They had decided it was time shoppers were treated with honesty, openess and respect, that they should be able to share in the profits that their custom contributed to and that they should have a democratic right to have a say in the business. Every customer of the shop became a member and so had a true stake in the business.
This way of doing business was revolutionary. These businessmen didn’t adulterate products, putting leaves in tea or chalk in flour. They didn’t simply see customers as the way to make a profit at the expense of others.
Hands up if you think this is a description of business blogging.
Hands up if you’d like it to be a description of business blogging.
In fact, this harks back to 1844 and the Rochdale Pioneers who were responsible for starting the Co-operative movement.
As with all things, nothing is relatively new nowadays. It’s just that we forget where we may have heard everything before. I’m a Lancastrian and don’t live too far away from Rochdale. For me, the principles of blogging are common sense and they aren’t a million miles away from the principles stated above and the principles I’ve always naturally adhered to in business.
Granted, the profit sharing business possibly isn’t something we get excited about in terms of blogging, but we are supposed to share our information freely amongst our customers and we also gladly pool our information resources for the benefit of ourselves and this, in turn, profits customers again.
Blogging isn’t a revolution. It’s simply a reaction to all the PR/marketing crap that has built up over the past 50 years in a similar way that the Co-op was and still is a reaction to unscrupulous capitalism.
We talk of conversations and authenticity and any other related business blogging buzzword, but the underpinning philosophy that some eschew has been around for quite some time. But, because blogs are a tool, you’re also more than welcome to use them for anything you damn well please. Good or evil. The real fight is for blogging’s ‘soul’.
The bit about blogging that anybody can understand is the way that they work. Any fool can set one up and any fool can understand the blogosphere. To quote the Funboy Three and Banarama – ‘It’s not what you do but the way that you do it.’ The fact that their ability to allow anybody to say anything in anyway they please is obviously their strongest and weakest points.
It’s all about conflicting philosophies, contrary political opinions and differing business models. All models will work within a blog framework. You only need know how to build and maintain the framework in the first place. A talking moose blog can work if the tool is understood and punters like it. It’s the philosophy behind it that is the real bone of contention.
Thankfully, blogging was brought onto the wibbling wobbling way to be an honest broker. Whatever your political opinion, political blogs, on the whole, attempt to be an antidote to the dominance and agenda setting of MSM. Likewise, business blogs attempt to be an antidote to PR-led campaigns and meaningless marketing mantras. However, we also see MSM moaning about blogs not following their lead and all manner of business blogs looking like nothing more than a cheaper method of promoting existing messages.
But, the Co-operative movement didn’t die and neither will blogging. Here’s a snippet about the current state of the Co-operativesphere.
Think of the USA and what do you think of? The world’s superpower? The ultimate consumer society?
Whatever it is that springs to mind, it may surprise you to know that the USA alone has over 47,000 co-ops, with 120 million members – that’s 40% of the population. Its credit union movement has more than 76 million members, its electric co-ops cover more than 30 million people and new co-ops are popping up everywhere, not least in New York City where 1st Rochdale Co-operative is supplying everything from telecommunications to Internet access.
In Sweden, there are approximately 200,000 local societies with between 25 and 30 million members – that means the vast majority of the population are members of at least one co-op.
Co-operatives are providing products, goods and services, as well as employment to billions of people and more and more people are realising that co-operatives can help solve social and economic problems experienced by communities the world over.
If blogging comes anywhere near then all is well. Do you not think?