Only one Fortune 500 CEO has his own blog, and that's Jonathan Schwartz, head of Sun Microsystems. A blogging strategy that promises to be more common and more sustainable is that undertaken recently by Dell Computers and Southwest Airlines. They employ multiple executives and employees to post, with their CEOs appearing only occasionally. Here's a quick profile of each blog.
Nuts About Southwest (www.blogsouthwest.com) Launched in April, this corporate blog comes with the stated goal "to give our readers the opportunity to take a look inside Southwest Airlines and to interact with us." The airline's "crew" of bloggers includes people from CEO Gary Kelly to pilots and flight attendants—"a diverse cross-section of our company," according to the site, which offers the following disclaimer: "Of course, profanity, racial and ethnic slurs, and rude behavior like disparaging personal remarks won't be tolerated nor published. Even though our blog is moderated, we pledge to present opposing viewpoints, and we will strive to keep it interesting, diverse, and multi-sided. Our bloggers want to engage in a conversation with you, but not every post will receive a response from us." CEO Kelly has weighed in only once at this writing, to discuss a hot topic among frequent Southwest customers: the desire among many for assigned seating, rather than the general seating the airline has traditionally employed. In his post, Kelly says new reservation software will allow assigned seating, but he's not sure Southwest will use it: "We are currently conducting extensive research and if our research and testing (which some of you may be involved with) proves that we can bring in more Customers (without alienating our existing Customers) and increase overall Customer satisfaction, but at the same time not increase our boarding times or our costs, then I don't see a reason not to do it. I haven't given any time frame—just that it won't happen next year." But the blog is dominated by other employees having robust exchanges with Southwest customers, consistent with the overall democratic feel of the Southwest culture. This blog seems sustainable.