Clean Coal’s unblog

by Team Politics
Thursday, June 11th, 2009

I don’t want to be a hippie here, but part of participating in social media is actually, you know, participating. A lot of orgs don’t realize this and just use their blog as another PR cannon, rather than a communication tool. Take, for example, the Factuality Blog from the site America’s Power, aka Clean Coal, aka American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

We’ll ignore the fact that a video auto-plays when you visit the site, and that when you load the blog (in an interesting pop-up that lets you stay on the site), the video continues to play, giving you a bizarro soundtrack for your blog reading.

It’s just that the blog isn’t very…bloggy.

The blog does a great job of examining clean coal technologies and explaining the organization’s stances on issues:

Located four miles south of Council Bluffs, Iowa, MidAmerican Energy’s Walter Scott Energy Center is one of the cleanest of its kind in North America.

It generates more than 1,600 megawatts of affordable electricity, which has a positive long-term economic impact on the region (a region that includes a Google data facility).

The on-site settling pond provides successful nesting sites for two endangered bird species: the piping plover and the least tern.

The facility employs over 200 people with an annual payroll of about $17.5 million. And it pays over $7 million in annual property tax.

Well written, interesting, concise. But link-less. It doesn’t even link within the organization, or to another blog post or to any other sources on the topic. So how is it different from a press release? Other than the fact that it’s on a blog, of course.

I’m not saying that every post should contain a link (or lots of them) to outside content. Certainly one of the advantages of having a blog is that it lets an organization offer its ideas to the public without depending on a journalist or shill to publish them.

But one of the keys to successful talking is listening. And blogs do this by linking to other blogs and information sources. Jeez, the only links on the first page of this blog are to the City of Douglas, WY, and a page dedicated to the Jackalope (hilarious!). Are those the only people Clean Coal is listening to?

Most importantly, when you click on the title of a post on this blog, you don’t get a permalink. Permalinks, individual links to individual blog posts, are one of the key building blocks of blogging culture. Other bloggers can’t respond very effectively to an idea, whether arguing with it or endorsing it, unless you offer easily accessible permalinks.

For example, click on the headline for this post to see our permalink, which looks like this:

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