Tuesday, April 25, 2006

We've come a long way baby

I was reading over our class blog and I must say we have certainly picked up momentum and, if I can say so myself, we are turning out to be quite the informational blog. I really think we have some great resources here--we have information on how to start blogging, why people should blog, what some of the benefits and detriments can be (opening the door for critical feedback, competitors seeing your products), and other neat tips and factoids. At the beginning of the semester I would have never thought that we would grow so much as a blog.

So, congrats team! We have successfully navigated the world of blogs (with much more to learn of course), and we have even begun to network--another great aspect of blogging. I know I have met and interacted with multiple people with whom I hope to continue speaking with. I have also had the privilege to be involved in a podcast, "earSHOT" with Edelman PR (http://www.edelman.com/) which should be available via their website shortly.

Thus, this is not a goodbye, but merely a "see you around" the blogosphere :-)


Monday, April 24, 2006

Corporate Blogs – Does Breadth of Success Depend on the Popular Interest Level of the Industry?

In my interview with Cathy Taylor of Adweek’s blog, Adfreak, she mentioned the fact that she’s “lucky” that her blog covers such a popular topic – advertising – because it’s something that everyone is exposed to and that people are likely to have a general interest in; as a result, it is a very popular blog, and a great majority of visitors to the blog are regular people, not industry professionals. Advertising is a very large, very public, very broad field, so it’s easy to see why many people would be interested in reading about it, especially in the short, witty, image- and link-filled form of a blog post. She contrasted her blog with having a blog about wallpaper, which has a “built-in audience,” where really only the few people involved with the industry would become involved with such a blog, and far fewer people in the general public would pay attention to or care about it. This is evidence that all corporate bloggers must each have a unique sense of what they see as “success,” because there is such variety in the range of readership.

Do you think a more niche-based blog, such as one about wallpaper, could ever rise to the level of popularity of a blog about a more universally popular topic? If a signifier of success is the number of visitors, are niche blogs doomed to be less active?

Shameless Self-Promotion

As I was online window shopping at Bluefly.com, an online store that sells designer clothes and accessories at discounted prices, and I noticed the retailer had their own blog, Flypaper. A blog about clothes and fashion and Hollywood and things I can’t afford - an automatic winner in my book!

I did, however, notice something else interesting about this blog – nearly all of the posts end with a direct link to a product sold on Bluefly.com. The posts are usually about popular topics in fashion, so most of the time, the linked product looks like or is loosely related to something posted. The blog is more of an entertainment blog, as the posts don’t discuss the particular products, yet the company still uses it as a marketing tool. I suppose if someone is interested in the topic at hand and in the company (since I assume that most people probably find the blog through the link on the main site), they may also be interested in a related product, but I honestly wonder what percentage of the people reading the blog will even consider buying the item in the link.

As with any company, especially in the fashion industry, it’s important for Bluefly to promote themselves as innovative in their industry and as selling products that are “in” in today’s Hollywood-celebrity-trend-obsessed society, so I can see why they have chosen to do this; if people in their target audience see that the clothes on their site look like or resemble the styles represented in today’s pop culture, they may be reassured that what they sell is “in,” which may lead to a purchase. Of course, what they’re doing is not going to hurt them, but will it help them? Are people really going to respond to this? Would you?

I mean, of course every company uses a blog to promote their brand, image, and developments, but do any others promote specific products (especially products that are sold through the company but not made by the company) through links like this? I searched high and dry for another company or retailer who did this type of direct marketing of products they sell on their own blog, but I couldn’t find any. Has anyone ever seen this before on another site?

Blogs vs. Message Boards

After having just done a research project about another web-based communication phenomenon – the message board (music fan-based boards in particular) – for my Media Audiences class, I thought I’d look into comparing message boards to blogs used for business purposes.

Although they have a similar purpose of facilitating communication between companies and the public, the dynamics of each and the amount and type of communication they allow are very different. In an article by social design consultant Lee LeFever, he presents the dissimilarities of the two. He states that the major difference is that:

"Weblogs are individual or small group resources – the control of content and value is driven by a single person or small group. Message Boards are group resources – the control of content and value is shared equally across all users."

