Keep Trying

Monday, March 10, 2003

7 Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers - Field Trip

We will wrap up the 7 Habits this week, but first there is a tremendous example of blogging which is instructive to examine.

Last week, Doc Searls and David Weinberger posted World of Ends. Doc and Dave are two of the most proactive proponents of blogging. They have built huge Emotional Bank Accounts through their linking and boosterism as well as by being genuinely nice people.

The inital goal for this piece was wide blogger distribution. Keeping that end in mind, they emailed many bloggers informing them of the piece. When people started linking and commenting they went for the Win-Win by linking back to those bloggers. They tried to listen to what other bloggers had to say and linked to opposing viewpoints. The synergy caused by this writing, blogging, linking and backlinking led to over 500 Technorati links as well as a slash-dotting. Talk about highly effective blogging. The only thing missing in terms of blogging publicity was a link from Glenn Reynolds, but it is very possible they did not even pursue Mr Reynold's particular audience.

In terms of blogging distribution, this was arguably the most successful campaign in the history of blogging. Unfortunately in terms of the message itself, it missed the 7 habits mark.

At the beginning of a follow up post, David answers the two questions that were on my mind, "Who was the intended audience?" and "Why was the piece written in such an arrogant style?".

David blogged: The intended readers are the boneheaded captains of industry and government, but we didn't think they'd ever read it if we didn't make it highly partisan and somewhat obnoxious.

The particular industry boneheads that David and Doc were trying to converse with, are those in the telecommunications, music and publishing industries.

In terms of proactivity I am still not exactly sure what the goal was. Was it to give these captains of industry some sound advice so they could better serve their customers, employees, shareholders and business partners through better service and increased profitability? Or was it to encourage these captains to make their wares more accessible to their customers at more reasonable prices? Or was it a message that they should consider their exit strategies as the end was near for them?

Whatever the proactive reason, it is clear that calling them boneheads did not keep any end in mind. And even if there was a need to give some "Eat Your Broccoli" scolding, I question if it should have been one of the first things mentioned. So on the first three habits, there is some room for improvement.

On the habit of win/win, I did not really see any concern for the win for the industries and their captains. In seeking first to understand, there was little or no discussion of the very real paradigms which the industries are coming from. There was no empathic listening on the problems that the Big Companies face in serving their customers, employees, shareholders and business partners. With such low performance on the first five habits, we can expect very little synergy between this group of industry leaders and this particular group of "Internet Changes Everything" advocates.

But there is always hope. Doc and David are two of the smartest and nicest guys I have met in the blogging world. And I am hopeful that they will someday actual listen to and hear the messages that some of their critics tell them which might be summarized as follows:
- If you feel that the Internet is a conversation, perhaps talking down to those who see things differently, does not advance the cause.. Please consider the possibility, that although you may be very smart, nobody is always right, even on the issues which they devote most of their working lives to.
- Why insist that you are either on the Cluetrain or off the Cluetrain? Why not make room for partial agreement and real discussion of opposing viewpoints?

Doc's pointing to Russell Beattie's criticism and David's above mentioned link to opposing thoughts, lead to hope. Maybe David and Doc will consider some of the 7 Habits and we will see some real conversation.