Blogging Business. <i>Is it anyone's business?</i><br><small>Corporate Weblog Series – #3</small>

The horrible article I blogged about in The New York Times last Sunday (in print and online, btw) has stirred up a number of comments. And I just can't resist going back to it — passionate as we all can be in these times.

Perhaps the most honest and public display of passion and disgust comes from Jeneane Sessum.

[…] Who will join me in leaping to a firey death after reading The NY Times article on “The Corporate Blog”? […]

In taking huge Jabs at Alan Meckler and other similar CEO-type blogs, Jeneane is less optimistic about the corporate blog:


But it's not all doom and gloom for Jeneane, i guess. We both felt O'Reilly said it best. I just wish O'Reilly would apply his own thinking to his blog and those of his colleagues:

[…] God Bless Tim O'Reilly , the voice of reason in the article: “He views blogging as a way for chief executives to do an end run around the company's public relations firms and “glossy brochures” and speak directly to customers and vendors.” […] Tim, may you live long and prosper. Please, reproduce soon and often and send your child bloggers here. […]

On that note, Stuart Henshall calls to decentralize the experience and admits that “communication silos” could spell doom for blogging. He suggests an alternate path:

[…] (provide) every employee with an RSS feed and enable Kuro5hin type reviews.  Then corporate bloggers build reputation (individually and collectively).  Both are important and reinforce the need for collaboration.  Important posts must not only be projected into the ether (without a corporate rating they are of no consequence) but accelerated around the organization.  Blogs work at the fringe and at the center.  […]

And I think Stuart is right on a number of fronts. My point about the corporate blog is that it needs to retain the essence and “soul” of what a blog is and how it reflects the said essence or core of the individual author. for this reason, I'm not a big fan of anonymous blogs. Speak to me. Talk to me. And share with me. But don't hide behind some opaque veil and expect the world to blindly follow the rants, raves or whatevers that the anonymous blogger wants to do.

In that vein, a business, corporation or organizational unit can be personified by attributing human characteristics and attributes. You might be described as smart, agile and innovative. Likewise, you could assign these same to a company. Many companies are so lost like an adolescent trying to figure out who he/she is and as a result have a difficult time focusing on or developing their character. For the focused and evolving a blog that can extend itself further and round out the character.

And I think this is partially what Stuart alludes to here:

[…] While the desire is there to take corporate blogging and doing it publicly, building brands… I believe in focussing on small team internal blogs first behind firewalls.  Please keep it simple.  Corporates need to crawl first, and the independent blogging by the few will not define “Collective Blogging” or the organization.  Only then will corporate blogging really begin to evolve and embrace “Living the Brand”.  […]

At the end of May in my “When Corporate Blogging Is Done Right. Everyone Benefits” post I suggested something very similar:

[…] Adoption of blogs by corporate communications and marketing must start internally. Like any branding or communications initiative, a company must have buy in by all of its stakeholders. That includes employees, suppliers and management. How can a company have a blog that is supposed to represent it's “voice” if it hasn't gone through the internal work to find it. […]

Conceptually perhaps internally a corporate blog can organically emerge through the collective efforts of its managers and teams. Though Dina raises a number of issues any manager or corporate will address when considering corporate-sponsored blogs:

  • no answer yet to this issue raised by Allan – of how to maintain a balance of content, tone and messaging without compromising the soul of the blogger as soul of the company.  In this context, it's interesting to see how the Microsoft employee blogs shape up – i've been following the the evolution of a 'policy' for employees that blog, over at  John Porcaro's blog too.  Lets see how this evolves.
  • the second issue is one of bringing more and more employees into the area of blogging.  I'm not sure that simply positioning the blog as an opportunity for PR, advertising and marketing a product, process or brand will really work.  I think the key lies in recognizing the power of open and trusted conversations and communication , and in bringing in a paradigm shift – a new culture of collaboration. 
  • […]

And I know there's no magic pill, process or methodology that will give rise to the organic emergence of corporate or marketing-oriented blogs, but I'm encouraged by the discussion, debate and interest in this type of blog. I mean how many political and knitting blogs do we need? Aren't businesses, like humans, just trying to be better communicators so that everyone can have healthier and more rewarding relationships? Let's define objectives as we encourage our clients or businesses to embrace blogging.

Because blogging is here to stay. And while remember in early 1995 when my advertising agency was the only agency in Orange County with a website, I approached my favorite and most innovative client with the concept of a website. They wanted nothing of it. Then I offered to do it gratis. So at least then we had living proof of what a corporate website could be (albeit this is 1995). The client bought in. Well, that's perhaps putting a bit too loosely. The client took the handout. Soon it was easier to convince clients. But it was long cycle. And after reading Tom Matrullo's “the 12-step whiff of whuffie”. I think he succinctly shows how history is our best teacher. And how I'm confident history is repeating itself. And how some never learn. Don't stop now. Get over to Tom's commonplaces right now — well worth the journey and the read. (thanks for the pointer Dina)

Digital Tavern Corporate Weblog Series: #1 – Why Does Barbie Blog? | #2 – Are Corporate Weblogs Taking Off | Corporate Blogging Done Right

I enjoyed: Dangerous Thinking | Fish Rush | Anil Dash