The Porous Membrane
The porous membrane is a concept introduced in the blogosphere by Hugh MacLeod. It is a concept used to illustrate how corporate blogging works. It describes the relationship between a corporation and its market, specifically addressing the conversations and communications between them.
Click the Hugh MacLeod link for a full description but the image basically depicts the theory that the corporation (A) lies within its market (B) but the conversations are seperated and confined by a boundary (x). This boundary is penetrated through the use of blogging and other social media, allowing inside information out but also outside information in.
The whole idea is for corporations to have an aligned opinion with their market. MacLeod describes it perfectly with mega corporation Apple: they think iPods are cool and so do their customers. Whereas huge misalignment would occur if Apple talked up an upcoming product, calling it the bee’s knees while the external converstion in the market was telling all that product was no-good. This is because word of mouth and the opinion of peers counts for more than a corporations marketing opinion.
The best way to avoid this misalignment is through blogging. Blogging in both A and B will perforate the membrane and allow the conversations to combine and blend. This allows corporate conversation to spill out into the market and market conversations to suck into the corporation. Ideal for all. The conversations dilute through with one other and ultimately align.
Not only does the idea of the porous membrane and blogging create awareness but it is also mighty persuasive. The knowledge gained through blogs can be more genuine than popular media and provide deeper insight into topics. This insight is what perforates the membrane making it a sieve of good quality knowledge exchange.