I’ve had a few comments on my recent post about a blogathon (blogging about a company for compensation) taking place at a couple of other places on the web. Strategic HCM isn’t participating in this (but not really for any ethical reasons) and I had thought the activity would be worth discussing with you. I’d now also like to respond to the generally critical comments and questions I’ve had about this to explain why I think the development is a positive one.
There are certainly a couple of potentially negative issues raised by this sort of arrangement, including:
- individual blogs losing their sense of authenticity
- the social media / blogosphere loosing its robustness and authority.
But there are also a couple of positives:
- blogs continuing to be published which might otherwise be withdrawn
- recognition of the shift in the balance of power from companies to individuals and from traditional sources of influence towards social media users.
I support Bill Boorman’s take on this last point (though I don’t think I’ll be commissioning Brandman for anything!):
- “Interestingly, Lumesse are looking to bloggers (me included) in every country they operate to carry their message and monitor feedback. It is perhaps indicative of the way those that are active in the social channels are recognised as being important message carriers in targeted sectors.Lumesse recognise that their story is going to be told and commented on, better tobe part of the conversation by giving access to the company and their products. I think this move is to be applauded, and demonstrates the part bloggers, and those active in social channels play in branding. While it might not be good news for the P.R. companies, it is clear that influence is seen as a little more than a Klout score.”
And there are some other reasons why this is probably just isn’t that important – including that bloggers are not professional journalists and there are always going to be multiple agenda influencing what they write. Sponsors, or whatever sort, is just one more influence.
As I explained in my previous post, I decided not to participate in the blogathon, but not for any ideological reasons. After all, this blog is already sponsored and although there are some major differences between this sponsorship and the blogathon (eg I agree topics with my sponsors that they and I believe you will find interesting, but I don’t – generally - blog about the sponsoring company itself), there are some significant commonalities too (in that they would both have some influence over what I post).
But there are some important aspects in both the blogathon and this blog’s existing sponsorship arrangements:
- (Nearly) everything written here is written by me. (I have in the past included guest bloggers but these have been completely unrelated to any sponsorship arrangement).
- Everything I write is based on my personal views about HR. (I may on occasion write about a sponsoring company but I will always provide my own views about it when I do.)
- Any sponsored posts will be identified as being sponsored.
(The blogathon opportunity fulfilled similar conditions too – which is why I think it was a blogathon, not a shill-athon).
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