For this reason, message board discussions are generally more open and less monitored or moderated, because there is usually a bigger group involved in the discussion, thus producing a lot more information and activity than there is on a blog, which has only a few selected posters (who in the corporate blogging context, are likely to be employees of the company). Some of the other major differences include:
Authoring of New Topics: On blogs, topics are started by the authorized poster(s), which are usually an individual or a small group; on message boards, topics are started by anyone who registers or is allowed to post in the community, which is usually a larger number of people
Intent: Blogs are intended to provide personal accounts, news, or reflection for others to read and don’t solely rely on interaction for content; message boards are intended to provide group input, decision making, and collaboration, where there is more interaction
Responses: On blogs, comments are not required and not always present; on message boards, replies and interaction are necessary to build a discussion and execute the intent

I couldn’t find many examples of corporate message boards, but I did see that Adobe, Apple, and Dell all provide forums on their websites. For the most part, the posters are customers discussing products or asking questions about products, and employees are not really involved. These boards make for a great customer service tool, since anyone can post their question or concern and get an answer from people who have experience using the same product, assumingly in less time than if he or she were to call the company’s customer service number and deal with all the aggravation of being transferred and waiting on hold. I’m not sure if this type of forum would work as well for a non-technology company that probably deals with fewer questions than one with these types of products, but it would be a good place for fans of any type of product or brand to come together and discuss it. Do you think a message board could benefit any company, or are blogs the way to go?

What can blogging bring?

What can a blog do if it’s successful? I found a very interesting list of potential benefits on the web here: http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2006/04/17/1578027.htm

This site lists 7 good things that can come from blogging:

1) Humanize your business, which is something we’ve talked about as a class.
2) Improve your customer service. It can provide easier access to answers for customers.
3) Give your target market information they’re looking for.
4) Drive traffic to your sales website.
5) Build your credibility (unless you’re Walmart) and establish yourself as an industry expert.
6) Promote your products or services.
7) Generate extra income.

This is a pretty good look at the upside of blogging. For success, this site recommends similar tips that we’ve seen here: great content, regular updating and having a distinct voice. It says that blogs are not the place for corporate speak and that people are often drawn to them because they offer the human element that we’ve so often talked about.
I felt this would be another great addition to the multitude of posts we already have considering what makes a blog successful. The ones we’ve defined as being successful, are they getting some of these benefits listed above from blogging? Or did they define success by other means?

To be or not to be?

To blog or not to blog? This is the question that seems to be circling around. Sure, there are benefits. Well, wait, there CAN be benefits, but there are still infinite risks. Hell, if Google can accidentally delete their own blog, bad things can happen to anyone. Yes, it’s true: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/03/and-were-back.html

So, the question is, do the benefits outweigh the risks?

I think it really depends on the company. I think it REALLY depends on whether or not the company has the right person.

My fellow poster, Bruce Wayne, mentioned in his post that language is absolutely essential in branding. What sense would it make to have someone with no experience in physics trying to explain coulombs? None. Obviously, you need an author knowledgeable of the subject. You can’t have someone blog about something they know nothing about. They need to have access to the language and the culture of the corporation and corporation’s field.

So, what do you need for a successful blog. I happen to like Rick Short of Indium’s 4 P’s as a brief way to assess if a blog is right for you or not. They are:

Point: Your blog needs to have a specific purpose.

Passion: Don’t bother if you’re not interested in the topic.

Personality: This is where having the right person comes in. You need someone who has to skills and the language to communicate with your target audience as well as the personality to carry it all.

Perseverance: It needs to be a routine. A blog should be consistently updated.
You can see his post on this here: http://www.indium.com/rickshort/entry.php?id=158

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Future of Blogging

Throughout this semester we have hit upon some very interesting topics in regards to corporate blogging. Some of the topics that stick out in my mind in regards to blogging are its uses as a career booster, a marketing tool, and as a function for coporations to be transparent. There are also some challenges that face blogging including credibility, ethics, and time contraints for working professionals. So where does the conclusion of our blogging experience leave us thus far and what does the future of blogging look like?

