Sunday, December 18, 2005

Let's be fair, Scoble!

When I attended BlogOn in October I was struck by and posted about the "simmering resentment" I felt, directed from corporate and agency PR types toward the bloggers on the dais. At the time I said:
"I felt a simmering resentment rising to the top, as corporate and agency traditional PR-types got tired of being spoken about derisively, dismissively and derogatorily. I agree with the PR person who said they were there to learn, but that it wasn't really very instructive to simply engage in bashing the attempts of companies to dip their toes in the blogging water.

A couple of months later, here's an example of the kind of knee-jerk business blog-cynicism bloggers engage in, coming, ironically, from one of the uber-business-bloggers, Robert Scoble.

He found this Marketing Sherpa article, offering 5 Steps for Corporations Launching Blogs, and his take was:
"Oh, joy, we’re gonna get more committee-run blogs. That’ll be one heck of an exciting corporate blog, for sure! Hey, Mini, do you agree with any of these suggestions? Heheh! Wrong first step, too. The right first step is to read blogs! Funny, I didn’t start blogging by checking with the stakeholders. Or having any goals. In fact, I still don’t really have any goals for my blog."

If Scoble read the abstract of the article he should have seen that it wasn't purporting to be giving a high level 5 steps to launching a quality corporate blog from a content perspective, but rather, quite specifically, 5 Steps to establish a "corporate blogging policy."

Yes, I agree, they needed to name the article better. And I agree that the article gets a little schizophrenic halfway through. Example: when the article talks about establishing goals for the blog, it does so in the context of what that would mean for the blogging policy. However later when the article talks about deciding who can blog, they don't frame it in that same context: how would the choice of blogger impact your blogging policy?

But those two points aside, the article sticks to a very narrow theme: how to define and communicate your company's blogging policies...not how to create a valuable, interesting, authentic corporate blog.

PS-I do think setting goals is very important if the company is going to invest in blogging...whether they're investing $$ or man-hours. I also agree that companies can and should start roaming about the blogosphere to get ideas about what's out there and to start imagining how they could contribute to what's out there. Perhaps Robert as an individual blogger has no goals. If he was running the company, deciding whether to hire a Scoble, he might think about it a little differently. And if I remember correctly he and Shel had some very tangible goals when setting up their book blog (being an author with a book deal is like being a business owner after all.)

So, let's be fair. When each new story comes out about someone being fired for blogging (and I'm not going to stick my toe in those controversial waters today) bloggers clamor that companies need to be overt about their policies otherwise it is simply unjust to punish bloggers. That's what this article is trying to help companies do. Not much else, as far as I can see.

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