Friday, February 25, 2005

Corporate Blogging an Oxymoron?

Doc Searls et al.'s idea of markets as conversations seems very much in line with today's public relations theory, which favors two-way communication and dialogue. I see blogs as a great place to test these theories -- Botan & Taylor call them "co-creational" approaches to public relations.

I had the chance to hear Searls speak here at UNC last semester, and I tend to agree with Scoble that "If Doc Searls says it or writes it, believe it." Well, almost. The social scientist in me might modfiy that a little to "If Doc Searls says it or writes it, hypothesize it."

Doc Searls yesterday (2/24/05) on corporate blogging:
  • "'Corporate blogging" is so ironic it's nearly an oxymoron. Having a "a system in place to monitor what is being said" seems more consistent with ending a conversation than with starting one.... Blogging is personal. The voices you hear in blogs are personal ones, not corporate ones, even when they serve corporate purposes.Yet companies have character too, just as individuals do. The difference is that companies themselves cannot speak.

I see this as an interesting problem for public relations.

The article Searls cites, "CORPORATE BLOG - PR OPPORTUNITY OR PR NIGHTMARE?," concludes:
  • "Although there is some trepidation about the danger of starting a corporate blog, the positive results far outweigh the problems. Companies should take the plunge and start the conversation. Just be aware of the pitfalls and make sure you have all your bases covered."

So just what are these "positive results"?

Global PR Blog Week 1.0

"During one week, 35 practioners published more than 60 articles and interviews on the impact of personal publishing on Public Relations." This happened in July 2004.

Moving pictures

I remember defacing thick books (my own books at home, of course) with stick-figure men at the outside edges of the pages. I learned this from other kids, so I'm guessing you might have done done this too. You draw a little stick man on the last page, then draw another one with the leg slightly moved on the previous page, until you reach the beginning of the book, run out of patience, or run out of time procrastinating your homework. Your payoff is fanning through the pages and watching your stick man run across the border of the book -- home theater!

I'm just getting started on a research paper on corporate blogs and public relations, and I'm wondering if I should start with some recent data about corporate blogs, including the good, bad and even the fake (not necessarily in that order): Microsoft, Sun, HP, GM, McDonald's, etc.

Technorati has some really good data for this purpose.

But this is all just one stick man on one page.

On the other hand, even if we want to understand the stickman in motion, we have to start somewhere. These links provide some of the stickman's arms and legs. I'm hoping my blog entries will help put him in motion.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Getting on the plane

"Get on the plane." That's what William Zinsser tells me as I read On Writing Well for about the sixth time.

Anyhow, I've got a couple of research projects rolling that focus on public relations online. Can't really talk about online public relations without taking a serious look at blogs. Can't really take a serious look at blogs without getting on the plane, so to speak.