Well, i think the notion that blogs are here to stay is fairly grounded from its world wide acceptance and high usage. So if you think you can avoid them, think twice. As the popular qoute goes, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. But will blogs serve as a place for open discussion, or will they migrate towards simply being the next generation of marketing? I think they will do both. One of my interviewee's, '>Max Goldman of Success Factors, stated that his company is trying to evangelize blogging into more of a real time discussion. Where as with other companies, their blogs serve as a blatant way to advertise themselves to consumers. However, I think the nature of the blog, with it's followers backing the goal of transparency, shall overcome corporations that appear synthetic.

In the mean time, i think blogs will evolve and new forms of blogging will emerge that make it more time conscious and convenient for today's working professionals. Wharton legal studies professor Kevin Werbach states that two things are certain: "Blogging will remain disruptive to the traditional media, and new uses will surface. You are going to see blogging move to video and instant messaging. "It's just the beginning." Also Loic Le Meur suggests that audblogging, or blogging by means of audio voice recording is another path that may become popular for blogs, especially if they can be transcribed into searchable text.

It will be very exciting to see how these advancements in blogging will affect the blogosphere. Can you think of any other things to look out for in the future? Overall, i think it will be very important for all of us to stay up to date with the latest trends and technologies to make sure we are not left in the dust like so many before us have already experienced.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

One of the Most Effective Corporate Blogs

For my second interview for the Corporate Blogging Study I interviewed Aliza Pilar Sherman. Aliza is not a corporate blogger but rather a blogger specialist. During the interview she mentioned that one of the most effective corporate blogs out there right now is actually by GM. I was extremely surprised to hear this being that GM is such a huge corporation but in fact they have a blog that is personal, effective, fresh and appeals to the kind of audience that reads blogs (a younger, more hip audience). After looking over the blog there is no surprise to why it is held in such high esteem. The blog exhibits posts by the Vice Chairman of GM and covers topics ranging from global product plans to the new Saturn concept car. Please check out this blog at http://fastlane.gmblogs.com/ and check out some information on Aliza Pilar Sherman at http://www.mediaegg.com/. Thanks!

What Do I Blog About??

Alright, by now I think that many of us have a pretty good idea of the momentum corporate blogging is picking up and the potential benefits towards one's career for starting a blog. However, amongst all this hype and hurry there is still a question that I think many others, myself included, have towards starting a blog which is; what do I blog about? For those of us in college right now, this concept is seemingly hard to grasp. In the good old teenage days we didn't have to worry about what kind of information we used to present ourselves as because most of the time it was in a joking manner and it was also only known about by our own friends. Now, i hate to say it, but it's time to face the music. Ahhh we are getting old!! People take what we say seriously and even worse (for some), our careers depend on the way in which we choose to show ourselves in the public eye (myspace, blogs, ect...).

So I was interested if i could get some good advice about how, or what to blog about. After doing a little research of my own I found a great post by Debbie Weil titled, Top 7 tips to write an effective business blog. The 7 tips she gave are as follows:

1. Start with a topic you're passionate about.
-Basically this means the theme of your blog and it should be related to the business or profession that you are interested in.
2. Concentrate on shorter, more frequent entries in your blog
-Feewww! I'm always worried about whether or not a post is going to win the nobel peace prize or not, but I guess it's better to be consistantly involved.
3. Let yourself go as a writer; let your authentic “voice” emerge
- Now this is the tricky part. Since we are "adults" now we need to find a happy medium that allows us to express ourselves, but at the same time mean business.
4. Use correct grammar and syntax (no misspellings allowed, just as on your resume or your site)
- arrrg, i luv typin in mah' own style but i guess that is a bad habit i need to break!
5. Purposefully organize the content of your blog
- Think about who might be reading your blog and how to get more traffic by using tricks like keywords.
6. Post a new entry at least once a week, preferably two or three times a week
- This may take some discipline but i think it can be done.
7. Include your key contact information on your blog
- Thats the purpose of the blog! Get your name out there and make sure others can get in touch with you if they are interested in your insights.
- This is my favorite tip because we all need to just hang loose sometimes you know?

Debbie also emphasized that better blogs come from good writing and that the corporate world is in dire need for good writing. I think these tips are some great things to keep in mind when starting a blog. What do all of you think? Would you change or add something?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Update on Corporate Blogging Study

Just wanted to provide a quick update on our corporate blogging study. The students have conducted all 20 interviews (thanks to all the corporate bloggers who participated -- we'll be following up with a more personal thank you in the near future) and transcribed at least one of them.

