GWU Issues Management

A blog established for the George Washington University School of Political Management's Issues Management course.

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A middle aged white guy, who likes to think, talk and, too infrequently, write about politics, religion and gadgets.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Target to Bloggers: DROP DEAD!

Click here to read a short article describing Target's policy toward blogs and bloggers. If Target asked you for your opinion on this approach and inviting your recommendations going forward, what would you say? Support your advice with some factual citations on the significance of the blogosphere for companies.


Blogger Fi5hburn said...

My advice to Target would be, “Did you not read about Time’s 2006 Person of the Year? Embrace the new media!” Time aptly noted that the average person has seized control of the global media through the technological phenomenon known as Web 2.0. According to blogging data released in 2005 by the Pew Charitable Trust, Pew Internet & American Life Project, 1 in 6 adults in the U.S. read blogs and 1 in 20 have created their own blogs. Another reason to start embracing this new media is that the old guard is taking their cues from the web. News broadcasters and print media have their own staffs tracking blogs, seeking out the trends, reporting on the hot topics. In fact, this situation should be proof enough: we started with an upset blogger who took offense to an ad campaign and now we have the New York Times not only writing about the offended blogger, but also Target’s unwillingness to come to terms with the blogging world. Target should want the blogging world working for the corporation, not against it.

7:21 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

I think the best example of why Target needs to pay heed to bloggers is Target. Three days after their policy of never talking to "new media" they basically backed down. Given their obvious disdain for bloggers (they throw around the term "new media" with all the condescension and negative connotation of the term "new money"), the backlash against their policy must have been pretty harsh to elicit such a prompt, if grudging, response.

The greater problem is still the disdain. Everyone knows that bloggers are a bunch of nerds sitting in their parents' basements surrounded by Star Trek paraphernalia, unleashing their bitterness and ire on the world through the power of the internet. fact, I'm in my parents' basement right now. (OK, I'm not actually, but the point is that a lot of people would assume I was.) Companies that espouse this view do themselves a disservice. Clearly Target (or one voice of sanity at Target) knows that there is something to this "new media", but the disdain for bloggers remains. They underestimate them, even as they appease them. So until they change their estimation of the blogosphere and understand its inhabitants better, they're doomed to fall victim to it. This time it was a minor thing, but next time, knows. They need to respect the power of blogs and come up with a plan to deal with them defferentially.

7:30 AM  
Blogger Danielle said...

I have to say that this story amazed me. How on earth could Target be this out of touch? I work for the Public Affairs Council and we put on several conferences a year for our members where we discuss best practices on a variety of public affairs issues. At nearly every conference we discuss blogs and bloggers and how the industry is “handling” them. There seems to be near unanimous consent that you—companies and associations—must be involved and take the blogosphere seriously. The following studies underscore exactly why that is.

Pew Charitable Trust’s Pew Internet & American Life Project highlighted exactly who bloggers are: highly motivated and active citizens. I.E. these are the individuals who will become organized if incited to do so.

In addition, decision makers are very cognizant of the blogosphere and the issues there that are creating a buzz. In a study examining the influence of blogs on public policy, The Adfero Group found that 52% of reporters credit the blogosphere as the influence in their decisions to pursue stories.

So, what would I suggest to Target? Get with the program. Bloggers ARE your guests. And, they are here to stay. Treat them as you would any other outraged individual, in fact, handle them more gingerly; they can wield significant power.

2:30 PM  
Blogger mnordman said...

I would advise Target to be more open with bloggers because the Internet is doing as much, if not more, to driving people's opinions than paid, big media. The new media seems less controlled and unfiltered but it still offers the opportunity for you to get a positive message out.

It also goes against Target's brand as very forward thinking for them to ignore blogs and the new media. While they understandably can't respond to every blog request, they would be remiss to allow this to blow up against them. People are going to be less likely to trust their messages in the old media if they are not speaking to bloggers. It almost seems as if they have something to hide. As other people have said, blogging is the wave of the future and it would be in Target's best interest to jump on and control their message rather than have someone create it for them.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Cullen Linebarger said...

Target will start to have problems if they do not learn how to connect with the blogging world. They could grow their corporation and have the bloggers working for them or they can have continue to live in the past. This is the 21st century and blogging is only the tip of the iceberg with all the new technologies coming out and the growing influence of the Internet. Bloggers are not going away any time soon and they will not be defending Target if Target continues to ignore them.

10:33 PM  

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