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Blogger Relations, Where does it go?

November 7, 2006

I’m intrigued by a blog that James Governer wrote on Blogger Relations which he described as active tracking of blogs to identify and foster relations with influencers, traditional or not.

When I consider it for IBM (disclaimer, I am not the person who gets to decide this), the first question after what it is, is where does it sit (ok, the usual like mission, action, direction are assumed decided….defer to James here).  We have dedicated disciplines at IBM for Public Relations, Analyst Relations, Internal, Investor, Community and so on.

Unless you are at my blog for the first time, you know I sit in analyst relations.  AR has done more with the blogs than any of the other external communications functions.  This is due to the audience we deal with, desire to move this forward by John Mihalec, VP of IBM analyst relations to name a few.

So one would think that it belongs in AR, but the Internal and Corporate folks (remember when IBM introduced its blogging strategy – Corp. Communications did it and has an extensive function here).  So who’s to say?  I’d seek advice here.  If it is to attain equality to the other communications disciplines, it should be its own function.  If we are to stay where the focus is right now, it falls under A/R.

James points out that any good developer relations function has to have a good blogging capability.  Interestingly enough, I was in IBM developerWorks when we started the first IBM external blog site. So maybe it sits in development, it would depend on the mission once again.  I’d say this one is doubtful as there are too many issues covered by IBM bloggers at this point.

We put up blogging at developerWorks as IBM is too large to notice the minutia, and the communications, which is led by the PR flaks in Armonk who can’t see past the major publications.  This allowed us to put the site and develop such a following that dW was the defacto site for blogging for a long time as the nincompoops in corporate PR can’t get it together to understand what blogging really is.

I saw this trend far in advance of those enlightened New Yorkers.  They were still stuck in the land of print (and online print) and never saw this coming and dW was put up right under their noses.  It was sand in their gears that they couldn’t control everything and we produced vital messaging and forced them to work on our platform because of their moribund thinking.

IBM is a different animal as we are sometimes viewed as an octopus…8 arms in every direction, so anything we do usually has consequences in area’s that other companies do not even have products.  SAP and Oracle have no hardware or Server divisions.  Others  don’t have dedicated Finance divisions, and still others have no services.

Typically, on issues such as this, we start slow and get our feet wet, then get into the pool….our entries have been somewhere between Greg Louganis and a cannonball so no telling.

I’ll end by quoting James as he writes it well…”How should corporate communications respond? In a word flexibly.” (see the comments earlier about the inflexibility of Corporate Communications).

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