Corporate Blogging Survey 2005

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August 19, 2005

Handling Criticism On A Blog – Should Criticism Stop You From Blogging?

Sitting in the 2005 business blog summit today I found this slogan and article quote on Handling criticism at the BrainWareMap for Personal Development website after one gentleman asked a question about how to handle criticism on a blog.

“To escape criticism:
Do nothing
Say nothing
Be nothing?

As a former toastmaster when I lived in San Francisco in the mid 90’s I really appreciated one aspect of being a toastmaster, fellow toastmasters would provide a critique of my speeches, while the opportunity to give the speech was great practice the feedback was tremendous to improving my speaking skills. Here are some more ideas on why criticism can be valuable for your company and blog.

“However, as with failure, criticism has a very positive side. In the first place, if you are being criticized it may well be an indication that you have taken a risk and chosen to tackle something, which is a challenge to you. Receiving such criticism may be infinitely preferable to being praised for something, which is simple and predictable. Secondly, as with failure, criticism may be regarded as valuable feedback and a necessary part of the learning process.?

In the business blog survey, we had several examples of customers providing feedback of a company’s product. The spelling mistake incident at Microsoft, and “why a simple fix is not always so simple? at Macromedia.

Knowing how to handle criticism is an important step to removing the fear of being criticized, your company will receive feedback, but in a good product development process you want to know what your customers think of your products, the companies that are actively engaging their customers with corporate blogs and responding to criticism are gaining tremendous benefits, including links, building better products, turning people into customer evangelists and higher search engine rankings.

Posted by johncass at August 19, 2005 5:08 PM

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Even when one does nothing, one may be criticized for that.

The one thing many people are never told about criticism is to consider if it's valid. Some people believe that if an expert offers a criticism, then they are automatically right. Not necessarily so, experts are hopelessly human too. History is replete with so-called experts who got it wrong, like the critic who said nobody would pay to see movies where actors speak.

It's been especially interesting in the Internet age how almost anybody can appear to be an expert by launching a blog. It's also interesting how some experts deliberately decide to NOT launch a blog, no matter their expertise. Part of their reputation is built upon dedicating themselves fully to any endeavor they undertake. Knowing they've only got 24 hours a day, they deliberately decide not to blog because the last thing they want to do is appear as a 50% person in anything, especially in writing. Yet for reaching that decision to not blog, some will get criticized.

Posted by: Glenn Mandelkern at August 23, 2005 11:20 PM


You make a very good case for not blogging depending upon your own individual circumstances. At the business blog summit many speakers suggested companies just start a blog and see how easy it is to run a blog. Marketing strategy has to be considered by any company when starting any sort of a website. If a blog does not make sense for your company, then it’s not a good idea to develop such a site. Though I do think that some of the ideas and tools from blogs might be incorporated into a traditional company website. Say if you republish your newsletters, make sure you have an RSS feed and state you have one on your site, and in your emails. I actually think that most of the speakers were suggesting people just start a blog as a test to see how easy they are to operate. Once someone has tested one of the tools it would help them to understand how the product may or may not fit into their company’s marketing strategy.

Thanks Glenn, this topic on criticism was one of the most interesting discussions in the hall.


Posted by: john cass at August 24, 2005 12:18 PM

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