Will new Blog Council help big companies get small conversations?

I was just reading the blogs this morning (I have a Fast Company column due and am avoiding working on it) but the news about a new blog council caught my eye. In particular, I see Dave Taylor’s response and tend to agree with him. I’m pretty skeptical. Why? Cause I’ve done enough speaking to enough corporations now that if they don’t get why they should be talking with their customers already I don’t get how hanging out at yet another boring industry conference is going to help them to get it.

And, actually, if your company needs help “getting it” then you shouldn’t be hanging out with other companies, but should be hanging out with the teams who are helping the political campaigns. Oh, sorry, I just plugged my column I wrote a while back for this month’s Fast Company.

But, seriously, here’s where corporations go wrong: they don’t get the value of seemingly unimportant conversations.

Here’s a test. Visit a Best Buy store. Now imagine that store without ANY human beings inside. What do you have? A bankrupt store.

So why when I visit BestBuy.com don’t I see any people? Hear any conversations? Is there any wonder why Amazon has a P/E ratio much higher than Best Buy? (Amazon puts real people on its Web site — it’s ironic that an Internet focused company “gets” the value of people and their conversations better than a “brick and mortar” store does since without people a brick and mortar store would simply not exist).

Demonstrates that the industry has a LONG way to go before it understands the real value that seemingly unimportant conversations have.

Every company I’ve spoken to, from Loreal to Target to Boeing gets that you need to pay attention to the New York Times. I don’t know of a single corporation who won’t return a journalist’s phone calls from the New York Times.

But, how many companies respond to a kid in Australia who only has three readers? How many companies respond to comments made on people’s Facebook walls? How many companies meet regularly with bloggers (the BBC and Microsoft are tonight at our blogger dinner in London — no “blog council” was needed to demonstrate to them why having conversations with bloggers are important).

If this council changes THAT in any noticeable way, I’ll cheer them on. But, like Dave Taylor (who also has been around the block dealing with companies) I’m pretty skeptical.


Google Shared item blogs get more useful

This is a cool “little” feature in the latest version of Google Reader. if you subscribe to multiple people’s Shared Items’ blogs (I call that a link blog) it won’t send you duplicate items anymore, but will show you how many people actually linked to it. That’s a KILLER feature. But, what’s next?

I think Google is working on a Digg/TechMeme competitor and this is the first in a series of features that’ll bring Google Reader there. All of a sudden my decision to do a link blog using Google’s Reader is looking better and better.

I learned about this over on David Carrington’s blog who demonstrates how it works.

Oh, and we’re in London and having a great time. Milan is as good a traveler as his older brother is. Hardly a peep the entire way. Wifi here in the hotel rocks. It’s always fun to travel thousands of miles just to learn that the Internet works here too! Heheh. Seriously, today we’re probably going to get a tour of the BBC. That should be fun. Last week we got a tour of a Wall Street Journal printing plant (all of the Wall Street Journals that you buy in Northern California are printed about 50 yards from Podtech’s offices. They can print 60,000 copies an hour at that plant alone. It’s amazing the amount of paper and ink they go through there. Makes me appreciate how cool it is that we can distribute ideas via the Internet now and not convince someone to spend so many resources getting our words out there.