Dell launched their clog this week, One2one. There's been a lot of writing about it on the blogosphere… some folks praising them and some lynching them. I'm not sure if anyone has penned the term yet, but I like the term ‘Clog' for Company or Corporate Blog. I added it as a disambiguous term on wikipedia. Company Blogs can be a blessing or a curse. It requires a strategy and alignment of the bloggers involved to make the Clog:
- Relevant – is your blog serving the industry? clients? prospects? competition?
- Timely – when something bad or good happens, is your blog part of the immediate strategy to get the word out?
- Honest – without the gory details, are you being up front with your readers or are you going to put a spin on it?
- Valuable – is it going to help your business in the long run?
Clogging may sound a little negative, that's on purpose. I hope the term is accepted world-wide, because I'm not so sure that clogging is a good strategy for corporations. That said, I am not saying that blogging is bad for a corporate strategy. Quite the opposite, I think it's fantastic. However, I think there's a very distinct difference between blogging and clogging. With blogging, the individual owns the voice and can express his/her feelings honestly without worrying about repercussions. Clogging, on the other hand, should be a collective voice of the company. It's filtered. It has to be.
Big mistake! Why is that a mistake? Why would you want to address an issue to the world that perhaps only a few folks know about? Because if you don't, the risk involved is enormous.
As you do a search of the blogosphere for Dell right now, you'll find Exploding Laptop near the top of the list! Ask yourself this… as you combed through the headlines on the search results, did you find an article from One2one intriguing? Did you even find it on the list?
Silence is the killer of consumer confidence. And by blogging, corporations are providing a medium with which to communicate effectively. When it doesn't show up on their blog first, consumers know that it's purposefully being ignored. As a result, the clog is deemed irrelevant, untimely, dishonest and invaluable.
VOIP giant Skype may be next on the list. Recently, some developers in China have claimed to have reverse engineered Skype's encryption and utilized their software to dial up another person and let them know their IP address. This has large implications for Skype, putting its encryption in question. Rather than attack the claim, Skype simply dismissed it. This will not be good for security-weary internet users. I know I don't want to risk it.
So, what's your Clogging Strategy? Rather than talk about what you are willing to communicate with the masses (and your own competition), what are you not willing to discuss? It's those topics that will come back to bite you!