Saturday, March 19, 2005

Authenticity in enterprise blogging

I've been listening all day to a fantastic 12-hour "Wall to Wall Sondheim" tribute concert to composer Stephen Sondheim on the occasion of his 75th birthday.

They just wrapped an panel on pop culture, moderated by Frank Rich, and featuring Sondheim himself, Joss Whedon and others.

Sondheim said something very pithy about composing, and trying to incorporate modern rock sounds into his scores. He said that he could try to "imitate" it, but because of the generation he was born into, it would never be suffused with "love." The sounds simply wasn't in his blood. If he wrote songs paying tribute to Arlen or Kern or Rodgers & Hammerstein, then he could do that since he had one foot still in their era. But he didn't have one foot forward into the rock generation. And Sondheim mentioned that composers of his generation had tried it to little success.

Why did this make me think of enterprise blogging? Key concept: authenticity vs. imitation.

Multitasker that I am I was also reading this column in the WaPo about business blogging, specifically executive bloggers who simply seem to be spouting press release information.

I could take some exceptions with this article: if they're going to let Jonathan Schwartz diss Jeremy Wright's Ebay auction, they could have at least linked to Jeremy, if not actually gotten his response. True, perhaps no one outside blogging circles would know who Schwartz is referring to, but still.

The article also disses two corporate blogs that I happen to think are OK. The GM Blog may not be completely fascinating, but they do some things right. Every few posts they make sure to respond to comments they have received on blog posts. And they manage to respond in rather indignant ways to criticism out in the press: hardly the kind of content you get in a press release. And frankly I think Rich Marcello's blog is rather unique in the way he veers from the prosaic to the poetic. That does sound like authenticity to me.

There's a lot of room for a lot of different kinds of blogs in this world, even a lot of different kinds of corporate or enterprise blogs.

Yes, you need an authentic voice, but I hasten to add that authentic means individual which means it doesn't have to sound like yours does! Jonathan's blog is pretty amazing. Long, detailed posts. He obviously spends a lot of time on it. And that's terrific...for him and his readers. But we need to leave a little room for those who aren't going to write like that. Press releases in your blog? No way! Long, technically detailed posts required? Not necessarily.

And can someone be hired to write your blog? Depends. Let's circle back to Sondheim. I can blog for 42nd St. Moon. Theatre is in my blood. I blog with love.

I can blog for the Democratic Party. I blog with love.

And some of my new projects coming up deal with other things I care about. I happen to have lots of interests. Technology, social media, marketing, mobility, politics, the arts, home & garden, books, movies, music and so on. If you find a topic I'm not interested in, I'll guarantee you I won't try to write a blog about it.

Because it takes passion to be authentic. Maybe it takes love.

Comments:
Elisa -

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Listenting to Sondheim and blogging - life can be sweet.

Toby
divamarketingblog
 
Yes. Yes, it can be!

The only bummer was having to leave the house and miss the final three hours of Sondheim (which you can imagine were the climactic hours.)
 
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