As most of you know, Tex was invited to Prague by Alticor to speak to, along with 4 other bloggers and blog commenters, a conference of PR and External Affairs Staff on the phenomena of blogging and its impact on the direct sales industry, specifically Alticor, Amway, and Quixtar.
The blog panel was asked a series of questions by a panel moderator and then allowed to follow up.
Tex was articulate and to the point.
Over at "On The Road With Dave", I reprinted the questions asked of the panel and Tex gave his answers.
I'm reprinting them here.
Let me say, that at no time during the conference were we told NOT to blog about the conference. It was pretty much expected that we would.
The conference session opened with Dino giving a short Powerpoint presentation on what Blogging is, What blogs can do, and how Quixtar, Amway, and Alticor are using blogs. The ease of setting up a blog was mention and different Blog platforms like WordPress and Blogger were mentioned.
The Alticor Media Blog and the Amway Media Blog were began to address questions from, who else, but the Media. At the time, Dick DeVos, son of Amway Founder Rich DeVos was running for Governor of Michigan and his connection with Amway was an issue during the campaign.
After the campaign(and DeVos' loss) the two media blogs began to address Alticor lawsuits and troubles with terminated Independent Business Owners affiliated with Alticor.
Dino then introduced the invited bloggers and briefly explained their blogging efforts.
Again, the panel consisted of Dave Robison; "IBOFightback" (David Steadson); Bridgett, "Tex", "Big Apple". and Quixtar's own, Robin Luymes.
Although, the conference organizers knew all the attendees' real names, each blogger was introduced as their Internet personae. Their anonymity was important to the organizers.
1. When did you first start blogging about Amway, and why?
This is when the "No Tool Scam" sign came out, and I described how the business has been hijacked by the "kingpins" as a tool profit business, and A/Q as a secondary business. I mentioned Rich DeVos and the Directly Speaking recordings, and encouraged the attendees to listen/read them. I started blogging about 3 years ago to put an end to this bait-and-switch scam.
(Blogger's Note: Tex also told the audience that the corporation had lost millions of dollars because they had not addressed the issue of IBOs losing even more millions of dollars through the "tool scam".)
2. Many blogs have their own ground rules, and certainly the blogosphere has many rules of the road. What rules—if any—do you govern yourself by when you blog, and for what reasons?
I treat others as they treat me. When I started blogging, I soon found others were very nasty and had no interest in my ideas. After trying to stay "above the fray" for some time, it became apparent the only way to get my message out was to push back. I don't insult anyone, but I do return insults, and I continue to do so until they apologize for the original insult. (However, since returning, I've agreed with Chuck Lia to be "nicer", as he has indicated he will police his blog fairly with all bloggers.)
3. In your opinion, what do you think of our company’s approach to blogging?
I think I generally agreed with their approach.
(Blogger's Note: Tex? Didn't you also disagree with some panelists,(not me) in that you respected the "strong" approach of the Alticor and Amway Media Blogs?)
4. How has blogging helped you as an individual, as an advocate for the company, and as an "online citizen"? (In my notes, this question was "Has Blogging made you a better person?)
I responded blogging hasn't made me a better person, it has revealed who I am, which is someone who wants to be treated with honesty in a business dealing, which has clearly NOT happened with the tool scam.
5. Do you participate in other online venues, such as with sites like MySpace or Facebook, or do any podcasting? Do you feel that our involvement in these venues makes sense given the nature of our business? Please explain your answer.
I responded I do not participate much in these other venues, although upon reflection I have done some podcasts.
6. Our bloggging presence – the way we blog, how we blog and what we say – is evolving over time. We are still in the learning stages. Many of the audience members here are professional communicators from our Amway affiliates all over the world. What advice can you give our audience members as they continue to embrace blogging as a tool of communication?
I don't recall responding to this question.
7. Do You Make Any Money Blogging?
No, but I believe I have caused a lot of tool scam money to NOT be made that otherwise would have been.
8. Many of the people in this audience primarily deal with reporters and are just now beginning to deal with bloggers. There has been much debate in recent years whether bloggers carry the same rights and privileges, as do traditional journalists. Do you feel bloggers and journalists are one in the same, and should we treat bloggers with the same level of professional courtesy as we do with reporters?
I replied I don't know, I would need to know how they treat reporters.
9. As a global company, we must cooperate with different governments and respect their laws and customs as a rule of doing business. That said, how has blogging impacted the global marketplace?
Many companies have realized they need to pay attention to blogs, as this is a real impact on their reputation.
10. Do you think that blogging has changed the direct selling industry as a whole? Why or why not?
Yes, but I don't recall any further details.
FINALLY, Dino said that over the past year or so; Alticor was trying to transform itself and its companies and its online reputation. In a one-word, "Yes or No" answer; Do you believe the company is already being transformed?
I responded yes, but only because he asked for a single word, I didn't add this question is a bit like asking someone if they have stopped beating their wife. We have started the transformation, but have a long way to go.