If you caught my post about the new Google.org 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 Google.org 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 Google.org 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.