Monday, April 25, 2005

No easy answers: Getting management buy-in for Blogs (part 2)

This follows the previous post:

I read this from Librarystuff, about pushing librarians into public awareness (quoted from Marylaine Block). That's what I'm after. Not to promote Blogs or Blogging per se, but to use an available technology to enhance what libraries and librarians do.

But recent events have made the pitch to management and colleagues more difficult, specifically the "CZ incident" (scroll to the section header "The first posts").

It's unfortunate that the public is conscious (via the traditional print media) of only the wacky and fun stuff, but not bloggers who write "serious" stuff. I've observed that blogs make local headlines when: (1) they are quirky stuff, usually associated with teens who are hip and happening, or (2) when blogs are involved in some controversy, like the CZ thingy.

And probably this incident in Nov 2003 -- "Bloggers go unplugged" (by Eugene Wee , Straits Times, 17 Nov 2003). About a student who captured, on his PDA, a scene of his teacher berating a classmate and then posting the video clip to his website. The clip got circulated and eventually attracted media attention and raised "the ire of students, parents and teachers alike."

Here's another (early) instance -- Bon voyeur: Go online and tell the world what you did last summer -- or last night. By Chua Hian Hou, Computer Times, 18 Dec 2002.
In fairness, the article was pretty balanced and informative, but people tend to remember headlines more than the actual content.

So to most Singaporeans unfamiliar with Blogging (like I used to be), there certainly is varying degrees of negative connotations towards blogging. I'd hazard a guess that to Singaporean non-bloggers, they think blogging is:
  • Something that only kids & teens indulge
  • Content-wise, there isn't any to speak of, because it's basically any mundane thoughts and teen-angst. That much of it is "verbal diarrhoea".
  • Adults see it as a kind of voyeurism, i.e. peeking into the thoughts of others (note: another guess is that we all like to peek, but don't like being peeked at).
I'm not the only one who thinks that the local media depicts local bloggers poorly. Like

SingaporeAngle says our local mainstream media doesn't understand blogs. I tend to agree. Maybe local journalists ought to be blogging, so that they get linked up with the more coherent bloggers (I stand to be corrected because who's to say our local journalists aren't blogging already. Except maybe they do it anonymously).

It doesn't help that the internet is rife with news about people getting fired for blogging (nevermind what was the real cause -- the headlines is what people tend to remember).

As of 25 Apr 05, when I googled for fired for blogging, the search returned 523,000 hits. The google search for promoted for blogging only returned 141,000 hits. That's rounded up to a ratio of 4 to 1 (i.e. 4 "fired for blogging" articles for every 1 "promoted for blogging").

Ok, the search might not be precise, so I used quotation marks for "fired for blogging", which returned 33,400 hits. Surprisingly, "promoted for blogging" did not match any document. I then tried "rewarded for blogging" and there was effectively 1 hit.

So there's definitely alot more issues to consider before making any pitch to management. Ah well, "if something is easy, it's probably not worth doing".



  1. You're onto something here Ivan, but googling with keywords "fired for blogging" is bound to get more results because it is more controversial and so, more conversational. E.g. the slang "Dooced" came from for the first person to get fired for blogging. There isn't any slang yet for any person promoted for blogging!

    Nevertheless, it's a good attempt at determining the direction blogs can take us, though better indicators should be found for anyone to make a conclusion.

    Finally, I agree that even till today, not everyone can understand blogs. The trick to getting management buy-in is same as for most technological adoption, focus on the need, not the tech. If you can start a blog that fills a visible need, the blog will have a visible want. A blog on it's own is worthless.

  2. >>>
    ...though better indicators should be found for anyone to make a conclusion
    Yeah, I know. Well, how does one measure the value of a "conversation" anyway? E.g. a conversation bet. the customer service officer and a customer. Perhaps one day we will all wear some form of neural-chip in our heads (I was reading a SCiFi story today that had this). Then we can reliable get data from the person. Right... way too far-fetched even for me.

  3. Ivan - management buy-in is never easy, esp. if the see you as a young punk trying to push yr views through. Even if might make sense, people are inherently afraid of change or of trying new things esp if the term "blogs" comes with perception of allowing instant posting of peoples "verbal diarrhoea". esp when it is true and painful to hear.

    But often,it takes a few idiots who feel like shitting on their management openly with no facts but plain spoil everything and create more resistance...


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