Doc Searls on corporate blogging

Doc Searls, one of the authors of The Cluetrain Manifesto, has posted a significant contribution to the conversation about corporate blogs this morning. It serves to underscore how the metaphors we use to discuss these attempts to frame our thinking about them sometimes can cause us to lose sight of what we are trying to do with a blog.

For all of the publicity that blogs have gotten lately, both positive and negative, many still don’t seem to get that they are about starting conversations, and the outcome of those conversations isn’t predetermined by rules we set up. Their goal is to start real human-to-human exchanges of ideas, not one-way transmissions of tightly defined messages. You don’t need a blog to send out your message; that’s what advertising and newsletters do. If someone is going to blog, then they are saying to those who read them that they are willing to engage in a conversation. Such ventures have their dangers, but they also offer the possibility of the reward of building better relationships between those who participate. As Grace Murray Hopper has said, “A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for. “

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