Monday, June 27, 2005
Why CEOs Will Not Blog
The hype and hysteria of "business blogging" is about dead.
The benefits of blogging are falling on deaf business ears.
This alone is cause for alarm and should cause us to ponder.
You see, the problem is not with blogs. The problem, like I've said repeatedly, is with business.
While many are scratching their heads over "Why Not Blog?", I think the answer is perfectly clear.
Businesses, CEOs, corporations are afraid of looking as stupid as some of them are, afraid of saying something that could result in legal or competitive trouble, and afraid of negative reader comments.
CEOs are NOT afraid of downsizing, robbing pension funds, bloated compensation packages, reducing employee insurance benefits, bypassing unions with "supplemental employees", de-prioritizing customer service, or offshore outsourcing of vital services.
But maybe this is why they fear the vengeful backlash, the "sharp-tongued" comments, that may occur in CEO or employee blogs.
Here's what Lisa Poulson of Burson-Marsteller had to say recently in "What Do Corporations Want?" of May 2005 in Guide Wire:
....During the panel, we talked a bit about why corporations are reticent to move into the blogosphere. In the interest of fostering mutual understanding, here are three things companies worry about:
--Liability – in our litigious business environment, any public utterance by any corporate representative is fair game for a combative lawyer. This is no small concern. Open-minded in-house lawyers and persistent corporate PR people are working it out one conference call at a time, but this struggle will take place at every corporation.
--Love – companies are filled with people, and no person likes to see the product they make, the policy they create or the opinions they share lambasted in public by a sharp-tongued blogger. If it’s the blogosphere vs. THE MAN, people at corporations know they’re battling a stereotype, and that’s daunting.
--Scaling – the blogosphere is about conversations. No corporation has the staff to conduct quality 1:1 conversations with everyone in the blogosphere who may want to communicate with them. They don’t know how much energy and commitment quality participation in the blogosphere will take; jumping in half-way may be worse than not jumping in at all . . .
Having said all of this, the corporate PR people I’ve spoken with understand there is much to gain from participating.
The hurdles are significant however, and corporations need help crossing them. They need clear, thorough analysis of what’s going on in the blogopshere that impacts them.
They need sound guidance on policies. They need to study examples of corporations that successfully blog. They need to study examples of corporations who have made big fat mistakes. And they need to have this information presented to them by people who understand what life is like inside their organizations. Then they’ll get there.
Managing Director, Technology Practice
Burson-Marsteller San Francisco
Posted by Lisa Poulson at May 25, 2005 08:49 AM
Now let's look briefly at these three points.
That's funny. Richard Edelman, Mark Cuban, Robert Scoble, Bob Lutz, Jonathan Schwartz, and many other CEOs or corporate representatives are blogging. Why aren't they worried about this? They surely have considered litigation, but have good legal teams to clear the way. I consider this a serious concern, but not that big of a hurdle.
Please look at this statement closely--
"...companies are filled with people, and no person likes to see the product they make, the policy they create or the opinions they share lambasted in public by a sharp-tongued blogger. If it’s the blogosphere vs. THE MAN, people at corporations know they’re battling a stereotype, and that’s daunting."
I'm sure my Personal Blog allies and fans are laughing their heads off at the stupidity and cowardice displayed in this attitude of corporations.
Sharp-tongued bloggers and comment posters prevail throughout the rough and tumble world of the blogosphere.
We like to tell it like it is, bluntly, just like CEOs do when they fire or lay off someone. This is rich, just funny as all get out. Picture a CEO cowering in a corner, scared of sharp-tongued bloggers "lambasting" their integrity, ethics, or products. LOL
"blogosphere vs. THE MAN"?
No, try this: blogosphere vs. insincerity, "don't worry, be crappy" (ship shoddy, then issue upgrades and 2.0 versions), lies, cruelty, mediocrity, opacity, immorality.
"battling a stereotype"?
How so? It's not that rare for corporations to screw employees and customers. Must I rattle off the list of unethical giant corporations that have been in the news lately? Enron was just the tip of the iceberg about to sink the Titanic USA, the ship of state they thought could not be sunk.
CEOs are among the most hated groups in American society, according to some public opinion polls.
Bloggers and comment posters, in most cases, are not "battling a stereotype". They're the Socratic gadflies, buzzing about, bothering the arrogant, ivory tower business leaders who thought their dream world would never end.
I'm going to weep if this doesn't stop. The poor CEOs, too busy to blog correctly and adequately. Scared to take risks, to jump in, to take the plunge, though the water's fine.
Aren't CEOs supposed to have some entrepreneurial spirit, somewhere deep inside?
"No corporation has the staff to conduct quality 1:1 conversations with everyone in the blogosphere who may want to communicate with them."
Poor CEOs. Poor corporate staff. Well, they better figure out how to reply to a few comments daily, and to general topic threads, or their competitors will leave them in the ancient dust of their outmoded propaganda machines.
Blogs are the New PR, the New Advertising, the New Public Platform for getting a message out. They better wise up fast.
The Real Problem
Too many businesses cannot sign off on the 9 Core Values of Blogging.
That's the sad but simple truth.
Candid, two-way conversations with real customers?
Too risky for those CEOs who are dubious dictators, secret incompetents, and apathetic/arrogant figureheads.
Ethical, sincere, wise, compassionate CEOs should start blogs.
The rest should stay the hell out of the blogosphere. We'd eat them alive and burp out their lies.
vaspersthegrate [at] yahoo [dot] com
[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate
Posted by steven edward streight at 6/27/2005 11:23:00 AM