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Sep 7
Fortune 500 Corporate Blog Review Series: ExxonMobil
Did some research.  Doesn't look like ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM), the top-ranked Fortune 500 company according to Wikipedia, has any corporate blogs.  Can you find any?

I couldn't even find any blogs by ExxonMobil employees, except for a handful of gas station attendants and the like.  I expected more from one of Earth's biggest companies!  Even something as lame as Wal-Mart's blog!

Speaking of which - ah, but I'll wait till tomorrow to give you the dirt on Wal-Mart's blogging efforts.

I think ExxonMobil, with its billions of dollars, could spend just a few bucks to create a blog that spoke to the world in a fresh, down-to-earth voice and explained what the company is up to these days.  Just talk to people and get ideas from them, respond to comments and blog posts as well as mainstream news, etc.

Without a blog, ExxonMobil is missing out on a great opportunity to connect with the growing worldwide blogging population on a personal level.  I'm not saying that a corporate blog (or community of blogs) would necessarily change ExxonMobil's profit margin, but I think it could another excellent communication tool in ExxonMobil's belt.

I wonder what would happen if ExxonMobil started a blog today.  I wonder how that might change the way the company is perceived and how it shares corporate news.  (And I wonder what would happen if it used its official blog to, for example, announce that all ExxonMobil gas stations would be offering free gas for one year to any blogger who linked back to it!  Hint hint wink wink nudge nudge.)

Do you think ExxonMobil could benefit by having a business blog?  Do you think it hurts them not to be involved in blogging?  Let me know what you think.

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14 Comments/Trackbacks




You have 212 subscribers, where's all your commenters?

Yes I think Exxon could benefit from a blog and blogging efforts.

But let's face facts. It's Exxon. It probably would take them one post to f*** it up.

(Pardon the language)

Thanks for commenting, Owen. I just posted this a half-hour or so before you came along, and it's past most people's bedtimes here in the States where most of my readers probably live ... so hopefully tomorrow there will be some additional comments.

But even with 212 subscribers, I know that the vast majority of them choose to remain silent, even when I ask them for comments. That's just a fact of blogging life, I guess.

Just curious - why do you think ExxonMobil would botch a corporate blog? Is it something about the company's leadership? Have you had bad experiences with ExxonMobil? I don't know enough about that company (besides that they're huge and their gas stations are everywhere) to understand what potential they might have for doing either well or poorly with a blog.

How well they'd fare would mostly depend on who writes it and whether or not they know what they're doing (see my blog for an example that is at least mildly problematic). I agree that it would be a great way to communicate their research efforts to the public and engage with critics and environmentalists. Somehow it seems that it's usually significant negative feedback from private bloggers that prompts companies to start their own blogs (Wal-Mart, MacDonald's, Dell etc).

Which is unfortunate.

Thanks for stopping by Cornelius, and best wishes with your dissertation on corporate blogging (I hope that turns a few heads here!).

Easton,

You asked a couple good questions. While I know only a little about the company, you don't need to know much about what TYPE of company Exxon is and how it is run.

A quick read of your Wal-Mart blog assessment and a read of Israel and Scoble's book will give you the impression that a blog at Exxon just would not work. It takes an open environment at a company for a successful blog. It takes an open embrace of new technology and free speech by employees and bosses alike.

Exxon has neither of these. It's a very closed company. It is not ready for the vulnerability and frank speech and criticism that a successful blog demands.

Disagree with you Owen. All it takes is one CEO with vision and things can change. That's the power of blogging. Anyone can join in and it's very easy to get started. Yes, corporations need blog policies and there is red tape when it comes to posting news but it would be worth it. Exxon is getting blasted right now all over the world for not developing oil fields it owns in Canada all the way to Indonesia. There must be good reasons for this but I guess we'll never know unless they use formats like blogs to help us learn more about what they are doing.

PS - Easton, good series. It reminds me of my idea of writing about why certain celebrities should create blogs (I started with Mel Gibson). Keep up the research. As a tip, I create alerts or jus search using Google News.

Chad,

We'll never know because Exxon leaders don't want us to know. That's why a blog in Exxon would not work. It's not an environment with the type of open communication that it takes to run a successful business blog.

I agree that it would take only the CEO to be successful. But do you honestly think that would happen? From Exxon?

You're dreaming if you do. My free speech comment was referring to if regular employees were going to blog. The CEO, of course, would be playing by different rules.

It is easy to join in and get started, but not for a company. Some have made terrible attempts at it. Juicy Fruit is a good example. As is Dell. Dell, luckily, has turned it around before it got disasterous, but regardless it takes much more effort and careful planning for a company to begin than for any Joe Schmoe wanting to rant about the evils of capitalism.

For a company like Exxon, it could be a tremendously great thing, or a completely crippling venture.

I just don't see a conservative company like Exxon lending the vulnerability that comes with the blogosphere. There would be a lot of angry people at the gates.

Owen - agree with you. I am a dreamer :) and you're right about Exxon. Let's hope that this changes.

I've been hoping and hoping. It just doesn't seem to work.

Unfortunately for you and I, power just seems to run away with itself.

Thanks guys for the comments. Gets me thinking a lot about blogs and how these behemoth corporations are and are not using them. I guess it's even bigger than blogging; it's a question of how open a huge company can or even should be with the world, and in what ways.

Chad, you oughtta do that series! And thanks for the tip.

The reason you don't see anything above the service station level is that if you stick your neck out like that you'll get wacked. Pretty much an unspoken rule. Same way they search out MySpace and the ilk.

Shame if that's the case.

The last time I looked ExxonMobil was one of the most successful sustaining profitable well-run companies ever. Do you think they will even consider your thoughts? They do what they do....provide gasoline for your car, develop the oil to refine it, employ 100+ thousand people and have "The Cleanest Bathrooms" in the USA!

Great - then why *not* have a blog where folks like you and me can talk to them about that?

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