The Blog Council or Magesterium?

Came across this via Twitter - The Blog Council, is a professional community of top global brands dedicated to promoting best practices in corporate blogging.
I came acrross this today (and some of this content is direct from their press release). Founding members include the leading companies from a diverse range of business sectors: AccuQuote, Cisco Systems, The Coca-Cola Company, Dell, Gemstar-TV Guide, General Motors, Kaiser Permanente, Microsoft, Nokia, SAP, and Wells Fargo.
The blurb says: "The Blog Council exists as a forum for executives to meet one another in a private, vendor-free environment and share tactics, offer advice based on past experience, and develop standards-based best practices as a model for other corporate blogs."
What's this? "Vendor-free environment" (what's that mean?). "And share tactics" (What's that? A means of getting what you want through sneaky tactics?). "Offer advice based on past experience (Read for that: The last time we fucked up - we did this and it seemed to work!) ...And develop standards-based best practices (ie How we plan to paddle our way out of a shit creak!)
Blog Council CEO Andy Sernovitz says: "Major corporations use blogs differently while abiding by the same rules and etiquette. Individual and small-business bloggers don't face the same issues. For example, we still need to deliver a responsible and effective corporate message, but we need to do it in the complicated environment of the blogosphere. We have to speak for a corporation, but never sound 'corporate.' And we have to learn to do it live, and in real-time."
All very good. Then the Blog Council (sounds a bit strange to me, a bit like the Magisterium)
representing "thought leaders" (WTF?) from corporate departments, the Blog Council's advocacy role functions as a collective voice in support of responsible, ethics-based corporate blogs (more marketing bullshit?). Other issues the Council will address include:

  • How do global brands manage blogs in more than one language?
  • What do you do when 2000 employees have personal blogs?
  • What is the role of the corporate brand in a media landscape increasingly geared toward consumer-generated media?
  • What is the correct way to engage and respond to bloggers who write about your company?
I do not know (says me) it is too early to say. Throw me a bone here!

"Every major corporation is struggling with the question of how to use blogs and engage the blogosphere the right way," said Sean O'Driscoll, General Manager, Community Support Services for Microsoft.

Microsoft? What have you guys been doing for the last three years? What doesn't Vista work - haven't you seen the comments? There are hundreds of them.
"The Blog Council brings together precisely the people who need to explore these issues together, in a productive and private networking environment," says O'Driscoll. "We can work together to develop model policies that set the standard for corporate blogging excellence."

Hold on a minute - read this again: "Precisely the people who need to explore these issues."

Says who? Who are these people precisely? Appointed by whom? This all about brand management - fair enough I have no problem with that. But at least state your case and business strategy. In PR terms you need to be transparent and The Blog Council is spin and Dell for one should be very, very careful.
By the way Simon Collister and Stephen Davies have been having conversation about this on Twitter all day. All I would say to the Blog Council is join in the conversation - doon't set the parameters for the debate - just pose the question.

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