We began our initial thematic analysis of the interviews as a class, and then John Cass and I will be going through in more detail.

Students also wrote a reflection essay critiquing their own interview skills and commenting on what they felt the three most important themes were. Now that classes have ended I am in the process of reading and grading their essays.

We'll post additional updates as we go along!

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Blogging - Essential to Your Career?

While working on my own personal job search on Bostonworks.com I came accross an article entitled "Blogs 'Essential' to a Good Career." The article basically gives the opinion of Ben Day, a man who essentially says that he "blogged his way into a career as a high-earning software consultant while maintaining the freedom to schedule frequent jam sessions and performances as a keyboard player." Ben feels that blogging is something that every person needs to do in order to get a successful job.

Ben reports that by starting a blog revolving around your profession or a career that you wish to have will show employers your dedication, the fact that you know what you are doing and that you know what your field involves. He says that employers regularly Google prospective employees and if a professional blog comes up on the search you will have a much higher chance at getting an interview or a job then someone who has nothing come up when Googled. Think about it...if you were being Googled by a prospective employer would you rather your myspace come up or a professional blog on the position you are after?

Ben then lists and describes eight reasons why blogging will help your career:
1. Blogging creates a network.
2. Blogging can get you a job.
3. Blogging is great training.
4. Blogging helps you move up quickly.
5. Blogging makes self-employment easier.
6. Blogging provides more oppurtuinities.
7. Blogging could be your big break.
8. Blogging makes the world a better place.
Check out the article at http://bostonworks.boston.com/news/articles/2006/04/16/blogs_essential_to_a_good_career/

I found this article to be especially interesting because after all we have done on blogging in class I still did not ever think about starting my own. I just felt that I personally wouldn't benefit from it and that it was only something that was effective in a corporate setting. But if having a blog could be something that puts me ahead of someone else in terms of getting a job that it is something that I would definitly try. What is there to lose? What do you think?

Blog as branding tool

I was reading Janet Johnson's blog over at Marqui and she spoke about "You as a Brand". I was thinking about it and wouldn't that just fit perfectly into the blog? I want to take it a step further than Janet did and suggest that big corporations that rely heavily on branding must focus extensively on the language they use in their blogs. Extreme examples always demonstrate things easiest. When you think about it, we've spoken about this in class several times. Blogs for companies like Adobe and Microsoft most likely rely on complicated, technological language because this reflects their brand as a leading technology company. A company like Starbucks would use coffee related vocabulary integrated into the individual's blog. Companies like Nike and Reebok whose brand focuses on an athletic lifestyle would utilize fun, easy going vocabulary.

Maybe what we should have asked the corporate bloggers is how they utilize language to reflect the brand of their company. Because its easy to see in these examples I've suggested, it'd be much more interesting to see how it plays out in average companies. In my interview, Janet mentioned that corporate blogs inevitably become more personalized as the writer becomes more comfortable writing. We debated this in class, but perhaps what's not in such contention is whether the language eventually aligns with the company brand. What do you all think?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The "Splogsplosion"

What is all this I hear about spam on blogs? In an interview with my corporate blogger she expressed concern over the amount of spam on blogs. She said that she could not allow trackbacks on her corporate blog because spam will take over. This is a huge issue because trackbacks are a great way to build relationships among bloggers and ultimately pinpoint the best blogs.

Since none of us are very familiar with blogs I thought it would be worth it to mention the “splogsplosion” which took place in October 2005. I was surfing blogs to see what they had to say about spam, or, “splog.” I stumbled across a post by Arvind Katoch called “SPLOG: Latest Blogging Spam.” He explains exactly what happened when splogs took over the ever so popular, Blogger.

Splogs are designed so that they basically alter search engine results. People will have a splog or, a fake blog full of advertisements. Once someone clicks on the trackback or link to the fake blog, the author will get paid by the advertisers and will also move up in the search engine rankings. Outrageous! This means that the bloggers get paid every time someone clicks on the advertisements, however, the reader does not know they are advertisements, and not blogs, until after they click on it.

Katoch explains that search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft are suffering because they appear less credible. There are many software programs that have been released to try and combat this problem. However, as the corporate blogger I interviewed mentioned, the hackers just seem to keep breaking through the system. It seems as though splogs are a major epidemic in the blogosphere.

