I had mentioned in a previous post the "Blogging the Enterprise" conference being held here in Austin yesterday. Bloggers from enterprises both large and small were in attendance along with a cabal of PR flack trying to get their arms around this whole blogging "thing" (it's a phenomena, people, not the Creature from the Black Lagoon) -- and the discussion was quite good: very forward thinking with lots of great questions.
John Moore from the Brand Autopsy reminded us that blogging can make "small companies big, and big companies small," and Shel Israel, co-author with Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble of the coming blogging tome "Naked Conversations" did some great real-time blogging during the event (Shel, how do you cover so much ground so quickly typing with those two index fingers???) even as he also participated in a panel and led us down the path of blogging righteousness in a full-on pitch that identified blogging's "sinners and winners."
Shel's comment vis a vis Scoble that "a good blogger is going to press against the restraining membrane to see how far it will stretch" resonated particularly well with me. (Here's to me stretching my blogging membrane up to, and not beyond, the breaking point.) Ultimately, Shel told us all not to do anything stupid, and to start "listening to [our] constituencies" instead of "shovelling things at [them]."
Steve Rubel with Micropersuasion provided a very informative keynote, one that was both useful and actionable: Find, Listen, Engage, Empower. (Steve, if you can find a way to transpose "Listen" and "Engage" you've got yourself a nice little acronym: "You've got to FEEL the blog!")
With all the PR folks in the audience, there was a lot of concern in the air about control. Steve pointed out that "there's a continuum between control and transparency...and you're probably on one end or the other."
Finally, as I observed during one of our panel discussions, the conversation about your company is going to go on with or without you -- if you don't participate, the silence can be deafening. Just ask Dell, employees from which were conspicuously absent from the conference, both on the panels and in the audience (considering that we were meeting in their hometown). Recently, Dell has taken a real drubbing from the blogosphere for not joining in the conversation.
Too bad...I found Michael Dell to be an excellent spokesperson at the recent Gartner conference.