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February 8, 2010
Anonymity Wastes Blogging Opportunities

The question of who should do a corporate blog and how personal it should be is key for a business considering whether to blog at all. The thing about blogs is that they are journals in the first place, and journals are associated with personality, with the individuals writing them.

Because of the amount of time and imaginative flair it may take for individuals to sustain "personality" blogs, the corporate preference might well be, "Let's just describe our products and tell what we're doing. We don't need to give bylines for that."

No, they don't. An opportunity to present the organization as a living, breathing organism with a personality or personalities that may be appealing to customers may be lost in the "impersonal" approach. At the very least, an organization should identify who, or what internal group, is doing a business blog in its "About"  section and why they're bothering to do so. And the blog should be enabled to receive comments. Feedback is critical in a communication tool. 

John Cass, of the PR Communications blog, has been devoting a lot of space of late to aspects of blogging "transparency."

In one last week he wrote:

"Merely using a social media Web site as a publishing tool loses half the opportunity a company can gain from a social media website. Social media tools can be used to build relationships with people, and relationships are built between individuals. Company employees represent the company brand, but by connecting with people on a personal level a company is much more likely to gain benefits and make a bigger commitment to customers. It's a lot easier to hide from a customer if they don't know your name, but if you have an online reputation to maintain, employees are going to be much more committed to making sure they meet expectations and promises given.

"To avoid synthetic transparency in social media, all a company has to do is reveal what is happening. Simply set expectations about how you are using social media, especially if what you are doing is outside of reasonable expectations for a social media technology."

Being "out there" in blogging and social media ideally means being out there through someone.


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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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