Will companies stay in control of their PR? This is what academics say at Oxford today

Parallel Session I: The growth of the corporate blog – ‘Letting go’ of information control or maintaining the official line?

Panelists:

Simon Hampton, Google

Kara Swisher, Wall Street Journal

Mark Rogers, Market Sentinel

Chair: Jonathan Silberstein-Loeb

Blogs, Twitter feeds and even Facebook pages are increasingly featuring in the arsenal of PR strategies employed by large corporations and public institutions. This is not an idle choice: corporate blogs at both Google and Apple have at times, been the locus of intense media attention at times when new products have been announced or controversial decisions defended. Yet the use of such modes of communication raise peculiar challenges for companies willing to embrace new media, relating to the tensions between maintaining central control of information flows and the desire to react quickly when criticism arises in online networks or discussion groups. What do companies expect to gain from maintaining this sort of online presence and what are the implications of these trends for both the development of traditional PR strategy and business journalism?

BBC should be the ‘filter’ it knows it can be!

I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘institutional voice’ – and the relationship between ‘institutional voice’ and social media – since my interchanges with Paul Seamen about the distinction between bloggers and PR people

And that has helped me understand what, I think, the BBC gets wrong.  And quite possibly, what many organizations get wrong.

BBC is heard globally

The BBC seems to forget that it has an audience. Now, I am not talking about customer-service here. I am talking about a world-wide, global audience.  Britons pay for the BBC.  But the world listens to the BBC.  And what the BBC says, is in their ears, Britain.

BBC should represent Britain as a global-player

Slagging off the government in the hope of gaining a little audience share in the UK is, to use an old phrase, peeing in your own pond – contaminating your own water supply.

Going on and on about Gordon Brown not getting a one-on-one meetup with Obama when the US President is dealing with healthcare, redirecting efforts in Aghanistan, re-moulding American foreign policy in his first speech to the UN, negotiating the climate change agenda, referring the Israel-Palestine dispute . . . well do I have to spell it out?

Sniping to gain advantage at home is not the role of a major media house – and certainly not the role of an institution which is paid for by the tax payer. Leave the minor issues and sniping to the blogosphere!

You should framing the discussion at the right level. This week the big question is where the world is going and how Britain is taking its place in the shaping of history.

To leave that story for the diary management of Presidents and Primeministers represents us as petty.  It represents Britain as a country which does not deserve anyone’s time.

Leave blogging to bloggers! Your job is to filter NEWS!

If a blogger picks up a minor issue that turns out to be a symptom of something bigger, you will find out soon enough through the ‘trending‘ you have set up on top of your Google Alerts.

BBC is not there to peer through windows and rummage through waste baskets. 

BBC is there to filter the news and to give it perspective.

At least, that is why I thought you were given taxpayers money through the license fee.  Wasn’t that the Reith vision?