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John Wagner

Mason:

Excellent point about other industries/markets and their use of technology (or not).

Being in Houston -- the energy capital of the world -- I get a lot of blank stares when I talk about blogging. Why in the world would an energy company want to blog?

Of course, there are some good applications that make sense to us but inside the walls, blogging seems as attractive as $10 a barrel oil.

Mason Cole

Thanks John. It's a valid question for many of these companies.

shel israel

Thanks for the mention. I made my comments speciufic to Web 2.0 companies, because they will be able to find nearly 100 % of their constituencies in the blogosphere today. They are at the front of the comet. The long tail of it will follow, but it will take some time.

John Wagner is an excellent blogger. I think energy companies should blog for the same advantages Microsoft and Sun Microsystems have gained by blogging. They have used blogs to show their human sides and to actually listen and respond to what people have to say about them. Energy companies, it may shock you to learn, are not particularly admired or trusted, and I for one would love to see a human side to these controversial powerhouses.

Mason

Shel, thanks very much for the comment. I agree that an energy company is a good specific example of a blogging beneficiary. I also think you're right about 2.0 companies at the head of the comet -- there's almost no other way it could evolve.

Regardless, I'm going to be interested in seeing how blogging, and other PR/marcom tools, are taken up by companies less conversant in web technology.

katherine

Hi. I'm a student in PR and I agree that blogging is becoming a great PR tool that should become more widely used. I also agree that some companies need blogging more than others right now, but PR firms should begin to introduce blogging as an extra means of getting information out to other companies, even if they don't need it as much right now. When you said "I agree with that -- if you're a Web 2.0 early stage company, you're a world-record idiot if you don't live some in the blogosphere. However comma what if you're not a Web 2.0 early stage company? What if you're in industrial chemicals, or farm implements, or apparel wholesaling? Are blogs as relevant to you?," it made me think about that question. I have just been introduced to the world of blogging, and I think that blogging is definitly relevant to those companies, but may not be as necessary as press releases, etc. As I said earlier, they could use blogging as a PR tool, but it's not a pressing issue for them yet.

Amy Gahran

Great piece, Mason. You wrote:

"Everybody's right, blogging is here to stay, and if you're serious about PR and marketing, you ignore blogs (including your own) at your peril. There. The Department of the Obvious is now satisfied."

Well, actually, there's a bigger picture that I think so far has generally escaped the DOO's notice. Blogs are important, yes, but they're important because they're one high-profile facet of an increasingly powerful phenonmenon: the rise of conversational media.

Conversational media is much, much bigger than blogs. It's any media that allows the audience to publicly converse with a writer, speaker, or organization *and* with each other. Besides blogs, it includes e-mail lists, web-based forums -- heck, even talk radio. The rise of conversational media is overhauling the balance of power in media and PR.

IMHO, of course ;-) But still, I would like to see more PR/media deep-thinkers break free of blog tunnel-vision to explore the power and pitfalls of conversational media.

You also wrote: "What if you're in industrial chemicals, or farm implements, or apparel wholesaling? Are blogs as relevant to you? ...Yes, of course -- blogs are relevant, but nearly as much so now, and they will grow in relevance over time."

I agree, there are reasons for almost any company to get involved with blogs. However, I think it's even more important that the get involved with *the public conversation* -- which means coming to terms with and getting experience in conversational media.

This can mean getting used to reading and commenting in blogs, e-mail lists, forums, etc. before (and perhaps even instead of) launching their own blogs. Among other strategies.

Whadya think?

- Amy Gahran
RightConversation.com
Contentious.com

Mason Cole

Katherine, you're right, smart companies will get ahead of the curve, even if their industries aren't reliant so heavily on the Internet for marketing. Good luck at Auburn.

Amy, yes, absolutely, there is tunnel vision -- there's more to life than blogs in converational media. And how could one argue that having a conversation with your market isn't worth the effort? Blogging is just one current manifestation of this -- I don't know what it will look like in ten years, but we'd all better be on the stick. Keep up the great blog.

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