Spirited Communication

Avoid blogger “road rage”

[This is a post that I entered into a contest sponsored by Ted Demopoulos on his Blogging for Business site. I won a copy of the book, and am enjoying it immensely.]

I was listening to a podcast discussion about the heat that Dell was taking following the launch of its One2One blog, when I began to get frustrated with the driver in front of me. He was driving too slowly, and I was growing impatient, waiting for him to speed up. We finally reached a portion of roadway with a second lane, and when “Mr. Poky” didn’t immediately move to the right lane to let me pass, I gunned my Passat, swung into the right lane, and roared past him.

Of course, I had to shake my head at him and swerve in front of him as I passed. How else was he going to learn the consequences of inferior driving?

Well that sad example of road rage is also a cautionary tale for communicators participating in a blogging initiative within a company. As we are seeing with Dell’s critics, some people have a low tolerance for a person or company entering slowly onto the blogging highway.

It really reminds me of my run-in (fortunately not a run-into) with that slow driver. I’m comfortable handling my car, and I’ve been driving long enough to know when to be aggressive, and when to cruise along with the flow. It helped to grow up in Chicago, where you either learn how to drive, or resign yourself to using public transportation.

But what about the people who are just learning to drive—or blog? Should we honk our horns at them, or try to force them off of the road? If someone had done that to us, how many of us would have been dedicated enough to get over the learning curve without spinning out?

My advice to corporate communicators is to prepare their management to the reality of a medium that encourages transparency and conversation. They will read things that disturb them. They may be criticized as they try to find their individual voices while publishing their initial blog posts. Some “blogging expert” might even try to send them into the ditch.

Tell them to grip the wheel comfortably and keep their eyes on the road ahead—and don’t run out of gas.

1 Comment

  1. donna papacosta

    Good analogy, Tom! Road rage and blog rage. I also agree with your assessment of Blogging for Business. It’s very well done.

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