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?