It’s Still Corporate Blogging, Not the Social Web

Debbie Weil doesn’t like the term “blog” anymore. She wants to do away with it.

I was listening to Debbie on Doug Karr’s Blog Talk Radio from the end of February, and she said she doesn’t like the term “blog” anymore. Rather, she wants to call it the “social web,” since blogging has grown beyond a string of chronologically arranged thoughts by writers who wanted to journal publicly (I’m paraphrasing).

I couldn’t disagree more.

While blogging may be old hat to people like Debbie, Doug, and me, it’s still new to a lot of businesspeople, who are only just now hearing about it. They’re only just now hearing about social media. They have just recently quit calling it “Facespace,” and realize there might be something to allowing their employees to contribute to their website.

Amish buggy and cart

Some of these guys even have a website. (No, not the horse.)

Keep in mind, the business community still hasn’t embraced the Internet as a whole. According to Formstack, only 45% of businesses in the US have a website.

That’s a friggin’ website! That’s not even a blog.

I built my first website in 1994. On Adobe PageMill. It was horrible. But we were one of the first businesses in our industry to have one, and I’ve been online ever since.

It’s 17 years later, and more than half of the businesses in this country still don’t have a website. They’re certainly not thinking about a blog. Maybe they’ve heard of it, maybe they know someone who’s got one. But they’re not seeing the need to have one.

And if that’s the case, they’re certainly not ready to embrace the social-ness of their website, and stop referring to it as a blog, since they don’t even have one.

Decoder Ring Theatre cast

Cast of Decoder Ring Theatre, an audio theatre company in Toronto. They're airing 6 of my radio scripts this summer on their podcast.

I’ve seen this “we’ve got to stop calling it by the old name because it’s not accurate anymore” phenomenon so many times before in so many different industries. Radio theatre is no longer called “radio theatre” anymore, it’s called “audio theatre.” Why? Because you don’t listen to these plays on the radio anymore, you listen to them via streaming audio, podcasts, mobile phones, CDs, and even tapes. Who the hell uses radio?

The audio theatre groups I’ve been a part of have been arguing about this for the last 10 years. (In fact, if I want to rile them up, I’ll bring it up again, like shaking a jar of angry bees just as they’re starting to calm down.) But the only people who care about the distinction are the practitioners themselves. Most of the non-audio theatre public still calls it “radio theatre,” because that’s the name they know. That’s how they refer to it when they talk about what they, their parents, or their grandparents listened to.

When I ask them about “audio theatre,” they stare at me blankly, until I say “that’s the new word for radio theatre.” Then they get it. Audio theatre’s biggest marketing blunder was when they stopped calling the art form what the typical listener was calling it, and I think it played a role in the diminished acceptance of the art form, even as audiobooks and other forms of audio entertainment and education have taken off.

If we want corporate blogging to continue to grow, we need to keep calling it a “blog” for as long as the business community has not fully embraced the Internet as a whole. Once everyone has a website and a blog, then I’ll call it a “social web.” Until then, I’m going to stick with the term the rest of the business community is already using. The social media pros can call it whatever they like.

Photo credit: pullarf (Flickr)

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    About Erik Deckers

    Erik Deckers is the President of Pro Blog Service, a content marketing and social media marketing agency He co-authored four social media books, including No Bullshit Social Media with Jason Falls (2011, Que Biz-Tech), and Branding Yourself with Kyle Lacy (3rd ed., 2017, Que Biz-Tech), and The Owned Media Doctrine (2013, Archway Publishing). Erik has written a weekly newspaper humor column for 10 papers around Indiana since 1995. He was also the Spring 2016 writer-in-residence at the Jack Kerouac House in Orlando, FL.

    Comments

    1. I think people like to rename things because they want to make their imprint on their industry, and because they believe people in general have been following the industry as closely as they have. As a result, they think the general public will understand what they’re talking about.

    2. Thanks Eric, I hope this doesn’t take hold. It’s difficult enough explaining the current basics to business people who aren’t engaged in the “social web”

      In general, why do you think many feel the need to re-name things?