The Blog Council

Recently a dozen corporate bloggers got together to form the "Blog Council".  The companies involved are AccuQuote, Cisco Systems, The Coca-Cola Company, Dell, Gemstar-TV Guide, General Motors, Kaiser Permanente, Microsoft, Nokia, SAP, and Wells Fargo.

According to the council’s web site, "The Blog Council exists as a forum for executives to meet one another in a private, vendor-free environment and share tactics, offer advice based on past experience, and develop standards-based best practices as a model for other corporate blogs.

"Major corporations use blogs differently while abiding by the same rules and etiquette," said Blog Council CEO Andy Sernovitz.  "Individual and small-business bloggers don’t face the same issues.  For example, we still need to deliver a responsible and effective corporate message, but we need to do it in the complicated environment of the blogosphere.  We have to speak for a corporation, but never sound ‘corporate.’  And we have to learn to do it live, and in real-time."

Not to nit pick, but does that mean that bloggers for smaller companies don’t deliver a responsible and effective corporate message?"  Is the blogosphere more complicated for a General Motors than it is for a Tacony Corporation, or for you if you have a blog?

Sorry, but the blogosphere isn’t all that complicated.  If you deliver a consistent, honest message and quality content, you’ll be accepted.  But, the blogosphere has a built-in BS detector that will spot a phony in a nanosecond.  And, as many have found out, once you’ve been outed for trying to pull a fast one, your credibility is gone.

Blogging is a conversation.  That’s why we’re always asking you to comment (hint, hint).  It’s a personal, semi-spontaneous medium.  Somehow a "corporate blogging council" just doesn’t sound right.  "Tactics", and "standards-based best practices"?  Really?

Maybe we’re just spoiled here at MYOB, but here’s the thing.  Anything that you put out in the name of your company, whether you have 500 employees or 500,000 becomes part of your "personal brand".  (See yesterday’s post.)  There’s a huge element of trust between management and the person fortunate enough to be given the task of blogging. 

You’re reading post number 413 of Mine Your Own Business, going back to April, 2006.  In all that time, no one in senior management has ever questioned anything we’ve posted.  There are occasional suggestions of topics that you might find interesting, but there’s been no censorship EVER

There are no "tactics".  There are no "standards-based best practices."  Our "standards" are posted on the left in our corporate mission statement, number one being "to build long lasting relationships that are based on trust and feel like family", which is really the definition of blogging.

Ironically, Microsoft, one of the twelve charter members of the council, made a big splash early on by letting Robert Scoble blog on anything Microsoft, either good or bad.  Scoble has since left the company.

To their credit, Wal*Mart has recently started a blog called Checkout.  It’s written by a number of different employees.  Whether it catches on remains to be seen, but as long as they let the bloggers blog without looking over their shoulders, it could be a good addition to the conversation.  Whether the blogosphere will forgive them their past indiscretions remains to be seen.

We’ll keep watching the "blog council" to see what effect, if any, they have on their members’ blogs.  Meanwhile, we’ll keep doing what we do, guided by your thoughts and suggestions. 

Thanks for your support.

One Response

  1. I don’t see how any of those very large company’s will ever be warm and fuzzy. They just don’t have the track record to be trusted. It can’t be anything but self serving.

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