My fellow BBC World Service commentator, Lucy Kellaway, lays into Reuters CEO Tom Glocer as the worst case of vapid CEO blogging (via the BBC’s Richard Sambrook). Harsh, because Glocer seems to be a cut above the rest of the old media but she has a point: Blogs are about being honest and authentic, and I’ve seen few CEOs manage to do this. Although the results would be entertaining, if they for once did try not to please but to vent (which is the real distinction between a faux blog and a real one). Here’s an early draft of what a CEO like Mr. Glocer might have written if he could:
Had to fire half the news department today. Would have fired the other half too, had they actually been in the office. They weren’t; as it was 3.30 in the afternoon they were mostly unwell in The Ink Stained Spike so I had to get Mrs. Marpool, the Chief Hot Refreshing Beverage Delivery Officer (formerly the tea lady), to pass on the news to them. Doubtless the old fools will be telling each other war stories and mocking my blogging style. The savvier ones will be pulling up my MySpace page on their 3.5G enabled, beer-splattered laptops and making rude remarks about my dog. Bottom feeders. They’ve probably never heard of Debussy. Pffft.
God I hate journalists. The ones who were in the office sat staring at their Grecian 2000 editing terminals as I broke the news to them, either patheticlaly hoping I’d notice their dedication and spare them, or else because they couldn’t bear to look anywhere else. They’ve brought it on themselves. Ten years ago they could have bought a copy of Microsoft for Dummies from Dillons. But no. They thought they were all still safe, sacred cows in the face of the digital sandstorm (gosh, that’s good that. Might save that for the final version.) Journalists. They’re either gung ho foreign correspondents who can’t stop filing stories no one will read, or burned out subs with faces like a rhino’s armpit (gosh, that is good!) who take most of the afternoon to sub a palm oil report.
Anyway, good riddance to the lot of them. Nothing they could do that a floor full of eager Bangaloreans (Bangalorans? Bangalorii? Bangaloris? Bangalorish? Please check this before you post it on the blog, Edna) couldn’t do at a tenth the price.
Anyway, unlikely to see a CEO rabbiting on like that, so we should stop dreaming. Anyway, I’m still upset with Lucy for suggesting in the same piece that signing off an email with ‘best’ is somehow unacceptable. I do it all the time, although I fear it’s a throwback to my own hackish past, when we wrote our Reuters service messages (open wire emails, as it were, visible to all) in telegraphese, as if there was still a premium on word count. Hence “best regards” either became “brgds” or just good old “best”. I still do it, and will continue to do so until Lucy tells me not to.