A common critique of weblogs is that they have no teeth. “The important insight of a single post gets lost in the overwhelming sea of words,” they say. Or, “sure, any blogger can figure out the world's problems on her weblog, but how does that change the real world?”
One small, practically insignificant, step at a time I would argue. Here is Andres Hardrada's translation of an illustrative post by Peruvian blogger Eduardo Solis [ES]. If you are interested in volunteering for Global Voices as a translator, please leave a comment below or send a message to the appropriate Regional Editor.
After that post written on august the 18th, a representative of Banco Financiero wrote me, and I quote:
“…I`m pleased to salute you and sincerely thank you at the same time about those comments you made in your blog, we think your opinion regarding our new product, Edu-k, which is a part of an ambitious educational project, is very good… it`s about an educational project for children at least 12-years-old, … the project includes more than 500 affiliate facilities pre-selected by the bank, and in this way us parents can be more informed about the tips…in such case we would like to contact you so we can give you more information on our project and include with your valuable collaboration…”
When they wrote me I thought it was a joke, though the person signed, put a phone number, an adress and email, wich had the bank domain. (signed as executives of corporative accounts)
I read and read the mail, a local business place that is concern about what the blogosphere has to say about their products? mmm didn`t believe it.
I responded and after 24 hours someone answered back, in this case was the superior of the previous person. (he wrote from the ceo of corporative accounts of the division of credit cards from the banco financiero).
The explanation I was sent reads something like this:
“We have decided, as Mr Castillo commented, to intervene efficiently in the support of minor`s education carrying out this project that wish to establish a chain formed by links such as educational facilities, the parents, and pupils closing into this project tangible benefits for each of those links…part of our job is to achieve the satisfaction of our customers… one way to do so is the search on internet that allow us to get this information, this way we got to read your blog…I reiterate my request to get together on a schedule of your disposition, so we can go
deep on the subject…”
Me? They even asked me to go to the bank to explain in detail how Edu-k works. Clearly, it's not necessary that I go, but what impress me the most is their willingness to explain it and, overall, their preoccupation for what is been said on the web about them. But this is the case that was right for the exposition of “Blogs and Business” during the last BlogDay conference; it's a pity that it did not happen before. But it will be included in my class and in any opportunity that I have to speak on this subject.
Congratulations gentlemen of the Financiero, I`m sure you`ve caused a great impression.
Of course the power of bloggers to use their medium and reputation to review products carries a double-edged sword. Some might ask if Solis was made a pawn by a brilliant marketing campaign by Banco Financiero. Or worse, that he had some personal benefit to gain by recommending the product.
But, as with everything online, a little skepticism and a lot of research can make us much more informed consumers and citizens.