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May 18, 2006

Canadian fighting words

Stephen Baker

Debbie Weil attends the Mesh conference in Toronto and reports (and then quickly amends) that Canadians appear a step behind in blogging. I commented on her blog that geography doesn't count for much in blogging. You can have trendsetters in regions formally known as "the sticks," and outliers within sneezing distance of the Googleplex. Attitudes and knowledge vary wildly, even within the same company.

If you could measure blog awareness as a radio signal, like WiFi, the needle would bounce madly between clued-in and tuned out as you stroll down the corridors of a major magazine like BusinessWeek. And once you get into the elevator and venture onto different floors, you might be tempted to whack this imaginary machine, thinking it went dead on you.

09:00 AM

Inside Companies, business blogging

I would agree with the assertion that blog awareness is uneven. It makes sense since it all depends on connectivity to interested parties. The same could be true for finding people who are aware of the habits of tropical fish.

As for Canada being this or that, I find such generalizations only marginally useful. I did a post on my blog more than a month ago complimentary of Argentina, posted a link in the comments of an Argentine blogger and I still get a stready stream of hits on it from Argentine readers.

Posted by: K T Cat at May 18, 2006 10:42 AM

I was a speaker at Mesh and attended Debbie's session. Being a Canadian company who has been selling blogging products for a couple of years now, I would say the agenda made Canada look a little behind. Re-hashing the "are bloggers journalists?" debate might not have been worthwhile. However, the audience definately had some leading edge people. The questions I receieved showed that companies were well into understanding the value of Web 2.0 and blogging. The fact that 2 leading journlists (Mark Evans and Matt Ingram) were driving the conference was a great sign.

Posted by: David Carter at May 18, 2006 01:22 PM

Oh, let's be nice to Debbie. It was during/after my session that she wrote that post. I think she regretted it from the moment it got out there. I left a comment (one big thing to note is that Mesh was the first blogging conference in Eastern Canada, so there were a lot of pent up questions), and Debbie came over to me and said, OMG (essentially) I have to edit that post! I didn't mean it like that!

Debbie has edited the post and elaborated on her Mesh experience.

Being both a Canadian and blogger (obivious I know), regardless of the country you are in it is extremely easy to forget the a lot of people might have heard about blogs, but never had the chance to ask an experienced (business or professional) blogger about it.

Sure, I know about plumbing, but I always ask questions when a plumber comes to do work.

At my session, while there were a few easy questions for me to answer, there were also some extremely insightful ones. Connections made between the old BBS/forum days relating can you get paid by a company and still be objective about it. Is online advertising the best way to monetize a blog. These are deep. These have legs. And these are topics that are high on the list of all bloggers.

Posted by: Tris Hussey at May 18, 2006 02:25 PM

Those are good questions, Tris. How did you answer them? Is it possible to get paid by a company and be objective about it?

Many believe that it's impossible to be objective, no matter who's paying you. I favor taking a detour around the word altogether, and looking instead at fairness.

Posted by: steve baker at May 18, 2006 04:40 PM

As one of mesh's organizers, I was extremely pleased that debbie was able to come up to toronto and offer us insight into corporate blogging. (we considered it a real coup) we're hoping she enjoyed her stay in toronto so much, she'll come back to mesh next year. then, maybe we can work on getting her to say "eh"...:)....

Posted by: Mark Evans at May 18, 2006 05:28 PM

Hi Steve, Knew I should have come back sooner!

How did I answer it. Carefully. My feeling is that bloggers are prized for their honesty and authenticity. So are reviewers. So if I were sent product to review or sponsored by a company (which I am, btw ... Blogware sponsors my blog) it behooves me to be honest. Who will keep ready a blog if the author is just a toady? If I'm going to review a gadget or piece of software, I'm going to be honest. How can readers make good decision or the company improve their product if I'm not.

So the answer comes down to personal integrity.

Yeah I agree, you have to be fair, and polite. At least we Canadians have polite down pat. ;-).

Posted by: Tris Hussey at May 19, 2006 08:37 PM

As another of the mesh organizers, I, too, was pleased to have Debbie with us. She is a lovely, thoughtful person and added to the event greatly.

Posted by: Stuart MacDonald at May 20, 2006 06:45 PM


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