Sunday, January 08, 2006

Why We Should Stop "Blogging" and Just be "Open"

Yes, I know, everyone hates it. Frankly, I don't mind it for a venue like this one, a totally text-based, online site that is updated regularly (or semi-regularly) with simple publishing tools. But I don't like the term as all-encompassing for such things as podcasts, video blogs (or video podcasts, or whatever you want to call them) or a myriad of other ways of individuals expressing themselves in the broader electronic word.

Newsweek had a story last week about the talent behind the successful SNL rap film "Chronic(WHAT)les of Narnia." (Quick side note: I loved this film. During a family trip to my in-laws of Christmas I showed it to my wife and my father-in-law. I sat there cracking up, with the two of them looking at me like I'm insane.)

Long before Andy Samberg was rapping about a certain kids film on SNL, he and his friends were making and posting short pieces to their own Web site. This isn't some know-nothing with a video camera, this is a guy with a film education from NYU, the same school that turned out Spike Lee. This is among the best film schools in the country, but Samberg didn't go to Hollywood when he got out, instead he went to the Web.

Still he didn't give up on traditional media. He pitched a show to Fox (later posting the ditched pilot on the site) and worked for the now-cancelled ABC show Spin City.

What I like about this story is how he, and others like him, flit between the two worlds. They create interesting content, where it ends up is irrelevant. Would you call this "blogging"? I certainly wouldn't, but it falls under the same broad category. I prefer to call this "self-produced content." Yes, a mouthful I know.

During a recent lunch conversation with John Cass, he and I argued over the term "blogger relations." Personally, I think it's a lousy term. He believes it's the hot term of 2006.

I'd like to suggest another: Open Communications. I'm thinking about this in the same vein as Open Source, that is, a way for everyone to contribute to the conversation. It's a way of simply better expressing what is going on today, and giving a label for corporations to attach to this to differentiate it from traditional PR, media relations and advertising.

At a certain point all of this becomes one and all falls under the general "communications" umbrella, but we're not there yet.

For now, it's all about being Open.


John Cass said...

Blogging is all about the encouraging or allowing interaction with your audience. Setting up comments and answering questions from your audience. That's definitely open communications. I think blogger relations includes interaction but also encompasses the process of being active in the community.

Chuck Tanowitz said...

I agree with you on the definition. In fact, we're talking about the same thing. I just quibble on the term.

I think the word "blog" has a certain weight to it that I'd like to shed. Also, if people already think it's bad, why perpetuate it? We're all in agreement that the way in which we interact will change, but the interaction will remain.

Why not a more all-encompassing term?

MIke Sansone said...

What do the people that are writing blogs think? Is "blogger" an offenisve term to them? Could very well be.

From a business perspective, I do think "blogger relations" is a red-hot topic for 2006. The label may be a red-hot topic from the individuals that publish blog sites.

Chuck Tanowitz said...

I think people don't mind the word "blogger," but I also heard people say on Podcasts things like "check the show blog." That leads me to believe that there is a difference between blogs and podcasts. The same will emerge for video or any other form this takes.

I'm just looking for something a little broader.