Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A blog by any other word would smell as sweet

Last week I was talking with a media executive who hates the word "blog."
He doesn't hate blogs. He likes quite a few in fact.
But he's convinced that the word "blog" carries too many negative associations. The journalists and publishers he knows think "blog" is shorthand for "libelous material published by amateurs."
I've run into such people myself, and I've suggested that keeping them on staff is a mistake.

This executive says the word "blog" has such negative connotations for the media folks he knows that they can't be reasoned with. He says that it works against me if I say "blog" when discussing citizen journalism, conversational media, do-it-yourself publishing or entrepreneurial journalists. "They tune you out," he said.
I've run into such people myself, and I've said that their inability to keep an open mind makes them ill-suited for journalism.

If I have a mantra in my consulting business, it is this: B2B journalists don't need to start a blog, but they do need to become more bloglike.
But perhaps my executive friend is right; perhaps I need to find a way to say that so that even the most close-minded people can hear it.

In the meantime, I'll take some consolation in knowing that people outside of B2B media are encountering a very different problem.
My friend Amy points to a piece that suggests marketers are too much in love with the word '"blog." And Jeremiah Owyang says this blog-centered tunnel vision may be causing marketers to miss the larger picture. "Blogs are not important, they are just easy to use tools to facilitate conversation, nothing more, nothing less," Jeremiah said.

tags: , , , , , conversational media, ,


  1. Thanks Paul, you get it...your eyes are wide open

  2. Hi, Paul

    Yeah, I've encountered the same perspective -- not just about blogs, but about citizen journalism too. Just last night, a professional writer I respect very much expressed considerable disgust for citizen journalism mainly because "they aren't paying those writers, so that's just wrong."

    Hey, I'd love it if citizen journalists all got paid and were all great writers -- but you've always got to start where you are...

    On the close-mindedness about blogs among media pros you mentioned, you might try pointing them to my article "What's a Blog? Bag the Stereotypes."
    - http://snipurl.com/exxq

    Journalists generally can't stand feeling like they've been duped into blindly accepting and perpetuating a stereotype of any kind. They all think they're smarter than that :-)

    Worth a try, anyway.

    - Amy Gahran

  3. Fear is often a wonderful motivator.

    I once heard a CEO say he lived in fear of that kid in a garage who was developing the technology that would throw his business into turmoil.

    When it comes to journalism, bloggers are the kids in the garage. Journalists are a competitive bunch, do they want to get beat by bloggers on stories? Do they want to lose reader eyeballs?

    As we all know, blogs - as a technology - are simply a better, more agile Web site. It's their interactivity and what they empower the average writer to do (have a voice) that should scare established journalists.

    They are not the second coming but you ignore blogs at your peril.