I’m not sure how up to date this is, however, I think this is a huge problem with blogs. I mean, bloggers can’t even take advantage of the search engine rankings because they can get clogged with splog. Why does this have to be abused? Blogs are a good thing that people should take advantage of to get their word out to a large audience. It seems there will always be those who abuse their rights. What do you all think?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Baby Boomer Bloggers

In class last week we had a conversation on what we would say if we were asked about blogging. Many students replied that our parents and other "older people" that we knew barely knew how to check email let alone start a blog. I agreed with my fellow students until I stumbled upon an article in my local newspaper which completely contradicts our ideas. In an article entitled "Gotta Blog" by Carol Scibelli from Long Island's Newsday the topic of baby boomers blogging is addressed. http://www.newsday.com/business/custom/retirement/ny-act2spd4702928apr15,0,6422729.story.

Carol tells her own story of how she came to begin blogging. She is a member of the baby boomers as many of our parents are and she is typing and clicking her way into the blogosphere. Carol first began a blog to show pictures and stories of her grandchildren. She started a blog entitled www.Grandma-Boomers.blogspot.com and her blogging and reading of other blogs has become an "addictive passion." Carol goes on to explain how blogging has help her to come together with others that she grew up with in Queens and Flushing, NY which is the location that many of the Long Island Baby Boomers were raised. She also finds that blogging has led her to a whole new life on the internet that she never knew existed.

I wonder if this is something that will continue? Will my parents become addicted to blogs and post information about me on their blogs? Is it a good thing that this generation is getting into blogging? I think we should all check with our parents about this topic. Many student's parents might actually be tricking their children into thinking they are not familiar with blogs but who knows, they could have a whole blog out there with pictures of you on it and you don't even know!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

War of the Blogs

Think back to the beginning of our blogging studies. Remember the Cluetrain Manifesto and the 95 Theses? Well there is also what seems to be a continuation of the Cluetrain’s message in the book Naked Conversations by Robert Scobel and Shel Israel. I’m not sure if any of you have found the chance, but the first chapter of the Cluetrain Manifesto is available on-line and I would encourage you all to read it. The writing style and language of the authors is both clever and entertaining, check it out at Cluetrain Manifesto, Chapter 1. The main point of the Cluetrain and of Naked Conversations is that markets are basically conversations. Blogging provides a forum for these conversations where consumers are connected to employees in the corporations.

In a column written by John Naughton at The Observer on-line,“Amazon may live to rue naked aggression against blogging,"Naughton describes what happened when a skeptical Amazon employee joined in the blogging discussion. Recently, Amazon invited the authors of Naked Conversations, which advocates corporate blogging, to join Amazon employees in a luncheon discussion.

In the discussion Werner Vogels, who is the chief technology officer at Amazon, allegedly started questioning the authors in a very direct, critical, and almost “rude” tone. As Naughton describes, Vogels asked questions mainly about how a blog would benefit a corporation financially. He asked about the ROI, or, return on investments. Scobel and Israel express this idea of blogs as forums for discussions about corporations. Rather than focus on the money that blogs can potentially generate, they focus on the relationships that form between consumers and companies. Could it be that perhaps Amazon is just not the right kind of company to blog?

According to Scobel and Israel if companies have not started blogging they: “won't know what people are saying about you. You can't learn from them, and they won't come to see you as a sincere human who cares about your business and your reputation.” This is just one of Scobel and Israel’s points that express how the blogosphere is one of, if not the best, form of two-way communication for corporations and consumers. Apparently, Vogels could not be convinced. I think the authors of Naked Conversations have a great point here in that it's important to know what is being said about your company. Being able to comment on such blogs or defend your image, is just one of the benefits to companies who are a part of the blogosphere.

As we discussed in class, I decided to check out John Moore’s blog called “Brand Autopsy,” to see how the dialogue between Amazon and the authors of the book panned out on the blogosphere. In his post entitled “Wretched Conversations,” Moore outlines the “he said, she said” argument between Werner Vogels and Scobel. Basically, what Vogels says is that Amazon always sets a high standard and that’s why they are so critical of the blogging concept for Amazon. He goes on to say that he does not feel that blogs should be “institutionalized” by Amazon just because everyone else is launching them. I think this is a good point I mean, blogging is quickly gaining popularity. Could it be that blogging is just going to end up being another regular marketing tactic that companies employ?

