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Bloggers Form Lynch Mobs, Prove Forbes Right

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When I was younger, I loved the cheesy “When Animals Attack!” television shows that were the standard fare on FOX.

Well, sometimes Bloggers can act like animals, attacking others when their young (the Blogs) are attacked.

Case in point: Forbesarticle on blogs, which does take a page from FOX. attack on Forbes pretty much proves Forbes’ point: attack if you don’t agree.

The articles in BusinessWeek and Fortune were fawning articles, very pro-Blogs. Probably too pro-Blogs from two publications that are known for presenting both sides of an issue. Now, we get the other side from Forbes, and Bloggers can’t take the criticism. While the article does take a negative tone, there are points that needed to be addressed, very valid points.

But, the attacks on Forbes? Give me a break. The issue here is that Forbes is right. When Nick Denton was interviewed by the New York Times in May, he noted that blogs are inherently negative. Hmm, somewhat the point that Forbes is proving.

From the story are a few gems that seem to prove Forbes’ point.

“Bloggers are more of a threat than people realize, and they are only going to get more toxic. This is the new reality,” says Peter Blackshaw, chief marketing officer at Intelliseek, a Cincinnati firm that sifts through millions of blogs to provide watch-your-back service to 75 clients, including Procter & Gamble and Ford.

You know, instead of PR bloggers attacking this article, we should be embracing this article because it proves a valuable point for our industry: that corporations need to be aware of what is being said out there.

This is what PR should be counseling. That corporations need to be aware of what is being said out there, the “new reality” as Pete Blackshaw noted in the article. This is what PR is supposed to shine at, counseling clients, monitoring what is being said out there, and providing a strategy to respond. Not to whine that one magazine is wrong and to ignore it – we ignore anything at our own peril. Or, take a page from the Forbes sidebar, and fight back, although that is a not a good way to describe being aware and some of the advice on the list is best ignored.

To quote another blogger, but to give good advice – the type of advice companies can actually use: My message to Corporate America is simple. Listen to Forbes. Take a look around the blogosphere for yourself and you will find real humans – good, bad and ugly.

Update: the story is tops on Memeorandum now, and Om Malik has a good, historical and used-to-work there view, and Doc Searls has a good and balanced post.

Reader Comments

Gump said…

Excellent post. Companies that are not doing blog monitoring (and PR professionals that are not counseling them to do do it) are taking a huge risk.

I like to say that if a medium to large sized company had ten picketers marching out in front of their headquarters, they’d pick up the phone and call their PR firm immediately. No question – this is crisis communication 101. And PR would be in charge.

But the same thing is happening online. Blogs, message boards and newsgroups are the communities where consumers and customers are talking with one another – and to your point, Jeremy, often negatively. And many companies are not waking up to this important fact. Nor are they (and their marketing firms) monitoring these online communities.

Jeremy Pepper is the CEO and founder of POP! Public Relations, a public relations firm based in Arizona, USA.

He authors the popular Musings from POP! Public Relations blog which offers Jeremy’s opinions and views – on public relations, publicity and other things.

Bloggers Form Lynch Mobs, Prove Forbes Right
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