How Important Is It To “Name” Company Bloggers?

I was at an informal meeting today which I quite enjoyed. We had bloggers, client-side people, agency-side people, all of whom were interested in social media. I thought the discussion was generally good, but one question in particular stood out.

Someone mentioned that if hotels wanted to blog, why not get the concierge desk to blog as the stories of what goes on on the ground as well as useful information about the city would be useful and relevant to travelers visiting the hotel or deciding where to stay. It was raised that there could be a number of authors running the blog or just one person, but they should be anonymous. Perhaps blogging as “Your friendly concierge at the Hyatt”, for example.

Bill and Coleman called him out on this and said companies who blog should have full transparency and name their bloggers. But the very reasonable reason of “one day they’ll leave” surfaced, and I’m having a hard time reconciling the two.

On one hand I am a transparency advocate. There are times when anonymity helps (ie when needing to talk about a sensitive issue), but generally for an external blog, I think the public should know who is the person blogging.

But I think the person leaving is a real concern. Take Matt Cutts for example, arguably Google’s “face” on the internet. If for some reason he jumps ship to Yahoo! tomorrow, would that be a problem? Thousands of readers may just migrate over. And who would take over that role at Microsoft and Google? How long would it take the new person to re-build a community?

Of course, I know, Matt Cutts is hardly the best analogy for concierge staff, but you get the gist.

So what would you do if you had to hire a community manager or social media evangelist? Would you be comfortable with them being your company’s Web2.0 “face” online? Would it worry you if they moved on? Would you be confident of replacing them with little to no loss in interest from the community?

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6 Responses to “How Important Is It To “Name” Company Bloggers?”

  1. Claud Continues To Talk » Blog Archive » On Being the “Face” for Organisations Says:

    [...] reading Daryl’s take on the importance to name company’s bloggers, I’ve got some thoughts of my own. Since [...]

  2. coleman yee Says:

    The issue I was trying to drive at (which I failed to do so) wasn’t just the issue of transparency, but what the company is doing so that transparency is no longer something difficult or painful.

    Sure, a concierge blogger might leave, but readers accept that employees move on – no use hiding it. But that shouldn’t be a big concern if the Hyatt is a great place to work. In fact, the blogger’s farewell post would likely be a very positive one. Like when Scoble left Microsoft.

  3. Daryl Tay Says:

    I don’t think what the guy was trying to get at was hindering transparency intentionally, but aimed at making future transitions easier. I suppose from a company’s point of view they may conceptually know that readers accept that bloggers will leave, but they’re scared that the readers/clout/influence/etc will leave with them.

  4. scotchcart Says:

    Good lord, we know the CEO’s name and s/he will move on faster than the concierge! I would move with the concierge anyway.

    Brilliant idea – I am just off to an unconference on social media just north-west of London – I’ll feed it in.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier (Mr Kiasu)

  5. walter Says:

    This is an age-old issue about building personality cults in companies. ie should a business revolve heavily on the charisma and charm of its CEO (eg Richard Branson) or should it have a character and life of its own. I believe that an organisation must always be a lot greater than just a single employee, and this means that you need more than just one blogger representing it. I can understand the concern about turnover because the hospitality business in Singapore has one of the highest staff turnover in any line – on average, about 30% to 40% a year!

    One way to get around this is to have a group of bloggers that are identified as opposed to just one. That way, you can spread the love around. More importantly, the likelihood of all of them leaving at the same time is less. Of course, there is usually only one or two concierges in hotels here (if at all).

    Honestly, I doubt that this will ever take off in a huge way in Singapore (as in concierges blogging). People in the service businesses often work long hours and the last thing they want to do when they go home is to write an official blog. If you ask me, I think housekeeping would probably have a lot more interesting stories to tell than the concierge desk!

  6. grog Says:

    grog says : I absolutely agree with this !

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