It looks like the kerfufel over the Blog Council is starting to wind down, so my coverage (ok, ranting) will too. But before I move on, I wanted to point out a few additional gems that popped out of the overall discussion.
But something struck me as the majority of the complaints from bloggers seems to focus on the ‘closed’ nature of the council. How is this different from Seth not allowing comments on his blog? This is one of the most recognizable bloggers in the world, purposely opting out of the conversation.
Or is he? In fact it seems that Seth is doing the same thing that the council is wanting to do, he’s participating on terms that he’s comfortable with. Myself and many others have blogged about how we wish that Seth would allow comments on his blog (Google ‘SethGate’). But Seth prefers to block comments and address readers instead via email and posts left on other blogs. And to his credit, he does so very quickly.
IOW, Seth participates in a fashion that he is comfortable with. Take away Seth’s comfort level, and he might decide to stop blogging altogether. And we all would be much poorer for it. The Blog Council strikes me as an effort by blogging companies to exchange and cultivate ideas in an environment that they are comfortable with. As a blogger, I am quite willing to stand on the outside, if the END RESULT is that this council leads to the growth and improvement of the corporate blogging community.
Being a blogger myself, as well as being a blogger for a corporation (RBC), I would say that yes, while this council seems like a bunch of guys in suits getting together to talk strategy, personally, I would appreciate being able to get together in this kind of environment (keep in mind that I’m not the guy in the suit, I’m 22, and a computer engineer by trade… There are no marketing wheels turning in my head).
The reason that I would appreciate this kind of environment is because blogging on behalf of a company presents a different set of challenges than blogging as an individual, and I would like to discuss these challenges with other people who have been through the same thing… It’s not like I can go out to my local Starbucks and ask random people how they’ve dealt with concerns about corporate reputation and brand value, or how they’ve convinced their legal department that linking to other sites on the internet is not evil, but necessary. Yeah, in some way, it seems like they’re creating an exclusive club, but it’s also about sharing similar experience in an environment where companies are treading very carefully.
As much as I would just love to get out there and blog my heart out as I would do on my own, I cant, because there is a whole corporate bureaucracy behind how I communicate with people. It kinda sucks, but it’s the reality of changing the way the company is communicating.
Mack (in a comment on his post above):
I look at this from the point of view of Company ABC that is NOT blogging, but is slightly curious. Company ABC is cautious because they know little about blogging, and as a result they buy into the stereotype that bloggers are nothing but ‘a buncha whiney complainers that are just LOOKING for a chance to pounce on a company and slam them’. And sadly, the reaction that the council is getting in the blogosphere somewhat justifies this stereotype.
But with the council, Company ABC now has a group that it can look to for guidance that is facing the same issues and environment that they are. If I were Company ABC, I would much rather look for guidance from companies that are already blogging, such as the council members.
What those of us on the bleeding edge tend to forget or simply not respect is that the non-bleeding edgers aren’t as ballsy as we are. Not everyone has the close relationship with acceptable failure that we do. Some people need a friendly push, or a helping hand before they jump in. This doesn’t make them bad people, or clueless, or idiots, or out of touch. It just makes them human.
Let’s not forget the importance of that concept in the real world beyond our bleeding edge borders. Shake it up, challenge, push, prod, maybe even shame the rest of the world into thinking about things from your new vantage point. Just don’t insult them when they don’t march arm-in-arm into something new just because you said they should.