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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Corporate Blogging – Meaning & Identity

Nick Carr is right in his observation that the disparaging reaction to Dell's effort shows that establishing a corporate blog is not a risk-free proposition.I earlier covered the Fortune 500 blogging phenomenon. The Fortune 500 Biz blog list or the expanded global 1000_business_blogging Global 1000 list makes interesting reading. The crux of the matter is that some see that the risks and uncertainties of public business blogging are so great that big companies only do it under duress, when their traditional corporate messaging has lost traction. So companies on the way up don't want to mess with their success by introducing a new lens on the enterprise that isn't controlled by the PR department. Blogs become an automatic choice under such circumstances. The latest entrant is into the blogosphere is Dell and bingo, criticisms have already started surfacing about the blog. Dell's policy is said to be one centered on pre - approving posting and moderating blog comments. Sensible, as I see it given the fact that millions of customers use Dell products - The policy it appears is,in short, to approve anything that's on-topic, delete the stuff that's meant for sensationalizing things,direct specific issues to customer service and keep it outside the blog. The sanctity of the blog is that it is not just a redressal mechanism benefiting a few while millions can potentially read those!! While there may be criticisms about Dell blogs not meeting the exacting/expanding standards of classical bloggers, reality is that in life everything in life including blogs needs to have an objective and should be run on a certain defined method to succeed.
Nick's rules of thumb viz. do not blog for the sake of blogging, there is no one right way for blogging, the blogs need to reflect the company's desired image and supports its strategy (let me add to the extent possible - but no doubt it is better to be atleast aligned). While, it may be true that the equity a corporate blogger builds up is portable, in other words. Rather than sticking to the company, it will follow the blogger -even if the blogger heads to a competitor. This is true of all professionals in the media, hospitality – nay most of the well known faces in the service industry. After all the standard of blogs can also improve over a period of time. Blogging is also a work-in-progress, so to say and finding a winning style adherent to commonly accepted norms happens over a period of time and sometimes could depend on the strength of the personality of the blogger and would only over a period of time gain identity and establish a meaning for itself –till then we have to wait and keep welcoming such initiatives and not be overly critical.

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