As y'all know (if you've been paying attention, hehe) I was at the Bloggforum 2.0 in Stockholm last Saturday participating in a round table type of discussion around the topic of "Blogs and companies".
Not my favorite topic of the bunch, I was much more keen on the parallel talk "Blogs and media" which was in the room across the hall at the same time, and thanks to all the helpful participants with their MP3 podcasts I can at least listen to it now. Yeay!
And yes, this means that there is a podcast of your humble site-mum ranting on at the Bloggforum available here (mp3), thanks to the efforts of Richard Gatarski at Skolsmart. It's in Swedish though, a language I'm not used to presenting in which might explain my slight stutter as I roam my brain for the right words. Or maybe I was just dead nervous, yeah that's it. ;)
We didn't have much time to continue to spin on and chat about each topic that was brought up sadly, as 45 minutes really isn't all that much time and many people in the audience had much to say as well and interesting questions too. You can't hear them very well on this MP3, makes me wish that we had the setup the earlier panel had that morning where a microphone was passed around and everyone who asked questions stated their names, and blog-URLs, first.
Trying to follow a set list of topics we should cover seemed rather silly, when everyones input was flowing quite naturally all over the topics related, and the short time space made some areas of discussion feel interrupted or incomplete. Here's a few things I didn't have the chance to spin further on, and wish I had said, in no particular order at all.
About RSS: So why don't I think advertising in RSS is such a great idea? Simple, the RSS-feed is already an ad (in most cases). It's a headline, and a teaser first few lines of an article, and if you like it you may click on the link to read more. It would be an ad served with an ad. Not that this is unheard of in this day an age, but it doesn't mean that I have to like it. I go on and on about this in the e-book Unleash the power of RSS which is a must have for those who want to know all the possibilities of marketing with or within RSS feeds.
Now, not everyone uses RSS this way. Some people feed out their entire website with RSS, the images, the whole article, the whole enchilada and dressing too. In those cases yes, perhaps advertising within the feed ain't such a bad idea as why would people visit their site when they get the milk for free? ;)
Feedburner already offers RSS-ads within feeds via them, and as you can see here BoingBoing uses the ad-spiced feed option. Even Google Adsense are testing the waters of advertising within RSS feeds, so in the future it's likely that we will see google textads in feeds. How this will affect peoples RSS reading habits is anyones guess.
About Blogs being "personal": Define personal. Is it when bloggers talk about their daily life, daily? Do they really have to be? Are they more successful when they are personal? Out of all boingboing readers, how many know or care what Cory Doctorow had for breakfast? I gave up smoking after 18 years of puffing the cancer sticks six months ago, and haven't said a word on this blog about it, until now. (that joke only works when you know that Sweden's self-proclaimed "biggest blog" is about a man trying to quit smoking. He does anything but, as he writes about the troubles of quitting each day.) I really don't think that blogs need to be personal at all, if by personal we mean full of anecdotes about a persons daily humdrum life a phenomenon also known as "journals". I read blogs on lots of topics because of what that person has to say on that topic, how they filter links on that topic, what insight they have on the news on that topic - and that is personal a plenty without being a dairy. I do fancy community blogs - such as Viewropa and Metafilter as well, where the blog itself is the "personality". Metafilter is a cranky snooty eclectically well educated blue mtf, for example.
Should every corporation/company have a blog?: Gee isn't that a little like asking "should every human have a sailboat?", there are too many undefined/unknown parameters in this question for it to make sense. That old-school stuff about target market and where they hang so that you may strike up a conversation with your potential buyers is still valid you know. Is your target on the web? Great. Do they have blogs themselves or do they read blogs? Do they hang in forums perhaps? Is it better for your company to start handing out tools your target may use in their own blogs, or should your company support the communities where the target likes to hang out.... Or should your company start their own blog? In short, no, I don't think every company on the planet should have a blog, but I do think its a great idea for some companies. As a great example of how-to do it right I plugged Jewelboxing. By blogging images of how their customers are using their product they a) scratch the customers back showing off some nice creative work from illustrators, photographers and musicians etc and plugging their links while b) scratching their own backs showing off how their product can be used. This symbiotic relationship between punter and peddler is brilliant. It's interesting to check out as well, since the images of what others have done with the white canvas known as the jewelboxing serves as inspiration to potential buyers, and gives us a juicy collection of interesting links out like every blog should.
So if your company should start blogging needs another question, what can your company give other bloggers?
There was more, so much more, that could have been discussed especially since the audience seemed quite keen on it too, but we'll just have to cram all that in next time right?