Monday, December 18, 2006

Podcasting Guidelines [IBM]

IBM - Podcasting Guidelines

The medium that has come to be known as podcasting -- like blogging -- offers individuals with low-cost, easy-to-use tools to publish content (in this case, audio content). As podcasting mirrors blogging in many ways, it is worth revisiting some points from IBM's Blogging Policy and Guidelines.

Whether or not an IBMer chooses to create or participate in a blog or a wiki or other form of online publishing or discussion is his or her own decision. However, it is very much in IBM's interest -- and, we believe, in each IBMer's own -- to be aware of this sphere of information, interaction and idea exchange:

  • To learn: As an innovation-based company, we believe in the importance of open exchange and learning -- between IBM and its clients, and among the many constituents of our emerging business and societal ecosystem. The rapidly growing phenomenon of blogging and online dialogue are emerging important arenas for that kind of engagement and learning.
  • To contribute: IBM -- as a business, as an innovator and as a corporate citizen -- makes important contributions to the world, to the future of business and technology, and to public dialogue on a broad range of societal issues. As our business activities increasingly focus on the provision of transformational insight and high-value innovation -- whether to business clients or those in the public, educational or health sectors -- it becomes increasingly important for IBM and IBMers to share with the world the exciting things wee doing learning and doing, and to learn from others.

    In 1997, IBM recommended that its employees get out onto the Net -- at a time when many companies were seeking to restrict their employees' Internet access. We continue to advocate IBMers' responsible involvement today in this new, rapidly growing space of relationship, learning and collaboration.

One of the defining attributes of the emerging Web 2.0 and social networking technologies is their ability to surface unique voices and points of view. IBM supports this democratization of communication and encourages IBMers to take advantage of this new capability in its various forms, as appropriate for their work and the sharing of their expertise.

The basic IBM guidelines for blogging apply to podcasting as well. Of those, the most important one is that all IBMers must follow the Business Conduct Guidelines. Please be sure to review and understand the Business Conduct Guidlines before you begin blogging, podcasting or participating in wikis. However, because there are some special circumstances involved in working with audio files, these additional guidelines have been created to help IBM podcasters.

Additional Guidelines for IBM Podcasters

Do not podcast IBM Confidential material. Currently, there is no way to protect/encrypt audio files in a manner that meets IBM's security guidelines. Therefore, if you create and distribute audio files internally, anticipate that those files could be shared outside of IBM. Don record anything you wouldn disclose outside the company. Keep this in mind particularly if your internal podcast is meant to supplement or replace periodic departmental calls or meetings.

Be mindful not only of what you say, but how you say it. Sometimes the way you say something -- the tone of your voice, such as a hint of sarcasm -- can be as revealing as what you say.

Protect your privacy and the privacy of others. Make sure you don record any person without his or her consent and awareness. Surreptitiously recording and distributing conversations is a breach of others' privacy and can have severe consequences for you. You must have the consent from every individual whose voice can be heard on your podcast. Start each audio recording by identifying all the individuals participating. When recording a meeting or event, be sure to make a statement at the beginning, such as "This conversation is being recorded for a podcast," so the participants are aware when the microphone has been switched on. And think about what you're presenting about yourself, too. MP3 files can remain accessible on the Web for years.

Set the bar as high as you can for audio production and content quality. External podcasts that present topics or points of view relevant to IBM's business or broader corporate interests inevitably reflect on the company's brand. These podcasts should be produced with care, with attention to detail and production values. With blogging, the quality of the thinking, writing and expertise are paramount. When it comes to audio content, the same is true, but add to that the quality of audio production. To put it bluntly, if it does not sound good, even the greatest ideas may not be enough to hold a listener attention.

There may be some invitations to participate in non-IBM podcasts that warrant IBM Communications' involvement. You should treat these the same way you would treat an interview request from a reporter. If you're in doubt, be sure to talk to your local Communications people to discuss the opportunity before agreeing to participate.

Identify your podcast as the voice of an individual or small group within the company, not the "official" voice of the company. This is similar to the standard disclaimer in IBM blogging guidelines -- but in the case of a podcast, it's necessary to make such a declaration verbally.

Before you initiate a podcast, ask yourself if it is the most appropriate method to communicate with your audience. Before creating a podcast, listen to some. Experience what podcasting is like from the audience's perspective. Go out and listen to some podcasts. What do you think works well? What do you dislike? What is it that you have to say -- and is this the right medium in which to say it?

No comments: