Neville, Shel Slam Blog Scoffers
People, you do not want to scoff about blogs in front of friend Neville Hobson and friend/client Shel Holtz unless you like your arguments handed back to you, deep-fried. Though it's surely an education to watch them react. What's great about their posts today is that, independently, they have crystallized much of the progressive thinking about corporate blogging.
(And, by the way.. when I say "slam" I mean in a civilized way).
Let's have a look, starting with Neville...
Neville takes issue with Fredrik Wackå's objections to the Forrester Vision described by Charlotte Li.
"This reminds me of similar negative views when PCs began appearing on corporate desks everywhere in the late 80s and early 90s. Managers, product developers, sales people doing their own word processing? No way! That’s what we have secretaries for. Anyway, managers can’t type, they use dictating machines, they don’t have time, that’s not what they’re there for, and myriad other reasons. And what about when email first arrived on the corporate scene? Or when websites first appeared (“this will never catch on in business”)?
"Forrester’s vision seems to takes a longer-term and sustainable view, I believe. While the technology clearly does exist today to enable people to do what the vision illustrates, the cultural and business environments within many companies aren’t necessarily ready for it just yet. So this is also about the workplace, working practices and, indeed, visionary leadership and management (as well as practicalities like IT budgets).
"I’ve spent years trying to help employees at all levels in companies become effective communicators. Like Fredrik, my efforts have included coaching people in writing skills. I’ve also worked with employees on how to present, how to turn meetings into events that are worth spending time in, you name it. In all such cases, there are some who are naturally good at it, some who really do need coaching (and really want that coaching), and others who will always resist and not want to participate. This just represents the spectrum of different human attributes, so it will undoubtedly apply in the workplace environment as envisioned by Forrester."
Read Neville's much longer posting..... good stuff
Shel Holtz responds to another quarter: David Murray's blog-bashing commentary at The Ragan Report. (Ironically, Neville and the David Kistle blog-let are used as examples by Murray).
"Back when the Internet was new, we heard a serious argument among the early adopters in the communication profession. Some of these “Internet geeks,” asserted that the Internet was as important as the invention of the Gutenberg printing press...
The argument was imbecilic then, and it hasn’t gotten any smarter or more relevant in the meantime.
Well, we’re hearing similar hysterics from blogging enthusiasts among the ranks of communicators "
Ooof! But Shel responds with an open letter to Murray (again, just a few quotes from a long and logical post):
"The impact of blogs has little to do with technology and much to do with culture. The ease of publishing through a blog has resulted in the fulfilment of one of the Internet's great promises -- that anybody can publish. Now there are millions of people publishing and even more reading what they write. According to some estimates, more than 11% of those who go online read blogs.
"Because the community is large and growing, it wields a certain amount of influence. Some examples:
"Bloggers report news the mainstream media misses or ignores, often forcing the media to cover stories they otherwise wouldn't. US Senator Trent Lott's remarks about Strom Thurmond, which led to his loss of the Senate leadership, is a good example.
"Many reporters have turned to bloggers to promote their stories, hoping to drive traffic to their publications' web sites.
"Bloggers have corrected misinformation reported by mainstream media, most famously Dan Rather's claims to have documentation of US President George Bush's failure to fulfill his National Guard service.
"Similarly, popular blogs have served as platforms to complain about institutions and their products and services, influencing opinions and affecting reputations.
"I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Just read some of the blogs of those CWTOBs, as you call them (communicators with their own blogs), and you can gain even more of the insight that appears to have escaped you.
"There is, however, an even bigger picture. As a consequence of the blogging phenomenon, we are witnessing the birth of the "social constituency." These are audiences -- running the gamut from customers to shareholders, from activists to employees -- that have the ability and the expectation to interact with real people. As one writer put it, by listening to members of social audiences, "companies have the opportunity to create the tightest relationships between vendor and customer we have seen since the days of the corner store."
"Clearly, then, there is a role for communicators to play."
Damned refreshing to get two posts like this on an ordinary Tuesday.