Thursday, January 18, 2007

The blogging split

I got into a discussion with someone concerning the blogosphere and its effect on corporations today. Here's something I hadn't really thought about in a couple of years: when was the last time someone was dooced? It's been a while, I think; or at least when it does happen it's not much of a story and the mainstream media doesn't pick it up.

So what happened? Did everyone just sort of "get it" ? I would say more that the world is sort of partitioning itself off now. On the corporate side, corporations are splitting into sort of "New Media" companies, Microsoft and Sun, where bloggers are allowed almost free rein, and "Old Media" companies, Wal-Mart say, or GM, where they feel it's very important that the company try to keep absolute control of the image of the company and don't allow their employees much say. That's not to say there isn't crossover; I understand one Microsoft division wanted Robert Scoble fired after he said something critical about the company, while GM actually has a blog...a rather corporate-oriented one, to be sure, but it does allow comments and they don't appear to censor them for criticizing the company.

On the other hand bloggers, or better I should say people, are splitting off as well. You see a lot of blogs around where someone started the blog, posted a few things, then apparently dropped off the face of the earth. Or possibly they write an article once a month or so apologizing for not blogging more and promising to do better from now on. Hey, blogging is hard, and most of us aren't getting paid for it. I've been known to go a month or two without posting. So there's more of a split between people who blog and people who read.

So I suspect what's happening is that people who blog, are moving over to work for companies who support blogging! Maybe not a momentous insight, but I can't think of anyone else who's come out and said it. People who don't blog, can stick around with the companies that are trying so hard to control their messages. That's why, I suspect, that you haven't heard much noise about doocing recently. People have sorted out where they belong; companies have clearer policies about what they expect and employees have a clearer understanding of what they're looking for.

(If they don't, I guess they'll have to buy Shel Israel's new book to clarify things.)