At another conference at which I presented last week (Yes, I do a lot of public speaking on behalf of Hill & Knowlton Canada), I again asked the audience of communicators whether anyone blogged. Not one person put up their hand. This is the third time I have asked that question of a conference audience, which means there at least 60 professional communicators in Canada who haven't even tried blogging.
Given how easy it is to get started, what's the problem? I'm not sure: Fear of the medium? Confusion about its impact? Not enough time to care? Surely, though, it can't be because they need more evidence of its efficacy as a method of talking directly with people who care about a subject, an idea or problem -- dialogue with stakeholders as we like to call it. Ask Dell or GM.
Again this morning, an article in our national newspaper provides evidence of another case in point. A Canadian petrochemical company created a series of "pump talk" videos with employees exlaining why gas prices rise and fall, as they have a propensity to do daily. The videos were posted on YouTube and on the company's web site. Since August 1st, there have been 350,000 downloads of the videos! Even assuming repeat downloads by the same individual, that's a hell of a lot of people the company has reached with its message . . . people who have self-selected engagement with the company's point of view.
I am an issue manager, so my interest is not in the ways social media can be used to influence buying behaviour. But I would be less than responsible to my clients if I didn't recognize -- and try to get my mind around -- how a direct connection can be made and conversation started with an audience that simply couldn't be reached before without some form of intermediation.