GM wants to learn from Fast Lane before launching other blogs

Besides other goodies, the big fish :) in the last podcast of The Hobson and Holtz Report is an 18-minute conversation with Michael Wiley, Director of New Media at General Motors. Neville did a wonderful job in transcribing the whole conversation, so you can actually follow the text while you’re listening to the podcast (19.4MB, the interview starts at 13:46).

Highlights:

  • Why the blog: "Typical communication is issuing press releases, talking to the media, who re-purpose your messages for you, and there’s no way for customers to get their thoughts back to you. We’ve been wanting to create this direct line of communication so that our various stakeholders aren’t going to message boards to talk about us – they have an opportunity to come and talk directly to us."
  • New blogs: GM has discussed launching other blogs, but they "don’t want a bunch of blogs to proliferate" and then "see dead blogs out there that aren’t properly managed." They "want to ensure there’s consistent high level communication going on."
  • The big surprise: "I was completely blown away by the level of comments and the thought that goes into those comments. We didn’t know what to expect and in many cases you feel that people have been waiting for years and years to be able to vent their feelings to General Motors, so even the negative ones aren’t sniping, they’re just giving us their sincere feelings and thoughts on what we can do to create better products."
  • Podcasts: GM is working on a 15 minutes-long weekly program.
  • Video blogging: it’s "certainly something that is appealing" to GM, but they want to make sure they "have plain old text blogging down" before moving on to the next thing.
  • RSS: GM is looking at offering RSS feeds on their media website. They haven’t done it so far because the media is just learning about RSS.
  • Journalists using RSS: "A survey shows that about 20% of the journalists are on RSS now, a pretty good number." (20%?! :shock: Is there a source for this survey?)
  • Internal weblogs: GM is launching its first leadership blog probably on February 25, by Tom Kowaleski, VP of Communications.
  • RSS on intranet: not yet, but considered.
  • Challenges: A lot of the rank and file employees "just don’t know what a blog is".

All in all, a thorough, excellent interview! Congrats to Shell and Neville! And congrats to Michael Wiley for engaging in this dialogue!

Please consider voting on the Podcast Alley for The Holtz and Hobson Report; it really deserves it.

Updated on Feb. 23, 2005: In the comments made on Neville’s posting, Michael Wiley clarifies the source for the survey showing that "20% of journalist are on RSS now":

We conducted a survey on our media website during the recent Detroit Motor Show. It wasn’t a scientific study, it was an informal, opt-in survey. The question was phrased something like "Would you be interested in subscribing to RSS feeds from GM Media Online?"

Now I’m good :) I was really worried that journalists are jumping into the RSS bandwagon…