Best Blog

Chicago Fed's internal blog gets 109 employee comments on the ‘Oxford comma’

The Chicago Fed’s blog “LiveWire” attracts comments from employees interested in everything from the subtleties of the Bank’s culture to matters of usage and punctuation.

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How often do you find an intranet blog alive with strong opinions about such diverse topics as literary style, the pervasive corporate culture of consensus, and a militant argument that “Generational differences enrich the workplace”? If you’d answer, “Never!” you’d probably agree that the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s “Live Wire” blog is a deserving winner of the “Best Blog” category in Ragan’s 2015 Intranet Awards.

The “LiveWire” blog can be, and often is, about workplace issues and problems, but just as often it’s about an attitude or an idea the writer wants to get off his or her chest. And the open atmosphere the Bank’s leaders encourage sparks the rank and file to have their say.

The Chicago Fed’s Internal Communications department policy of allowing anonymous comments draws uninhibited—but civilized—commentary from big numbers of employees. Many reply in thoughtful mini-essays of 100-200 words. The 109 employee comments on the Oxford comma represent more than seven percent of the Chicago Fed’s 1,500 workers.

The most remarkable display of arguments and philosophies on “LiveWire” concerned the sore subject of endless unnecessary meetings. The blog, titled “Breaking the Bank’s Meeting Habit—Can It Be Done?” called forth 30 comments full of passionate, even acrid observations, e.g., “There are no such things as five-minute meetings at the Fed!” 

Since its inception in 2008, the blog, published on Fridays, has attracted nearly 7,000 comments, about a thousand each year.

Congratulations to the Chicago Fed’s leaders for their support of such candor and honesty and to the Chicago Fed’s internal communications team members: Jocelyn Sims, Michele Murphy, Rebecca Shaffer, Greg Morton, and Tyler Landry!    

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