I blogged about the introduction of the Blog Council last Wednesday, but since that time, a bit of a firestorm has erupted over it among bloggers. Rather than try to explain, here's some quotes from some of the people that have sounded off about it:
Scoble: "And, actually, if your company needs help “getting it” then you shouldn’t be hanging out with other companies"
Geoff: "Is it a good thing or a bad thing that these discussions are taking place behind closed doors? Are we back to Command and Control? One thing is clear. Transparency is not going to be at a premium."
Shel: "In fact, what I like and respect about this announcement is it's collaborative nature. It feels true to the social media approach and hearing it from such formidable voices gives some vindication to some of us who have sometimes felt we were hollering in a hurricane."
Dave: "My translation: "we're all clueless, but don't want anyone to realize just how unplugged our organizations have become from the world of "marketing 2.0", so we created a club so our ignorance can be shielded from public eyes."
Josh: "Give them time. Hell the group was just announced. Ultimately the members will be able to see if there is any value in the organization. If it's good it will survive, it not it will die a slow death :-)"
Jake: "Getting up in arms because a group of people who are already immersed in social media want to get together in private, comfortable to place to exchange ideas in a non-threatening way just makes all of us look immature and clueless."
I tend to side with bloggers such as Josh and Jake that are saying let's give this thing a chance to fail, before we label it a failure. One thing I have learned from my time in the blogosphere is that bloggers tend to look at anything corporations do in this realm with an extremely critical eye. I still think a lot of it is simply bloggers thinking that they will look like they 'get it' if they say that big dumb clueless corporation doesn't.
But something struck me as the majority of the complaints from bloggers seems to focus on the 'closed' nature of the council. How is this different from Seth not allowing comments on his blog? This is one of the most recognizable bloggers in the world, purposely opting out of the conversation.
Or is he? In fact it seems that Seth is doing the same thing that the council is wanting to do, he's participating on terms that he's comfortable with. Myself and many others have blogged about how we wish that Seth would allow comments on his blog (Google 'SethGate'). But Seth prefers to block comments and address readers instead via email and posts left on other blogs. And to his credit, he does so very quickly.
IOW, Seth participates in a fashion that he is comfortable with. Take away Seth's comfort level, and he might decide to stop blogging altogether. And we all would be much poorer for it. The Blog Council strikes me as an effort by blogging companies to exchange and cultivate ideas in an environment that they are comfortable with. As a blogger, I am quite willing to stand on the outside, if the END RESULT is that this council leads to the growth and improvement of the corporate blogging community.
I'm willing to give them a chance, and I think the potential benefits are such that other bloggers should as well.
Pic via Flickr user Valentinapowers
Tags:The Viral Garden, Marketing