at&t might not get blogs ...

But, they get what it means to be captains of industry - or, what it means to have a monumental rebirth as a new company. Yep, talking about the announced acquisition of BellSouth by at&t.

Slightly reminiscent of Cronos eating his own children, at&t (really, SBC - which was one of the kids - but let's not sweat the details) is beginning to look like it is going to dominate the pipeline, the telco and be the possible backbone of Internet 2.0 (not to be confused with Web 2.0, but that really, really cool project that will double the speed of the 'Net).

Yes, in some sense that is scary - but the funny thing to me is that it's a big "fuck you" to those bloggers that were all up in arms about the at&t billboards, and the whining that ensued. So what if "blog" or "podcast" do not come up on its Website? Is that really going to end the day, or does the backend technology that enables this stuff just as important as the stuff itself?

At the end of the day, would I rather be a captain of industry or a captain of blogging? Dell Hell turned out to not hurt the bottom line much, did it? The FedEx fiasco turned out not to hurt the bottom line too much either. Blogging does have power - and viral is viral and WOM is important - but let's not put a bigger emphasis on things when at the end of the day the captains of industry still chug along.

So blog does not appear on the at&t Website. They are the pipeline, and they'll be owning more of it if the deal gets regulatory approval. For better or worse, that switch can be flipped when a pesky open source bastard annoys too much.



  1. Great point and one that's not made often enough.

    Communicators (public relations professionals, bloggers and others) often need to take a step back and learn what business is about and what it's not about. It's about running a great operation for it's key consituencies (community, investors, customers, employees etc). The role public relations should be playing at the corporate reputation level is two pronged: 1) to help communicate this fact when it needs communicating (Target does not seem to need it, at&t does not seem to need it, Wal-Mart most definitely does need it); 2) to advise on what business steps may need to be taken to form a business model that would lead to a great reputation (this is not different that Karl Rove suggesting that certain legislation will shore up Bush's reputation in a political base). Both of these areas require a strong understanding of business and a public relations mentality that has the business driving the reputation and not vice versa.

    Can an approach that at&t or Target (both very public non-bloggers) still be considered a dialogue? They will stil receive feedback through other channels and have a chance to respond. Target may get public or private feedback on customer, adjust it, and then communicate the improvements through ads, interviews and in-store promotions. It may not be a direct, instant dialogue, but it's still a form of two way conversation.