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Hazards of speaking out; In association with BARCLAYS Inside View.

Byline: John Lamb

A FEW years ago, a senior journalist on a national Sunday newspaper said to me: "You know that Adolf Hitler?" (I said I had a vague recollection).

"He always saved his major speeches for a Saturday night so he would catch the first edition of the News of the World."

I also remember someone saying that there would always be a need for newspapers.

But today, in a world of Blogs, Podcasts, Really Simple Syndication and MySpace, we can't be so sure.

When communications simply meant talking to someone or sending material to newspapers, businesses had it quite easy.

But today, how does the field of finance, commerce and industry feel it should market goods and services?

Much pressure is being applied for companies to get into Blogging. But what makes a Blog?

Apparently, it is one of many forms of IT communication that are entering the mainstream of communications.

The idea is that the most senior member of your company or organisation has his or her own website. Great thoughts or information could be posted, inviting comments from the Blogosphere.

The site would be bound to attract interest provided the content was credible, opinionated and well thought out.

Of course, you run the risk of inviting criticism about that new product or service, and herein lies the biggest danger.

It would be possible and perfectly legitimate to have safeguards. Comments, such as those of an abusive or libellous nature, could be blocked by pre-agreed blogging guidelines.

However, some critical comments would have to be allowed to go "live."

It would be disastrous to be found to be moderating everything except positive comments. A good example of living with criticism can be found on the General Motors Blog.

A Hitlerblog might well have worked for him. But could he have taken a verbal kicking? Very doubtful.

John Lamb's views are not necessarily those of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where he is Press and PR Manager.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jan 5, 2007
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