Behind these closed doors, a virtual council of big business marketers will meet to discuss how to best engage with people through blogs and all forms of social media.
The Blog Council exists as a forum for executives to meet one another in a private, vendor-free environment and share tactics, offer advice based on past experience, and develop standards-based best practices as a model for other corporate blogs.
Founding members include the leading companies from a diverse range of business sectors: AccuQuote, Cisco Systems, The Coca-Cola Company, Dell, Gemstar-TV Guide, General Motors, Kaiser Permanente, Microsoft, Nokia, SAP, and Wells Fargo.
According to the official press release, yes, that’s right, a press release, not even a Social Media Release or a blog post, just a traditional press release and a static Website, “Major corporations use blogs differently while abiding by the same rules and etiquette,” said Blog Council CEO Andy Sernovitz. “Individual and small-business bloggers don’t face the same issues. For example, we still need to deliver a responsible and effective corporate message, but we need to do it in the complicated environment of the blogosphere. We have to speak for a corporation, but never sound ‘corporate.’ And we have to learn to do it live, and in real-time.”
Yes, while the conversation was sparked, it’s not representative of the new thinking they so desire to learn and share.
The release continues, “Every major corporation is struggling with the question of how to use blogs and engage the blogosphere the right way,” said Sean O’Driscoll, General Manager, Community Support Services for Microsoft. “The Blog Council brings together precisely the people who need to explore these issues together, in a productive and private networking environment. We can work together to develop model policies that set the standard for corporate blogging excellence.”
The Blog Council was formed to talk about what to talk about and how, essentially. But the process of releasing this information to the world is indicative of just how much help big companies need in the somewhat intimidating, unforgiving, and globally connected realm of Social Media. There’s no place to hide anymore and big business is realizing that there’s more harm than good to come by recklessly experimenting in public forums.
I agree with Michael Arrington in his assessment of the name, Blog Council. The name itself implies something bigger, something more meaningful. Perhaps it’s the organization that should have formed to establish, promote, and enforce blog ethics and standards. Instead, big business has pinned its hopes on a name that inofitself is limited to only one form Social Media.
Perhaps as companies start to “get it” we’ll see the formation of new groups, such as the Micromedia Council, the Viral Media Council, and the Conversation Council.
If we’re to measure the merits of The Blog Council on intent, then I applaud their decision to improve how they engage with the blogosphere and the people that define it. But conversations take place in and around the blogosphere and that is why it’s called Social Media. Perhaps this is a first step towards something much more significant, such as the Social Media Council, which essentially is the foundation for the Social Media Club – whose motto is, “if you get it, share it.”
In order for this to truly be effective, big business and Social Media experts must share insight, questions, successes and failures in safe forums. An important oversight in many of these conversations about The Blog Council is that marketers can not learn or share anything if they are not first engaged in Social Media as people, as customers, as experts, and generally, as a genuine part of the communities they wish to reach.