Had a blast yesterday moderating IABC's blog panel here in D.C.
It was wonderful to meet several corporate bloggers face to face that I've been emailing and speaking with by phone: Paul Rosenfeld, Intuit's blogging evangelist and the force behind the QuickBooks Online Edition blog; GM's Bill Betts representing the Fastlane blog (Bill is Web Services Manager for GM's global corporate communications office in Detroit); and Kevin Holland (VP in charge of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America's ACCABuzz blog).
Paul flew in from Calif. for less than 24 hours (as did Bill) in order to participate. A huge thanks from me and from a filled-to-capacity and attentive audience. I'm sorry we couldn't get to every one of your questions.
After offering a brief overview of corporate blogging, I posed some (vaguely) provocative questions and then let the three panelists do most of the talking. I framed our discussion around "fear of blogging" and asked each panelist in turn: "Why aren't you afraid of blogging, why are you doing this and what results are you seeing?"
Interestingly, Steve Broback, creator of the Blog Business Summit, is thinking of using the same theme ("getting past the fear of blogging") for his Aug. 17 - 19, 2005 conference in San Francisco. (This is a great event if you're looking for a useful business blogging conference. I'll be there as a speaker.)
Some of my questions for the panelists:
- Are blogs a viable tool for corporate communications given the fact that blogging, by definition (open and transparent), is the opposite of what defines most corporate culture?
- If the majority of Americans don't know what a blog is (40 - 60% are not familiar with blogs, according to eMarketer's Business of Blogging report), then who is going to read corporate blogs?
- What's the first thing a company should do to start blogging? (This prompted an interesting point-counterpoint response from Intuit's Rosenfeld and GM's Betts. Said Betts, "Study, study, study the blogosphere first." Said Rosenfeld, "Just do it! Then go back and see what your results are."