Here is a blog I wrote about the importance of blogging for corporations about a year ago. I think the landscape for corporate blogging has changed since then.
Today the public has accepted the use of blogs, and the once novice form of media use has become a normality in our everyday lives. We have become used to reading Perez Hilton’s blog, seeing news anchor Katie Couric’s video blogs, or chuckling at our friend 4,000 miles away who believes ongoing daily blogs will somehow make you seem closer. We have even become accustomed to adding words such as, “blog, blogging, blogger, and blogosphere” into our daily language and bringing our parents and our Microsoft Word’s dictionary up-to-date.
Although, as stated in class on 2/13/08, “it was believed that blogs would peak in the year 2007 and begin to decline,” in the year 2008 we realize what Scott Hall pointed out in his book The Blog Ahead: “Blogs are a paradigm-transforming technology whose influence and implications will only grow more wide-ranging with time” (Hall 27). In other words blogs are a permanent fixture in today’s society.
It’s too bad that many companies have been late or failed to realize that blogs “could be useful tools” to help their business (Hall 28). Yet, it’s not unusual that the public is able to develop habits long before companies and governments begin to catch on. For example, while Target remarks to its customers: “Unfortunately we are unable to respond to your inquiry because Target does not participate with nontraditional media outlet,” my friend nearly 4,000 miles way is way ahead and has just completed blog number 1,289,202 (http://www.blogworks.org/archives/).
We all know that in the year 2000 blogging was a “nontraditional media outlet,” but today everyone should give it a try. The following statement made by MS&L on their website brings truth to this statement: “When individual consumers communicate by the millions on message boards, web sites and weblogs, and when news, gossip and rumors spread virally across the blogosphere, corporations ignore these conversations at their peril… [but] smart corporate communicators are able to assimilate these practices into their companies and create new successful marketing ventures”. (http://www.mslpr.com/blogworks/about.html)
In class on 2/20/08, the question, “why do people blog” was presented to the class. As a direct follow up to this question I was prompted to also consider “why should corporations blog”.
People are blogging because they distrust the motives and credibility of the media that controls much of the information they receive. In blogging people hope to find instant interactive feedback in order to formulate their own opinion by interpreting information themselves. Individuals are beginning to invest in social capital again, to gain knowledge and share experiences but in different ways. In the year 2008 it is not in bowling alleys, or beauty shops with face to face interactions like in the 1950s, but on interconnected virtual blog pages (social capital discussion 1/30/08).
In some cases, bloggers are merely looking for entertainment or opinions, but in others they are actively seeking people to engage with, and the answers to their questions (summary taken from class discussion 2/20/08).
Corporations should blog because people are actively seeking information about all facets of their life and they will come to their own conclusion if corporations can not provide them with the information they seek. With blogs corporations are able to set their own agendas and make convincing arguments for their products. For example, a consumer is searching for an environmentally friendly car. If they go on the GM website they can view Vice Chairman Bob Lutz’s opinion about global warming and his company’s commitment to making cars that are “and will continue to be — hugely beneficial to the very causes they so enthusiastically claim to support” (http://fastlane.gmblogs.com/archives/2008/02/talk_about_a_cr.html).
If they please corporations can even talk about the fuel efficiency of their cars, their involvement in the community, budget plans, future business ventures, and any other information they feel pertinent enough to sell their product.
In case corporations fear their reputation being smeared by careless vengeful bloggers they should make themselves familiar with the customary rules created by Charlene Li that leave them in complete control:
Blogger Code Of Ethics
- We will tell the truth. We will acknowledge and correct any mistakes promptly. We will not delete comments unless they are spam, off-topic, or defamatory.
- We will reply to comments when appropriate as promptly as possible.
- We will link to online references and original source materials directly.
- We will disagree with other opinions respectfully.
To protect against spam, off-topic and profane comments, all comments are reviewed before being posted to the blog. We approve comments continuously during normal business hours, so please be patient. Thanks for participating.
Therefore the only thing that bloggers have to fear is the chance of doing something new, innovative that will reshape their company and bring unheralded benefits. The fear of their blogs getting out of control ceases to exist because according to blog rules “we approve comments continuously”: nothing goes unapproved or on the website unless it is in the corporation’s best interest.
With this being said, Corporations Blog, Please