Business is a people game, so when you write a business blog, you’re writing about people most of the time. I’ve been posting to my Three Star Leadership Blog for more than five years. In that time, I’ve developed a few guidelines that I use for identifying the people I write about.
Accentuate the Positive
In my blog I critique and praise business practice and conduct. If I’m writing a negative comment about a common behavior, I don’t identify the specific person I’m writing about. If I’m praising, though, I’ll share name and other info.
John is a retired senior executive I know. I share his insights often, but I never use his real name. That’s because John is a humble man who doesn’t want to come off like he’s bragging.
Several people close to me work in situations that I would love to blog about from time to time. Whenever I think of one, I ask permission. Sometimes they give it and sometimes they don’t. My reason is that the knowledge of their situation comes to me because of our relationship or friendship. That’s different than reading about it or observing it in the course of business.
Public Figures are Public Figures
The CEOs of large companies, other writers, politicians, etc are public figures. I always identify them when I write about them and I don’t ask permission.
These are rules that I’ve worked out over thirty years of writing and public speaking and five years of blogging. You’ll have to work out your own based on your values and your purpose.