collection of blogs is a tremendous knowledge resource. It seems like a great way for the company’s employees to stay connected and for the customers of the company to be connected with the company.

The second was his take on in-house lawyers blogging:

“It’s surprising to me that more GCs don’t blog. But, I think there are two factors behind this. First, attorneys are by trade somewhat conservative and risk adverse (I still remember attending legal seminars in the 1980s about the terrible risks associated with a new type of communication called “email”). Consequently, I think many of us focus more on the risks of divulging confidential information or violating the attorney-client privilege; risks that while possible are more than offset by the value of a blog.

The second issue is generational. I doubt that few GCs of large public companies today grew up using wikis, social networking, mash-ups, virtual communities or blogs. The current generation of law students cannot imagine life without them. They understand the incredibly rich and powerful benefit of these knowledge sharing and communications tools. And, they doubtlessly will apply them in their legal practices as they become GCs in the future.”

Third, I discovered that Sun has collection of blog postings from Sun’s alumni. I particularly noticed their legal disclaimer:

“The individuals who post here are part of the extended Sun Microsystems community and they may not be employed or in any way formally affiliated with Sun Microsystems. The opinions expressed here are their own, are not necessarily reviewed in advance by anyone but the individual authors, and neither Sun nor any other party necessarily agrees with them. This site aggregates content posted on third-party sites. The content posted here may be hosted at third party sites in no way affiliated with Sun.”

Obviously, Sun’s adoption of blogging comes from Sun’s open corporate culture and focus on building communities. In the process they are building a rich knowledge repository that can be leveraged by their employees and customers.

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