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Will a Chief Blogging Officer get a Golden Parachute?

 Excellent little news blurb on HealthLeaders Media this morning: “Chief Blogging Officer title catching on with corporations.”

Chief Blogging Officer.

Ok, one more time: Chief Blogging Officer.

The press release notes that more than 11 percent of Fortune 500 companies have blogs. Some of those Fortune 500s – Coca-Cola, Marriott and Kodak are those mentioned by name – have chief bloggers. The main role of the King of The Blog (my name, not theirs) is to promote a brand voice and engage customers.

I have a couple questions for these companies, though: Is this a legit C-level job? How far would the parking spot be from the door? What’s the number on the golden parachute you’re prepared to offer? And, most importantly, are you using WordPress or Blogger?

What kind of negotiation leverage does a potential Chief Blogging Officer have at a company like Coca-Cola? Would the number of days he or she be allowed to wear sandals and shorts in the office have to be predetermined? Would there be a discount on Coke bottle glasses? How would Coke feel about the copious amounts of Mountain Dew the King of the Blog would likely drink?

And what about Kodak? Would the KotB’s Flikr stream or Photobucket account have to be shut down? And, besides, who uses film anymore these days? I certainly wouldn’t trade in my point-and-shoot digital for film. Please. I don’t care if I’m capturing the Moments of Your Life if I have to wait for them to be developed – I’m the King of the Blog; I’ve got a deadline to meet. And the only thing that is going to bring this Kodak-branded blogpost together is a picture of a monkey smoking a cigarette!

Marriott. Oh, Marriott. You might have the biggest bargaining chip on the table:

Marriot: We’re a hotel chain, you know.

Potential King of the Blog: OK. So you want to know about my experience with hotels?

M: No. What we’re offering you is a place to live for free that isn’t in your parents’ basement.

PKotB: Deal!

In the interest of journalistic integrity, I decided to check out these corporate-sponsored blogs. The Coca-Cola blog’s latest story focuses on finding the Coke logo on postcards. Gee, all this logo hunting sure is making me thirsty…

The Kodak blog isn’t quite as straightforward in pushing its agenda. One of the most recent posts is a story written by Steve DiLullo, and he chats about a recent cruise he took. Throughout, there are some pretty sharp-looking images that Steve, apparently, took on his own. But, lo and behold, the digital camera Steve brought is pretty “hydrophobic.” Fortunately, Kodak makes a waterproof disposable!

Bill Marriott himself wrote the most recent post for the hotel chain. Bill Marriot? CEO and KoTB? There’s got to be some sort of conflict of interest going on there. His May 1 post talks about how awesome the Marriott hotels are because of the history that’s occurred in them. Well, FDR didn’t actually have his inaugural ball in a Marriott in the 1930s, but the company did purchase the hotel that happened in. That’s got to count for something, right?

These blogs are accomplishing the goals they set out with: promote the brand, establish a voice and engage customers. In fact, Mr. Marriott’s blog (that’s how the commenters address Bill) garners between three and five thoughts and comments per post. Not bad, especially when you consider that all of them talk about how great his hotels are.

(Apparently the people who frequent these sites don’t realize that comments on blogs are supposed to be inflammatory and debasing. But that’d never happen on a huge corporation’s site since everyone in the world loves big companies.)

What Coca-Cola, Kodak and Marriott are failing to realize – or maybe they realize it and just plow on ahead anyway – is that these posts are as transparent as my ex-girlfriend. When you’re trying to establish yourself in a Web 2.0 or social networking environment, the question readers and users are first going to ask is: What is this new person bringing to the table? If you’ve got an idea to share, a story to tell or an insightful comment to make, chances are good you’ll be accepted there. But if the aim is to pushing a product or mine users for market research, you’ll get sniffed out pretty quickly.

That is, of course, the exact opposite from our mission here at CIO Symmetry. (By the way, for the latest news and trends happening in the midmarket, check out!)

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