Blogs Mark the End of Corporate P.R.

According to a new article in The Economist, blogs mark the "beginning of the end of 'corporate communications' as we know it."  See the Feb. 10 issue of the paper or go to online.

Robert_scoble2 PR was always supposed to put a good face on a faceless corporation.  Microsoft, one of the most controversial companies on earth, has put on a cheery, pudgy, human face with Robert Scoble, and his blog, The ScobleizerThe Economist says "he has also succeeded where small armies of more conventional public-relations types have been failing abjectly for years: he has made Microsoft, with its history of monopolistic bullying, appear marginally but noticeably less evil to the outside world."

Now that's a real feat. Scoble has become a "minor celebrity" as the "technical evangelist" for MSFT.  Thousands of people subscribe and read his blog, which he dubs the Microsoft Geek Blogger.  His title should be "Chief Humanizing Officer," the paper remarks.

He has opined ruthlessly on Microsoft's technology over the years, which is remarkable for a company employee.  But it gives him credibility, and thus power.

Inspired in part by Mr. Scoble's success, executives at other companies--so far, mostly in tech--are starting their own blogs. Bruce Lowry, PR boss at Novell, wants to get his executives blogging. Boring old press releases are totally ill-suited for responding to most PR issues, such as rumors or independent commentary, he says. He can imagine blogs completely replacing press releases within ten years.

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