Chip Griffin's new Media Bullseye website is making some waves today in a post he called, "Throwing Out the Social Media Rulebook," he believes the exhortation of a number of rules for social media by a bunch of zealots is turning many business people away from the form of communication, and Chip goes on to list the rules he thinks are promoted by the said zealots and why they should be debunked. To be social media tools are important, but not as important as the business strategy used by companies. The new tools of social media are giving people and companies the ability to really put marketing strategy into use. I think that's a good thing for all concerned. Here's my take on Chip's nine points.
Point one, it Isn't a Blog Without RSS, maybe people may not know what RSS is, but they might be using RSS anyway. Does anyone have any numbers on RSS usage by people who don't know they are not using it?
Point two, it Isn't a Blog Without Comments, if the website does not have comments there is no two-way communication between websites. Interestingly I understand many blogs in Japan don't have comments but they do have trackback functionality. Seth Godin does not allow comments but he does allow trackbacks. I think you can do what ever you want on your website/blog. But on this one I think I agree if you don't have comments or allow trackbacks, then your website is a content management system where you post articles. I don't think this is a matter of authenticity just a naming convention.
Point three, the Press Release is Dead, people still use press releases, I agree on this one.
Point four, the Social Media Release is King, The SMR is a good idea, but as in point three it has not replaced press releases yet.
Point five, it's All About Conversation Not Messages, it seems to me the companies and organizations that have benefited the most from social media are those who listen to their customers and stakeholders and incorporate some of their ideas in new products and making a better organization. Ideastorm at Dell stands out for me in this. The tools of social media are irrelevant, it's the strategy that matters, one where marketers actually start marketing, and believe its part of their job to listen and research what people want, and provide what's possible.
Point six, the Customer Controls the Relationship, you said it Chip, customers vote with their wallets to determine winners and losers in the marketplace. However, just because a customer wants something does not mean it's always possible for a company to provide what they want. The marketing concept ends with "satisfying customer wants and needs efficiently and profitably." That last point profitably means that in a world of social media, companies are learning when to set expectations and tell people what they cannot do and why, customers understand, and sometimes offer alternatives that make the relationship beneficial on both sides. I think all of the talk about listening to customers is good, but it's a mutual relationship.
Point seven, authenticity and Transparency are Immutable Truths, sorry Chip I really disagree with your point about ghostwriting. If a CEO cannot write have the PR person write it, but put their name on the post. Blogging works for companies because people are building relationships with people rather than companies. That relationship is associated with the company, and the company gains the benefits. I've interviewed many blog readers, and the personality of the writer is what is important. A ghostwriter should not represent the personality of a person.
Point eight, audience is a Word of the Past, not sure about this one. I think the wider point about audience is that people can now join in and contribute where once they were not able. However, the reality is that as you say a lot of people don't contribute but just read/view/listen.
Point nine, lack of Comments Means Lack of Influence, I agree with you on this one.