About

I write about digital strategies and communications — and their intersection with culture, politics, journalism and social activism.

Thursday
Dec232010

Blogging is Dead: Long Live Blogging

I was going to post my own comments on the false notion that blogging is dead based on this piece from a week or so ago at Mashable, as have dozens of others.

But Kimberly Turner writing at The Regator Blog (that's not her in the pic) has taken up the cause with more effect than I could. Here is the Coles Notes version of her well-argued comeback(my emphasis):

"The Mashable article’s (current) headline states: “Everyone Uses E-mail, But Blogging Is On the Decline.” According the study Schroeder based the post on, this is false. As the handy-dandy chart below (from the same Pew study) shows, blogging is on the decline in Millennials (18-33) and G.I. Generation (74+) but on the increase in all other age groups with an overall increase from 11 percent of internet users in December 2008 to 14 percent in May 2010."

"The Mashable post turns its nose up at blogging but makes no mention of stats from the same report indicating that even after blogging’s decline with teens, there are still more teen bloggers than tweeters."

"The blogosphere has become the realm for things that cannot be expressed in 140 characters, a place where significant conversations, debates, and information exchange can occur. This shift means the blogging is maturing and evolving—not dying."

"The evolution of blogs has made the very definition of a blog ambiguous. Millions access blogs such as Mashable, The Huffington Post, TMZ, Gawker, and Boing Boing every month. Because the line between blogs and other websites has blurred with blogs’ maturation, visitors may or may not consider themselves to be blog readers…even when they are."

I guess I'll keep at it.

Friday
Dec032010

Book Review - Intangible Capital

(This is a long overdue review of a book sent to me by one of its authors - Mary Adams - whose blog on intangible capital I follow habitually even if what she writes goes places with which I have little experience.)

For most people involved in the business of public relations the concept of 'intangible capital' is bit arcane and likely in their minds removed from the core role they play within their organizations.

But knowledge, as Mary Adams and Michael Oleksak argue in Intangible Capital: Putting Knowledge to Work in the 21st-Century Organization, "is the key critical resource in today's economy," and knowledge is the currency underlying intangible capital. Or put another way intangible capital is the output of what Adams and Oleksak call the "knowledge factory."

Although much of their book is outside the province of my expertise, in spite of my struggling through an MBA degree twenty years ago, it does recognize and value the importance of reputation as evidence, if you like, of the quality of output from the knowledge factory that is, or should be, today's corporation.

In a chapter near the end of the book called 'Reputation is the New Bottom Line', Adams and Oleksak demonstrate that reputation is indeed the "new bottom line". They also recognize that corporate behaviour - that is, the way a company acts when faced with a social challenge that butts up against its core business - is an essential element of reputation (see Doorley and Garcia in their textbook Reputation Management).

Unfortunately, their analytic powers, and their experience as well I assume, fail them when they step into what I would call, with all due humility, my territory of managing corporate reputation. Guidance on the how of managing reputation is a little thin, resting on three rather basic ideas: Do things right; Be proactive; Be transparent.

If it only were so easy.

Defining "right" is in itself incredibly complex as any natural resource company engaged with indigenous peoples in foreign countries will tell you. Being "proactive" in managing reputation especially on the social web is the stuff of countless strategies . . . and isn't always the right guidance when, say, you are the subject of a cyber assault. And transparency has its pros and cons, especially when it comes to the intricacies of sustainability reporting.

Adams and Oleksak rightly argue for new ways of thinking about structural capital and call for new ways of looking at organizational design (think networks). But given reputation's importance to the new knowledge factory the chapter on managing this intangible should perhaps have been handed over to an expert.