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April 06, 2006


David Murray


Agree with much of what you say here. First, it's true I only meant to insult one fellow rude curmudgeon with my rude editorial and managed to insult some other people too. (Though it seems to me the incident has produced much more glee than honest consternation.)

As for the credit you give to the blogosphere for "unearthing my editorial, putting it on display, dissecting it, rebutting it, positing alternatives, giving examples, pointing to sources of information, and engaging people from several continents in a healthy debate about the issue," I'd only say that, yes, the blog world did some of that, but that the health of the debate is spotty and so far most of the alternatives, examples and other sources provided have been on one site.

That's Shel's blog, where I have sumed up my view about social media and internal communication. As you'll see, I think we mostly agree on that most important point.


Eric Eggertson

David: Yes, I think Shel's posts have been good. One of the positive things he's doing is eliciting comments directly from people who are doing things in their organizations.

I fully intend to respond to your request for examples and ideas, when I can sit down and collect my thoughts.

Don't expect people using blogs, podcasts, video blogs, user-influenced news/search tools like Digg and Memeorandum, etc. to universally behave in a dignified, rational, methodical way when they're dealing with issues.

This stuff is messy, partly because it's fairly new, and partly because there are no controls at the input stage. No one fills in a form requesting to add a comment to this online stew of ideas.

Add to that the fact that thoughtful, well-reasoned discussions of issues get much less attention that flame wars and outrageous statements, and you have a recipe for chaos.

I guess I've never understood your disdain for chaos, and your dismissal of online discussions because people's statements aren't always buttressed by detailed research.

People who support their ideas with evidence, and who present their ideas in a logical, clear manner have more credibility than people who wildly spout unsubstantiated claims. That applies to the world of blogs and other social media in much the same way it applies to business publications like the one you edit.

The tools for screening out rabid polemicists and narrowing your online reading to sources that you find more credible are in the works. They don't work perfectly, and there's lots of room for improvement in online search and online organization of related information.

If you find no value in the combined output of more than 400 PR and communications bloggers, that's fine with me. I never made a pledge to fulfill your needs for information and analysis, and I'm certainly not getting paid to do anything of the sort.

I suspect companies like Corante that are trying to find ways to collect, organize and analyse select sources of commentary are closer to the model of discourse that you are seeking. The signal to noise ratio is much better when someone is making judgements about what is worth reading. I expect that model to fluorish, as it's very similar to what Ragan has done successfully using a paid subscription model for years.

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