Sep 07 2006

Scratching a little deeper (and leaving Tony alone)

Published by at 9:21 am under Comms,Digital,Politics

Bookmark and Share

I’ve now been blogging just over a month.

During that time I’ve amassed a modest number of comments and trackbacks, and am getting consistent if unremarkable hit rates. Simon Collister has flattered me with an entry in his list of ‘essential PR blogs’, while colleagues in the office have taken to passing comments on my latest blog entry in their water cooler conversation.

Does this make me an ‘established blogger’?

Maybe, maybe not. But I can’t help but feel that I’ve barely scratched the surface, that I’m still on the initial slopes of a steep and exciting learning curve.

During the past month I’ve ‘met’ colleagues across Hill & Knowlton’s 80-office network I’d never otherwise have interacted with during the ordinary course of my work. I’ve learned bucketloads about Client Service from Leo, and about Change and Internal Communication from David – although in the latter case I could be slightly less lazy and pop around the corner for a chat – and about digital communications and social media from Brendan. I’ve even dredged up the rudimentary Portuguese I learned in Brazil fourteen years ago to listen to Bruno.

And that’s just within H&K’s Collective Conversations.

More broadly I’ve developed a string of favourite blogs that I now follow on a regular basis, and which will hopefully form the basis of a sidebar once I get out of my hotel room and back to the office.

I’ve started advising clients and potential clients that, if they really want to keep track of their corporate reputation, they’d better listen up and hear what the blogosphere is saying about them. More importantly, other colleagues (to whom, sorry you-know-who, the Blogosphere might as well have been an obscure layer of the upper atmosphere a month ago) have started doing the same, at least in part on the back of my new-found blogevangelism.

For those more forward-thinking than I, this is nothing new. My friend and colleague Jeff Raleigh has been blogging since 2003. So has Stuart Bruce, whose musings I now view as essential reading. Though it may sound like it, it’s not as if I’ve had some sort of Damascene conversion. None of this is rocket science. But I do think I’m developing a clearer picture of the huge role the world of social media is going to play, both in the microcosm of Public Affairs and in the wider PR industry, as it continues to mature and grow.

And I hope I’ll become a better communicator as a result.

Much as I’ve learned about their respective practise areas from the likes of Leo, David, Stuart and many others, I’m not yet sure I’m adequately reciprocating. One of my regular readers (yes, apparently I have them) told me a couple of weeks ago that I was blogging too much about the nature of blogging. She’s absolutely right, although in my defence I simply say that, at the moment, the nature of blogging fascinates me.

Perhaps I’ve unconsciously shied away from political commentary because, with my wussy “sitting on the fence” non-aligned political views, it’s more difficult to define my starting point than for most of the overtly party-political blogs out there. Even some of the more politically neutral commentators can, if they’re not careful, fall into the trap of knocking all political parties equally rathern than coming up with a genuinely constructive contribution.

So here, I hope, is one. People, leave Tony Blair alone. Sorry, but I think the will he, won’t he, when will he furore over the PM’s departure is doing the British political system a tremendous disservice. I can’t speak for the rest of the electorate, but I certainly didn’t cast my vote in 2005 in the hope that my elected representative would spend his time embroiled in battles over the leadership of his party. I’d rather you all got on with the business of running the country, thank you very much.

We elected the Labour government, with Tony Blair at its helm, last year – yes, people, it was only last year – with a mandate to govern for five years. So can we just let them do it?

The level of political grandstanding in Westminster these past few days is achieving nothing but to draw attention away from the real political issues of the day. Issues on which I, for one, would like to hear the ruling party’s considered position, clearly articulated. Issues on which I believe we, the electorate, are entitled to a robust debate from Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.

There, point made, if a little naively. Less posturing, please, and more discussion. It can’t be that hard.

Oh, and this is the first time I’ve used the word ‘blogosphere’. And I’ve done it repeatedly. If I do it again, please yell at me.

Bookmark and Share

6 responses so far