Thursday, 30 August 2007

Getting Out Of Blogger Jail Free

One of my little pet peeves is bloggers who just talk about blogging all the time - unless they do it well. Stephen Fry once wrote in a newspaper column before he was famous that a columnist should be allowed one Get Out Of Jail Free card, whereby once in his career he can get away with writing about writing a column, and once only - and I absolutely agree. Well, take this as my Blogger Get Out Of Jail Free entry. I'll never write about 'blogging' ever again.

Perhaps it's because I've been living in Japan, where people are still polite and grounded enough to think "nobody wants to read what I have to say, so why yell it around the internet?", and consequently blogging is still basically a non-event. Perhaps it's because I've had a livejournal since the year 2000, so the whole blogging idea is just, like, so yesterday to me. But I'm surprised at how much the idea has permeated our culture. Take for example:

  • McDonald's has a Corporate Responsibility Blog in which it gives "personal perspectives on the issues...and open assessments on the challenges we face. (In the entry for August 20th, the writer wonders, with obvious irritation, why it is that even when the company put "100% Beef" labels on their hamburgers, customers still refused to believe that they were indeed 100% beef. I dunno - could it be because you call the bloody things hamburgers? I was going to accuse the writers of lacking a sense of humour, but then I noticed that they've created something called the "Global Advisory Council on Balanced Active Lifestyles", so I realised they must have a good one after all.)
  • There are companies such as Awareness out there whose stated goals are to "lead the market with [their] robust blogging capabilities and strong strategic vision" by organising "webinars" (!) to help companies "leverage their Web 2.0 content". Apparently, it hosts blogs. The William Gibson bit is that "Major corporations...use Awareness to improve employee communication and collaboration, drive new forms of revenue and channels, conduct market research and create a corporate memory". In other words, big corporations are now co-opting blogging (and wiki stuff too - the kids are calling it "Web 2.0", apparently) in order to, well...I'm not sure, but it's definitely something, and if I've read my No Logo, I'm sure it's bound to be something sinister.
  • The people at businessweek believe that it's only a matter of time before people in corporate jobs will be "filling out a profile of some sort and contributing some knowledge and insights [if they're not doing so already]. Bosses might not call it blogging. But they'll be evaluating you, your contacts, your team play and your expertise by analysing your Web 2.0 output - whatever they choose to call it."
In other words, blogs are important, and pretty soon they're going to be another means by which companies hire and fire employees and give them promotions and raises. Be afraid, be very afraid.


Random Magus said...

As we evolve and progress there will different forms of communication. And each mode will ushers with it, the hysteria at is novelty - the abuse as well as the good. It's the nature of the beast. Personally I love blogging it really has expanded my knowledge and my entire perspective of things has changed

noisms said...

Oh, blogging has its benefits and disadvantages like everything else. I'm just a little concerned that companies have started using it as a way to assess their employees' performance. I think blogging should be a choice, rather than something your boss forces you to do. I also think that what you say in it should be free from the concern of "my boss might be reading this".

Random Magus said...

That's where it actually becomes a bit sticky and not only with your boss. I don't want people in my 'real' life reading my blog either - because sometimes I'm talking about them. Plus I'm far more open with people I have never met but connected with here than I am in real life situations.

zero_zero_one said...

This is kind of what I was thinking about when I wrote about anonymity a few months ago... Except back then I squandered the opportunity and instead wrote that story about "Raymond"...