Saturday, August 20, 2005

Business blog consulting a con job?

Is business blog consulting a con job?

Washington Post staff writer Robert MacMillan seems to think so.

While I've always considered "blog conferences" to be more about flirting, smirking, and not working, MacMillan sees them as more sinister. He apparently considers them to be symposiums of con artists.

MacMillan may not understand business or blogs or consulting.

Anyone who says that the way to succeed is to study successes and copy them, well, let me just say that this is a feeble, mediocre, and ineffective method. There are certain fundamental principles that a new practitioner needs to master, principles that may not be obvious, principles that may require more than just a cursory familiarity with superficial aspects.

There are many complex aspects and controversial issues in blogging, and especially business blogging.

Nevertheless, I had to laugh when I read this article, "Blog Oil Salesmen", which is a subheaded subtext within the larger entry entitled "Again with Phishing". I think Paul Woodhouse, of The Tinbasher blog, would really appreciate this sarcasm.


Blog-Oil Salesmen

You know those guys on TV who promise instant riches if you drop $19.95 to buy the book with all the secrets that "they" don't want you to know? You, sucker, are their secret.

Something similar is happening among bloggers, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

It seems that some of them are scoring big by promising to sell corporations all the knowledge they need in order to harness the power of blogs.

The story followed 21-year-old Matt Mullenweg as he "navigated the hallways of San Francisco's Palace Hotel, giving select corporate and other confidants a sneak peak [sic] at his latest offering: a special blogging software tool for companies.

"Mullenweg is just one of the stars of the Blog Business Summit being held in San Francisco through today. Public relations representatives of companies from Hewlett-Packard to Wells Fargo are here to meet Mullenweg and other blogging bigwigs to get tips on how to communicate with bloggers, and how best to get the word out about their products--on their own blogs.

...Bloggers have a swagger to their stride these days. Just a few years ago, Mullenweg, of Texas, thought he was going to be a musician, but a fascination with computers sidetracked him. He soon found himself the lead developer of a fast-growing blogging software, called WordPress. He has since moved to San Francisco. Today is his big day. He's showing off the corporate version of his software, called, for the first time. It will allow companies to host the software on their own or WordPress servers--giving employees the freedom to blog."

It's pathetic--as well as amusing--to watch representatives of multimillion-dollar corporations shell out their hard-earned cash to buy what amounts to bottles of freshly packaged air.

The concepts behind blogging are not difficult to understand, nor is it difficult to throw one onto the Internet.

I'd be ashamed to charge for my services so I'll offer them for free.

Want a blog? Go read some. Do what they do. There's your Blog Business Summit.


I must defend Matt Mullenweg, of Photo Matt blog.

Not that he needs my defense, but he was the first top tier blogger to reply to my Blog Pro Survey earlier this year.

And I know that he has tremendously valuable blog wisdom to impart. Just what he knows about the blog software and technology is impressive. Then add to that his insights into blogging culture, attracting blog readership, and networking within the blogosphere.

Anyway, I continue to wonder why business and blogging don't mix well. Are the 9 Core Values of blogging just totally alien to modern corporate culture? Do businesses not value the input of customers?

Are companies uncomfortable with stooping to conquer? Do they not want to be transparent, honest, receptive, candid, genuine, relaxed, and openminded? Do they fear flames and abusive comments? Tough questions? Complaints?

Again, allow me to predict: only a tiny percentage of businesses will have real blogs, with comments enabled. The problem with business blogging is not the blog. The problem is business as it's currently conducted in America.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


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