Thursday, November 17, 2011

Consider keeping your opinions to yourself (the author included)

Tonight's guest blog comes from a student who prefers to stay anonymous, given her observations. Take it away...

Our CEO recently told us he wanted a blog. We said no.

As corporate communicators at a large professional services company, we know the pitfalls and challenges of starting a blog—resources, content, commitment. We also knew the CEO wasn’t fully invested in the project, which would likely die a very public death.

We are not Google, IBM, GE or the like. Our CEO thought he needed to boost his web presence simply because the “other guys” are online—clearly the wrong reason to take on the massive task of a blog.

In the digital age, I see this mistake repeated whenever a friend launches a new travel/literary/mom blog. Just because social media tools—Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube—allow you to tell the world how you feel, doesn’t mean you should. I am all in favor of the open marketplace of ideas, but we should first consider whether we have anything truly insightful to share.

Take the news from Penn State. Logging on to Facebook the morning after coach Paterno was fired, my news feed showed an overwhelming number of opinions about child assault, mixed with baby pictures and “Had an awesome weekend!” posts. No one would argue that Penn State’s behavior wasn’t abhorrent, but none of the sentiment was new or intelligent. Facebook seemed like the wrong medium for this type of rant, which only served to fuel people’s anger.

NPR recently ran a story about using caution in your online communications because you don’t know your audience or how it will interpret your message [Your Friends Are Not Your Audience: A Disturbing Internet Lesson in Perspective]. When online, the traditional filters—editors, directors, agents—don’t exist. The aspiring artist or thought leader must create his or her own standards or face serious criticism. In our case, the CEO backed down from his quest for a blog. He instead agreed to test his wings on Twitter. Like him, would-be bloggers should think twice before assuming their ideas will genuinely contribute to the larger discussion.

—Unless you plan to write about food. The world always needs more food blogs.

Our author describes herself as "a corporate communicator at a major professional services organization. A news and trivia junkie, she loves her Green Bay Packers and a good Oregon Pinot noir."


Gatesben said... your point...
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Anonymous said...

Aren't blogs a form of blue-jeans thought leadership at their core? Designed to build the brand and increase interst/sales? So, couldn't the CEO or other senior execs (yes, ghostwritten by corpcomm staff) produce a series of short, unstuffy pieces that find their way to prospects and influencers through other media for now...and potentially into blogs 2-3 years down the road?

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brandsinger said...

Hey Anonymous — Thanks for your comments. But what's with this new querulous, questioning voice you've adopted? We encourage direct, declarative statements of opinions. No need for you to qualify your views via the elusive dodge of the interrogative — savvy?

yer pal, brandsinger