Friday, July 10, 2009

Don't Push Mainstream off the Green Bandwagon

I read a tweet ( RT rocknrod The dirty tricks behind local-washing: How national corporations are co-opting the idea of "local"... ) that led me to for that post on Localism. I think this is an article worth reading. With a caveat. Read the reader comments, and this post, too. And tell me what you think.

I agree with most of the comments: very good in-depth reporting and awareness raising. I am, however, sensitive to the fact that there are a LOT of buzzwords -- greenwashing, astroturfing -- and labels
incorporated into the article...and a proposal that we create yet ANOTHER label ("independently owned.")

I'm not opposed to creating clear and transparent descriptions, but I also know -- as evidenced by one of the earliest reader comments -- there is already massive consumer confusion.
It's bad enough that we don't have consistent certification programs for green businesses and services, so it's easy to stake a claim and risk being accused of "greenwashing." But I try to minimize use of that word because the fact is, among mainstream consumers, there's still a TON of education and action that has to happen to get the majority on a green path.
We don't want to add to the cynicsm and give mainstream a chance to fall OFF the green bandwagon before we get them on it.

Just as Adam Werbach of Saatchi & Saatchi S is a proponent of moving the sustainability* movement description towards the word BLUE to be more encompassing of the issues, LOCAL is another issue that falls under that category. Do we need to keep chunking things out? What about when "Independently Owned" soon becomes besmirched by the "Home Gardened" crowd or the "Virtual Workers Creating Less Carbon" (me.)? We run the risk of alienating people with too much pressure on politically correct labeling before we've had a chance to educate them in general about simple steps to take at the very least. Again, I'm a big fan of the content and intention...just hoping we can put emphasis on action vs labeling.

I remain perhaps a Pollyanna in promoting my mantra that every step is a good step... even if it is a corporation using marketing to move the ball forward...for NOW.
Let's start the skewering AFTER we've saved the world!

*Sustainability: Not robbing the future of resources for today's business practices (Think adherance to triple bottom line people (fair trade, etc.), planet (eco-conscious) AND profit.)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Legally Blog: The challenges of coralling the conversation

I don't have the answer yet. I don't know that anyone really does, as social media is like an octopus, regrowing tentacles and mushing and morphing its way through the communal media ocean. But one of the biggest questions I hear from my client and prospects about entering that ocean is how to "control their employees." And of course the immediate answer to THAT is: "you dont."

Clearly, participating in social networking is about being yourself and communing as best we can in our face-time starved society. I always think about Tim Sanders and his book from '02, Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends His premise is that sharing information is a loving, giving thing and that we all need to open our "rolodexes" and give a little to get a little. The Dilbert society of cubicles has starved us for companionship. Even love ain't gonna drive us offline so easily any more. We even FIND love online these days. We will keeping trying to find virtual places to hang out and talk.

So, for a company to ask us to stay nicely in our cubbies and not chat is not practical. But there are WAYS to chat...and as has always been the case there's that little thing most employees sign about not blabbing trade secrets to the press or even friends.

The internet is one big mouthpiece (and I LOVE Brian Madison's song "What Happens in Vegas Stays on the Internet" it should be sung after the Pledge of Allegiance every day in school, if kids still do the pledge, these days.)

Blogger beware.
Employees have to have the dots connected for them that badmouthing a bad boss on Twitter or posting a gripe in a chat room about co-worker is the same as broadcasting to the world. Forever.

So, for here's a good legal blog to read, even if it will sort of strike fear in the hearts of some employees and employers.

The battle of the blog: Legal implications of your employees blogging about the workplace ::

FYI: (No employees were harmed in the making of this blog.)

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