Friday, May 12, 2006

Finding our voice or falling silent

Businessweek has an interesting piece about Boeing's use of blogs as public-relations tools.
The airplane maker has "has learned to cede some control and expose itself to stinging criticism in exchange for a potentially more constructive dialogue with the public," the magazine reports.
I applaud such a move. Yet each and every time I see a company open itself to the joys and difficulties of conversational editorial, it pains me to remember how few B2B publications have been willing to take that risk.

If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you may remember that nearly a year ago I pointed to Boeing's first foray into the blogosphere and warned that in a "world where news sources can now be news publishers," journalism had much to lose. If our past was one of gatekeeping, what would we do in a world where our readers and our sources could open and close gates without us?

I believe the answer to that question is clear -- we must engage sources and readers alike in dialogue. We must surrender our belief that we are entitled to some monopoly voice in the marketplace, and evolve into something more open. We have to become less like arrogant lecturers and become more like gifted conversationalists.

For an interesting take on how trade magazines can make this transition, check out this post by Barry Graubart.
For more on my thoughts on conversational media, read this earlier post.
For a look at a new blog from one of my favorite non-publishing companies, click here.

tags: , , , , , conversational media,

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