Shel Israel complains about McDonald's initial foray into public blogging with their new corporate responsibility blog, "Open for Discussion". He also offers them further (unsolicited) advice in a later post. Jim over at One by One Media joins in by admonishing their "feeble attempt" and says "I will use this as an example of how not to conduct a company blog".
I was astounded by the arrogance of the tone:
Oh by the way. Welcome to the Blogosphere. I know you have internal blog champions. I do hope you continue your blogging effort. I hope you get blog smart enough to actually find these postings I, and others are doing but I suspect that has not yet happened. Don't just take us as negative voices. Listen to what we are saying. Really listen.
Holy crap. Will people just get over themselves? If they had hired B.L. Ochman or Hugh from Gaping Void would you then cut them some slack? If they ordered copied of Naked Conversations for everyone would that change your opinion?
Have any of you ever worked for a company larger than your little consulting firm or start-up? No big corporate entity is going to do it RIGHT the first time out. Or the second. Or maybe even the third. But they are trying and they will contribute to the evolution of the blogosphere.
I work for a big oil and gas company. And trying to get anything launched that is new, untried, untested and has a less-than-perfect business case is pretty darn tricky. I'm guessing its like that for McDonald's too. I'm guessing that every post has to be run through about 3 layers of legal and PR. Hopefully that will change. And that's not just McDonald's being obsessive ... that's the litigous-happy climate in US business. And I'm guessing that the guys who post are already doing day jobs, so they likely have added this onto their current workload.
I think a lot of corporations do not want to commit to blogging specifically because of this kind of criticism. If there is one person in a corporation that can share some relevant information with me.. I want that person sharing it, rather than wait until they can commit to blogging regularly.
Lets embrace every person that decides to blog. Styles will vary.. some will have advertising.. some will allow comments. Some will say things we disagree with. If you still want to change things.. go recruit part of that 99% of the planet that isn't blogging.
I feel like "A-listers" are often speaking out of both sides of their mouth. "Companies should be in the blogosphere. But they should stay out unless they are perfect." It makes it really difficult for people like me who are trying to encourage their own company to blog. I don't need Shel or Steve or Jim or whoever to LOVE what McDonald's is doing, but the tone has got to go. The self-importance needs to stop. I saw a lot of this at BlogOn back in October. There were a number of marketers and PR folks in that audience who were trying to keep up with advances in social and consumer-generated content, and try to figure out how to use the tech to *connect* with audiences. And, sure, some were their to figure out how to exploit the medium .. but isn't that what is already happening? But instead of being welcomed and *authentic* conversations being conducted with them, Jeff Jarvis and others shut them down.
The point is
get over yourselves can we not find a more civil tone of discourse to encourage (and advise, if appropriate) the *people* at these companies who are trying to wrestle a behemoth and change a monolith that doesn't necessarily want to change.