Lisa "M" Brown has a great summary of the conference "Blogging Goes Mainstream: Is Your Company Ready" she attended today. She did a good, quick synopsis that’s well worth reading. It’s also got links to some of the extra material as sites mentioned during the conference.
Fortunately, the audio of the conference is already available online here. I listened to it this evening. I don’t want to repeat what Lisa said, but I’ll add some thoughts.
The focus of the conference was on how companies can use the blogging phenom for business purposes. Fine…but I’ve been a skeptic for a long time that blogging, in the hands of marketers, will be a good thing. Some of the presenters said reading blogs is a good way to "listen" to customers and constituents and have a dialog with them. That sounds good, but my experience is that marketers pay a lot of lip-service to listening to customers and providing customer-centered service, but in the end that’s all it is: lip-service. A couple of the presenters from marketing or PR firms gave me the creeps because they essentially saw blogging as just one more channel for messaging. They said the principles of communication have been the same for decades–like listening to customers and being truthful–and it’s no different with blogs. So, I ask, why have they pretty much disregarded those principles and helped spawn the blogging movement which is, in essence, an effort by citizens to get to the truth?
One part of the conference that I think it is essential to hear, and try, is the presentation by PubSub. I stumbled across PubSub a week ago and think it’s fantastic. PubSub allows you to submit key words and phrases to its search engine; it looks for mentions of those keys as millions of information feeds flow through in near-real time; and it will send you a notification and a link when it gets a hit on your topic. Whereas Google stores information from web sites each time it crawls the internet every few weeks and lets you search its archive, PubSub is reporting mentions of topics of interest as they happen. It’s sort of like a stock ticker or like taking a sip of just the water you want from a fire hose. Try it out!
Stowe Boyd moderated a panel and warned that a backlash against blogs is coming.