05 July 2007

oh, those crazy bloggers

While so many in our industry are rushing into the more ephemeral areas of social media, I still like to think the communications dinosaurs we commonly call "bloggers" continue to play a critical role in communications. (Call me old fashioned, I guess.) But I'm still seeing companies and organizations preferring to avoid bloggers, particularly political bloggers, for fear that their crazy antics or the fact that they use four-letter words will subsume their message. "Bloggers are radioactive."

I tell companies (and many of my colleagues) there's more harm in ignoring bloggers, because if your issues are reasonably salient they'll be talking about you anyway. The example I typically give is Americablog.

Full disclosure - I've known the guys who write Americablog for years. John Aravosis is a great pal from way back. These guys rail against all sorts of issues, and they take a decidedly left-of-center position. They've launched online campaigns that have taken down tv shows, compelled companies to change their positions on legislation, and cancel advertising campaigns that cost millions. They've raised thousands of dollars for campaigns in a matter of minutes. They're the real deal, and for many companies and non-profits, they're scary.

But take a look at a recent post. "Chris in Paris" is a bit miffed that a company had the financial records of 2.3 million of its customers stolen by an employee. He's upset that the Democratic Party in the US isn't making privacy a more important issue.

Then John, who has written about privacy issues too many times to count, adds an update:

I personally raised the issue with Nancy Pelosi.

When John says "personally raised the issue," he doesn't mean he sent an email. He doesn't mean he spoke to an aide. He means he had the full personal attention of the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States and put her on notice that this was an issue on which he expected action. Crazy, radioactive John meets regularly with leaders in Congress.

And you better believe Speaker Pelosi listened. Because John leads a network of over 150,000 politically active Americans who donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to political campaigns. John can reach them and prompt them to act in a matter of minutes. He's done it before. And by the way, John's not a political novice -- he's a Georgetown-educated attorney who's worked as a REPUBLICAN Senate staffer. He's also worked at the World Bank and Children's Defense Fund. He speaks five languages.

John's not alone. Political bloggers have the ears of the most powerful politicians in America. They're in the meetings most companies wish they had. Bloggers are the political elites and they are helping to guide policy.

If you want your issues to get in front of the Speaker of the House, one way to do that is engage John at Americablog or someone like him. It's as simple as that.

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