At the recent OMMA East conference a panel discussed the issue of blogs being used as consumer-generated marketing channels. That is, businesses marketing their wares via blogs.
The panelists, which included such notables as Henry Copeland, founder of BlogAds, indicated some advertisers are reluctant to buy space on blogs and other consumer-generated products, or advertise on them, because of the possibility that consumers will post negative comments.
That introduces what I want to talk about in this post. What we’re dealing with, if I might use a Stephen Coveyesque term, is a paradigm shift. The web is changing, and those in the know are changing with it. We entering what’s being called the Web 2.0, and consumer-generated media (CGM) is central to its growth.
Wikipedia defines Web 2.0 in the following manner.
Proponents of the Web 2.0 approach believe that web usage is increasingly oriented toward interaction and rudimentary social networks, which can serve content that exploits network effects with or without creating a visual, interactive web page. In one view, Web 2.0 sites act more as points of presence, or user-dependent web portals, than as traditional websites.
Here’s a quote from one of the panelists that puts everything in perspective…
“If you’re afraid of what users are going to say, there are two strategies: You get involved in the discussion, or you stick your fingers in your ears and pretend it doesn’t exist. People are talking about you whether you’re listening or not.”
People ARE talking, and you can either enjoin the conversation or take the ostrich approach and stick your head in the sand. If you determine that the former is better than the latter, a blog is one very good way to go about it.
The internet was never intended to be a venue for one-way communication. It’s always been about making connections and interacting with others. That has implications for business as well.
It takes courage and vision for a company to embrace the Web 2.0. Change is never easy, but it is necessary. Don’t become obsolete. Let your voice be heard. Start a blog of your own, but don’t stop there. Engage other bloggers in conversation via comments and trackbacks. Link to them in your blog posts. Recognize that what they have to say is no less valid than what you have to say.
To quote Bob Dylan, “The times, they are a’changin’.” It’s 1996 (deja vu) all over again.