Dinner last night in New York with folks from a big Internet ad agency. They told me about a problem. A report just came out on a blog that they say distorted their company position. If it had come out on a newspaper or magazine, they say they would call or e-mail the reporter, or maybe send a letter to the editor. But they just don't know how to respond to a blog?
They don't know the blog. And they worry that the blogger, given a response, could distort it further, ridicule them, and create a stir that could get picked up in the broader blogosphere.
Are the agency's fears unfounded? It's hard to say. But figuring out how to respond to blogs is going to be an enormous challenge in the coming year or two for all sorts of companies. And consider this: If a savvy Internet ad agency is tied in knots over blogs, just imagine the fear and confusion that must reign in the rest of the corporate world.
Already, smart companies are monitoring the blog traffic. Many of them, of course, are creating blogs of their own. But the question of how to respond to blogs is going to be so vital, I believe, that it will give birth to an entire new branch of corporate consulting. These blog consultants, increasingly, will be battling with the entrenched p.r. departments for control over the corporate message