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Blogs and business culture February 25, 2007

Posted by Steve Field in Blogs, Naked Conversations.


In the second half of Naked Conversations, we finally get to any potential downfalls of businesses using blogs as communication tools. Until chapter 9, Scoble and Israel are nothing but blog cheerleaders. I agree that they are powerful, and that the way they allow people to communicate has fundamentally changed. But they are not without their pitfalls.

The appeal of blogs, for readers, is that they are expressed in human voice. Business, however, is anything but. True, business are made up of people. But the exciting thing about blogging is that it is fluid and can be done at any time. It is free and unrestrained. Organizations, are not.

A coworker of mine put it best — communications officers are there to present opportunities; lawyers are there to present risk. Unfortunately, most businesses are risk averse, desire to be safe and in control, and will reject the use of blogs for communication purposes.

The risks are numerous:

  1. Negative comments
  2. Disclosing confidential information
  3. Loss of message control
  4. Time vs Audience
  5. Employee misbehavior

And others.

I truly believe in the premise laid out by Scoble and Israel. Blogs do have power, and there is plenty of potential for businesses to leverage them (I wouldn’t be working where I do and doing what I do if I didn’t believe that.) However, presently, I think many businesses are, culturally, not in a position to truly embrace the blogosphere. Over time, this will change. People will become more accustomed to blogs as they seep further into popular culture. As this happens, business culture will begin to accept them as well.

Still, cultures change slowly. This is going to take some time.

But we’ll get there.



1. Citizen Marketers and other reading « Field Foolery - June 8, 2007

[…] have already written about one of the assigned readings on this blog, so today, I will be focusing on a book that I have not yet had the opportunity to review — […]

2. ang2007 - June 9, 2007

Great blog, Steve! I would love to hear some design tips from you.

I have just finished reading the first 3 chapters of Citizen Marketers and I also believe that the authors were not clear when comparing people to messages. Pehaps the point is that people have control of the message and that the message is not a one way street any longer where media and corporations dictate and manipulate opinions.

On a lighter note I love the the stories and examples of how social media has changed businesses and that is because the messages are authentic, transparent and they come from people like you and I.

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