This is what happens when a company that isn't familiar with blogging, decides to join the blogosphere. A couple of months ago, McDonalds started a corporate blog, entitled 'Open For Discussion', but some bloggers are claiming that the company's actions are not open for discussion on the blog. McDonalds partnership with GM earlier this summer to put toy Hummers in their Happy Meals has come under fire from the media and environmental groups.
McDonalds decided to address this controversy last week on their blog, and left a post which has ruffled a few feathers in the blogosphere, particularly this quote: "Looked at through children's eyes, the miniature Hummers are just toys, not vehicle recommendations or a source of consumer messages about natural resource conservation, greenhouse gas emissions, etc.". Among the bloggers outraged by the post were Matt Fried, who voiced his displeasure over McDonald's stance on their blog last week in the comments section for this post.
But now Fried has a new reason to be upset. On Thursday, he posted on his blog that he was still waiting for his comment to show up on the McDonalds blog. As of this writing, that post still has no comments.
Of course, that doesn't prove anything. But given that this is such a hot-button issue right now, the fact that there are NO comments showing up on the McDonalds blog at least suggests to me that McDonalds is very slow in approving comments left on their blog.
But what if McDonalds really is censoring comments on their blog? Jackie at Church of the Customer adds: "it appears McDonald's feels more comfortable in controlling the conversation than engaging in one.".
Of course, McDonalds can't control the conversation. Sure they can choose to censor comments on their own blog, if that's what they are doing, but doing so won't stop the conversation, it will simply move it to other blogs. This is why companies need to understand any type of social media before they start using it. If someone at McDonalds said 'Hey I know....if we get some negative comments about the Hummer Happy Meal promotion, we can just delete them and that way no one will talk about it!', then someone working with them that DID understand the blogosphere could add 'Oh bloggers will definitely talk about it, just on their blogs, not yours.'.
So to any companies out there that are thinking that they can join the blogosphere, but on THEIR terms, you can't. The rules of the community apply, and if you can't accept these rules, then you'd do best to stay out.