musings of a mediabot

Posts Tagged ‘communication

I must have been a little grumpy in my last post about Scoble and Israel.  By the time I finished their book Naked Conversations, I was applauding blogs and their potential to unite this very fragmented political world.  OK, maybe that’s a little hyperbolic (and a big No-No according to the authors when it comes to blogging), but I have honestly grown fonder of blogs and the nature of the blog as a machine.

So, how has Scoble and Israel dissolved my granny perspective on blogs and blogging despite my sometimes hatred for feeling obligated to be part of a schizophrenic community of web geeks?  They made one significant point that caught my attention.  Blogging allows positive ideas to be born, to flourish and to gain an effective and powerful voice.  (And that being a web geek is a cool thing nowadays.)

Scoble and Israel’s story of Michel-Edouard Leclerc was particularly touching to me because Leclerc really seemed to get why we should communicate with others effectively, why we should attempt to connect to others, why blogging can be important.  Leclerc describes blogging as a way to be humble and to learn alongside with others without the pretense of “teacher and pupil”.   Despite his tremendous popularity, Leclerc prefers blogging as a method of service rather than succumbing to the requests of his people to lead them in political office.  Blogging as a means to serve others is a very powerful idea.

My hesitation towards accepting anything new and kitschy in digital space has grown from the fact that there is something new and kitschy offered in the global, one-stop digital shop, every single day.  If there are endless innovations to play with, how do we ever learn the whole scope of possibility that lies within each “tool”?  How can we really advance as a people when we treat digital distractions as a 5-year-old treats a brand new toy?  When can I say Enough! and be content with my Treo, MySpace, FaceBook, flickr, delicious, BeBo, lastfm, Pandora, Google Reader, LinkedIn, twitter, tagged, gchat, Yahoo messenger, and who knows how many more I’ve been invited to join by friends that I don’t even have the password to anymore.  Maybe I’m not as digitally-responsible as this one (I check  only a few sites on a daily basis and am surprised the others have not imploded from inactivity by now), but I think I make a solid effort. 

I even blog myself.  I blog because I am a writer and need to analyze happenings and the people around me to make sense of this life.  I blog to offer a perspective to others that they may not be familiar with.  Scoble and Israel would be disappointed in my blog as I rarely link and my instructor may argue the validity of it being a blog at all because of this very point, but I blog for the same reason as Leclerc.  To maintain humility.  To better understand human inconsistencies and special gifts and quirky behaviors.  I blog in the chance that I can offer something of value to anyone who will listen.

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.