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    NevOn is the archive weblog of Neville Hobson, a British business communicator based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, a record of commentary and conversations from December 2002 until 22 February 2006. This site is no longer updated - please visit www.nevillehobson.com.
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2006 Public Speaking

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    New Communications Forum 2006 - Palo Alto, USA, March 1-3, 2006

    Blogging for Business - London, April 4, 2006

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2005 Public Speaking

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    IABC EuroComm 2005 - Paris, Nov 30 - Dec 2, 2005

    Melcrum workshop on New Media - London, November 29, 2005

    Making the News: Blogging, Really Simple Syndication and The New PR - Sunderland, UK, November 18, 2005

    Emerce E-Day - Amsterdam, October 12, 2005

    Global PR Blog Week 2.0 - September 19-23, 2005

    PodcastCon UK - September 17, 2005

    The Communication Directors' Forum

    New Communications Forum 2005 - Napa, USA, January 26-27, 2005

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02 February 2005


Susan Getgood

I agree. In my opinion, the GM *corporate* blog is developing pretty much as I would expect (and hoped) a c-level blog from a big company would. It's just not possible for these execs, in their corporate roles, to interact in exactly the same way that we (or they) might as "private citizens." Lots of reasons: Time. Expectations. Whether a back and forth in comments would be productive or even achieve the goal, ie of addressing the issue raised by the reader. Like it or not, these guys are balancing their corporate roles and responsibilities with a desire to increase transparency and build DIRECT connections with their customers. Their PR agency may be sifting through the comments and working with them to decide which ones should be commented on, but guess what, that's their job too! At the end of the day, the GM execs are writing their own posts, thereby addressing their audience directly, and they should be applauded for the effort. I hope more corporate execs follow.

James Farmer

What's particularly fascinating is that it achieves this without having a 'subscribe to comments through email' function... thus very much pulling in the return viewer (which is a very different type of commentator).

Frequently, in my experience, these types of comments turn into commentator conversations rather than between the author and while these are equally valuable in their own way.. I think you're missing out on a lot of 'constructive' potential in the customer-brainstorming / relationship sense.

I'm hardly a leadership blogger but have developed much stronger ties / had far more rewarding conversations since installing a 'subscribe' to comments feature (the RSS comments feed isn't much whack either, it really needs to be email).

Interesting post!

Cheers, James Farmer

Neville Hobson

Well said, Susan - apart from anything else, it does highlight what PR's role can be in the planning and development of a public leadership blog. There is some talk out there that PR should not have any role in CEO/leadership blogging. That's absurd, although I think such views are mostly based on the notion that if PR does get involved, it would mean PR writing content. Is that a bad thing? It depends. If it's openly-disclosed, then I don't see what the issue is in this regard. Indeed, with GM's engine blog, it's stated quite clearly that the communicators at GM (and the agency, I expect) are the ones doing the content.

But that's not the effective role PR should play with an executive blog. And unless someone has clear evidence to the contrary, that's not what's happening with the GM FastLane Blog, ie, the execs are the bloggers.

Neville Hobson

Yes, I wonder what difference that might make, James, in developing those conversations. I notice many blogs offer an email subscription feature, but they tend to be for info on posts not comments, and most are third-party offerings. I have one on my blog, for instance, the Microsoft LiveMessage Alerts service that sends you an email every time something new is posted here.

I can't do that for comments, though, which I'd like to be able to offer. I'd like to be able to get that from other blogs, too, although I'd prefer getting comments and notifications via RSS rather than by email - they'd tend to get cluttered and lost among all the other email stuff, if not zapped by the anti-spam filters.

I don't know of any third-party offering that would enable a comment-notification service to run off a TypePad blog. Do you?

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