A friend of mine was lamenting the corporate blog phenomenon the other day:
“It’s the ‘I would like to have a lovely conversation with you. About snake oil.’ tenor which so many of them seem to have. It’s so… demeaning. “
- Steve Rubel suggests that the tech blogosphere is drunk on its own Web 2.0 Kool-Aid.
- Chris Anderson gives up and publishes the email addresses of the PR hacks who pester him with spam press.
- Whole Foods prohibits its executives from any kind of blogging or online forum participation
- Even Robert Scoble seems to have lost a bit of his enthusiasm.
Corporate blogging is a weird subset of the blogosphere, and maybe its bubble is about to burst. It does seem to have come to some kind of introspective adolescent crossroads.
(Mind you, corporate blogging is what I’m doing now. It’s alive and well here at infovark.)
Corporate Gord says: “Buy This!”
(Cartoon via Hugh Mcleod)
Personally, I still see plenty of value in corporate blogs. I don’t have a problem with crummy “Your Call Is Important To Us” press-release-style astroturf content. It tells me that their organization doesn’t understand permission marketing. It tells me that they follow internet trends without truly understanding them. Companies like that aren’t the kinds of companies I want to buy things from.
But I’m glad that I can see this on their corporate blogs. It makes my purchasing decisions a lot easier. As an example, the OpenText Blog tells me nothing personal or insightful — it just presents lots of case studies and PR stuff about how clever OpenText are. Similarly, the Microsoft Enterprise Content Management Blog contains nothing but detailed technical information about SharePoint.
On the positive side, lots of companies are better because of blogging. As an example, I’d always felt that Oracle were a bunch of cold, mean, database robots who delighted in making software so complicated it made me cry. But after reading the blogs of people like Billy Cripe, Bex Huff. and the Oracle Apps Lab team, I’ve come to view them in a different light. (Now I realize the robots actually have feelings!)
I predict the more boring, hype-laden, PR-driven blogs will disappear as old-school companies gradually realize they are doing themselves more harm than good. They’ll go back to older, safer ways of pushing as little content as possible while hoping that their customers will still turn up to buy stuff.
Best of luck with that.