Did Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons miss the memo on corporate blogging guidelines when they sent it around the office? #1 Rule: be smart. Come to think of it, this particular faux pas is not spelled out in any guidelines I've read.
Here's what you should NOT do on a CEO blog: wax eloquent about sensitive political issues. Just... don't go there. In a recent lengthy post, Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons segued from re-living the horror of 9-11 to endorsing abusive interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay. Oops... He got hammered by comments from readers. Amended his post. Retracted. Got slammed as a right-wing nut. He responded, etc. Parsons wrote:
"I also have been accused of mixing business with politics because I put a link to my blog on the Go Daddy home page. I will say that the opinions here are mine personally. This is, after all, my personal blog. Go Daddy, the company, has no political leanings of any kind. That said, I am proud to say that Go Daddy is an American company."
Oops again. An American company?? Welcome to corporate blogging, Bob. If you're a CEO your blog is never just "personal." You represent the company you run, whether you intend to or not. Why risk alienating a significant chunk of your customer base (presumably, those registering domain names are of every stripe, color, gender and nationality, including non-Americans) by talking about hot-button political issues? It doesn't matter who's right or who's wrong on the Gitmo base issue. What matters is that you've stuck your foot in your mouth. You've managed to backpedal rather nicely. But the damage is done.
Oh, and a blog post never really dies. You can delete it but it lives on, somewhere, in the blogosphere. (I know this contradicts what I tell clients: that you can delete posts anytime. It's a technicality. You can delete them. But the orphan link to the original post lives on.)
I think this is the first truly inappropriate use of a blog by a CEO that I've seen. Anyone have other examples of CEO blogging missteps? Click over to my book blog and let me know if you have an anecdote or case study about corporate blogging you'd like to pass on. Thanks!