I’m terribly late in making this shout-out to Shel Israel, who agreed with my contention from Feb. 20 and Feb. 22 that Steve Jobs should consider blogging. In case the name isn’t familiar, Shel was co-author, with Robert Scoble, of “Naked Conversations”, a book on how blogging, when done right, can be an effective way for big corporations to reach out to their customers.

Shel doesn’t come at the subject from nowhere. He’s been around Silicon Valley PR circles for some time, having advised Sun Microsystems from its very early days. He also advised Filemaker, now an Apple subsidiary, Creative Labs, and Riya.

And he made an excellent additional point that I hadn’t thought of. Blogging could be a great tool in the middle of a crisis. I don’t think that a crisis seems imminent or even likely at Apple today, but that’s the nature of crisis – you never see it coming. I just think having a blog in place, where Steve – or anyone else at Apple for that matter – can easily, and quickly say what’s on their mind wouldn’t be a bad thing. Apple’s full of passionate people – from the top down – who really care about what they’re doing, and who would certainly find it rewarding to find a way to share that passion in some appropriate way. Apple’s customers are equally passionate, and certainly there’s no shortage of blogs from the likes of them.

Meanwhile, I’m really eager to see how Shel’s next book project turns out. Its basic question is this: What happens when the generation that has grown up with the Web and all that entails (social networking, instant messaging, blogging, etc.) arrives in full force in the workplace? Personally, I’m beginning to see signs among younger colleagues that their habits for consuming, obtaining and retaining knowledge and information are often vastly different from my own. I still subscribe to newspapers, and they can’t imagine doing that.

Shel puts it better: “What happens when one watershed generation replaces another in the work and marketplace? This next generation is about to become your employee, your customer or maybe even your new competitor. How do you adapt to the change which is coming in the next 5, 10 and 30 years. Where do you look for answers? … You might start by looking in your own kid’s room. The recreational habits of young people age 12-24 today are the social habits that businesses will need to adjust to in the very close future.” It’s a fair question that every company must ponder, even Apple.

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