Will new Blog Council help big companies get small conversations?

I was just reading the blogs this morning (I have a Fast Company column due and am avoiding working on it) but the news about a new blog council caught my eye. In particular, I see Dave Taylor’s response and tend to agree with him. I’m pretty skeptical. Why? Cause I’ve done enough speaking to enough corporations now that if they don’t get why they should be talking with their customers already I don’t get how hanging out at yet another boring industry conference is going to help them to get it.

And, actually, if your company needs help “getting it” then you shouldn’t be hanging out with other companies, but should be hanging out with the teams who are helping the political campaigns. Oh, sorry, I just plugged my column I wrote a while back for this month’s Fast Company.

But, seriously, here’s where corporations go wrong: they don’t get the value of seemingly unimportant conversations.

Here’s a test. Visit a Best Buy store. Now imagine that store without ANY human beings inside. What do you have? A bankrupt store.

So why when I visit BestBuy.com don’t I see any people? Hear any conversations? Is there any wonder why Amazon has a P/E ratio much higher than Best Buy? (Amazon puts real people on its Web site — it’s ironic that an Internet focused company “gets” the value of people and their conversations better than a “brick and mortar” store does since without people a brick and mortar store would simply not exist).

Demonstrates that the industry has a LONG way to go before it understands the real value that seemingly unimportant conversations have.

Every company I’ve spoken to, from Loreal to Target to Boeing gets that you need to pay attention to the New York Times. I don’t know of a single corporation who won’t return a journalist’s phone calls from the New York Times.

But, how many companies respond to a kid in Australia who only has three readers? How many companies respond to comments made on people’s Facebook walls? How many companies meet regularly with bloggers (the BBC and Microsoft are tonight at our blogger dinner in London — no “blog council” was needed to demonstrate to them why having conversations with bloggers are important).

If this council changes THAT in any noticeable way, I’ll cheer them on. But, like Dave Taylor (who also has been around the block dealing with companies) I’m pretty skeptical.

77 thoughts on “Will new Blog Council help big companies get small conversations?

  1. Robert; The only thing you didn’t make clear is that this group is for companies that already have blogs and social media (DELL, Microsoft), not for those that want to get into social media. They want to network with peers. I think it is way to early to be uber critical of this group. Just my POV.

  2. Robert; The only thing you didn’t make clear is that this group is for companies that already have blogs and social media (DELL, Microsoft), not for those that want to get into social media. They want to network with peers. I think it is way to early to be uber critical of this group. Just my POV.

  3. The Blog Council needs to learn how to blog themselves before they can help others and promote “best practices in corporate blogging.” What’s next, teaching Tiger Woods Golf?

  4. The Blog Council needs to learn how to blog themselves before they can help others and promote “best practices in corporate blogging.” What’s next, teaching Tiger Woods Golf?

  5. I think it’s important to point out that Dell and others on the Blog Council are already listening and participating in conversations. We view this new organization as an additional forum to meet with peers, and to hopefully provide additional focus for those of us who want to engage, learn and improve. Time will tell as to impact, but in the interim let’s give it a chance to evolve into something uniquely positive.

  6. I think it’s important to point out that Dell and others on the Blog Council are already listening and participating in conversations. We view this new organization as an additional forum to meet with peers, and to hopefully provide additional focus for those of us who want to engage, learn and improve. Time will tell as to impact, but in the interim let’s give it a chance to evolve into something uniquely positive.

  7. Great discussion all around … thanks for pushing us.

    This is about AND, not OR. Our members are already actively involved in the many blogosphere discussions, conferences, etc. AND we want a place to address issues that are unique to huge companies.

    How do you manage blogs in more than one language? What do you do when 2000 employees have personal blogs? How to train thousand of employees on blog etiquette?

    Conversation is important. That’s why were adding a new conversation.

    Call me, anyone. Glad to talk: 312-932-9000

    Andy Sernovitz
    (“Disaster” is my pro wrestling name)

  8. Great discussion all around … thanks for pushing us.

    This is about AND, not OR. Our members are already actively involved in the many blogosphere discussions, conferences, etc. AND we want a place to address issues that are unique to huge companies.

    How do you manage blogs in more than one language? What do you do when 2000 employees have personal blogs? How to train thousand of employees on blog etiquette?

    Conversation is important. That’s why were adding a new conversation.

    Call me, anyone. Glad to talk: 312-932-9000

    Andy Sernovitz
    (“Disaster” is my pro wrestling name)

  9. Perhaps the most troubling thing re this group’s anouncement — here we are talking about it, and implicitly about its members, and no one that’s on the bloody thing is weighing in with their POV.

  10. Perhaps the most troubling thing re this group’s anouncement — here we are talking about it, and implicitly about its members, and no one that’s on the bloody thing is weighing in with their POV.

  11. The “people in shopping” thing – that’s why I think we need to have wi-fi in retail badly. If I’m thinking of buying something, I go online to check what people say. I’ve sat with my mobile for five or ten minutes logging on to review sites looking up products that I’m thinking about buying. Why doesn’t the shop simply have free wi-fi so I can logon with my PDA and check? I mean, what possible reason is there not to do so? Shops are already setting up paid wi-fi from BT and the like, but it should be free so I can comparison shop and read reviews.

    I’m not likely to not buy it from the shop – the reason I buy retail is when I need something almost immediately.

  12. The “people in shopping” thing – that’s why I think we need to have wi-fi in retail badly. If I’m thinking of buying something, I go online to check what people say. I’ve sat with my mobile for five or ten minutes logging on to review sites looking up products that I’m thinking about buying. Why doesn’t the shop simply have free wi-fi so I can logon with my PDA and check? I mean, what possible reason is there not to do so? Shops are already setting up paid wi-fi from BT and the like, but it should be free so I can comparison shop and read reviews.

