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A bit too much in the typical management book mode
on June 26, 2006
Blogging is all the rage these days and authors Scoble and Israel proclaim that "blogs are changing the way businesses talk with customers." The claim is vastly overblown in the sense that most businesses do not and will not talk "with" their customers, but rather talk "to" them.
While the authors enthusiasm for something they themselves do well can be understood, their perspective is limited. For example, they cite Apple and Google among companies that discourage employees from maintaining blogs. The author's attitude is that "some cultures are open and others closed." Frankly it appears Scoble and Israel have no conception of all the legal reasons why organizations may choose to discourage blogging. Trade secret, security, privacy, harassment, international laws all must be scrupulously observed to protect a company against potential liability and unless platoons of lawyers are to be employed merely to review proposed blog postings, many companies are well advised to discourage employees from posting.
Thus, the authors threat that companies that discourage blogging "will be perceived in the public eye as less interesting or relevant than those that do" is humorous as well as misinformed.
Claims such as "[b]logging is cheaper and more effective than most marketing programs in use today" are simply unsupportable, though the authors do cite a couple of examples. But exceptions do not make a rule.
Scoble and Israel fully admit to their personal enthusiasm for blogging and they are indeed believers as every page makes clear. They do present a solid framework for business blogging with lots of solid tips for those sticking a toe in the blogging waters.
But on the whole, blogs are simply one more tool for organizations to consider. For many companies (and, particularly, individuals), blogging may make a substantial difference - but, as with everything else, for most it won't.
Given all my reservations, I would still recommend that managers at least give this book a fast read, just to stay current with blogging and what the buzz is all about.