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30 October 2006


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jim wilde

Hey Trevor,

Thank you. I look forward to reading it.


Tina Lang-Stuart

Great stuff. Thanks for making it available to everyone....right along the 2.0 guidelines for sharing.

Rodney Rumford

Nice introductory guide. You forgot to mention the easiest to use feed reader. Google Reader: it works for audio podcasts, video podcasts, blog feeds, etc.

Learn more in this blog post: http://blog.podblaze.com/public/item/104466

Rodney Rumford
Founder: Podblaze.com

Rich B

Great paper - I've seen the need for this kind of knowledge at alarmingly high levels. We're being asked about the basics from frightened global brand managers and communications pro's. You may want to consider including Waxxi (http://www.waxxi.us) in your next update - they are the first company in the world to do interactive podcasts.

Dan Cooper

Nice paper introducing people to the Social Media world featuring blogging and podcasts. I will definately recommend it for reading at my blog http://www.dancooper.org.

Trevor Cook

Thanks Dan - I appreciate your recommendation

Frank Connolly

Very timely for many of our people. I have now posted this on our site for the benefit of our whole of government Continuous Improvement Network. Many thanks.

Tony Walker

Thanks Trevor, there's a lot of very timely info in here. However, maybe we shouldn't get too starry-eyed: Despite undertakings to “speak the truth” and “give you the insider’s view”, the Australian Financial Review reported (13/10/06, p. 67) that one of Telstra's Now We Are Talking bloggers, Tom Reynolds, had been sacked because “he’s no longer a cultural fit”. The report said Reynolds had been fighting against stringent editorial controls on the blog, which included posts being vetted by company lawyers. Reynolds was fired two days after posting that he planned to “tell the truth” and “post fast on good news or bad.” Reynolds told the FinRev that his departure from Telstra was “a classic example of the open, tell-all culture of blogs colliding with that of traditional, conservative corporate executives.”

Trevor Cook

Not starry-eyed, the basis of all this stuff is realism. The realism that comes from recognizing that we are in the midst, at the start really, of some really big social and technological changes.
The New York Times reported in September 2006 on the expected explosion of business blogging. Citing statistics from Nancy Flynn, director of the ePolicy Institute and author of Blog Rules, it is estimated that only 4% of major corporations operate external blogs today. However, 85% more plan to do likewise. Among small business, 10% have already incorporated blogs into their marketing plans.
The figures are smaller in Australia but it is happening.
And with this explosion of blogging by business will come ways of doing things and doing them well.
Blogging for a company is not the same as blogging about your holiday in Thailand.
As to the telstra case, and accepting Reynolds' version, I think there is a conflation of two misconceptions in your point.
One is that blogs are 'tell-all' - no-one tells-all (except maybe some kids and social misfits) what is happening with blogging is a conversation which is deeper and more driven by the needs of external stakeholders rather than just what we want to tell them. But business is business and no-one seriously advocates a kind of complete and total continuous disclosure.
Second, Reynolds is naÏve, wrong and a little dim if he thinks that having a blog gives him the right (much less an obligation) to say whatever he likes about his employer and whenever he likes to do it. Reynolds was not Telstra, he was employed by Telstra and the normal obligations of an employee to an employer apply. His idea that he was going to blog fast and often about what he believes is wrong with telstra probably confirms the notion of a poor 'cultural fit'.
But there are cultural issues, and new ways of doing things require time and experience, lots of stuff has to be worked through.
Reynolds should have tried to help Telstra work through them, and not just throw up his hands and say "Because I'm a blogger, I can write what I want"
As for the AFR's coverage, practically the only time I get rung up about social media by MSM journos these days is by people seeking bad news about blogging. This idea of a 'classic example etc' is complete bullsh*t". Its a straw man - 'classic' come on?
I just tell them I don't know any examples of the latest evil they are looking for to denigrate blogging with.
Of course, this is the sort of idee fixe that occurs in journalism that we've all struggled against for many years and the capacity through blogging to be able to go direct to external audiences with our side of the story, or with a story the MSM is not able / or willing to cover is a primary motivation for many corporates.
Its very starry-eyed to believe that companies are going to employ people, and provide them with a platform, to criticise their employer publicly as they see fit, and I can't recall anyone as having seriously proposed it.

Tony Walker

Good response! :-) But it does highlight the culture clash. Do you think institutional blogging will always have to operate under a different ethos from other types of blogging? Isn't the imperative for corporates always going to be company image? Total openness and transparency in their operations is going to be a tough transition to make. For instance, at the time I could find no reference on NWAT to Reynolds's departure and no evidence that he'd ever even had a presence. It was eerily like the way old communist states airbrushed purged party members out of official photographs!

Trevor Cook

Tony, I'm wary about predicting the future with too much certainty or detail but I do think the way in which institutions interact with stakeholders (ie the way in which they use new media technologies) will have to be seen as an important part of the 'brand'.
Most institutions pride themselves on being open, responsive, 'in-touch', knowing our customers, putting you first, and so on. They do it because they know customers expect / want them to behave that way.
In the future what will these notions mean if they don't translate into some positive engagement with new communication tools?
As to the airbrushing, that's a mistake I believe - I think its always best to say what happened and move on. And I don't think that removing posts or comments is warranted (except if they are offensive or defamatory). The best idea is to just put the other side of the case and leave it for others to make up their minds.
After all, supporters of Reynolds have been blogging about it - so it didn't go away. Airbrushing just highlighted Telstra's sensitivity on the saga.

Simon Sharwood

I think there is a fascinating tension at the moment as the uses of the blog are being explored.
It seems to me that some corporations have decided that a blog is a great way to get certain issues on the record.
That's undoubtedly useful to many companies.
But how different is it from just whacking up a rant on a website?
Does making it a part of a blog really make it so different or any more potent as a communications tool? Are readers so enamored of blogs that their personal BS filters operate less rigorously as soon as something comes in a blog instead of a press release?
And are readers really so dull as to believe that corporate blogs really are 'social' media when the comment stream does not automatically include every response and therefore more likely to offer comments the host feels are positive?
To me, a lot of corporate blogs today are trying to pull off the old trick of 'we will commoditise your dissent and sell it back to you.'
I wonder if bloggers and readers will fight back against this trend.

Patricia Ugo

Thanks a lot for your contribution. I look forward to reading it

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  • Trevorcook
  • I have worked in politics, public policy and strategic communications for over 30 years. I was recently awarded a doctorate in Australian politics at the University of Sydney. My thesis was on the (changing) relationship between the ALP and unions. I have been blogging since November 2003 and over the past decade I have written many articles on politics, public relations and social media for newspapers, magazines and websites. I love literature particularly John McGahern and James Joyce. The header photo is of the Clarence River taken before dawn at Ulmarra in 2012.


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