The Angel blog published the results of a survey of 50 PR professionals from around the world about how they regard blogs as a business communications tool. The Guardian summarises the findings: "Firms in the dark over blog threat".
Two key facts:
- more than 60% of PR executives interviewed believed that web blogs by unhappy employees or exasperated customers can damage corporate reputations
- More than 80% of US executives admitting reading blogs "at least five times a week," a figures which fell to just 36% in Europe. (This seems quite high to me).
You will have to register to the Guardian site to view the piece.
There is a well-used phrase in certain circles. "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." However, Plato was more direct in saying, "Those that tell stories rule society".
In the late 1980's and early 1990's CNN rose to a position of power in the media that few, if any could rival. Why? 24-hour news? Yes, in a way. The 24-hour forum removed the requirement for a neat edited snip of image for the anchor to tie his sound bite to. Raw footage, in real or near-real time became the driving force. CNN shaped kingdoms, empires, events, decisions and to some degree the current and demeanor of society. Today, alJezeerah (based in Qatar) does much the same thing.
What does this have to do with blogs? Everything. CNN and alJezerrah shaped media news through direct, unedited live feeds of information. A legion of gritty news hounds in flack jackets, follow tracer fire in a war-zone that didn't exist 24 hours before. Instant access and feedback. Uplinks from the epicenter of natural disasters via videophone. A body floats by in the background. Forget it, keep rolling.
Blogs are close cousins to the war correspondent. Feedback from the front. In this case, the front is the marketplace. The blogger's marketplace. Their desktop is their videophone. Their sound bite is their point of view and opinion. Like it or not, it is here to stay. Blogs are another form of word of mouth and a very potent form at that. Traditional media has already made a spot at the table for bloggers. Don't think so? Many will say that one of the first was Matt Drudge. Think the White House Communications Director doesn't know what bloggers are saying or what he'd like them to say (not that they will).
So speaking to those firms who are in the dark about CGM, if you don't embrace it, understand it and become involved in it, at best it will leave you behind. At worst, it will crush you.
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