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Cisco Breaks New Ground With Government Affairs Blog

Neville Hobson
Expert Author
Published: 2005-03-10

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Networking company Cisco Systems launched their first public blog last month. It's a very interesting blog as it's not the type of blog that would immediately spring to mind.

Called the High Tech Policy Blog, it's owned by Cisco's Worldwide Government Affairs department and clearly forms a key element of the company's overall lobbying and communication efforts in articulating its views on public and technology policy issues, and developing dialogue on those views and issues.

From the first post on the blog in early February by Laura Ipsen, Vice President of Cisco Worldwide Government Affairs:

We'd like to welcome you [to] Cisco's first ever external web log (blog). At Cisco, all employees and groups are tasked with using the Internet to better do our jobs, to increase our productivity and to serve our customers. Fundamentally, Cisco's mission is to shape the future of the Internet by creating unprecedented value and opportunity for our customers, employees, investors and ecosystem partners.

WWGA's vision is to use this blog to share our staff's knowledge and opinions about government policy, legislation and regulation and the environment in which it is created. WWGA team members globally will be participating in this forum. We hope you find our blog useful and informative. [...] We invite you to post your feedback and questions. Above all, we hope that we can, in some small way, help you better understand the technology policies that are being talked about, debated and voted upon - whether that is through our own postings or from discussions that are created on this site.

The blog has nearly all the attributes you would expect to see in a communication channel designed to foster two-way communication and enable connections to be made - commenting is enabled (moderated), there are RSS feeds and categories. Multiple authors post and their writings very much reflect personality and informality. The only things I couldn't find on any post are a permalink (the specific address of a post), or trackbacks.

Full marks to Cisco for introducing an approach to often-dry subject matter in an innovative way. This blog presents a transparent and open approach to creating dialogue between the company and those outside the company with an interest or stake in the subject matter.

Corporate communicators - and especially public affairs professionals - in almost any company should take a close look at what Cisco is doing here, and learn. This is not the first example of Cisco at a leading edge with current and new communication channels - see Robin Stavinsky's series of case studies about Cisco she posted in January.

(Hat tip: Business Blog Consulting)

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About the Author:
Neville Hobson is the author of the popular NevilleHobson.com blog which focuses on business communication and technology.

Neville is currentlly an independent communication practitioner helping companies build dynamic relationships with customers, employees, shareholders and other key audiences and influencers. Visit Neville Hobson's blog: NevilleHobson.com.

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