<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d18541848\x26blogName\x3dclogger+%7C+Blogging+the+corporate+blog...\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLUE\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://cloggerblog.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_GB\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://cloggerblog.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d-916707323553263200', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Auntie's blooming

Despite most of the buzz across the web, the fact that the BBC is basing its new wave of services around social media doesn't underline the importance of blogging and web 2.0. It heralds their death.

Despite the frenzied, and sometimes excited, coverage in the blogosphere and the BBC's reckless use of web-too-dot-oh lingo like 'findability' and 'active audiences', this isn't the start of a new era. Well, not how you think. After all, 'Auntie' doesn't tend to haul herself out of her knackered old armchair and adjust her tea-stained cardigan without remembering that every new idea means gambling with my, and my countryfolks', hard-earned sterling.

The BBC is by no means an innovator - she's a cranky old crone whose creative peaks in the last few years you can count on one hand and generally involve a time-traveling toff chasing remote-controlled dustbins around Peckham with Billie Piper. (Mind you, the UK version of The Apprentice is currently dominating my Wednesday nights, so props for that at least.)

Don't get me wrong - I'm a massive supporter of public-funded media. I could argue with you forever that the BBC News is the only news outlet worth considering due to its comforting lack of commercial agenda. But I'm also pragmatic, and I admit that it's not perfect. It pays an extraordinary amount of my dosh to Jonathan Ross, for example, so he can buy suits that make him look like a prat.

But when The Beeb decides to adopt a strategy as core to its future, you can be certain that the idea has nicely bedded in and it definitely won't be a risky move. Just like Jonathan Ross, social media has proved its worth to the BBC by moving beyond its youth, spawning a few offspring and getting flabby around the middle.

And anyway, is it just me that has started to feel a little wrong using the term 'blog'? I know my French colleagues agree - one of them, just the other day, told me the French were 'so over blogging'. The BBC's statement just goes to show that it's not about blogs any more - just good old-fashioned social publishing.

Blogging is dead. Welcome to the mainstream.

Tagged: | | | |

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Blogging slows, life in progress

I'm amazed at how many bloggers still warn people when they're not going to post for a while. Isn't it a bit conceited?

It reminds me of the way corporate types can get when they get carried away with writing an opinion piece or a regular column - pretty soon they're wandering off into self-indulgent prose mixed with advertorial that gives little to the reader. You can almost hear them reading it out to their long-suffering spouse, completing the monologue with a guffaw at how clever and brilliant they are.

The key to a great blog, or opinion piece, or column, is humility. As a journalist, you're keenly aware that all you are is a conduit of information. Even when writing an opinion piece, all the writer is really there for is as a foil to the human or corporate condition. Not one of the opinion pieces I ever wrote consisted of my unadulterated and unchecked opinion. They were based in fact but mixed with, shrouded in and enhanced by fiction to create an enjoyable experience for the reader. And not once did I apologise that I wasn't going to be there for the next issue.

Most opinion pieces from vendors are often too painful to read as they're steeped in self-love and corporate messaging. Either that, or they're heavily edited. I'm concerned that blogs could all too easily go the same way.

Tagged: | | | |

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Conclusive proof that blogs increase sales

Having never seen an advert, spoken to anyone about them or seeing any fancy marketing collateral about them whatsoever, I bought a Nokia N70 on Sunday.

There I was, sitting in Phones 4 U, having all sorts of fun with an enthusiastic but overly sales-focused chap, fighting off upsell attacks from his three colleagues who were swarming around me like wasps around cola, when the subject of which mobile phone I wanted with my new plan came up.

I said I wanted the best one. He reeled off a load of models, but none of them really meant anything to me. He waved something orange at me, with what looked like flowers on it. I told him I wanted something serious.

At this point he got his own N70 out and said he'd give me one of them if I bought today. So I walked out.

Three hours later, I was back. Of course, I knew exactly what an N70 was thanks to my interaction with Nokia over their N-Series blogging and blogger relations plan. I'd read the reviews from the bloggers who'd been sent them. I'd marveled at the video quality of Loic's rapid descent and Erik's confused-looking child. I craved brushed-aluminium-look-plastic and a 2 megapixel camera. With flash.

I'd only walked out to let the phone shark know that obvious pressure tactics don't work. I let him stew, popped home and had a cup of tea, then went back to claim my phone.

And all because I'd read about it on a few blogs.

Tagged: | | |

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Moomin marvellous

F-Secure (a client of LEWIS) released details of its new Moomin-branded security software on April 1st via its 'News from the Lab' blog, complete with a news release featuring a quote from chief Moomin and all-round good egg Moominpappa:
"The world is a very exciting place”, says Moominpappa, the modest patriarch of the Moomin family, ”and it is good to go and explore it, and learn more about it. But you should be cautious, and remember that it is better to be safe than sorry.”
Even better was Chief Research Officer Mikko Hypponen's addition:
"In my opinion, virus writers resemble Moominvalley’s Stinky in many ways. So we've taken the energetically fearless Little My as our role model and now we are ready to take them on!"
In a blogosphere aleady dominated by April Fool's jokes so sidesplittingly hilarious that I'm surprised nobody reading them actually died from laughing, the F-Secure attempt was a refreshing blast of surrealist humour and retro cartoon action.

