|December 7, 2007|
|Corporate Bloggers Unite (in Private)|
|By Greg Hazley|
|A select band of corporate bloggers have set up a group to discuss issues they are facing in the blogosphere, but they are stressing a need to meet in private to do that.|
Andy Sernovitz, former head of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, has re-emerged atop a new entity called the Blog Council, a group of corporate bloggers from companies like Cisco, Coca-Cola, and Wells Fargo. At face value, this seems like a decent concept – corporate bloggers banding together to hammer out ethics codes and exchange war stories of the first few years of corporate America’s interactions and participation in the blogosphere.
But the group is stressing the need for privacy among said corporate bloggers, a fact which could be counter-productive to the blogosphere’s credo of transparency.
As Microsoft’s GM of community support services, Sean O'Driscoll, said in an announcement for the Council: "The Blog Council brings together precisely the people who need to explore these issues together, in a productive and private networking environment.”
The Council is being billed as a place for execs to meet in a “private, vendor-free environment.”
Sernovitz said in the announcement that individual and small-business bloggers don’t face the same issues as corporations. “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.”
The subhead on the group’s first press release reads: Top Executives from Global Brands Form Private Community to Develop Best Practices, Measurement, and Idea-Sharing.
The Council’s Q&A has a question about why it is a private group. Here’s the response:
Why is this a private group? Isn’t blogging about being public?
Every member of the Blog Council is already openly involved and active in the blogging community. They also face a very specific set of challenges unique to large companies. The Blog Council affords them a chance to talk with each other, share ideas, and learn how others have fared in similar situations. Ultimately, it’s less about privacy and more about staying focused.
It’s a great sign that these companies recognize the need to communicate effectively in the blogosphere; especially the need to contribute a meaningful voice without regurgitating executive talking points. But PR already has enough tight-lipped groups, so it will be interesting to see what type of profile the Council develops. I give them credit for announcing the formation and laying out some plans. But why not work out in the open, where hundreds of companies could benefit from the dialog between these select few members?
Lionel Menchaca of Dell (a member of the Council) had this to say:
Good corporate blogs force companies to look at things from a customer's point of view. That's why I want more large corporations to blog, and I want them to do it the right way. That means letting real people have real conversations just like individual blogs do. But it's a bit different from a corporate perspective. Transparency is still key, but the reality for large corporations is that there are some things we can't discuss. It's a balancing act, and sometimes it's a difficult one. But worth the risk? You bet it is.
Here are a few blog posts -- pro and con -- about the new Council:
Why I Think the Blog Council is a Good Idea
Blog Council Launches, Fumbles on Day One
The Blog Council, Intentions vs. Execution
Huge Companies Form Blog Council
Return to Latest News