Blog Feedback

If you caught my post about the new blog yesterday, you know I’m excited about it and think it is a pretty big deal. But right off the bat they’ve made a decision that I think is a real shame. They don’t want to know what you think about the blog, the work is doing or anything else. No comments are allowed and no email address is provided. A quick perusal of the other Google blogs shows that most don’t allow comments. At least the Official Google Blog (the company blog) says “We Love Feedback” and offers a general email address.

When I spoke with the foundation communications employee who was interested in starting a blog yesterday, I talked about how there are two ways to use a blog. The simple, but boring, way is to use it as a cheap tool to pump out information about your organization. That makes the blog nothing more than a frequently released newsletter. The more interesting way to use a blog is to leverage the two-way communication potential of the technology and enter into a conversation with the public, grantees and other stakeholders.

I hope decides to join the conversation. If they decide to opt out, they’ll be setting a precedent for a lot of other foundations. Since Google’s philanthropic efforts enjoy such a high profile right now, and since Google owns one of the dominate blog technology platforms, the way that they choose to use their blog will have far reaching ramifications for how philanthropic entities chose to use social media tools. I think we’re at an inflection point right now in the adoption of social media tools by the philanthropy sector. The choices that are made now will be with us a long time.


  1. Tom Williams says:

    I think different practices ought to exist for grant-making foundations and charitable orgs and for orgs of different sizes.

    Given the number of people looking for grants from, I could envision comments quickly becoming filled with “hey, look at my great organization, how can I get in touch with you.”

    For the mandate and size and time that it has been in existence, I’m pretty impressed with their progress to date.

    I think they’ve _started_ the exact right way. Get people learning more about the impact of their grants and ongoing work, get a feel for their team’s attitudes and aspirations.

    I think the only way that a blog would be able to truly invite two-sided conversation in their blogspace would be to have “blog officers” that work as grant officers moderating and reacting to comments based on a set of officially defined blog guidelines but I’d rather they allocate those resources to actually continuing to make innovative grants.

  2. I couldn’t agree more that it is a shame that the blog isn’t taking comments. Seems to defeat the purpose, and runs the risk of contributing to the perception that foundations are impenetrable fortresses surrounded by alligator-filled moats. The more that foundations find ways to open themselves up and not be afraid to invite comment, the greater the opportunity for real civic discourse about issues that we all need to think about and care about and not just leave to others to do.

    People chuckle over the collection of jargon that you’ve featured on this site that comes from the three books the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation commissioned Tony Proscio to produce over a period of years. But the “unfunny” aspect of that project was that it was meant to encourage foundation leadership and staff to be clearer in their writing and speaking so people would better understand what they were doing, why they were doing it, and to encourage more public discourse.