Blogging and MBAs
I had the chance recently to give a talk to about 60 MBA students about the impact of blogs and social media upon the business world. Broad topic, I know, but I put together a few slides to try and provide some context for the discussion and shared my experiences and perspectives with the group. Among other items, here are a few of the topics we went over:
- Word-of-mouth marketing’s evolution
- The demonstrated impact of blogs (i.e. Rathergate, Kryptonite, etc.)
- The tools of the trade (i.e. Technorati, RSS, etc.)
I did some ‘show-of-hands’ polling to ascertain how many of the students were involved with blogging on some level. I was fairly surprised to discover that most of the students had never heard of Technorati (let alone used it) or blog search engines. Naturally, none of them had begun to subscribe to RSS feeds or even read blogs on a regular basis.
It has gotten me to thinking that the whole message of blogs is a long way from being mainstream. It seems to have been relegated to self-proclaimed ‘geeks’ who are interested and intrigued by the technology and overall movement. There are exceptions, undoubtedly, but there is much distance yet to travel.
The ironic thing, though, is that people really nod their heads in agreement when you explain the ‘impact’ stories of Dell-Hell, Kryptonite, and others. I think that the potential for traction exists, but the educational divide seems too great. I’m wondering what it will take for the business world to really grab on en masse. Will Microsoft’s inclusion of RSS in the next version of IE help? Will another cover story in a magazine bring it all to a boil? Will a newer, simpler platform for social media emerge to shift emphasis from blogging? Or is this just a technology whose time has yet to arrive?
I know that Technorati’s numbers create a pretty compelling case (i.e. the time has already come) for the media. But when will social media be empasized in more MBA programs? When will more small business owners (not just the fortune 500s) dig into the movement?
I have been comparing this response to my interactions with executives who are in pretty much the same place. Blogs are a known entity, but only on a superficial level. I am encountering very few folks who are truly considering the impact of social media on their organization’s future.