Blogging as a state of mind
By Charlene Li
I'm on my way back from New York where we just finished our Consumer Forum event. Over 650 people in attendance! The highlight for me was moderating the keynote speech by Joe Trippi, the former campaign manager for Howard Dean's campaign. Joe discussed how the Dean for America campaign used the Internet, and in particular, blogs, to propel the candidate from obscurity to front runner in a little over a year. One powerful example (which Trippi discusses in his book The Revolution Will Not Be Televised) was when they put up 50 signs that said "Delaware for Dean" and "Ohio for Dean" -- I think you get the idea. Within minutes of the site going up, somone had commented on the blog that there was no "Puerto Rico for Dean" posters. That was followed by a request for "Overseas Americans for Dean" signs. Within 10 minutes, those changes were made. How long would a traditional campaign have taken to make those changes happen?
Trippi's point was for businesses consider how great they could be if they could tap into a community of loyal customers. What if we actually asked our customers what they wanted? What if we used mechanisms like blogs to give customers a voice -- and then actually listened and acted on requests? It doesn't mean giving customers ALL of the control -- we would otherwise be doomed to manage to the lowest common denominator.
But I believe that blogs as they are today are more a state of mind than a technology or a publishing tool. For example, Forrester's CEO has occassionally published something called "My View", which are his musings on topics ranging from Sun's potential to the source of Apple's success. While the MyViews weren't published with blogging technology, they contained two elements of what I think blogs today encompass: 1) a distinctive voice and point of view; 2) ability for readers to comment back on that position.