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March 08, 2007

More On Blogging

Arik Hesseldahl

I’m terribly late in making this shout-out to Shel Israel, who agreed with my contention from Feb. 20 and Feb. 22 that Steve Jobs should consider blogging. In case the name isn’t familiar, Shel was co-author, with Robert Scoble, of “Naked Conversations”, a book on how blogging, when done right, can be an effective way for big corporations to reach out to their customers.

Shel doesn’t come at the subject from nowhere. He’s been around Silicon Valley PR circles for some time, having advised Sun Microsystems from its very early days. He also advised Filemaker, now an Apple subsidiary, Creative Labs, and Riya.

And he made an excellent additional point that I hadn’t thought of. Blogging could be a great tool in the middle of a crisis. I don’t think that a crisis seems imminent or even likely at Apple today, but that’s the nature of crisis – you never see it coming. I just think having a blog in place, where Steve – or anyone else at Apple for that matter – can easily, and quickly say what’s on their mind wouldn’t be a bad thing. Apple’s full of passionate people – from the top down – who really care about what they’re doing, and who would certainly find it rewarding to find a way to share that passion in some appropriate way. Apple’s customers are equally passionate, and certainly there’s no shortage of blogs from the likes of them.

Meanwhile, I’m really eager to see how Shel’s next book project turns out. Its basic question is this: What happens when the generation that has grown up with the Web and all that entails (social networking, instant messaging, blogging, etc.) arrives in full force in the workplace? Personally, I’m beginning to see signs among younger colleagues that their habits for consuming, obtaining and retaining knowledge and information are often vastly different from my own. I still subscribe to newspapers, and they can’t imagine doing that.

Shel puts it better: “What happens when one watershed generation replaces another in the work and marketplace? This next generation is about to become your employee, your customer or maybe even your new competitor. How do you adapt to the change which is coming in the next 5, 10 and 30 years. Where do you look for answers? … You might start by looking in your own kid’s room. The recreational habits of young people age 12-24 today are the social habits that businesses will need to adjust to in the very close future.” It’s a fair question that every company must ponder, even Apple.

12:08 PM

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I think Steve says what he wants when he wants to (ie Thoughts on Music) ... I also think a CEO who is public likeable but keeps his mouth closed so as not to polarize any of his potential customers is also a wise CEO. Big mouthed CEOs often have a lot of backfiring - ie Rob Glaser of Real. I think Steve Jobs is one of the most insightful men of the last century - he is quotable at just about every presentation of thought - be it at Mac Expos or the occasional media appearance or "Thoughts on Music" - but I'd honestly rather him be the worm on the line rather than just a bucket of daily feed thrown into the waters.

Posted by: Rus at March 8, 2007 06:15 PM

Companies who need to present a different face than their public perception or who cannot marlet & brand like the top dogs can make up for it by presenting themselves as closer to the "people."

Apple needs either of any these cash short opportunities.

How many other companies can launch 40,000 blog entries and 10 rumor sites and HUNDREDS of "real" mag postings by sending out a postcard inviting people to an 'event?' Not an event, not an announcement, a postcard?

Apple needs more PR?

The other problem is his blog would be IMPOSSIBLE to write because EVERY word and its comma before or after it would set off a million people like they were reading utterances from the Kremlin or Alan greenspan ... the day after each blog entry would require 2 days of explanations folowed by 7 more days of dissection of the explanation ... just look at when he talks at a keynote - it's ON VIDEO yet you have a million opinions from "brilliant' to 'lackluster.'

A Steve Jobs blog might as well be written in seaweed during a typhoon ...

It's way, way more fun to hear all the speculation - the rest of tech is boring (here's our roaadmap, we're super psyched ... blah, blah, blah ... )

Posted by: jbelkin at March 14, 2007 10:08 PM


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