Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Those Who Get It (And Those Who Don't)

Last night was my first real introduction to my London office, where we all gathered for the 40th birthday of Edelman in the UK. Richard Edelman, whom I'd never met, gave a great presentation about the future of PR, which he referred to not necessarily as 'public relations' but as 'public relationships' - as good as way as any to codify where our industry is headed as online and new media begins to achieve greater and greater footholds, like it or not. It's refreshing to see the upper management at my company 'get it.' I also got to meet some people I've only known by name thusfar like David Brain, our European CEO (who also blogs.)

It was timely that on the heels of that presentation the Beautiful Competition sent me this article that made the rounds a few days ago while I was in transit, about a Quorum of Twelve (nerd alert) 'Corporate Bloggers' who got together to, in their words:

    "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."
I don't take quite as dim (or to poach a term from the Beautiful Competition, obvious) view as Mashable did of the whole thing, but suffice to say my proverbial monocle fell out of my eye when I saw one of my former clients listed on the Quorum roll-call (ain't sayin' who.)

The optimist in me wants to think that the 'Blog Council' is what it appears on the surface - an effort to become responsible in the new marketing age. But the pessimist realist in me thinks it's more along the lines of what Mashable thinks it is: an attempt to try to control the so-called signal.

Not that there isn't a place for a unified corporate blogging code of ethics; far from it. In fact, an open declaration of transparency would give corporate bloggers a degree of accountability that they currently lack, except through the efforts of attentive online watchdogs.

But I suspect greatly that some of the other aspects of the council relate to some of the things I heard about last night - namely a token effort to participate in online 'conversation' that turns into something more one way. I'm willing to shelve my early opinions, as always, but I'm very curious to see where this is all headed.

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