Wow… as I finish going through the posts, I agree with Moore. This really is a "he said, she said" war on the web. However, I think it’s a really great example for us as students learning about corporate blogging. Here is Amazon, contemplating the decision to blog. Ironically, we are in class interviewing successful bloggers about their decisions to start blogging, how perfect! The thought process of both the authors of Naked Conversations and Vogels of Amazon are so clearly outlined.

One more note on our class discussion: Take a look at these blogs and interpret the personalities, they really stand out! What do you all think?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Terms We Learned and Their Relevance to Blogging

In my last post, I mentioned the thought that any company can blog as long as they have the right corporate culture and the right personal to blog. This made me think of all the terms we learned in the first half of the semester. It seems to me that many of them are relevant to blogging. These are things that could be considered essential for a company to have in order to blog.

First off, there’s automatic responsibility. This occurs when an individual within an organization assumes responsibility for fixing an error or completing a task even though they weren’t assigned the task simply because they feel an overriding personal obligation to the overall well being of the company/assignment. This could be an important thing to have in an individual who is posting. If a reader posts an inappropriate comment on another’s post, a person with automatic responsibility would take action on the matter even if it weren’t within their jurisdiction. This kind of behavior is good for a multi-person blog.

Another term is organizational identification. Simply put, a person relates to the company they work for strongly. They see themselves as part of the larger collective. It is a part of their identity. This is the type of person you want for a blog- to a degree. You want a person who can relate, and tell the consumer about the company, but you don’t want a person so blind they cannot see it’s flaws. There needs to be a balance of accolades and constructive criticism on a blog. It needs to seem human.

Next is concertive control. This is when the employees collaborate for rules and norms. People work as a team in concert with each other. This is true not only for a multi-person blog, but a corporate blog by only one person. Even if one person is blogging, it’s highly unlikely that their posts are concerned only with them. Through concertive control, there would be certain standards for blogging imposed on the blogger by his teammates. This would make the moderating of a blog easier.

We discussed ethics as well, and that is self-explanatory as to why that is important in blogging.

The last idea that I’m going to discuss is that of individual versus system responsibility. Mark Mair’s stance:
1) What you like to hear isn’t always what you need to know.
2) Dissent doesn’t always equal disloyalty.
These thoughts are germane to blogging as well, especially the second statement. This relates back to what I said under organizational identification as well as what LauraO5 said in her post below: you need to have the bad with the good. However, just because someone is exposing a negative thing does not mean they are disloyal to the company. They are just not oblivious to its downsides, which is essential to continued growth.

I’m sure there are more things from the first semester that relate. What else can you think of?

Blogging... and NASA?

In the first half of this class, we studied NASA, and its communication flaws that led to the Challenger and Columbia disasters. We learned that as a result of these tragedies, NASA has predictably lost credibility with the public. This is due to a loss of the normalization of risk when the cultural mitosis occurred.

For those who aren't familiar with NASA's history, at one point NASA had a culture entirely devoted to the engineer. Mistakes not only happened, they were expected. People had a common goal in mind, and most were operating on the same level. A cultural mitosis transpired when the Apollo Program became a perogative. The prospect of the Apollo Program doubled the tasks. As a result, the NASA team had to change its organizational structure. It grew by mitosis. There became two cultures: the engineering and the bureaucratic. This split spiraled into two opposing viewpoints and communication standards. The bureaucrats grew in strength and redirected the mission of NASA. It went from focusing on the safety and reliability to the cost and time concerned with each project. This played a large role in the Challenger incident, and years later, the Columbia .

The Columbia happened only 3 years ago. Many of my classmates and I question whether they've really changed since then. When we were asked to examine the NASA website, most of us commented on what we thought appeared to be synthetic sincerity on their site. We were overwhelmed by a barrage of links leading to accomplishments or goals. We were sent there to find NASA's information on the accidents. All of us found it difficult to find. NASA had buried offsite. Good luck finding the link to it on your own (this is a challenge for all of you)!

So, now that I've brought you through some of NASA's past, and their current situation, I pose the question: Would a blog be good for NASA?

