Most e-zines aren't worth the time it takes to delete them from my inbox. The Tendo View is different. Each month San Francisco-based Tendo Communications delivers crisp, topical, engaging articles on stuff I'm really interested in: the fine line between PR and shilling; how to get the most out of web analytics (honestly, it's more interesting than you'd think!); the latest annoying corporate jargon. And every article has a strong, credible point of view.
Elsewhere on the web, says Chris Zender, Tendo's VP of editorial, point of view--POV for short--is missing in action. "[W]hether it's from increased scrutiny from the street, the SEC, shareholders, or simply an unwillingness to actually state a position, many sites these days are just plain, well, plain," Zender writes in the September issue.
And when I say plain, I'm not forgetting that most of these sites feature cutting-edge technologies, high-end graphics, and carefully packaged corporate-speak. But these bells and whistles carefully camouflage the fact that core content and messaging have been watered down so far that they really don't say anything. The information may be there, but the POV is definitely MIA.
Zender cites Oracle and Sun as two of the worst offenders. Unexpectedly, she lays the blame on those companies' corporate blogs. "To my mind," she writes, "there is a direct correlation between the decrease of POV in corporate sites and the increase of these corporate megaphones." It's as though big companies think that by "blogghettoizing" (my term, not Zender's) their strong opinions, they've made their world safe for vanilla content on their websites.
In my own experience, blandness is only one manifestation of the POV problem. Far too many sites suffer from multiple-POV disorder: The home-page content is warm and inviting; What We Do is bloated with flab like "provide solutions for" and "from the ground up"; and each division's content--because it was written by that division's designated writer--reads like a chapter from a different novel.
POV isn't a sideshow or a cosmetic. It's the quality that makes an enterprise distinctive and credible. Wouldn't it be refreshing to see some real character in corporate web writing?