The blogger session at PubCon Boston was a crowd favorite. Jeremy Zawodny, Matt Cutts, and Robert Scoble talked about their experiences as the key "unofficial" spokespeople for Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft. The big item here was "Where is Matt's Mom's blog?"
Jeremy also gave an interesting summary of his experiences blogging about the troubled history at Yahoo Finance. He compared it unfavorably to Google's new product suggesting Google was doing things Yahoo should and could have done long ago. His gutsy post got him a meeting with the new Finance program manager who was new and wanted to brief him on what appear to be excellent upcoming features. The moral of the story seemed somewhat in line with Scoble's insistence that companies need to "blog or die" and that allowing this type of open examination is healthy, leading to faster action and enlightenment.
I'm not so sure that on balance negative blogging episodes have a positive impact on the company, but I do think that the long term, honest blogging by Zawodny and Scoble and Matt's new efforts send a very powerful credibility signal to the community and indicate their companies "get the new web" in an important way.
I hope that YPN and other "official" blogs work to retain an honest, creative voice. I'm skeptical and waiting to see if that is even possible when the blog is under corporate management. Better to just cut your people loose, treat them well, and involve the whole world in the conversation.