musings of a mediabot

Blogging to survive

Posted on: September 30, 2008

I am not a fan of trends.  If I were, what would happen if I were to miss the memo that metallic snakeskin and excessive cleavage was no longer in?  Bad news, I tell ‘ya.

Some trends are worth a nod, and for the business moguls, it can mean millions of dollars in profit.  This is good for corporations and various business entities.  When are trends good for the average Joe?

Robert Scoble and Shel Israel are adamant that the online explosion of blogging is a trend worth celebrating, particularly for business reasons.  The basic message of their book Naked Conversations is You, whoever you are.  Do Not Miss the Blogging Train.  Get on board; start writing; start exchanging stories.

Scoble and Israel challenge the idea that a formal marketing/public relations department can positively promote, disseminate information, and maintain a top-of-mind presence about a featured product or service from Company X on a consistent basis.  Instead, they argue that members of the bloggers can.   A simple exchange of dialogue can do more for a product than mistargeted direct-mail pieces or one-time ad placements in a local newspaper.   It can create buzz, start an unstoppable wave of conversation that reaches a tipping point, and make Company X the topic of the day at the water cooler.  The key is that the buzz is born from blogging.

I am not anti-blog.  I agree that the power of blogs to connect people, to strengthen relationships between consumer and company, to strip CEOs of false authority and have them talk to their customers in pajamas (and let’s not forget the dramatic potential it has for opening doorways of communication in international spheres that we would otherwise have no entry) is something to treasure and to make the most positive of changes with its use. 

When blogs serve their purpose, and stir conversation about topics like Sarah Palin’s apocalyptic worldview, then I’m all for them.  This is why we should blog about what we see or read, and start important conversations. 

My concern for Scoble and Israel’s taking the bullhorn and advising companies to blog is that it sounds like they’re pumping steroids into the art.  If every single company were to start their own blog, wouldn’t they just get lost in the already cluttered Internet?  True, there are tools we use to filter through the dense digital information highway, such as RSS, but I’m not the only one to question the authors’ overzealous love of the online pastime.

If we’re blogging simply because we have “tool lust,” penned by Yossi Vardi, then we’re no more than following a trend.  But, if we’re blogging to contribute something worthwhile, then the trend is necessary for our survival.  Yes, survival.  What are we as people if we do not communicate and that communication does not enhance our lives?

The question is What is worthwhile?  For me, some days this works.

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2 Responses to "Blogging to survive"

When we started writing Naked Conversations back in Mar 2005, there were about 4 million blogs. Now there are about 200 million. You can find precisely what you want from the nearly 1 billion posts going up daily by using search tools. There’s one called Google which is pretty good. What we missed is that blogging turned out to me but one tool in an entire social media arsenal. Add in YouTube, FaceBook, MySpace, twitter, FriendFeed, Hi5, not to mention social networks from scores of companies, and it looks like a pretty strong trend to me.

Shel, thanks for your comments. Yes, you’re right. Online social media is taking our culture by storm. Just to keep prodding my point for the sake of lively discussion, I’d agree that popular sites such as FaceBook and twitter and the millions of blogs do suggest a strong trend; however, the question remains – is it a trend worth following?

Search engines are great tools that can pinpoint my topic of interest, but I would need an extra 3 hours a day just to research if what I find online is accurate. There’s only so much time I have in my day. I suppose your response would be that I wouldn’t have to perform such tedious research when it comes to blogs, which is your point in Naked Conversations – because they are simply, authentic conversations that bubble from one person to the next – and because, as you pointed out, there is always Google (what’s that?). But how do I know if the conversation is worth listening to? I’m sorry, I can’t trust Technorati’s method of granting “authority” to a blogger depending on how many links it contains. Really? Is it just a huge popularity contest?

I blame my cynicism on my academic career and the fact that I already feel I am being bombarded by information and opinions. But, then again, there are the times I love to snoop and see what other people are saying.

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