Consumer Opinion, Meet Citizen Opinion

Companies are rapidly adopting web 2.0 technologies as they see consumer opinion affecting their brands and marketing campaigns. When 41% of bloggers post about brands they love or hate, companies sit up and take notice. Their efforts to engage in the dialogue – from J&J’s Motrin Mom babywearing campaign to Chris Brogan’s sponsored blog post for KMart,¬†are heavily reported on as large brands and consumers struggle to define the appropriate terms of engagement.
Comparatively little attention is being paid to the government’s move to engage with citizens using similar technologies. The new administration is interacting with citizens online as a logical extension of the Obama campaign’s successes with new media outreach. Recent developments include’s eliciting citizens’ stories of giving back to communitites, implementing Open ID for commenters, switching to a permissive Creative Commons license, and creating an iPhone app.
These activities are breaking new ground for the private and public sectors, and the drastically reduced cost of web 2.0 technologies has the effect of leveling the playing field. It will be interesting to see the successes and inevitable missteps as corporations and the government use new media to encourage and measure constituency engagement.

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