And The Clients Says, I Am Not Asking About Corporations, Why Do YOU Blog?

by Marianne Richmond on November 17, 2006

On Tuesday Toby Bloomberg and I presented a Blogging 101 workshop to a group of corporate marketers (who shall remain nameless…as Toby says," bloggy transparency is suspended."). As part of our introduction to the group, the statement was made by the client that we were "live bloggers" to be distinguished from other consultants and agencies who are advocates, but not participants.

Apparently, with this thought in mind, and after listening to us talk about the many possible directions, categories and styles of corporate blogs, we got asked an important question, "But what do YOU get out of blogging…why do YOU personally blog?" The question itself I think meant that the person asking, was "getting it." Blogging is personal, a "cool media" in McLuhan terms…high in participation.

This was especially interesting to me since I had actually begun my marketing career at this company in a very traditional consumer packaged goods brand group. Now, they were doing some very innovative marketing, on line and off, and I was there drinking Koolaid (no, it wasn’t General Foods, I mean Kraft) and talkin’ Cluetrain….along with Toby who I had gotten to know in the traditional bloggy manner, beginning with a comment to her blog.

Toby eloquently and quickly answered the question, as I thought about the answer (OMG, I am a closet introvert). She spoke about the fact that blogging had led to speaking invitations and accelerated the growth of her business and was directly responsible for her being in this room…the platform for getting known and getting to know a relevant networked conversation. Of course Toby has an entire blog, Blogger Stories, devoted to the ways that blogs and being part of the blogosphere have touched people’s lives and created new opportunities and relationships, personally and professionally.

Dave Gray at XPlane explains it by using the visual of a horizontal city. You’re a tourist that visits if you don’t have a blog; but if you have a blog, you move into the horizontal city and, "You are putting yourself — your passions, your ideas, your beliefs — online, and by doing so you make yourself linkable. People can see you. They can point to you. They can talk to you. You’re a citizen." Importantly, you also see them, you point back, talk back and are citizens too. Dave quotes David Weinberger who says that the web runs on our collective passions and the people that you meet are passionate, energizing and fascinating and that is "why blogging is a big deal." Its a culture. A culture of sharing and generosity.

As Hugh McCloud explains in the latest round of Web 2.0-a-grams, the architecture of 2.0 is sharing. "Suddenly for the first time in history the world most powerful form of media is about giving, not about taking." And you can’t buy attention with dollars, you "buy" attention by offering valuable content ; attention is earned

 So, to better link the thoughts, Cluetrain:."markets are conversations".

 Hughtrain: "The market for something to believe in is infinite."

Hughtrain: Branding is spiritual; products with souls are brands. Create advertising with conviction.

Its a cultural shift. Its a conversational shift. You earn attention

And then, to add in another related thread which in my mind is also about "Why Do you Blog?"….Techmeme, or how to get into it. Shelley Powers questions the fairness of the algorithms. Gabe Rivera says to focus on the content and to "enable discovery of the post." Others including Robert Scoble weigh-in. Scoble wonders if people think that Techmeme will improve their sex life or maybe if being an "A-list elitist jerk" will improve your sex life, by way of Techmeme.

 What it all seems to relate back to is the A-list Technorati inbound link, rich get richer, have improved sex life, have influence, authority, get all of the attention and all of the links, and live happily ever after in the merry old land of blog. ….

David Armano sums part of it up this way…because really, what IS authority? Something for another post.

Well, how does it all tie together? Well, for me, my blog provides an opportunity to think through and write about things that I am interested in and that my clients are interested in; it also makes me a participant in the blogosphere. That means I get to meet and even blog with those passionate, energizing, and fascinating people such as Toby, Dave Gray, David Armano and Chris Carfi.

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