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Blogs, a medium; blogging, a practice

Jim Benson has some interesting comments about using social media for opaque marketing. Part of the context for what Jim is writing about is the idea (or ideal) that blogs and other social media are naturally oriented towards "open" conversation, vs. the significant signs to the contrary, especially as blogs get adopted by marketing-oriented organizations.

What follows are a couple comments I have in response to Jim's post:

I think it's fair to say that blogs are fundamentally a generic medium upon which a large range of human and machine (bot) expression is not only possible, but natural and healthy.

It's natural that blogs get used to mislead people. It's natural that blogs get used by bots for spam. It's unfortunate, but it's also a key part of why blog are a successful medium. If blogs were really, by nature, about "open and honest conversation among humans," hardly anyone would blog as much as they do.

And, so with social media in general: to the degree that any site or service is designed to become an actual medium of human connection, the features that support the range of human connection also support not-open, disingenuous (or dishonest) monologues and faux conversations generated by disconnected individuals, organizations and/or their bots.

All that said, blogging is an interesting practice (IMO, that is independent of the blog medium). Blogging is wherever individuals create web pages, written in the first person, with attribution and a timestamp.

Blogging is a good practice that organizations with positive intentions can adopt to reach-out to their customers / audience. If you want to let people know that you are, in fact, there, that you are open to conversation and, at any particular time, you are interested in talking about particular subjects, blogging is a fine way to convey those intents.

With organizations that are interested in communicating via the web, I often ask: Can you (individuals in the organization) give simple, brief and timely firsthand accounts of what you're actually up to?

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