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General Motors rockets into Internet blogosphere

January 9, 2005

If the guys in suits and white shirts at General Motors have decided they need to keep up with the blogging trend, then we ought to see more managing partners and law firm leaders lawyers jumping onto the blogosphere this coming year.

Mike Wedland, a Detroit Free Press columnist reports GM has quietly introduced Fastlane, a blog written by top management of the world’s largest corporation. Vice Chairman Bob Lutz signed the first item, which extols the virtues of GM’s Saturn product line and describes the company’s plans for it.

Lutz wrote “After years of reading and reacting to the automotive press, I finally get to put the shoe on the other foot. In the age of the Internet, anybody can be a ‘journalist.’ “

Law firm communications folks should take note of what Mike Wiley, GM’s new media director, is saying and doing. “The idea is to create a new line of communication with the marketplace. Blogs give us an important feedback link we don’t get with news releases.”

GM is even looking for unfiltered comments in reaction to blog entries. “We’re going to be as transparent as we can,” Wiley told Wedland.

Comments offered both praise and criticsim. “You are a breath of fresh air,” wrote reader John Decherland. “I can’t believe it took GM this long to see the connection that you have made.” Reader Bill Celline said “Get yourself a good Japanese partner and learn to make good cars,” he wrote. “Saturn is” a “toilet where you’re flushing cash. Shut that toilet lid and invest in your other lines.”

Could you imagine a leading national law firm communicating like this? If GM can do it, I see no reason why not.

I know there are a lot of stuffed shirts leading law firms who have no intention of changing the way they communicate with the public. Unfortunately I have to deal with some when their firms contact LexBlog regarding their firms communication needs. But law firm marketing professionals and communications who have the luxury of having some clout, should convince law firm management that blogs are a powerful communication tool and make all the sense in the world for public relations.

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