A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in a panel-led discussion about where blogs fit in the marketing function. Many bloggers are violently opposed to the adoption of blogging by corporate marketers — and their concerns are more than valid. The technology was developed by folks like Dave Winer as a way for all people to communicate — especially those who might have no institutional resource at their disposal. Yet, I believe it’s a tribute to the genius of the blogging technology that it has been embraced by everyone, corporations included.
Our discussion was led by Ad Maiora’s Mauro Lupi, a search expert and one of the most-followed bloggers in Italy. Peter Thoeny, who helps companies establish wikis inside their organizations, and Marissa Levenson, of Six Apart, my blogging platform and the event sponsor, brought terrific perspective to both the technology and cultural aspects of blogging. The discussion was organized by Franco Folini on behalf of Business Association Italy America — BAIA — which is dedicated to building and strengthening technology ties between the two countries. However, reflecting the Italian spirit, our conversation was all over the global map, with everyone in the room exploring how blogs add to traditional forms of communication.
We covered a lot of territory. I was pleased to see that the question of "using" blogs to further commercial agenda was not at the core of any discussion. It was really about how to foster more conversations with more people, whether it was about ideas or products or services. Consistently, from we four panelists and the participants, there was a clear message that a blog deserves an authentic voice, whatever the purpose of the communication.
This is a good time for me to thank Sylvia Paull for putting me in the right place at the right time, in 2004, when she introduced me to Mena Trott, the creator, with Ben Trott, of Typepad, Six Apart’s blogging platform. Mena got me started. Blogging has given me an important channel for sharing ideas and hearing from others — for learning.