Monday, March 20, 2006

How big business barged in on the bloggers

As if to reiterate my earlier post, The G has an article today on the unsteady relationship between Big Business and Bloggers.
"The trick is not to try too hard to sell," says Hugh Macleod of "You need to respect the people reading it, they're coming to you. Blogs are a great way to make things happen indirectly. It is different from creating a controlled mechanism that tries to change people's behaviour, which traditional advertising tries to do."
So says a PR guy. And it's true. Blogs are a great way of making things happen and, as the article later says, can humanize industries where PR cannot.

Transparency and legitimacy are key ingredients to social software, and undermining the former can seriously impact the latter.
Transparency is essential in navigating a wilderness where, according to tracker sites such as, there are more than 30m blogs and 2.1 billion links in cyberspace. Anything masquerading as genuine is soon rooted out, as household cleaner manufacturer Cillit Bang discovered to its cost last year. Websites began to get messages from Barry Scott, star of the company's TV commercials, but bloggers soon discovered that Scott was a fabrication and the messages had been sent by a marketing committee. Dr Pepper made a similar mistake in seeking legitimacy through blogging with its Raging Cow energy drink, labelled, unfortunately, as a "milk-based drink with attitude".
Yes, blogs are a threat to big business. Traditionally, they have exposed the "warts and all" factors which PR is meant to hide. So how do corporations get in with the kids by using the latest in interactive buzzword trends? As the article says, get in on the conversation. Bloggers have a responsibility to act in the interest of their readers, and demonstrate full disclosure.

Some great stats/quotes from the article:
The Edelman website has a trust barometer and for the first time we found that the most trusted sources were 'a person such as yourself or a peer'. World events have led to that and blogging has led to that.
A study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism showed that on any given day, posts involving a blogger interviewing someone else accounted for only 1% of the blogosphere. Only 5% involved some other original work.


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