Naked Conversations

26 01 2008

As I read this week’s assignment (Naked Conversations Chpts. 10-13), I was glad to find that many of my going in assumptions about blogging are supported by the reality of it. As I was preparing to set up my blog, I thought: I need to have an idea of what I will blog about — beyond the reading, of course — and my blog title should reflect that. I also thought, maybe instead of just jumping right in, I should be an observer of some top blogs to see if I can start seeing some patterns among them.

Now I realize that I’m not trying to use this blog for corporate gain and that this particular blog is, if anything, only a marketing tool for myself to my professor, but I’m glad to find that blogging rules just sort of make sense.

As a traditionally trained PR person, this tool is hard to wrap my head around. I want to control it, set the pace for it and definitely make the rules. This reading forced me to acknowledge that any of those attempts would be detrimental.The book’s discussion of what not to do (Chpt. 10), reminded me of an example from my own experience.

In July 2007, the U.S. Navy went on a four-month humanitarian mission to South America and the Caribbean. A hospital ship took doctors, nurses and medications to 12 countries. It was a great story of how the United States reaches out to help other countries, and the Navy was proud to take the lead.

Someone came up with the idea of blogging about it. The public affairs people said that blogging is too hard to control, but acquiesced to a blog that would be written by the “senior military commander.” The blog actually happened, but instead of the senior military commander capturing his thoughts and feelings and relating stories about how he saw people’s lives being changed, a PR person obviously wrote the VERY BORING blog that sounded more like a captain’s log: the ship went here, the ship went there, the doctors treated 45 patients and the U.S. Navy proudly serves as a beacon of hope whe… blah, blah, blah.

The blog had few readers until the mission was over and the mainstream media started writing about it. They deemed the entire mission a huge, expensive PR stunt that helped far fewer people than it should have. They pointed to the blog that was clearly a PR tool. They even went down to the Caribbean and interviewed some people who wanted care but didn’t get it.

If the blog had been written by a real person (or maybe if many blogs had been written by many real people), stories would have abounded about how people who were sick, deformed or impaired were made better. There were 98,000 of those stories, but they were drowned out by the easier-to-sell, “Big bad Navy,” one.

If only they had read this book.




3 responses

30 01 2008

Hi Rosie! Great minds think alike! I would definitely be interested in getting a group together to discuss corporate blogging further. It seems like there are many pros and cons to having a corp. blog -when do you know if it is right for your company? And honestly…and you probably agree, I am use to having a new idea and implementing it myself or with the people on my pr/marketing team…corporate blogging is something that I do not necessarily feel comfortable just handling on my own…I definitely feel it would have to be a collaborative effort… and with that come more challenges!

30 01 2008

Great real-life example… proving that you have to do blogging right or don’t even try. Doing it wrong can be disastrous. And I like Colleen’s idea of talking corporate blogging. I would love to institute a blog at work, but I really think I’d have to do some convincing.

19 04 2008
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