I, for one, have not even contemplated Moominpappa and his extended family since I last enjoyed them on telly some decades ago. (This is because I live in the UK and, unlike their home country of Finland, The Moomins are no longer staple viewing here. We have Celebrity Love Island now. Mind you, seeing this brought it all back.)

The brilliant and unexpected twist, of course, is that it was all real. "For some reason, a surprising number of people thought that our new cartoon-themed security product was an April Fool's Day joke," said the blog yesterday.

It's a shame this story didn't go much further than the blogosphere - it certainly made the rest of the attempts at an April Fool's gag strangely unsatisfying.

Tagged: | | | | |

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

This is a valuable post

Uh-oh. I've just realised there's no such thing as a blog. Not when you disclose who you are and who you work for, anyway. It's all corporate blogging from here on in. I admit it, I'm a clogger.

I've come to realise this through the last two posts - the first real posts posted since I've been a person and no longer hiding behind a nice comfy alias.

But, in an unexpected twist, the value of the end product has become an intrinsic part of the writing process. In the past, I've been comfortable having a bit of a whinge. Then I'd perhaps linkbait a bit, and have a go at someone for loose morals. After that, I'd swear for effect.

Now, I'm constantly thinking contextually. In my head is a torrent of questions: "What will people think of me if I say this? What will people infer about my employer if I say that? Does this comment upset any client / boss / balance of power? Will readers be turning up at my office as an angry, torch-wielding mob?"

In truth, my valuable posts - ie. the ones where I make an interesting point about corporate blogging, and don't just whinge / linkbait / swear for effect - have always been the ones that get people emailing, commenting and, hopefully, talking. I've been meaning to do more of those, anyway.

I'm interested in finding out what happens next. Will my future posts eventually evolve into watered-down tosh that tow the corporate line and give in to my commercial interests, or will my new focus on quality actually mean I post with more care and create an end product with greater value? You decide, and be sure to let me know.

But whatever happens, there are interesting lessons here for all corporate bloggers: Don't just treat your blog as a way to vent your opinions or self-satisfyingly drone on about your latest customer win or product release. Don't get too focused on your own little world and the problems you face or successes you enjoy. Try and add value to the reader experience through giving something back to them of value, such as advice from a lesson learnt or conversational fodder from an anecdote based in fact.

Actually, it helps to treat your blogging like you're at a dinner party - if you realise you're enjoying the sound of your own voice and others haven't spoken for a while, shut up and listen.

Tagged: | | |

Monday, April 03, 2006

Weblogs, or 'blogs'

Did anyone see the BBC News item on the Blooker Prize this evening? It was hilarious.

The entire report was presented as a computer-style desktop (Mac - yip!) with people popping up in windows with a mouse pointer flying around and revealing who they were through the medium of 'click and drag'.

The lowest point was when a 'real' writer popped up and started complaining that blogs had no editor and people might start to believe what they read online. Better ban the Internet then, eh?

The best bit was news anchor George Alagiah saying: "Duncan Kennedy reports from cyberspace," followed by the opening bit of the report simulating what the blogosphere might sound like. (Lots of typing and chatting, apparently.)

Great news that blogging gets some primetime airtime - shame the BBC treats it as though a 100 million people had suddenly started wearing their pants on their heads.

Tagged: | | |

The business?

Bloggers have been quick to critique new CIPR member's magazine PR Business. Some are loving it. Others have already decided it isn't up to scratch. But I urge everyone to give it a chance.

Granted, it's rare for PR people to be able to legitimately sling some mud at magazines. After all, PR types spend their lives trying to get close to the journalists and editors, and are desperate not to piss them off.

But PR-related mags are where they can take a little bit of that back. These are magazines that are designed around them - PR folk are the readers, the subjects and the source. PR Business belongs to them, and they are going to damn well make sure they make their voices heard in its formation.

Launching a new magazine is a daunting task - you spend months working out the look, feel, tone, size, cost, voice, brand and values, then start trying to make friends in the right places. On launch, you prepare yourself for the inevitable backlash from the industry. And, trust me, it always comes.

But PR professionals need to support their new baby. The PR industry is large, successful and growing. The fact that it's (arguably) been supported by one industry publication for so long is absurd. There is more than enough room for two (or three), if not six or seven.

Tagged: | | |

Sunday, April 02, 2006

All change

You may notice a few changes around here. After much deliberation, a few (on- and offline) conversations and some sleepless nights (actually, that didn't happen) I decided to 'come out' from behind my 'nom-de-blog'. Whoot.

I'm purposefully going to spend very little time crowing about my reasons or the near-negligible effect this is likely to have on the blogosphere-at-large. But I thought I should at least acknowledge it.

It's been useful hiding behind the 'The Nobleizer' nickname to get some decent conversations going without the inevitable questions as to motive. I'm hoping that by going public it'll take things on a stage further, and add some context to my arguments.

I'll try to stay self-serving and not go all corporate on you. Promise.

Tagged: | | | |