Megaphone or conversation?

I was  interested to read Sarah’s post about CEO blogging, and agree with her about the lack of thought behind the call “I must have a blog”.   For many senior people in organisations I’ve worked for, blogging is seen as either a vanity publishing opportunity for sharing their unique vision with a grateful world; or just another comms channel – a pipe to squeeze some corporate messaging through.

This seems to be a pretty basic misunderstanding of how things work.  I remember reading an article Emily Bell wrote for Broadcast (I think and I can’t find a link) saying that you can’t target people with messages online –  the process only works when people feel they can contribute and participate.  I can’t imagine there are many CEOs (or senior civil servants) who would be genuinely happy to set out their thinking on a blog to let customers – and competitors – pick over it and join in.  And even if they were they wouldn’t have time to really engage with what came back to them.  And if they weren’t, what’s the point?

The collaborative nature of  blogging ought to work for business, though.  A small, personal example.  My husband runs a trade association which offers its members expert support in solving technical manufacturing problems.   He is setting up a series of members’ blogs in the hope that they can share best practice, good ideas and wizard wheezes across the industry for the benefit of everyone.  It’s not exactly “the CEO addresses the nation” and it won’t be of any possible use to anyone outside the industry, but it absolutely meets the needs of that community, and isn’t that the point?

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