Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thoughts on Google Sidewiki...with thanks to creo

Our fellow “Photon-ites” from across the ditch at creo communications wrote an excellent blog post  this week about a new widget from Google that might just have quite the impact on the PR industry: Sidewiki.

Creo said:

This month Google launched Sidewiki. It is effectively a 'micro-wiki' enabling users to comment and discuss any webpage, while browsing that page. The principal idea is noble...why, then, is it causing a stir in the communications business?

For the same reason that many companies, and the PR people that represent them, still struggle to grasp the basic concept of Social Media.

Surrendering control. Conversations between consumers about organisations and their reputations are taking place on any number of Social Media channels around the clock. The amount of influence PR professionals and their clients have over these conversations is limited. It's a case of power to the people.

The difference, and sticking point, this time though is that, unlike say Twitter or Facebook - where negative commentary is physically (and thus psychologically) separate from the brand being discussed - Google Sidewiki appears directly connected to, even floating on top of, a company's website.

There’s more detail to be had on the Creo site but they definitely make a valid point, and I’ll confess to being initially a little overwhelmed and terrified at the thought of that level of openness online between businesses and individuals. But on the other hand Sidewiki is really just a new way to have those conversations that are already going on, and perhaps a way for businesses to see more clearly and more quickly what the opinions out there are saying. And once again the principles of listening and getting involved will be key to success online. As Creo said, it is well worth watching, and I’ll add worth playing with too!

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