Our guy Mike is working as a car repair parts salesman and he is a total car enthusiast in his free time, building up beautiful hot rods. He also likes to share his love for this hobby to the rest of the world in the web by writing a blog.
Various people who are customers where he works, the ‘Jeff’s Car and Parts’ [yeah I know, what an inventive name], find his personal blog and become its readers.
I tried to think a couple of effects this could have on both of the parties, the company and Mike. Here’s some I came up with:
- People feel that ‘Jeff’s Car and Parts’ has a guy working in the company who knows his business and really loves the thing he’s doing.
- People love to do business with familiar people. This feeling of Mike being a real human being and an ordinary guy we all know, could make the company a bit more personal and sympathetic, and could even lower the threshold to come to the store and ask information about cars and parts. –This is an important point in which I believe the web 2.0 or the social web can be totally priceless: it has a potential to show a company in its true form – a community run by people like you and me.
- People begin to feel this is a stunt and the company feels phony to them. They try to find some hidden agenda buried in the blog’s writings, and because people have a tendency to find what they are looking for, they eventually most likely do. Even when there wasn’t one. –Personally I hope these kinds of corporate hoaxes are history, because eventually you will get caught.
- Other companies see Mike as a real jewel and they try to recruit him.
Of course there are other potential risks in making people know about the blog. For example, if the company and Mike were having hard time with each other, Mike could go write that Jeff’s Car and Parts stinks, is a bad employer and keeps the prices too high although the parts are imported from Bangladesh.
Be this true or not, this could have a bad effect on the company’s image. But it might be a problem to Mike too. The company’s brand may suffer, but so can Mike’s. Why? Well, do people want to hire a person who may tarnish your corporate image by throwing dirt?
In this kind of situation Mike has a responsibility and one should think his actions carefully. It is a question of a personal netiquette and what is worthwhile. These things could backfire so that in the future potentially less people are willing to hire you.
I believe when your actions in the Internet may stay there forever, you begin to think what you put in there – if not, you should begin right now.
Should you ever mix your personal and work life like in this example, I’m not sure, but this was just a play of a situation where the company and Mike were both willing to try out something like this.
Examples and comments, anyone?