    I’m not likely to not buy it from the shop – the reason I buy retail is when I need something almost immediately.

  13. Great points. The funny thing about that kid in Australia… One of those three could be a NY Times reporter (or Robert Scoble), and companies that ignore the blog will have hurt themselves by dismissing it as too small. Influence is not solely determined by size.

  14. Great points. The funny thing about that kid in Australia… One of those three could be a NY Times reporter (or Robert Scoble), and companies that ignore the blog will have hurt themselves by dismissing it as too small. Influence is not solely determined by size.

  15. To be honest, I don’t think the creation of a council will have a dramatic impact on corporate blogging. The fact there’s some structure happpening doesn’t address issues such as why corporations blog, who writes them, and how you deal with things like disclosure rules and Sarbannes-Oxley.

    Mark

  16. To be honest, I don’t think the creation of a council will have a dramatic impact on corporate blogging. The fact there’s some structure happpening doesn’t address issues such as why corporations blog, who writes them, and how you deal with things like disclosure rules and Sarbannes-Oxley.

    Mark

  17. I’m a little skeptical as well. What this experiment does prove however is that large corporations are taking notice of the blogosphere. By incorporating blogging into their operations, they are expressing the importance of such a medium. This is definitely a positive step that will hopefully bringing blogging into the mainstream.

    Cheers,
    Aidan
    http://www.MappingTheWeb.com

  18. I’m a little skeptical as well. What this experiment does prove however is that large corporations are taking notice of the blogosphere. By incorporating blogging into their operations, they are expressing the importance of such a medium. This is definitely a positive step that will hopefully bringing blogging into the mainstream.

    Cheers,
    Aidan
    http://www.MappingTheWeb.com

  19. Robert…In it’s original incarnation (2000), the BBY.com site was all about people, people having fun, smart shopping, being your smart friend (in fact this was central). In fact there was a long video produced to introduce the site and the concept to all employees. I tell a little of the story here so you can get somewhat of an idea of what it was like and the philosophy…
    http://www.geise.com/index.php/portfolio/C185/online/

    Now it seems to just be an extension of the Sunday supplement, sell, sell, sell.

  20. Robert…In it’s original incarnation (2000), the BBY.com site was all about people, people having fun, smart shopping, being your smart friend (in fact this was central). In fact there was a long video produced to introduce the site and the concept to all employees. I tell a little of the story here so you can get somewhat of an idea of what it was like and the philosophy…
    http://www.geise.com/index.php/portfolio/C185/online/

    Now it seems to just be an extension of the Sunday supplement, sell, sell, sell.

  21. I disagree. It is also about engaging what we call blogging, but just applying what normal users and small businesses experience, is not enough.

    There is a different need in these organisations, and ‘any blogging experience’ is not the place to learn from, they need specific, different help.

    Which is not offered much, hence the need to go on with that.

    Now if they are successful with this, is yet another story. ;)

  22. I disagree. It is also about engaging what we call blogging, but just applying what normal users and small businesses experience, is not enough.

    There is a different need in these organisations, and ‘any blogging experience’ is not the place to learn from, they need specific, different help.

    Which is not offered much, hence the need to go on with that.

    Now if they are successful with this, is yet another story. ;)

  23. “Now imagine that store without ANY human beings inside.”

    Wouldn’t that be BestBuy.com?

    Maybe I’m not the typical consumer, but when I go to a store, I usually know what I’m looking for, thank you. The only “conversation” I want to have is” “can I ring that up for you?”. followed by “Thank you” Likewise when I go to a commercial web site, I could give a rat’s ass about what some random person thought about a product. As long as the site has inventory at a reasonable price, they’ll have my business. Beyond that, leave me alone. I know where to find you.

  24. “Now imagine that store without ANY human beings inside.”

    Wouldn’t that be BestBuy.com?

    Maybe I’m not the typical consumer, but when I go to a store, I usually know what I’m looking for, thank you. The only “conversation” I want to have is” “can I ring that up for you?”. followed by “Thank you” Likewise when I go to a commercial web site, I could give a rat’s ass about what some random person thought about a product. As long as the site has inventory at a reasonable price, they’ll have my business. Beyond that, leave me alone. I know where to find you.

  25. Christopher: when I worked the camera store counter I engaged in all conversations, not only those ones I thought were going to be “important.”

    I made more than my fair share of sales because of that attitude.

    If you’re in business and you are only going to engage in “important” conversations you’ll probably leave a lot of money on the table. Heck, look at Amazon’s P/E ratio compared to Best Buy.

    But, there are ways to bring the really good conversations up to the top. Look at Amazon there again. My book has 30+ reviews on it. Why are some higher than others?

  26. Christopher: when I worked the camera store counter I engaged in all conversations, not only those ones I thought were going to be “important.”

    I made more than my fair share of sales because of that attitude.

    If you’re in business and you are only going to engage in “important” conversations you’ll probably leave a lot of money on the table. Heck, look at Amazon’s P/E ratio compared to Best Buy.

    But, there are ways to bring the really good conversations up to the top. Look at Amazon there again. My book has 30+ reviews on it. Why are some higher than others?

  27. Most conversations are daily drivel, only a few ever arise to the level of caring about, whiny ego-snot bloggers included, in fact, doubled.

  28. Most conversations are daily drivel, only a few ever arise to the level of caring about, whiny ego-snot bloggers included, in fact, doubled.

Comments are closed.