Should bloggers be held to journalistic standards?

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Yes they should. But they’re not and that gets them in trouble.  remember the old saying, Measure twice cut once? That means you’ve only got one shot at cutting the piece of wood. The point being “make sure” you have the right measurement. Be sure about your post, before you hit publish.

Back in September I remember asking Brian Solis the exact same question at Web 2.0 expo in New York, “Should Bloggers be held to journalistic standards?” and he answered yes. Bloggers need to be held to some type of standard.Why did I ask Brian? Because he has a unique perspective, he’s a content creating machine and he cranks out volumes of noteworthy and spot on commentary about the social media and PR space and he is accutely aware of what he writes and says.

But a larger point is this.

Bloggers need to hold THEMSELVES to some sort of standard.

Why? Because when they start writing about people and companies and events- and if they have any type of influence, and they get it wrong-the backlash can be brutal for all parties involved.

Which leads me to the reason I’m writing this post. Yesterday Forrester analyst Jeremiah Owyang wrote a post about the social media company, Mzinga. It did not go over very well.  Suffice it to say that regardless of whether Jeremiah was correct in what he asserted or speculated, what happened next was nothing short of a shit storm.

Yes the mob mentality reared it’s ugly head again and yes Jeremiah was wrong in his approach. But at some point, 2 things need to occur. One, the Mob mentality needs to back off. and Two, Jeremiah needs to apologize.

After comment #19 Jeremiah realized he screwed up and he ultimately apologized and posted a retraction of sorts. However the mob continues to vent some 60 comments later. At last count there were 2 posts that were sympathetic.

So what do we learn from this?

Interestigly enough, even a Forrester analyst has room for improvement. It’s a simple as this for Jeremiah and actually speaks to a vlog I did prior to this post. One of the things we must do, as hard as it is, we must:

Practice a sense of patience.

Instead of rushing to break a story, perhaps it might make better sense to feel the situation out or better yet..”Measure twice, cut once”.

Ultimately, since we do not want to be policed by the mob mentality, we have to police ourselves, and hold ourselves to some type of journalistic standard. No one else will-unless of course you count the blog mob and twitterati.

Lastly, for the mob mentality. Ok  so you’re pissed. And you let Jeremiah know about it. Ok he got that. I get that.  But reiterating over and over again, virtually the same thing, gets tiresome, boring and lacks any type of  originality or constructive criticism.  Maybe the mob needs realize that pitchforks and torches never really worked that well anyway.

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ROI vs. ROE -I did not do a good enough job selling social media.

I had my biggest challenge of trying to sell ROI for a social media project this past week and I lost. Passion lost. Clarity of message lost, and the power of the conversation lost out to the following unspoken sentiment, “I can’t pay for something where I can not see a clear 1:1 ratio of money spent and money earned.

I’ll be honest, my my own private little thought cloud right then and there was,”Oh yea? What did I spend? Hours of work, sweat equity if you will, on learning everything I could on why social media would make sense for you, mister client, and the irrefutable argument that went with it, and you can’t see it?”

On a side note: There is not a social media practitioner, marketer or evangelist out there, who would not agree that this person and their current business model would not have benefited from a solid injection of web 2.0 sensibilities.

Not only did I do my homework but I also spent hours on the phone with the conduit/project manager, who not only had bought my vision, but had also in the same process, drank the social media Kool-ade. I educated him to the extent that he totally got what I was saying. He GOT IT. Which to a lesser degree is a huge win. Why? Because we met through a 140 character conversation on Twitter. That’s right, this whole process and opportunity came about because of Twitter. The conduit in Austin, me in Naples, and the client in Phoenix.

At the end of the day though, after the nearly 2 hour Saturday conference call with the prospect, it became painfully obvious that he was not willing to spend what it would take to transform his personal brand and what he does for a living, into something more viable, accessible, and transparent- he wanted solid ROI. Not the hope of notion or perceived ROI. His thing was, “lets sell something that makes money, and I’ll pay you if I make money”.

All was not lost. First, I made a friend in Austin, who has passion, vision, and Get’s it. And whenever you meet someone who gets it- the potential for more opportunities like the one mentioned above will always exist.

Second, I learned some more lessons. I say more because I’ve been learning a lot of them lately. Failing forward if you will. I’ve been given some great indirect lessons from my peers through blog comments and tweets, individuals like Jim Storer, Paul Chaney, Valeria Maltoni and Jason Breed. Some lessons that are human and tangible. Lessons learned on the client side and lessons learned from the community. A win win..

So here’s the thing- Ultimately, I have to ask myself, did I do a good enough job of presenting tangible proof on why social media makes sense? I don’t know. I may be too close to the subject to answer that objectively. But The question does arise and will arise again; and this was a concern Friday night when I had completed the proposal and had attached a dollar value to it. Did I show enough proof? A proof of concept to justify the cost that would eventually increase ROI through engagement?

The bottom line is I guess not. Because the bottom line right now is very prominent, very front and center. Managers want to see ROI. They need ROI. I think what they don’t understand, is that if I’m going to embark on a social media campaign for a client, it involves a time suck and a commitment from the client and the person rolling out the project- the cost is labor and time, both of which I think are measurable and ultimately can be charged for. I’m sorry but I value my knowledge and my time and I’m going to charge for it. Ok… I’m starting to get a little fired up again so I’m going to stop here. But here are my parting words-

When you pitch the social media project of any scope and scale, Be thorough, and understand that all managers are going to really, really focus on the investment and the return, no matter how well YOU get the big picture. But you know what? One loss does not define a season. They’ll be more and I’ll do better.

25 Enterprise Social Media Platforms/Companies To Be Aware Of

 

Here is as comprehensive list of players in the space that I could compile. I selected them based on my own professional sense of what I thought was important in regards to what they brought to the table and for whom. Some are more platform based than others, but I thought all of them were very relevant to where we are as of today.  They are not in any particular order:

KickApps

Sparta Social Networks

Metro Mojo

Neighborhood America

Small World Labs

Select Minds

Igloo Software

Community Server

Ramius

Corespeed

IHype

Phpizabi

Elgg

Boonex

Hivelive

Lithium

Clearspace

Intronetworks

Onesite

Awareness Networks

Mzinga

Blogtronix

Wordframe

Bluepulse

Ideastrom

 

In conclusion, this list will expand and contract as conditions continue to evolve. Though some of the platforms/companies are not pure play, they all are contributing to the conversation, in what can only be construed as rhe dawning and evolution of a new digital phenomenon. Did I miss any in your opinion? What are your thoughts on the list? Are some better than others?