Fear and Loathing in the Ivory Tower

Out of the ivory towersGutenberg's press had unexpected effects on the order of the day, and the same is true of the notorious blog. Not content with generating anxiety in the media industry, it seems the blog phenomenon is also responsible for fear and loathing among CEOs of corporations that have nothing to do with publishing. An article at CNN.com—CEO bloggers communicate to the masses—contained an unexpected revelation.

Consultants say blogging suits natural-born writers -- but it's tough for other executives.

"Ultimately, a good blog is good writing. Most CEOs are not good writers," said Debbie Weil, a Washington-based consultant and author of "The Corporate Blogging Book."

It never occurred to me that the person at the helm of Megacorp might be anything but a competent communicator. If those writing-challenged CEOs are compelled to reach out to the masses—just because it's what other CEOs are doing—the results could be truly unfortunate. I mean, all this time you've been laboring under the delusion that your investments are in the capable hands of Mr. Smith, Vice President and CEO of Megacorp, and now it turns out the guy can't construct a coherent sentence. As you, and countless others, race to move your wealth into more literate hands, the skies are filled with the silk-suited forms of CEOs leaping from their penthouse windows.

Back in the real world, of course, CEOs have assistants. They have people who can churn out elegant blog-prose in their sleep; they don't have to be good writers themselves. "Take a letter, Miss Brown," may soon be replaced with its modern "take a post" equivalent. But for those CEOs who can really turn a phrase, blogging could be more than just an evolutionary phase in communication; it could be a revolutionary answer to the plague of executive isolationism. After all, isn't freedom what the blog is all about?


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