Can business blogs be too personal?

If you read Microsoft mega-blogger Robert Scoble’s blog you’ll know that his mother is seriously ill and that the Scobleizer has taken offence that he’s still getting pitched by PR companies.

This raised lots of questions for me. Not very many of which were favourable to Scoble. If you choose to reveal details of your personal life on what is a professional/work blog then that’s your choice and you have to be able to deal with the consequences.

One of the problems for me is that there are lots of people going through serious personal trauma and most of them have to struggle to cope with balancing the needs of their family with work. If you remain at work rather than taking compassionate leave, or even quitting which what some are forced to do, then you’ve got to try to cope. Your colleagues will give you as much support as they can, but how far can you expect this to extend – customers, suppliers, competitors?

In the last few months Scoble’s situation has very much applied to me. The only hint on my blog has been the addition of an advertising banner for Jon’s Journey which was spotted by Dennis Howlett who then blogged about his experience of what I’m currently going through with my Mum. It is too painful for me to do the same, but I really appreciated and was moved by what Dennis had to say.

If I’d blogged about this I would hope for sympathy and support from friends (and in this I would include bloggers I have a relationship with but have never met) but I wouldn’t expect people much beyond this to treat me much differently. In fact I’m not sure I’d want them to. The fact that I’m at work means I’ve got to deal with the things I’ve got to deal with.

PRs shouldn’t be making naff pitches to Robert Scoble, ever. PRs shouldn’t be making naff pitches to anyone, ever. But the fact is there are lots of PRs who do it all the time, which means they are wrong all the time. The personal trauma aspect of it isn’t really that relevant. If you’re at work then you’ve got to deal with what is thrown at you.

The most intelligent commentary I’ve read about this has been on the excellent LOOSE wire blog by Wall Street Journal columnist Jeremy Wagstaff.

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About Stuart Bruce

International communications consultant and PR trainer specialising in online public affairs, digital corporate communications, online PR and social media; frequent national media commentator and conference speaker.
  • http://scobleizer.wordpress.com Robert Scoble

    You misunderstood me. I wasn't offended. I just am not going to write about their products because they didn't take two minutes to read my blog and see what interests me today. They didn't target their pitch. And they didn't show any interest in what I am about or thinking about.

    It'd be like if I came to you and pitched a fishing blog to you. Would you care? I doubt it, since your blog isn't about fishing, but rather it's about PR and business.

    One other thing. My blog isn't a business blog. It's my personal blog. That's why there isn't a Microsoft logo on it.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/stuartbrucepr/ Stuart Bruce – Wolfstar

    Thanks for this swift response (I make it 2 in the morning for you).

    Thanks for clarifying, you're right I did misunderstand your point. Although it also reinforces my point that a naff pitch is a naff pitch, whenever it is done.

    On your point about it not being a business blog I don't think it makes much difference if there is or isn't a Microsoft logo. The point is that everyone I speak to PERCEIVES it as a professional blog on which you talk about business and personal issues. People associate it and you with Microsoft which de facto means it is a business blog.

    I guess you also spend a significant amount of your work time on the blog. If it was just a personal blog then most (all?) employers wouldn't allow you to do that.

    That said I don't think it is an issue. It is no better or worse if it is a business or personal blog. They are equal.

  • http://overtonecomm.blogspot.com/ Kami Huyse

    Good points. My comments at Robert's site were aimed at those pitching, not some responsibility to Robert personally. Here is the thing, if you have market intelligence that someone may not be receptive to your pitch, just don't do it.

    Actually, the criticism a business-based one.

    If you (or any blogger) doesn't choose to reveal personal stuff, then hey, I as a pitcher can't take it into account. However, if you do chosse to reveal it, I better be aware as a part of MY job!

    As you say, a off-base (is this what Naff means?) pitch is bad in any case.

    Now to the human part, if you know someone is having a hard time, it is good to keep it in mind and respond accordingly.

    In other words, this really isn't about Robert per se.

    I can see why you would be irritated though from your own perspective.

    I liked Jeremy's take as well.

  • http://onlinepr.gbwatch.com/ Mary

    Hi!

    I am not here to add another debate on this post. Anyway, I think that with the various blogs out there, you could not dive in to the fact that there are blogs that have a mixture of business and personal stuff. This is another nature of blogs we have to consider. I guess that this is a fact that has yet to be clarified. But then again, comments on our blogs are always out there, we have to be prapared for that. If you are a blogger you take this kind of responsibility.