Yeah, I know. We're all hung up lately on the value of conversation.
"The blogosphere engages consumers in conversation!" we like to exclaim. (My colleagues have patiently asked that I stop exclaiming this very thing when we're at restaurants, because it draws unwanted attention.)
But is the value of the blogosphere really in its conversation? Well, yes and no. Yes, the blogosphere empowers a global conversation between consumers and producers and onlookers, all of whom can stumble on information they never would have seen 2 years ago -- and who can then add their own voice, at their own blog, in their own style, reaching their own set of friends. So I'll go along with that. The "conversation" of blogs is invaluable. It's stupendous. I'm excited about it, to the point that I randomly drop the word "conversation" into my conversations, rather like Dan Rather's short-lived use of the word "courage."
On the other hand, this is really about more than that. Because not all conversation is created equal. Dare we forget sitting at the dinner table at our grandparents' house while the grown-ups talked about who-knows-what? It was slow. It was long. It was dreadful. It was a bore. The conversation was not compelling to us.
At WOMBAT, there's talk of providing "value" to customers, and earning trust. All well and good, but what's value? Value, in my opinion, is about providing compelling content for consumers. It's got to be something interesting, because conversation for conversation's sake won't go anywhere. Instead, again, it all goes back to content.
At a party, if you walk into a big crowd of people, you can't get a word in edgewise -- unless you have something interesting to say. It's the ability to say something interesting that earns a place in the conversation, and that's where the quality of content comes in. Far too many people are assuming that all content is going to be treated equally in this new environment, when that's not the case.