Sunday, June 18, 2006

Greenwatch, the conservative "mirror" organization: The Netvocates Saga Continues

Has anyone else noticed the Jerk tagging his posts netvocates, when they have nothing to do with the subject? Well, would you believe that that's yet one more "Strategy" for dealing with growing internet attention that a company doesn't want? It is. And "redirect" is the idea of putting out a counter message.

Like our recent discussions about NetVocates have speculated, there is a counter message. We've been on the "troll" angle. There's another angle as well. How about clouding the issue? Maybe. But the idea of flooding the market with blog entries in support of your company line. Would you clearly announce on each and every blog that "This blogger is a representative of corporation x?

This is where it gets interesting: "IDI develops blogs that allow clients to initiate a dialog with multiple constituencies. Blogs provide a simple, inexpensive way to build a community for messaging, rapid response & brand protection, fundraising, analysis, and a host of other activities." Yes, there is a blog war going on and if you are posting about relevant topics, you are on the front line. You can read the full text here, but another good example is "IDI's Internet Strategic Communications staff provides training, workshops and speakers on both blogging strategies for organizations and training individual bloggers."

Issue Dynamics, Inc. is just one of what I call Blog Mercenaries. That's my designation for what they do. Why spend money and time resources to train "professional bloggers?" Because the keyboard is a powerful tool.

Ever hear of Greenwatch?

What does the "Greenwatch Blog" do: "Monitoring environmental groups, non-profits, foundation & labor unions". You can read their latest post Here.

But there is even more: like this treatise that outlines successful strategies:

"But that doesn't mean our occasional mistakes have to be fatal. As the GM story illustrates, our best protection is the ability to recognize mistakes when they happen and respond in real time.

Let's start with the first challenge: recognizing mistakes when they happen. To me, this is first and foremost a call for smart and serious blog monitoring. If you want to know when you've made a mistake -- or simply when public response to a "correct" decision could turn out to be a problem -- you should use bloggers as your early warning system.

You can use a tool as simple as a personalized Google home page or a Bloglines account to track a range of RSS feeds that will help you monitor your public image. (Just make sure that more than one person in your organization is doing this, so you don't miss an emerging issue.)

At the very least, you should be checking in daily on RSS feeds that search:

-your organization's name

-the names of your executive team members and public spokespeople. Set up searches on all the commonly used variants and misspellings of each person's name: for example, if your Executive Director is named Jennifer Smith William you should search on "Jennifer Smith William", "Jen Smith" "Jen William", "Jenny Smith Williams" etc.

-the names of all your major projects and brands

-the names of your major partner or competitor organizations, and potentially, the names of their executive team members"

There is an entire structure set up to monitor, spin and redirect the blogosphere. Are you absolutely certain that you're thinking for yourself? You might want to double check those sources from hear on out. Nothing worse than being a lapdog, right or wrong.

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