More Notes from the recent New Communications Forum...
BLOG. It's an awful word. Clunky and unsexy, for me it conjures up images from the '50s sci-fi film The Blob. The Blog is coming to get you, or maybe it's a blog monster clamoring up a slick green slope . . .
We'll have to get used to it. THE BLOG is here to stay, and if you believe what you read (yes, here and elsewhere) it will revolutionize online communications to the point of affecting the very core of our social fabric.
Having just attended the New Communications Forum, it is quite clear that corporations are going to have to get with it and incorporate both internal and external blogs (and wikis), or quickly fall behind in the game. Neville Hobson, an articulate gentleman who presented the "Blogs and Employee Relations" session (of which I missed the first 20 minutes--sorry Neville!) had some startling things to say:
Dresdner Keinvort Wassstein, a German bank, has 120 internal blogs (as first reported in the Financial Times).
A new Forrester study entitled "Blogging: Bubble or Big Deal?" concludes, among other things, that the new direction of employee relations dictates that all employees run their own blog.
Even more startling: Neville thinks the report's 18 pages are well worth their $350 price tag! Clearly, something big is brewing.
Andy Lark, a big man in many ways, gave a provocative and entertaining keynote address entitled "Participatory Communications Revolution, or 'The Really Wicked Blog Revolution That Killed the Media and Changed Everything.'"
To emphasize the point, he opened with EPIC, a 1984-type video that tracks the trajectory of media development to 2014, a year in teh NYT becomes a print-only newsletters available for only the elite and elderly*. His core message was that blogs are a social movement that demonstrate the higher value of conversation, over just publishing information.
I agree with him when he says, "we have become appalling at communications, though excellent at talking." And that the blogosphere, with its democratic means of disseminating information, will kill the hype and BS “so inherent in media as a business."
Instead, we have the powerful notion of media as community, as bloggers become advocates for many causes.
*This reminds me of the blue sky sessions I had the privilege to sit in on with Stewart Brand, Kevin Kelly, Bill Atkinson, and other very smart media people back in the heady early days of multimedia.
I was the project manager of the Electronic Whole Earth Catalog -- we excitedly discussed how hyperlinks would change how people would view and gather information, and how the printed book would become rare. Come to think of it, it seems many of us now display symptoms of ADD as a result of being able to jump all over the place by hyperlinks . . .and I heard a recent stat that less people are reading literature than ever before.