Are Character Blogs Worthwhile?

    April 19, 2005

Are character blogs – a topic that’s producing lots of discussion at the moment – worthwhile or not…

It seems to me that a polarization of strongly-held views is emerging on something that isn’t really worth spending that much time on unless everyone is talking about the same thing.

For instance, the link above is to a Technorati search of the phrase “character blogs”. As I write this post, the search result shows less than 60 posts. Compare that to this Technorati search on the phrase “fake blogs” which turned up over 380 results.

So a lot of people are writing opinions about these two topics.

Yet both phrases mean different things, at least to me:

  1. A character blog means a blog which appears to be written by a fictional person. An example might be a blog that’s authored by a toy – Barbie, let’s say. Or by a brand – Captain Morgan’s Rum may be a good example.
  2. A fake blog is one that appears to be like a character blog yet the conversation is fake in that comments (for example) are not what they appear to be nor written by genuine people. An example might be the McDonald’s Lincoln Fries blog. (And, by the way, this definition of fake blog is entirely different to the types of blog crooks are using as BBC News reports.)

Is that how you’d define these phrases from a PR/marketing point of view?

All these examples are there, incidentally, although let’s be extremely flexible with what we think the word ‘blog’ means in each case.

In yesterday’s edition of For Immediate Release: The Hobson & Holtz Report, Shel and I had quite a lively discussion about this, and we both have different views.

Generally, Shel thinks they’re ok while I think they’re a waste of time (I like, and therefore nabbed, Steve Rubel’s description: “Character blogs are a waste of time, server space and bandwidth”).

In our prep for yesterday’s show, we took a look at what some of our blogging colleagues are saying – we mentioned Shel Israel (also about deleting blog comments), Steve Rubel, Hugh McLeod, Fredrik Wacka, Rok Hrastnik and Susan Getgood. There are also posts I’ve seen today by BL Ochman and Josh Hallett.

All reasoned arguments with diverging views, ranging from a definite and absolute no (Steve) to a qualified yes (BL). My additional view, as the headline to this post says – just because you could do it doesn’t mean you should. To me, ‘lame’ is another good word to use to describe such blogs.

In yesterday’s show, we asked our listeners to let us know their opinions. What do you have to say about it? If you’d like to tell us what your views are that Shel and I can use in an upcoming show, you can let us know in a variety of easy ways:

  1. Call the Comment Line and leave a comment: +1 206 984 0931 (US number).
  2. Send us your spoken opinion in an MP3 file.
  3. Email your thoughts to comments at forimmediaterelease dot biz.
  4. Leave a comment here or in the post on our podcast blog.

We’d love to know what you think.

Neville Hobson is the author of the popular blog which focuses on business communication and technology.

Neville is currentlly the VP of New Marketing at Crayon. Visit Neville Hobson’s blog: