NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
IBM thinks blogging is the next wave in marketing, and it's preparing its employees to ride that wave, according to a published report.
With an eye on blogging's potential to influence future employees and business partners, the technology bellwether began offering blogging tools to its workers six months ago, according to AdAge.com.
"Other companies have fired people for blogging, but IBM is encouraging it," Christopher Barger, IBM's unofficial "blogger in chief," said in the report.
According to AdAge.com, IBM employees who blog are advised to follow the company's business of code conduct, respect copyright laws and to not reveal proprietary information.
The report said IBM now has 15,000 registered internal bloggers, and more than 2,200 of those workers publish external blogs.
Blogs are an effective tool for finding ways to be relevant to customers, Pete Blackshaw, chief marketing officer at Intelliseek, told AdAge.com. "It's a bonding technique with your consumer," he said in the report.
Tech giants like Microsoft (Research) and Sun Microsystems (Research) already have established employee blogging programs, the report said.
IBM says it doesn't want to use new media as traditional sales and marketing tools, but it has succeeded in starting talks with "outsiders" in the healthcare and video gaming sectors, which could result in new business relationships, the report said.
"This is a way to get our expertise out there, not by shoving it down people's throats, but by just starting conversations," IBM's Barger said in the report. "It expands our reputation, perceptions and reach of IBM, at the same time expanding the number of people we can learn from," he said.
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