I got into a bit of a pissing contest last week while I was away. Personally I don’t recommend doing that, and I usually avoid it myself as it can get a little messy. Not everyone has the same ability to aim.

There are times when I find myself talking to folks that I realize have a vested interest in not seeing things the same way I do. I know I’m never going to convince them of the merits of my views. And I know it is a waste of time to even try.

Usually I just walk away.

But one of the great things about blogging is that the discussions can benefit tons of folks who aren’t directly involved in them because they are available for anyone with an interest that wants to read.

So this one time I stuck around.

Conflicting Ideas

The whole thing started when Jim Turner over at One By One Media wrote a little piece pointing out that Amanda Chapel Doesn’t Understand Business Blogging.

In it Jim pointed to an article Amanda wrote ripping apart a competitor and said that one of the obvious take-aways from Amanda’s article is that she doesn’t understand business blogging. Jim made some good points.

And if there was any doubt about Amanda’s views on businesses blogging she showed up in the comments and cleared them up for us.

Apparently, in Amanda’s mind blogging is somehow a curse and a threat to the business world. In her world she claims there is no room for relationships in business.

Obviously I disagree with that position.

The Opposition’s Approach

You can tell from a quick read of her own blog’s about page that she and I have different approaches to life. She seems to brag about her comparison to her profession and prostitution as though it is supposed to be a resume builder. In our exchange she was rude and almost vulgar. She seems a bit of an angry person.

I get the feeling she’s not used to people disagreeing with her. Perhaps the none of the people she works around ever stand up to her intimidation tactics. I don’t know.

She kept demanding that the conversation stop simply because she didn’t want to talk about it. I felt a bit like the Great Oz was telling me to ignore the little man behind the curtain. After all he’s not nearly so impressive as this great big talking smoke cloud that’s blowing over here.

Then when she realized she wasn’t gaining any ground in a public comment thread she switched to email. I guess the PR person in her realized she wasn’t able to spin the issue as well as she wanted in public so she better move it out of view.

The Core Error

After you wade through all the arrogance, thinly veiled insults (she seems obsessed with my military experience and speculating about the reasons I left the service) and vulgar innuendos, it seems Amanda’s core misunderstanding about business blogging is a direct result of her understanding of business.

She holds that business is about money and not about relationships. A paragraph from the email she sent me:

Conversely, good companies don’t want “relationships” with their customers. Relationships are typically with the wrong people for the wrong reasons; they’re messy; and they’re incredible expensive and rarely provide a return. Why do you think the divorce rate is what it is? You want a relationship, get a dog.

What Amanda seems to miss completely is that money, in and of itself, has no ability whatsoever to conduct business.

No. Money is controlled by people. Actual living, breathing, fickle, emotional, messy people ultimately decide whether or not to spend money at our businesses. The money doesn’t just spend itself.

And people are inherently relational creatures. Why do you think one of the cruelest forms of punishment is solitary confinement? Because it is in our DNA to need to relate to others.

If you get the people to view your business positively the money will follow.

In order for a business transaction to take place, for someone to exchange their money for some goods or services, there must be some sort of interaction. A relationship of some sort, even on the most superficial of levels, is implicit in that interaction.

Even looking at Amanda’s favorite business example of prostitution there is a transaction that takes place and relationship of sorts. Yes it is the shallowest of relationships. But it does actually exist.

It is good business to allocate some resources toward building that relationship to be as strong as possible to increase the size and frequency of the transactions.

Business blogging is a very cost effective tool to help with that process.

Now can businesses completely ignore the relationship aspect, treat their customers (and potential customers) like dirt and still survive? Sure they can.

That business model seems to work best with large corporations that have gobs of money to spend in their communication effort to overcome their shoddy treatment of people.

And where do those corporations spend their money to get that message out? Hmmm… Wait. Don’t tell me. Let me guess.

With high priced PR people?

Could that possibly be a motivation behind Amanda’s attempts to squash discussion of the merits of business blogging?

She has a blog of her own! Could it be that she actually does understand their value but can’t admit to it because that might ultimately hurt her own bottom line?

A Better Way

But what about businesses that want to be more efficient with their resources?

Maybe they could leave out a few steps by actively seeking to build relationships with real living breathing people rather than trying to somehow mystically get money to pour itself into their business.

Treating people well, and building relationships with them, makes good business sense because the money is ultimately controlled by them anyway.

Business blogging is a remarkably cost effective way to do that.

I mean if you have a ton of cash to throw at a high priced PR person to clean up your messes, then please ignore what I have to say. That approach will probably be easier for you anyway, at least in the short term.

According to Amanda doing business with a prostitute is apparently better than actually doing the hard work to build a marriage relationship.

Of course her approach is going to cost you in the long run…

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