Mar 20, 2007

Making it mainstream

Well this week has been a significant one because I've got featured in the 26th March 2007 issue of Businessworld.

The reason you can see my picture and byline on page 72 is because I was asked to do a case analysis of a blogging and social media related case. Meera Seth who writes the cases for Businessworld was referred to me by a prospective client (who shall go unnamed here :-)).

It's an interesting case called The Music Blogger (link updated on 27th). It's about how a music company executive called Suvrat who is trying to explain to his CEO how blogging is helping "tribes" of various music lovers congregate over the web and how powerful it is becoming in shaping the typical music lovers' perception of what is cool and what is not.

I found these lines particularly interesting:
“The major insight is that there has been a splintering of communities, of society — siblings cannot relate to each other, friends cannot relate to each other. The state and national geographic boundaries, the attributes that we reiterate govern us, describe us, the culture and tradition that we insist defines us; all these are slowly but steadily turning inadequate as vehicles of expressing our identities. Today it is very frustrating to define oneself only by nationality or flag colours. That is good as an address, but how do I define who I am? To define myself, I need to define that core part of me that stands for all those things I feel, love, crave, enjoy and vibrate to… and the sigma of that cannot be expressed by geography.

“So, one has to reach out across the globe to find new siblings, new friends, new family! It is the reformation of tribes, the reverse of the Tower of Babel where God punished people to speak in different tongues, so they were splintered. Now these Babelites of the world want to come together into individual tribes that speak the same language!”

My case analysis essentially focussed on the final question left in the case "How can you validate blogging's verdict?" It also focusses on how marketers can engage with bloggers if they choose to. Have also tried to talk about blog search engines like Technorati and how they can help marketers reach to the correct blogs. My personal belief is state

The most important advice is: Do not try to manipulate blogs or blog readers by trying to ‘inject’ messages. Blogs thrive on interactivity, linkages and conversations. That means making your brand vulnerable and opening it up to criticism. Most businesses are wary of doing so, and yet that is the only way they can appeal to bloggers. That is the appeal of real, human and authentic conversation as opposed to crafted, polished, corporate brochure language. Unless businesses face this reality, they cannot leverage either the reach or richness of the blogosphere.

[Note: URLs changed on 27th]