by: Karl Long

At the Forrester Consumer forum David Armano successfully goaded me into doing a podcast, with his promise of creating a logo for me, and the condition that he can be my first guest i acquiesce. His suggestion was to call it “The long and the short of it”, which I kind of like, it plays nicely off my last name, and seems like an appropriate homage to one of my favorite podcasts, American Copywriter. The connection is of course the infamous American Copywriter drinking game which is you take a drink any time someone says “The long and the short of it” amongst other things.

The topic of my first podcast will be interactive agency blogs. I chose this because it was really apparent at the Forrrester Consumer forum that the big agencies have really woken up to the power and importance of social media and all seem to be jumping in with both feet. It seems to me they have been a little slow, certainly lagging PR and marketing consultancies, so I thought it would be an appropriate time to see how they are doing. Here are a couple of notes which I plan to elaborate more on in the podcast, but it looks like a pretty rich source of conversation. Basically these are the headlines from me doing a search on the agency name and blog in google.

Searching for and blog produces a slideshow suggesting should start a blog :-) But no sign of the blog yet (any’ers blogging let me know).

A search on google for “Digitas blog” uncovers two bloggers David Armano and Greg Verdino who have both left Digitas. This is especially unfortunate because Digitas has done a good job of encouraging blogging. Is this a case of blogger brain drain or is there a better way?

Avenue A/Razorfish reveals a couple of blogs, one by Shiv Sing called and the Razorfish is certainly trying to avoid the kind of brain drain that Digitas experienced, but in having “official blogs” they have lost some of the personality, “rough edges” and conversational nature of more personal career blogs like Armano’s and Verdino’s.

The Organic Three Minds Blog is one of the more mature interactive agency blogs and they do a pretty good job of talking about new and interesting things that are happening in interactive design. It is the agencies blog but it balances the personality of the people writing it (real names), talking about design, and you don’t feel like it’s a big pitch for them.

A search for Sapient blogs produces an unfortunate quote from their CTO in 2005 which characterizes blogs as the equivalent of the Pet Rock:

It was bound to happen. Blogger backlash has set in. Witness Sapient, a leading business consulting and technology services company, issuing a “media alert” with the headline, “Blog tech doesn’t live up to blog talk, according to Sapient CTO.” Ben Gaucherin, the CTO in question, says blogs “are a fad fueled by pop culture’s desperate search for the next big thing.” When I spoke with Gaucherin he was even more emphatic than he was in his news alert. He told me that blogs are the digital equivalent of the pet rock.

Critical Mass has a blog called Experience Matters. Yes David Armano is involved in this as is vetran blogger of the Experience Planner Scott Weisbrod. These guys are doing a great job of balancing the personality and while still being a clearly branded Critical Mass “joint”. All the authors are identified, author headshots on every post, down to earth writing style and you don’t feel like your being pitched every other post. (full disclosure, I’m probably biased as i know David and Scott through blogging, but i’m sure their experience has helped them guide the direction of this essentially corporate blog).

Molecular has a blog called Molecular Voices that combines some perspectives on experience design, technology and marketing. Great start but eems like they could have several blogs on those various topics rather than trying to fit them under just one blog. As I read through the topics swung wildly from deep ajax, Java to viral marketing to business strategy. I guess the question is here “who is the audience”.

, AKQA, Whitman Hart, Blast Radius are all big interactive agencies that seem to be MIA in the blogosphere.

And what about the smaller interactive agenices? They seem to have been active from the beginning, Adaptive Path (sort of an interactive agency, no?), Jeffery Zeldman’s The Happy Cog, Coudal Partners, others?

Anyway, no schedule on the podcast yet, but i’ll probably just be hosting it here, and attaching it to posts at ExperiencecCurve, cheers.

Potential questions that arise from this:

  • Do big interactive agencies need blogs?
  • What are the benefits?
  • How do you balance personality and corporate brand?

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