Blogs are good for business. That is why every newspaper has one, and so do all kinds of companies, from car manufacturers to supermarkets, online resellers and translation agencies.
But there is a big difference between real blogs written by people who want to share something with their peers, pour their heart out to complete strangers, or just write about something to break the tedium and monotony of the daily existence of far-flung workers in digital age, and blogs that are clearly created as advertising propaganda by small and large companies and corporations.
These corporate “blogs” usually have a number of entries written by “Senior Product Managers”, “Solution Specialists” and other incredibly insightful experts about yet another incident when the company saved yet another client loads of money with incredibly effective, unique and timely service. Who do they think they’re fooling? These things are not blogs! These so called blogs are just marketing verbiage, nothing but transparent, self-serving commercial propaganda disguised as blogs. Somebody should come up with a new word for these advertisements masquerading as blogs. Corpologs? Blogotisements?
Real bloggers talk about things that are sometime personal and embarrassing, but usually relevant, and hopefully funny as well (and sometime funny as hell). Unlike marketing managers, real bloggers are not boring because they have a soul. Unlike marketing managers, bloggers are almost never paid for saying what they say. In other words, they are not bought and paid for, which makes them kind of unusual and unpredictable in our bought and paid for culture.
Bloggers have been a part of our culture long before the age of Internet. If you read Saint Augustine’s Confessions, it is really a series of long blogs about a “saint” who had a very sinful youth, with years and years filled with excessive drinking, debauchery and prostitutes some sixteen hundred years ago. Nihil novum sub sole. The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius (which he called thoughts addressed to himself) are shorter, philosophical blogs, about eighteen hundred years old now, about the nature of things and the transient character of this world. You could say that Saint Augustine was trying to sell Christianity and Marcus Aurelius was trying to sell what was left of the concept of the Roman Empire, and it would be hard to argue with that.
But unlike the corporate shape shifters pretending to be bloggers, Saint Augustine and Marcus Aurelius were interesting, funny, and most importantly …. they did have a soul.
Henry David Thoreau, my favorite American blogger of all times, was a political blogger. If he were alive today, his blogs would be on the Internet and the counter on his blog would probably show countless hits every day from people who can no longer find much useful and truthful information in official media and thus by default end up on the blogosphere.
There is so much bought and paid for content on the Internet these days that Google has trouble distinguishing spam, content farms and commercial propaganda from genuine, user generated content. Evil corporate shape shifters are trying to quickly devoure not only blogs, but all of the “social media”, including Facebook. Just yesterday I clicked on an invite from a local pizza shop that wanted to “friend me” on Facebook. I really only go on Facebook to look at my son’s pictures from his many trips and he gave me permission to do that. I was going to click on “no” to that pizza shop invite but somehow I ended up clicking on “yes” because I was not paying attention. I don’t want to have a stupid pizza shop for a friend? Who does?
Or maybe the answer is that we all want to have pizza shops and supermarkets and other businesses as friends now. We don’t live in ancient Rome anymore and if we “friend” the companies who want to be our “friends” and read their “blogs”, they’ll give us coupons.