Monday, June 27, 2005

Coax CEOs to Blog?

Coax CEOs to Blog? (photo: cahilus)

Want to coax CEOs to blog?

I don't. I feel it's somewhat demeaning to plead with business people, or anybody, to "get into blogging".

If you believe in a company, and want to help them establish better or more personal relations with consumers, fine.

But to attempt to push businesses into blogs: heaven help us. I don't really care if most businesses have a blog or not. There's something strange about the big promotional push to convince corporations to start blogs. Weird.

I don't get it.

Unless you want to sell that company the services of your brilliant "blog consulting" genius. LOL.

Or you have a Business Blog Book you need to sell to as many business people as possbile. Double LOL.

I can tell an individual person: "It's fun to blog. You ought to start one and try it. You could blog about your hobby, your struggles, your goals, your religion, your philosophy, your expertise, your social concerns, your political opinions, whatever you're passionate about."

For a CEO or business person to ask, "How could my company use a blog?" seems a bit "out of it". Blogs are not that mysterious anymore.

Business Week, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, USA Today, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, New York Times, plenty of MSM and other media have discussed blogs. There are several good books on blogs, with many more coming, including mine.

So why is there such hype and even exaggeration, such inflated notions, about Business and Blogs, like they're a match made in heaven? They're not. No way.

Blogs are ideal for honest, authentic, enthusiastic people ONLY. Not boring, dry, dull people. Unless they're so dull, the dullness becomes fascinating.

(See The World's Dullest Blog in my blogroll).

At Robert Scoble and Shel Israel's blog The Red Couch/Naked Conversations, a blog devoted to writing a book about business blogs, there is a new post relevant to this topic:

"Ch 9 - Thorns in Roses"

posted by Shel Israel.

This post is very intelligent, exhaustive, and grandiose. Almost a One Post Pitch to businesses to blog. Admirable. Except...I don't fancy seeing every business having a blog.

Such phrases as these may be found in this well-written post:

"just take the plunge"

"people simply respond better to conversations than to shouted or contrived messages"

"blogs are faster and cheaper than any alternative for spreading word-of-mouth and they are more credible"

I agree with most of Shel's post. He is very smart and articulate. He kindly answers every email I plague him with. Very responsive and friendly fellow.

But I wonder about "more credible" and "faster".

I know some conversations I bow out of quickly. Some conversations bore me to tears. Conversations per se are not the final and ultimate answer to marketing. This seems a bit extreme to me. I also do not enjoy telephone conversations, I prefer email.

A blog has many attractive aspects and advantages...

...only IF it is a high traffic blog, has a reader audience that is your company's target consumer audience, and is very well-written.

You also have to enable comments, and respond to reader comments within the comment thread, and not just in a summarizing post.

I'll bet you know what's coming next.

My comment that I just posted to this post of Shel Israel.

[QUOTE: my comment posted at
The Red Couch/Naked Conversations]

This is nice, but don't you tire of coaxing businesses to blog?

I mean, lots of CEOs are just plain stupid. Greedy. Unresponsive. Arrogant. I don't want them to blog. I don't want them to do anything but study ethics and dig a ditch to get in touch with the real world.

This whole plea and analysis reminds me of trying to convince people 100 years ago to get a telephone.

To go into lengthy detailed explanations of What You Could Do With a Blog and Who Should NOT Blog and Why Business and Blogs are A Match Made in Heaven...

...nice, but rather tiresome.

It's like trying to sell them on Yellow Page ads or billboards.

Another point is your perspective seems to be always Business Blog.

Some CEOs could blog about other things, their hobbies, their favorite jokes, their gardens. Why do we always assume a blog has to be business-like, focused on customers, addressing the industry? This is old fashioned pragmatic bottomline blogging.

Why can't a CEO just be natural and post about personal interests, to appear more approachable, a regular guy, one of us?

I wonder about all this emphasis on the blog as a business tool.

Again, it reminds me of coaxing businesses to use postal mail to conduct sales presentations.

Result? Junk Mail.

Posted by: Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate | June 26, 2005 11:09 PM


your feedback makes the blogosphere go round Posted by Hello



Idil Cakim said...

I agree that blogging is not a suitable for every company's culture. And some might even suggest that CEOs have many other communication channels available to them, why blog? A lot depends on the context, whether the company is public, and whether the corporate rep can maintain a genuine, unedited voice on the blog... All that being said, I don't think we should dismiss blogs as corporate communication tools. They could be quite useful in strengthening stakeholder relations. Don't you think?

steven edward streight said...

Why blog?

See, this is the problem. This is like "why have a telephone?" or "why email?"

My more experienced internet brethren tell me the same problem occured with web sites.

Corporations resisted them, until it became mandatory to keep up with the thought leaders and competitors.

How much ROI is there on a business card?

Hard to measure, correct?

Yet who doesn't have them?

To me, Idil, the bottom line is this: can you subscribe to the 9 Core Values of Blogging?

If not, blogs are not for you, Mr. CEO.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I'm honored that you came from e-fluential, the Burson-Marsteller blog, which I critiqued a little.

I honestly think you should consider posting a bit more frequently.

My history with Blogthenticity is a rocky one.

I am a former contributor/editor, and still very good friends with co-founder Paul Woodhouse.

carrie said...

thought leaders....
that's you!

steven edward streight said...

Aw shucks, you think I'm a Thought Leader?

I'm perhaps more of an Insight Accumulator.

The real brains are in Jakob Nielsen, Robert Scoble, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Jacques Derrida, Vinton Cerf, Maurice Blanchot, Bob Dylan, Al and Laura Ries, Emmanuel Levinas, people like that.

carrie said...

bill gates?


carrie said...

Vint Cerf looks cool

steven edward streight said...

Vint Cerf invented TCP/IP and is working on the protocols for Interplanetary Internet.

Not sure what he looks like.

carrie said...

i didn't mean his physical appearance :-) (i did quick searches on many of those ppl you mentioned and found many of them to be boring cuz i am not interested in what they do, necessarily-- like the techy stuff. however Vint Cerf looks interesting to me because of the whole interplanetary protocol thing).

steven edward streight said...

And it's fun to expose the mind to the deep thinkers, like Derrida, Levinas, Blanchot.

You're a great writer. I would be interested in what you thought of Blanchot's little weird novels in English translation. "The Last Man" in particular. Very very odd literature.

Derrida is mental exercise and his "The Truth in Painting" book might be interesting even though difficult reading.

Next time you're in a big library, look up Blanchot, Derrida, Levinas.

One of my favorite novels of all time is the brilliantly bizarre "Djinn" by Alain Robbes-Grillet (sp?).

I had to laugh at how you equate "boring" with "not necessarily interested in" i.e., irrelevant.


carrie said...

bill gates is hiring bloggers, did you know this?

i wrote down the names of those books and will look for them.

steven edward streight said...

I heard something about this blogging for pay and Bill Gates. I'll look into that link. Thanks.

"Djinn" is a brief novel that messes with the mind constantly, things happen, then don't seem to have happened, everything is mysterious, so delightfully strange. Very different from Alain's other more cold and bleak novels, which I could never get into. This one is fun and charmingly weird as all get out.

"The Last Man" or any Maurice Blanchot novel, all very short and fast to read, is about absences and nothing happening, yet something seems to happen, or does it? Some of the most unusual uses of literary strangeness I've ever seen.

Then there are so many other odd French experimentalists, from whom I've learned many interesting tricks, which I put to use in my Cosmos Blogmos blog.

carrie said...