As an evangelist for blogging in the corporate sector, I would like to be able to believe that the new, grandly titled Blog Council will be successful and will help advance the role, significance and effectiveness of blogging in the corporate sector.
But I wonder.
Because like Dave Taylor, I am bemused by the idea of a congeries of corporations setting up a private forum to discuss blogging issues and in passing wonder why these corporations didn’t think it would be a good idea to mingle with some actual, real-life bloggers a few weeks ago in Las Vegas at BlogWorld Expo. As Dave writes:
We had over a thousand of the smartest trend-setting bloggers and new media people in the world all neatly in one place. That’s how you learn, guys, from talking with the best in the business — and everyone else — not by hiring an expensive consultant to have discussions behind closed doors.
I understand the anxiety some corporate leaders have about blogging. And I’m probably less sanguine about the real risks than are some of my fellow blogging evangelists. But if these corporations think they are going to cut through to an anxiety-free zone by pulling the wagons into a circle and having a private confab with one another, excluding deliberately and explicitly any other voices (except perhaps some as yet unnamed consultants), they are really missing the point about blogging and social media.
As for the Blog Council site, which looks at a quick glance like a blog, the phrase Potemkin village comes to mind – as Dave observes, no comments, no trackbacks and the “author” of the posts is “Blog Council”. Transparency? Authenticity? Or just early days?
Robert Scoble is also skeptical, wondering whether the Blog Council will help big companies get small conversations (via Drew Myers).
Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins’ acerbicly witty comments on Mashable made me cringe thinking of past endless meetings when I worked on policy development committees. Not to mention reminding me of the often risible, regularly disheartening outcomes.
Duncan Riley questions the choice/significance of the name and the usefulness of the concept.
On a more favorable note, Shel Holz draws some positive parallels with another industry group he has participated in and wishes the new venture well. He also links to posts on the topic on other blogs, where I read the general tone as favorable and supportive, with comments wandering between questioning and supportive.
Ross Dawson acknowledges the skeptical comments going round but is positive (Update 2011: there was a link here but it does not work now):
Most corporations are too uncertain about what blogging is and what it entails to get going. This type of engagement with their peers is the best possible way to allay fears and help them to develop corporate blogging in a constructive manner.
Josh Hallett has an interesting slant on the story in his post ANBT:The Blog Council, where “ANBT” stands for Andy’s Next Big Thing, referencing the founder/organizer of the Blog Council, Andy Sernovitz, formerly head honcho at the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) and congratulating Andy on realizing the plan he had previously shared with Josh.
What I’d be interested to know is whether, once these deliberations have been held, there will be any sharing of information and insights, any testing of ideas and directions in the broader blogosphere. Or will the rest of us just have to look at the walls of this private garden and wonder?