Speaking of corporate blogging, our own JupiterResearch division is cooking up some experiments in that area. Now they’re inviting people to engage in a dialogue via blog. How is that different from the usual give-and-take of the blogosphere? They’re giving away research reports. It’ll be interesting to see how this goes.
Today’s post by GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz in the company’s FastLane blog really stood out as an example of what companies can, and should, be accomplishing with their blogs.
Lutz had posted the other day that the new Cadillac BLS, “was developed specifically for European roads and drivers, and, as such, is not intended for American needs or tastes.”
Commenters pointed out that a European-style driving experience was exactly why they were turning to Audis, Mercedes and BMWs.
So Lutz corrected himself:
What I should have said is that BLS is the first of a generation of slightly smaller Cadillacs, built on the same architecture as the Saab 9-3, that, for exchange rate reasons, we can’t profitably bring to the United States. So this generation is going to be Europe-only. Our current thinking is that the next generation will be available around the world.
And you should read the well-informed, thoughtful comments he’s getting. He’s being straightforward and honest, and people are responding. No one wants GM to build cars that aren’t profitable for them. On the contrary, people are eager to help in the development process. They want to talk back to GM and they are thrilled for the opportunity the two-way blog conversation represents.
Kudos to GM for getting into the FastLane!
P.S. I could have sworn I saw a headline for a news/feature story about GM’s blogging recently, but I can’t find it. Will add a link if I come across it or if someone sends it.
UPDATE: Laurie Mayers in the comments sends in a link to the story I must have been thinking about, from Business 2.0. It’s called A Motor City Marketing Lesson
Public Radio International — home of Marketplace, This American Life, Studio 360, etc. — is premiering a show meant to engage “callers, e-mailers, and bloggers from around the world in a range of fascinating topics”. The program, called Open Source, says it wants to begin discussion of issues on the Web and involve a worldwide audience in the development of the show’s content. PRI’s Web division, Public Interactive, is developing the online elements to go along with the show.
Says host (and blogger and podcaster) Christopher Lydon: “My ambition, with producer Mary McGrath, is to thread the seeming chaos of the Web into a coherent skein of ideas and argument. We want to launch the smartest, most various, wide-open, irresistible, and democratic conversation anyone’s ever been invited to join, in any format. The Internet transition we’re living through is a boundless opportunity. It extends the rim of the roundtable and the range of the give-and-take to the whole planet.”
Really interesting idea but it’s all about the execution (and topics discussed, of course). Wonder if they’ll use trackbacks, blog search and the like to keep track of the conversation.
Great image and tale from my colleague Eric Peterson, who has been weighing in lately on how not to blog.
My 2 cents. Unlike many of my colleagues’ efforts, this isn’t a corporate blog, so I’m not paid to do it. I’m not supervised or edited, either. I did, however, give my boss the heads up (and the RSS feed URL) as soon as I decided to launch it. She’s smart and plugged in. She’d have figured it out sooner or later. If you’re thinking of blogging, I’d suggest you do the same. As Michael Gartenberg said in a post today, this is one instance in which it’s better to ask permission than forgiveness.
UPDATE: Gartenberg clarifies the JupiterResearch blog policy. I hadn’t meant to say that their blogs were edited or supervised. I meant the “unlike many of my colleagues’ efforts” to apply solely to the “corporate blog” part of my sentence, not the “supervised or edited” part. I corrected the wording to be more clear.
B.L. Ochman reports that Nightline will air a segment called “The Beast of Blogging” tonight. Always interesting to see the “MSM” view of blogging.
My husband, Michael, saw one segment on CNN about blogging that was pretty frightening. He told me if he’d seen it with his family, who are not “in the know” about blogging, he thinks they’d have forced him to leave me, considering I’m one of the evil blogging ones. Never mind that one of my first blogging efforts was keeping distant family updated on our wedding plans. On CNN blogging = evil.
Meanwhile, The Daily Show has done some really great blogging-related segments lately.
I wrote a piece today that raises some interesting questions. Have methods of viral distribution spread widely enough so that an online word-of-mouth campaign can bypass techie bloggers? The MSN Found campaign — slammed by Scoble and dissed by other bloggers — is aimed at mainstream consumers. It doesn’t have RSS distribution, it doesn’t allow videos to be downloaded, and the “blogs” are fake (though in their defense, they are designed to be fake, from characters in an ongoing narrative).
So if early-adopter techie bloggers find MSN Found uninteresting, is that it? Does the meme go no further? Or will e-mail “forward to a friend” and more mainstream (read: teen diary) blogging save the day for MSN? Time will tell, I suppose. MSN isn’t talking about it and they’ll probably only spill if it’s eventually successful, but one wonders whether this will become one of those cautionary tales of online marketing gone wrong (like Raging Cow).
UPDATE: MSN responds to the Found controversy via its blog, saying it’s going to add RSS feeds though “very few updates” to the campaign are planned. Kudos to the firm for acknowledging the discussion that’s been going on.
UPDATE2: Scoble apologizes.