Feb 25, 2009

Insights from Inteview 1

I've just finished transcribing and analysing my interview with @Ophil. At such an early stage in my research rather than putting my personal spin on it I though I'd just give you the highlights from @Ophil's interview and let you make up your own mind.

Ophil on what makes interesting content:
"Stuff that generates an interesting trail, showing me something that I hadn’t seen, yeah stuff I hadn’t stumbled across myself before."

Ophil on comments:
"Sometimes it is just enough that you want to give feedback to the blogger often enough the comments are about engaging in a conversation with a wider community of blog readers rather just the bloggers themselves, the absence of comments is kind of a measure of success. "Moderated or no comments doesn’t buy into the whole blog ideal, it becomes monological, I guess I believe it is a dialogical, a blog is about hey I’m gunna say something talk back to me ya know"

Ophil on the use of blogs:

"I don’t think that blogs are a medium for selling, blogs I think are not a conversion vehicle, you’re not trying to convince someone of your argument, I think that’s what a web page does.

Ophil on providing perspective:
"I have a personal belief that there is no new wheels, everything that you think of has probably got other people thinking of it as well. You can look at it as a way of enhancing credibility, as in 'look there’s other people who are thinking the same way as us but also see there are other perspectives of the same ideas and we’re open to them all.' Um so I think, I’m one of those people who thinks that, transparency to me is about not denying the existence of alternative explanations, so blogs are good to alerting you to that".

Ophil on risk mitigation:

"The act of mitigating risk is sort of the antithesis of a blog. If you can only say good thing or appropriate things, or stuff that fits the mainstream then that’s not a blog, if that’s what people believe and want to say, and if that’s the wrong thing for your corporation then they probably shouldn’t be working for you’re corporation". It's like Good to Greats famous saying it’s about getting the right people on the buss, the wrong people whether they blog incorrectly or treat customers badly it’s going to be revealed eventually".

Ophil on disclaimers:
"I’m not a big advocate of opt outs ya know, I’m not about disclaimers [such as] these views are not necessarily the views of the organisation...well then get your brand off it. I guess it comes back to that transparency thing. If you can’t trust your employees to blog how can you trust them to serve customers...if you feel like you have to disclaim any content of your blog then you probably shouldn't have one".

Hopefully the few quotes above have provided you with some degree of insight

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  1. Puh :-) I'm with you Sam. I know the difficulty of transcribing interviews.

    I perfectly agree on disclaimers. However, often this is a legal thing. In larger companies the company lawyers have quite some influence, particularly on disclaimers, guidelines and policies.

    Ophils opinion on the use of blogs gives me some headache, I have to admit. I agree that blogs are limited in their direct selling potential, but they definitely are the No 1 medium to convince and to set the stage for argumentation. An agrumentation only works in a dynamic environment (discussion = opinion - 2nd opinion - exchange). This is only possible with a dynamic medium that has an actual conversation potential. What ophil is referring to is not argumentation/convincing but simple marketing...

    Cheers :-) Nils

  2. Shoot... Used the google account of our Daimler-Blog instead of my own... Sorry 'bout that :-)

  3. Yeh, not a big fan of disclaimers myself. It's like telling ppl "Hey this is what I think of xxx yyy zzz..but hey, Ive got a job/rep to keep - so don't quote me on dat!"

    Then dont have an opinion or a blog in the first place. I believe in taking full responsibility, being fully accountable for what you say on your blog. Ah - the classic struggle between autonomy and control.

  4. Nils the legal thing is interesting...because I understand the that some companies feel the "need" to over themselves e.g. Jonathan Schwarts talking about HP....

    But if you decide that you're gunna be accountable for what ever you say then you probably don't need to have a disclaimer...I like the full responsibility thing as well :)

    As for selling, my personal opinion at the moment is that explicitly selling yourself via your blog is a big fat no no....however implicit selling is inevitable if your corporate blog talks about it's own products. I whether or not you talk about your own products ultimately depends on context in which you use it and communication strategy that you prescribe to you blog...but for most corporates it shouldn't be a big issue as it's almost expected that you will talk about yourself. i think the key might be to make sure that you don't only talk about yourself.

  5. I totally agree with you two. But working for Daimler / Mercedes-Benz I tell you that the legal department does not necissarily share the excitement of the communication guys for new media. In my opinion, a blogging CEO or extremely high executive is about the only solution to that problem - however that brings even new legal problems. Maybe you can check the Whole Foods Market Blog case for that. I did a bit of research on that about a year ago and there the CEO John Mackey was in some trouble, because CEOs of stock companies have to follow certain publication rules regarding corporate infos (maybe read his own conclusion as a starter http://www2.wholefoodsmarket.com/blogs/jmackey/2008/05/21/back-to-blogging/). Very tricky but thrilling field! I enjoy the discussion :-)

  6. I'm not 100% sure that legal concerns will be enough to justify a disclaimer in the eyes of the reader in the coming years...but who really knows, hopefully I'll have much greater insight on this towards the end of my research.

    Thanks for the link, interesting...I can imagine that there will be more and more cases like this in the years to come.