dimarts, d’abril 20, 2004

Blogging the Market

Blogging the Market
How Weblogs are turning corporate machines into real conversations
George N. Dafermos
Version 0.91 Wednesday 15/10/2003

It has been repeatedly argued that the process/technology of weblogs offers a novel
approach towards the continuation of democratic public discourse. Within the
boundaries of the firm though, the implementation of weblogs takes a whole new
dimension to realising that weblogs are more than the sum of its parts: more than
vibrant public forums and frequently updated streams-of-consciousness, alternative
forms of publishing and online outbursts of gonzo journalism, and personal diaries.
They are the embodiment of online self-organising social systems, are essentially
characterised by management decentralisation and ultimately threaten to destabilise
current organisational structures and re-invent the scope of management. Provided
that weblogs are not co-opted by rigid corporate policies that aim at stifling the
creative spirit that fosters innovation - one of the reasons for having weblog
communities at the first place - weblogs can be successfully deployed within the
organisation with a pervasive effect across all the stages of the value chain "achieving
a greater return on connection from employee, customer and partner relationships".
As an extension, they can possibly involve all interested groups; regardless of their
level of attachment to the company.
In fact, weblogs have an infinite spectrum of potential applications whose viability is
based on the dual understanding that weblogs are an attempt to break free from the
dehumanised, standardised, conformant with corporate guidelines on how to address
an audience PR speak that customers are increasingly sceptical of, and a flexible
virtual platform onto which a process of cross-fertilisation among individual thoughts
and ideas unfolds.
Weblogs, in other words, envisage a hierarchy circumvention mechanism, which
empowers knowledgeable employees to indulge in conversations with the market
rather than communicating solely by means of marketing pitches and press releases
that besides have limited effectiveness in a connected market economy. For years it
has been suggested that online communities will revolutionalise the way organisations
operate, however, the only social process/technological infrastructure that has reached
this potential and is dynamically evolving is the weblog. It takes no technical savvy to
set up a weblog and start talking to your customers. That's why weblogs are huge:
they take the power out of the IT department and the webmaster's hegemony and hand
it over to where knowledge really resides - to the individual workers who are
knowledgeable enough and know how to speak with a human voice. Now,
organisational structure loses its historic role of managing power relations at a
distance, and as a result the organisation becomes truly hyperlinked and power shifts
to where knowledge actually resides.