Get Used To Transparency, IABC

    March 15, 2005

In yesterday’s edition of The Hobson & Holtz Report, our bi-weekly podcast show, Shel and I talked a little about IABC.

We’re talking about IABC a lot these days.

Our conversation was a further extension, so to speak, of the critical post by Allan Jenkins that he published last week. Like Shel and I, Allan is a long-time IABC member.

Allan’s post has generated 24 comments at the last count, with the conversation extending to topics beyond the original points he made in his post. A key point Shel and I were discussing yesterday was that this very interesting conversation about IABC is taking place openly in a blog authored by an IABC member and without anyone from IABC itself – neither the association’s leadership nor its administration – participating.

This is a perfect example of how a blog can be a highly-effective catalyst for open and transparent discussion, which will happen wherever and whenever people want to discuss a particular topic. And it will happen with or without the subject of the topic joining in, as this example shows.

I was very much hoping that Allan’s post would have prompted someone from IABC – perhaps the incoming Chair, Warren Bickford – to join in the conversation. No such luck, so obviously a wholly naive expectation.

Yet I really would have expected by now that someone from IABC’s leadership or the headquarters staff would see what’s going on with the various critical posts in recent weeks in blogs like Allan’s, Shel’s and mine.

Heck, three people from IABC headquarters in San Francisco participated in the New Communications Forum 2005 conference in Napa in January (invitations, I might add, that were extended to them by Shel and I). I would imagine that they learned a lot about new media channels like blogs, as did the other participants, and were able to articulate their learning experiences to others in the association.

So what’s the hold up here? Is it to do with command-and-control thinking about who owns the conversations? Or is it a view that a conversation on a blog isn’t worth paying attention to? Isn’t it just a bunch of members whinging and bitching in a way that’s just not right where such discussions should be held behind closed doors, as they’ve always been?

I think it’s all of the above. In which case, sorry IABC leadership and headquarters, you’d better get used to the open and transparent way of discussion. Better still, why not join in? You have absolutely nothing to lose. And you know there are at least three committed members who are ready and willing to help you see the advantages, as we keep saying in our blog posts.

(I’ve just seen an excellent post Shel’s written today on this candid, no-holds-barred debate about IABC over which IABC has no control. Do read it!)

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: