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Monday, November 14, 2005

If you can't beat em, join em!

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to blog I go.

Apparently the blogosphere is growing at the rate of a new blog every second. That’s a lot of people creating a lot of content! Who’d have thought there were that many wanna-be journalists and self-publishers?

I suspect that my motive for blogging is similar to that of millions of other bloggers: I question what I read in the mainstream media; I question what’s being served up by corporate and government PR machines; and perhaps, for a brief moment, I want to unleash my inner journalist and write my own views without censorship or the corporate editing process.

Having worked in marketing and corporate communications roles in both large and small companies for over ten years, I’ve experienced my share of corporate editing/censorship. In the early days, the marked up changes would appear across the page in bright red ink. Now, the tracking function in Microsoft Word lets my various internal editors do that electronically. Some days, those mark ups have left my pages looking more like road maps - or war zones. One time, when I was writing a press release, an ex-boss decided to short-circuit the drafting process, commandeered my keyboard as I was mid-way through it, and attempted to finish the release for me. His reputation for being a micro-manager was never more evident…

These days, I am a Public Relations Manager for Factiva, a Dow Jones and Reuters company. I work with our regional marketing teams and PR agencies across the UK, CEMA and APAC, as well as my colleagues in our US head office. I still have to work documents through a long approval process which ensures consistency of our corporate message. And that’s fair enough – the best companies and brands have consistent and well articulated messages.

That said, Factiva is also encouraging its employees to blog. Whereas some companies have a blanket “Thou shalt not blog” policy, Factiva is actively encouraging us to “go forth and blog”. When I put on my corporate communications hat, I ponder whether this is opening the company up to unnecessary communications risks. But then many companies are being blogged about right now by their past and present employees, and by satisfied and dissatisfied customers. In many cases, companies are completely unaware that these conversations are taking place. To me, that is a far bigger communications threat.

So. This blog is my own foray into self-publishing, and will discuss my observations as a communications professional, and how the ever-changing media landscape is impacting my role and the role of corporate communications globally.

3 Comments:

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10:34 AM  
Blogger glennfan said...

Mel, Just found out you've joined the Blogosphere as a contributor, not just a consumer. I too (as a fellow Factiva employee) am very excited by our company's embrace of self-publishing. I think Factiva's taking a calculated risk encouraging us to blog. But I think it's one I'd taken had I been making the decision and one I think that shows we are an innovative company willing to push things forward. From the other side of the Pond, I wish you luck in your posting.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Melanie Surplice said...

Thanks Glenn. I agree that Factiva's decision to embrace blogging is another example of how progressive the company is.

I also think it's important for Factiva to be monitoring and participating in blog conversations so we can continually improve our expertise in this area.

That I'm now using the Factiva Insight products to help me monitor those conversations in my PR capacity, is very cool!

3:57 PM  

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