Panel: Euan, Struan, Mark, Lisa
Engaging with the consumer.
Struan: lawyers hate risk, and also really bad at blogging. Law firm in New Jersey which was told not to blog. Works for big law firm. Been advising clients about blogs and online stuff for the last 12 months. Problems with user-generated content, or staff which might be blogging. Risk-management perspective. Caution.
Mark: short war between Israel and Lebanon. Photographs discovered by bloggers. Wake-up call about how powerful blogging and user-generated content can be. Reuters in Second Life: what journalist ethics in a virtual world? steph-note: hate it when “virtual” is used to describe digital spaces, because it sounds like “unreal”. Global Voices Online.
Lisa: worked for eBay. Hard to give all power to users, keep some control. Yahoo.
Euan: “branding”, “customers”, event terms like “web2.0” etc., vocabulary indicating hordes of people piling onto something that was previously small, maybe fragile. Real danger of killing it in the process. How do you influence (rather than “control”) these environments? steph-note: let me add “engage with your brand” and “user-generated content” to that list, just mentioned in the moderator’s question.
Lisa: Quality? depends what the objective is. Asking users to provide photos of sunsets which match the one in the film. Ad contest, winning one (Doritos) cost 12$69 or something. Doritos: is it going to be good? Five finalists (with which D. were all OK) were so keen on winning they actually did their own campaigns, sending the videos to their friends, etc.
Mark: social media providing an alternate way of judging which photos are best for illustrating a subject.
Struan: as soon as you encourage the community to produce stuff, you need to be prepared to what might come back your way. steph-note: stuff will come back your way whether you ask for it or not; it’s already out there!
Lisa: when there is product attacking a product which has positive to it, there are often many positive comments which come to its defence.
Euan: flamewars etc. Law struggling to keep up with what’s happening. Jonathan Schwartz who wants to blog financial information, but it’s illegal to do so for the moment.
Struan: there is nothing to stop the information getting out through an unofficial channel.
Moderator: July 2006, Reuters brought to task by some bloggers. What was the internal response to that? (We know the public one…)
Mark: very quickly issued a classic release for news organisations in which they thanked the blogger for the photograph. Hasn’t happened again. Been continuous dialogue with professional photographers and bloggers.
Moderator: need for vetting UGC? Editorial decisions that journalists take all the time but that the public may not be familiar with.
Struan: YouTube, MySpace, not in their interest to check the content (if they did, more liability!) as long as they react quickly in case of content. Guardian: comments not approved — Time: comments approved => higher risk, because involves judgement call. steph-note: I think this is with UK law, not sure it would work like that in CH.
Euan: if you try to sanitise the conversation it will move somewhere else.
Lisa: guidelines. Help community moderate itself.
Question to Euan: what are the rules to “keep it pure”, when consulting? (re: fears of “commercialisation”)
Euan: authenticity. It’s not anti-advertising, or anti-commercialism. steph-note: not sure I got that Q&A right.
Struan: biggest problem for companies getting into blogging is finding something interesting to write about, and somebody who is capable of writing it. steph-note: I agree, but it’s often because they don’t think of looking in the right places.
Question: legal implications if you have bloggers and you let them do it, and they say things that are not necessarily the view of the company?
Struan: company won’t be really able to distance itself from the bloggers. Need to trust the people who are blogging. Posts don’t need to go through the legal department, but some guidelines are in order. When can they blog, how much? Do they understand the basics of trademark and copyright law (to avoid silly lawsuits), do they understand what is and is not confidential? Manageable risks, not something to panic about. Plain English is OK. Encourage bloggers to get a second opinion if they have doubts about what they’re posting. Fair use.
Euan: BBC blog policy (wiki page, developed by existing BBC bloggers). Much more conversation than if just the legal dept. had taken care of it.
Struan: blogger who wrote some potentially offensive political stuff on his blog, somebody googled him, found he worked for Orange, he was suspended (later reinstated). Petite Anglaise story (well recounted). The employer should have had guidelines to protect itself (not nice for bloggers, but better for the company).