Oracle blogs need to be human

I was checking out the some of the Oracle blogs on their corporate blog site, but I have to say they are all technical, don’t appeal to me as a non-Oracle person, and don’t have anything that reflects what might be called ‘a human face at Oracle’. (But then again, is Larry Ellison human?)

Oracle PR – check out Thomas Otter’s site as an example of an SAP blogger whose contents are interesting and understandable to non-SAP people.

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15 thoughts on “Oracle blogs need to be human

  1. This has been a topic that some inside of Oracle have been trying to bring change on. The challenge is that Oracle is about controlling the message and unstructured blogs don’t fit well with that ideology. Also, Oracle is much more antagonistic toward independent voices than my former employer, SAP.

  2. There are two kind of blogs by Oracle employees. Personal blogs by Oracle employees (e.g., anshublog.com) that are personable and human. And then, there are blogs hosted at Oracle focusing on Oracle-related issues (e.g., my other blog http://blogs.oracle.com/zen )- these definitely are more to the point and focused on topics at hand.

    I don’t think the two need to be mixed. I find similar trends in blogs by other companies.

    (This is a personal opinion.)

  3. With all due respect to SAP and Thomas, I have to agree with Anshu. Why do Oracle blogs ‘need’ to be human? Oracle isn’t human, and it’s pretty obvious they neither care nor try to be. You can disagree with the policies and ideologies Jeff describes, but you can’t say they haven’t been successful.

    As another example (and one that’s bugged me for a long time), what about Scoble and Microsoft. Scoble’s blogging obviously is very ‘human’ and did a LOT for him personally, but I question whether Microsoft got anything positive out of it. I think it’s very arguable that Microsoft’s public perception was harmed because of his ‘human’ blogging (or at least it reinforced already-negative opinions).

    I do think SAP’s hit a nice balance, but that’s their persona and culture and Oracle clearly doesn’t care to mimic it.

  4. Anshu and Chris make good points, and I really don’t think this has anything to do with “being human” but rather adopting a messaging approach that is tactically executed by employees who blog either on behalf of Oracle or on their own.

    In other words, or rather in the words of Richard Edelman, Oracle would benefit greatly from employees who are “just like me” informing me about Oracle products and technologies.

    Specifically to Anshu’s comment about mixing personal and professional blogs, I do agree profusely with him. Not only do the risks go up disproportionately in that scenario but there are no, in my opinion, appreciable gains to be had by encouraging this. A lot of the early bloggers, like myself, who started to blog inside of companies built personal blogs in the absence of any alternative and this is not the case today.

    Chris, with all due respect, I don’t think Oracle’s marketing has been effective and if it were then perhaps they would not have had to spend the many many billions of dollars they did acquiring market share they couldn’t gain on their own.

  5. Well, I think that proves that you can take the boy out of SAP but can’t take the SAP out of the boy (just kidding Jeff…sorta;-)

    The definition of ‘effective’ marketing is, IMHO, arguable. And, all kidding aside, I have the utmost respect for what SAP has done and is doing – really. Being ‘human’ might be a path to success for some companies, and more power to them.

    But I’ve seen a lot of ‘human’ companies fail miserably too. I can’t even count the number of startups I visited in the early-mid ’90’s that were packed with nerf balls, flip flops and inflatable toys but with far too few people doing real work. If blogging were around then, no doubt everyone in the company would be doing that too.

    Oracle might not be the most human place, but they must be doing something right. That’s all I’m saying.

  6. I admit it brother, I have SAP blue in my blood!

    I think we would both agree that having something to say and saying something well are not necessarily the same thing.

  7. Pingback: » Dear Larry (Ellison) | Irregular Enterprise | ZDNet.com

  8. Simon,
    Thanks for the kind words. It is nice to be called human.

    I’ve never felt pressure from anyone at SAP to blog or not blog, or to take a particular position, and I don’t feel part of some super-subtle marketing strategy either. If I write something that is challenging to SAP, I tend to sleep on it before posting it, but I do that with email anyway!

    My boss gives me the freedom to blog, and it is up to my own discretion as to what I write about. I’m grateful for the trust and freedom that both he and SAP provide in this regard, and I hope that my blog will help others get talking, as Jeff Nolan’s did mine.

  9. Anshu – I have been following your personal blog for a while and never realised (or saw on the blog) that you were at Oracle. If you compare that to Thomas, or Jeff when he was at SAP, there are many references to SAP matters in their personal blogs which puts SAP into some context in the experiences and views they blog about.

  10. I don’t understand this post, I must confess. If you don’t find Oracle blogs “interesting”, that doesn’t mean they’re not “human” – just that their content does not appeal to you. However, there are hundreds of thousands of readers who in fact find them perfectly appealing and interesting.

    And Jeff, your comments about Oracle’s “control” of blogs are uninformed. Nobody has ever told me what to publish or not publish in my blog, and there is no policy in place that would call for that anyway.

  11. I concur with Justin. I am free to post what I want. I am expected to maintain professional decorum, not flame and not give out confidential information – something every organization would expect.

    I make a choice to not mix my personal blog with my Oracle blog. This helps my readers as well. I do have cross links and a widget with feed from one blog to another – so you can always read what I am saying in my Oracle blog.

    I find this separation useful. Its a personal choice.

  12. I work for Oracle and my humble blog represents the human face of blogging.

    It’s about football, music, travel, software, blogging. In fact, it’s about everything but Oracle.

  13. Hi Simon,

    I definitely agree that Blogs (even corporate Blogs) are more interesting and compelling if they attempt to reach the reader on a “human level”, rather than on a purely TECHNICAL level. In fact, your post inspired me to start a blog about the human issues around Customer Relationship Management software. Let me know what you think! Thanks.

    http://johnburton.typepad.com

    Warm regards,
    John

    P.S. Please delete the duplicate post above if possible (it has a type). Thanks.

  14. once when I was an Oracle employee had my blog listed (http://www.appsbi.com) on the oracle blog network but got delisted without any reasons given. Apparently I had become too liberal about my personal opinions on some of the stuff. I figured my Larry jokes could have been the trigger for the delisting.

    -Nilesh

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