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Corporate blogging sucks

Corporate blogging sucks as an online community creation technique.

That was the title of a piece I have had in my draft folder for a while.

Since I started corporate blogging (yuk) I have realised there is something wrong, no not ‘wrong’, but missing.

People, dialogue, freedom of speech.

Yeah ok! We corporate bloggers can sit and rant our views on the world and share knowledge etc.

Great.

And yes, we can (and do) promote offline activities so anyone within a geographic radius of x can ‘meet up’ and ‘commune’. But that’s not building online community – just helping to shape one offline.

Corporate blogs ARE good at shaping and nurturing but not creating online communities.

Why not?

Because it’s not open conversation.

I post, you comment, I comment back and I control the edit button.

It’s hierarchical.

Yet another example of a business (in this case altex marketing) PUSHING their views at you whilst trying to make themselves sound personal and interesting.

(This feels weird – criticising ourselves and our own blog in the third person!)

And what about so called successful blogs with ‘tonnes of comments’ ? (I hear you say)..Surely they are creating community.

Well…..nope, not really.

Think about it.

You visit a popular blog that hundreds or thousands of other people visit. Now tell me, how many do you know personally? (forget about the geographic tie up which leads to nuturing)

Not many huh? Not really community is it?

More of a cult thing actually. Exactly.

Until corporate blogs actually open their doors to anyone who wants to post then they will only be one way push with the blogger behind the scenes acting as some sort of editor..dreaming of the A list so their blog can become…..a magazine!

An A list blog is little more than a specialist magazine with a ‘letter to the editor feature’.

Well that WAS the piece I was going to write but then I just picked up on this little BETA Brave new blog from Honda.

Now anyone (registration required) can blog (including criticism -read the blog about the Honda Civic’s bad back lights) at Honda, not just comment.

All of a sudden I feel alive again, maybe corporate blogs really can create online community after all.

I hope the Honda experiment is a successful one.

So at altex are we going to allow anyone to blog?

Well…yes…sort of.

If you want to post on this blog just let us know and if we like the idea then you can. It’s a half way position I know… but we are getting there….

Needless to say, comments are welcome, especially if anyone knows of other corporations that allow non employed stakeholders to blog.

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There are 3 comments .

Stavros Exindaris

We are happy you like the 2TalkAbout concept. Our blog network is independent from all brands, and Honda is just a sponsor. As you say, we do not exclude negative opinions and criticism. The back bad lights post is one example, but you might want to check out this one (and all the comments on it): http://www.2talkabout.com/Honda/archives/new-18-i-vtec-se-dead-already/

It is a negative post about a problem, which by appearing on the blog, was resolved in a day. I believe it proves the case for 2TalkAbout and the benefits entailed for both brands and consumers in terms of openness and trust, as well as customer service.

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Andrus Purde

Several companies have or sponsor open forums about their services. How do these fit in to “corporate” “half-way-there” and “real corporate” blogs? And do such forums help to create communities?

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Robin Gurney

Forums are quite different to blogs.
Forums are not controlled by a single person – anyone ‘in the forum’ can initiate a discussion.
Forums rely on community (decentralised) input to initial postings in order to form a ‘conversation’.
Forum conversations reflect the interests of the (group) community rather than an individual.

With traditional blogs the owner has control and can determine the directions, nature and appearance of the topic.

From the coporate perspective I suspect forums are useful for watching the users interact and to gain valuable feedback base on their conversations. In other words good for data gathering.

A good starting point for the forum v blog discussion is the excellent post at Commoncraft from Lee LeFever : http://www.commoncraft.com/archives/000768.html

Often when a company wants to “be heard” (rather than listen) then a blog is a better place than a forum.

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