Sun Microsystems, Inc. is a company that promotes network services and connections by providing shared innovation, community development and open source leadership. Well known brands include the Java technology platform and the Solaris operating system. Sun Microsystems supports network interactions and technology solutions for everyday consumer and business use.
A leader in social media, CEO of Sun Microsystems, Jonathan Schwartz has blogged as CEO since 2006. As one of the first Fortune 500 companies to start a CEO blog, Schwartz has represented the transition to corporate blogging. He uses a conversational tone, while discussing topics directly related to his company. Schwartz posts about Sun, the future of Sun, and the technology industry. The transparency and authenticity Schwartz uses in his blog presents Schwartz as a credible and relevant source for his audience. In 2006, The Washington Post ran an article on Sun’s CEO blog. Schwartz’s blog is translated into many different languages and is an effective communication medium to connect with all of Sun’s stakeholders. Schwartz could talk about personal issues occasionally to present more of a personality, but his blog is still the most popular of all the Sun blogs. Schwartz does not respond directly to comments, but he reads all of them. He directs the comments to the appropriate department. He forms relationships through what he provides to his audience. He also will comment and write on other blogs.
Sun Microsystems employees are encouraged to write blogs, which are then linked to the main blog website. The communications department does not manage the blogs, possibly because there are so many, but guidelines on public discourse are explained for employee bloggers. The main idea in these guidelines is common sense. If there is a question of legality, Sun requests the employees ask a higher authority. Sun mentions the importance of quality and to think about the consequences of your actions before publishing.
Schwartz discusses in a video interview about how he uses his blog as a medium to communicate with employees and other stakeholders. He talks about the importance of maintaining a direct and honest personality. In the video, pay attention to how blogs help Schwartz deal with the challenges of life as a CEO.
The success of Sun’s CEO and employee blogs is due to the amount of energy that goes into the blogs. The fact that all these employees make time to provide relevant and authentic information regularly improves the brand image of Sun Microsystems. As more companies are following in the footsteps of Sun Microsystems, it will be interesting to see how Sun will continue to update their social media communications strategy.