The first impulse for a company or organization is to have a
blog, a “voice” because we’re used to talking at people. Traditional
communication is from one source to many people without a loop back. We’re
especially used to that style in medically oriented organizations because we’re
“authorities,” and people are expected to listen when authorities speak.
But I think a blogger is a proto-cyber-community organizer,
and the blog is the current tool for interacting in the big community of people
who interact via online media. (Some
people use images in sites like Flickr to express what they’re interested in.
Audio and video are emerging possibilities of common communication too.) An organizational blogger should be tuning in to
what’s going on (eg, reading bloggers, web sites and web organizations in the
issue space) but also building relationships. Bloggers specifically have new
software tools for forming connections—links, blogrolls, and trackbacks. These
are really the tentative ties, the traces of relationship. What’s being built
is a community of people with a common interest who actively communicate or at
least attend to the chatter around an issue. And attention is what influence is
all about these days. I think Lisa "M"s blogging activity points in this direction.
So what should we do?
- A blog is the ante for getting in the community.
- The blogger is not only a communicator out but a
- The blogger should be reading, listening, chatting with
others in the space.
- The blogger ought to learn who and what’s in the common-interest
- Bloggers in organizations that have resources to offer the
community should be offering that support.
- There should be many bloggers—i.e., community builders.
- Staff should sit down at their computers every day and do
community organization via that means of access to people the same way
traditional community organizers get in their cars and go relationship building
in physical communities.
- Online communicating should be part of everybody’s job,
- Online community building should be as systematic and
organized as other forms of relationship building.
- Blogging is not a communications function; it’s an
- Blogging should be written into job descriptions.