Right now, it doesn't appear that NASA even has a main forum board. They have one maintained by a college in their Columbia page, but that's all I've been able to find. Would it benefit NASA's credibility to have a blog?

The person I interviewed, Jeremy, told me there is not one type of company that can blog. Any company can as long as they have the right the right corporate culture, and the right type of person. The right type of person will have honesty, skills, passion and thick skin. Does NASA have the right person/people for the task? Do they even have the right culture? Or, if not, could the blog direct and influence the culture toward an improvement?

I don't have the answers to these questions, but I think it is something worth exploring for NASA. It could potentially renew the public trust. It could also backfire. Perhaps, a forum would be better. Either way, there seems to be a lack of discourse between NASA and the people.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

"When You Take Your Pigs to Market, You Have to Tell People About Them"

Everywhere I turn these days, I hear something new about blogging. Even my mom has called me to tell me now that I’ve talked to her about blogging, she is noticing it on the internet and it being discussed on the news. Even driving down the parkway I’ve seen huge billboards that reads “BLOGGING” with a small AT&T logo at the bottom. Blogging is a hot new trend in not only corporate world, but also the entertainment industry. The television industry seems to be hopping in the blogging boat. USA TODAY, published an article April 5th called, “TV Goes to Blogs: Shows Add Extra Information as Treat for Fans.” The article talks about how not only do popular TV shoes like Grey’s Anatomy, The OC, and The Unit, have fan websites about the shows, but now have blogs. Some of these blogs are written by the actual characters on the show while others are written by the producer or director.

Stacy McKee, a Grey's staff writer, writes a blog about the Nurse's Station, which is a blog written from Nurse Debbie's point of view. Chris Van Dusen, who is the assistant to creator Shonda Rhimes, writes Joe's Blog, done from character Joe the bartender's perspective and there is a third blog that is written by whoever writes that week's episode. McKee says, "to have the fly-on-the-wall character who sees them at work and then in the evening — a similar voice as the fans' but a little more information. It's like gossiping with your friends when you read it." Grey’s blog has been very successful for the TV show, which leading to a book being published about the characters used in the blogs.

I found it funny that even the OC has their own blog that is written in the voice of character Summer Roberts. This blog talks about what you should wear for the upcoming season, or what shoes you just need to have. However, not all of these TV blogs are written in the voice of a TV character. Eric Haney, executive producer of The Unit, uses his blog to give his fans a backstage pass into the show, his goal is to give fans, a "little inside peek" at the show. "Everyone wants to feel like you're sitting down to talk to them." I thought it was interesting how he compared himself to a low-tech dinosaur in the article. The blogging technology has made not only huge corporations start blogging, but even TV producers. He said, “I thought it was pretty funny that we needed to have a blog, but I'm one of the owners. When you take your pigs to market, you have to tell people about them." I think he is right saying you have to be open to talk about what you are doing, no matter if it is a huge corporation or a television show. Do you think a lot of producers, executives, and top management feel as though they are “low-tech dinosaurs” and just can’t understand blogging? If more people in the industry were blogging savvy, would TV ratings go up or attract a louder fan base?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

How Does a Blogger Create Credibility?

So everyone knows that a good blog would have a credible blogger. But how does one build credibility without bragging about oneself? On a Microsoft blog post, the author explains that she hates when bloggers talk themselves up, just to sound good to the world. Do you think this is necessary when blogging? Do you have to brag about every little thing you accomplished in your industry for others to take you seriously? How do you build credibility without sounding like you are trying to sell yourself?

Heather feels it is through being authentic in your blogging. I agree with this, and I'm sure you all do too, after discussing authenticity in class. It is this authenticity that attracts viewers to your blog, and humanizes it. Letting your personality show through the blog is so important to credibility, as Heather explains.

Being authentic is not about telling people what you are great at, but what you aren't so great at. People are so afriad of others seeing their weaknesses, that sometimes for people it is hard to let their personality show through. To go along with this theory, I liked how Heather listed many of her weaknesses to show people that she is human. This is so important in the recruiting industry, because so many people think that recruiters are just out for the money and do not care about the candidates' careers. Having a blog, and building their credibility through their personality is crucial in the authenticity aspect of blogging.