May 6, 2008

Ready for Chief Blogging Officers?

OK, this article on the Workforce site (hat-tip Kaushik) seems to be the perfect example of a link bait, and I'm biting it :-).

I personally don't think companies should rush into blogging or go about embracing web2.0 tools indiscriminately, unless they are clear on what they are trying to accomplish by doing so. Having objectives for blogging and usage of other social communication tools is a much better idea, otherwise people would feel that "these folks have a fun job". Blogging is definitely not only fun (for professional bloggers there might be a huge cost also attached!).

Blogging and other tools (like Twitter etc) are inherently more suited for the human voice, hence a corporate tool must reflect a human voice of the organization. Something that Mario Sundar does so well on Twitter as well as the Linkedin blog. His real success comes from getting others within the organization to showcase the organization and its success.

And no, I don't think Chief Blogging Officer as a designation is going to catch up in India. Ok, maybe a manager of communications who looks at "social media" (but the term itself is so outdated now - and before you point out - yeah I know, I have a label on the right hand sidebar called Social media!), and that too would be confined to the digital and online world for the next 2-3 years at least!

However, I would admit to one thing. Hiring a blogger to augment your PR/Communication team is a great idea, since a blogger knows that bloggers are not journalists and you don't pitch them stories like you do traditionally. PR people might not change their behavior and hence it's a good point to have a blogger to connect with external bloggers. Chris Brogan has a great post on how to do that BTW.

By the way, here's an excerpt from the article:

For better or worse, it seems corporate blogging—and the title of chief blogger—is beginning to hit its stride. Companies such as Coca-Cola, Marriott and Kodak have recently recruited chief bloggers, with or without the actual title, to tell their stories and engage consumers.

“It’s a good idea to have a chief blogger,” said Mack Collier, a social-media consultant and blogger at the Viral Garden, citing Dell’s Lionel Menchaca and LinkedIn’s Mario Sundar as examples of a personality positively affecting a brand.

At the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, in March, “[Menchaca and Sundar] were getting hugged in the hallway,” Collier said. “And that popularity is bleeding over into Dell and LinkedIn.”

Today, just more than 11 percent of Fortune 500 companies have corporate blogs, according to SocialText, and only a handful have a designated chief blogger.