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the big blog company | Blogs in the media
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Blogs in the media
May 09, 2005
Blogs are a revolutionary tool but who cares about adverting?
Perry de Havilland • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media • Trends 
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Yes, blogs are the tool used to enable what is nothing less than an bottom up ‘emergent revolution’ that will shake the very core of the advertising and PR industries (not to mention politics).  That does not mean that bloggers are revolutionaries, just that that a consequence of what blogs enable (an explosion of information and, more importantly, insights on-line), the way people perceive businesses, amongst other things, is going to change compared to a just a short years ago when mass media was the only way the vast majority of people received the information upon which they based their decisions.

Of course many (perhaps even most) bloggers are not motivated by a wish to revolutionise anything and many are just using blogs as a way to follow old advertising supported publishing models, clueless about the broader impact of the tools they are using.  In fact, some professional bloggers are pouring scorn on the whole notion of blogs being revolutionary, perhaps intending to generate traffic driving attention to their blogs, knowing that their message of ‘blogs-are-no-big-deal’ will be joyously received by the many journalists who are starting to get an inkling that their entire professions is in danger of being dis-intermediated out of existence over the next ten years or so.

Yet the irony is that regardless of the fact a few pro-bloggers are using their blogs in decidedly non-trail blazing ways and babbling about the usual site traffic metrics (well they would do as that is the basis upon which they flog their ability to show advertisements), they are, perhaps even unwillingly, helping to propagate awareness that the internet really does change everything.  The real interesting stuff is not mere advertising but the fact blogs, or more accurately ‘internet version 2.0’, is going to give top down marketing, PR and many notions of branding a kick up the arse comparable to what followed Johannes Gutenberg in 1455.  The people who cannot look beyond the direct monetization of blogs (i.e. advertisements) are welcome to keep saying “what’s the big deal?” because in truth advertising supported blogging really is no big deal… frankly the knowledgeable commentators talking up the revolutionary potential of blogging were never talking about those guys to begin with.  The un-making of old style marketing and branding is just starting and so it is hardly surprising that many former journalists and marketers are unable to join the dots and see where this is all headed, even if some of them are helping the process along themselves.  Like the Cluetrain said, the internet really does meant the end of business as usual, it will just take a while for people to figure that out.

May 04, 2005
Children’s deodorant, blogs and iPods
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media • Marketing & PR 
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That’s it. The blogs have arrived now as a legitimate weapon for P&G against Unilever’s Axe, the fastest-growing deodorant brand in the US. The Axe brand was built around funny ads showing young men they can use body spray to attract women. Now, rival Procter & Gamble Co. is betting on body spray to attract girls to its Secret brand.

P&G is using Secret Sparkle Body Spray and its range of teeny-bopper-oriented scents to lure entry-level consumers for the segment-leading women’s deodorant. To do so, it’s using an unusual campaign that includes sampling and iPod giveaways via fast-growing tween fashion mecca Limited Too as well as animated TV ads and the brand’s first blog marketing.

The brand’s first blog marketing! Be still my beating heart! How on earth are they doing it? By getting hold of the hapless teenagers and spraying them into submission. Wait, I lie, they ‘target’ them during their ‘formative years’:

“Girls have started using deodorant younger and younger,” said Dave Knox, assistant brand manager at P&G overseeing the body-spray launch. “It used to be 12 or 13 was kind of the entry point, and that’s slowly ratcheted down each year. ... If you don’t target the consumer in her formative years, you’re not going to be relevant through the rest of her life.”

I mean, a brand’s gotta do, what a brand’s gotta do. Be relevant or die. But they are certainly novel and innovative using ‘non-traditional’ media:

P&G isn’t using the blatant sexual innuendos found in ads for Unilever’s Axe… Instead, it’s using tamer animated ads from Secret’s shop, Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett, Chicago (planning and buying by sibling Starcom Mediavest Group, New York), which broke earlier this month on cable and network programs targeted toward older teens, such as WB Network and MTV.

[/sarcasm]. Oh wait, but where are the blogs? This must be it:

The body sprays are also integrated into a popular tween online hangout,, as a reward for which girls can redeem the “Neopoints” they earn. P&G last week launched Secret’s first blog-marketing program at

So, I tried but no luck. Searching in Google I get to here. Still I see no blogs…

Did I mention blogs are revolutionary?
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media • Marketing & PR 
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The PR & marketing blogosphere picked up the article by Pete Blackshaw, Irrational Blogguberance?.

It is a good article, well worth reading and hard to disagree with. I especially agree with the following points:

  • Blogs won’t help brands regain control. Companies can influence the relationship but consumer will remain in control.
  • Despite the allure, many companies simply aren’t blog-ready. Successful blogging speaks with passion, authority and sincerity, which most companies and brands just aren’t there yet.
  • Blogs will challenge and erode agency margins. Consumer-generated media revolution puts the means of ad production in the hands of consumers.

Such articles do not cover the most important benefit of blogging - the need for engagement, the ability to join conversations that are happening about companies whether they like it or not, the end of ‘mass media’ and rise of (to me) a viable alternative. Anyone can tell their story and bypass the traditional media - not everyone succeeds but the level playing field is there. To me, that is revolutionary… and I have been observing what it’s doing to journalism, marketing and PR as they are the most affected industries. But such articles are usually written as a backlash against what they perceive as hyped phenomenon that may or may not be affecting their job. In this case, Peter Blackshaw responds to a recent very positive article on blogging in the MSM:

After reading the recent Business Week cover story, ”Blogs Will Change Your Business,” my internal cognitive dissonance radar began to detect a few blips on the screen.

The most important point, however, is what it brings to an individual and, by extension, to a group of individuals i.e. an organisation, a company etc. It gives them the unprecedented ability to communicate with the outside world, not just because blogs are an easy format to update by non-techies but because there is a network that they can join and use to diffuse their information. But you already know that, dear reader. To see it in action, look at Les Blogs conference in Paris where most bloggers knew each other… not because some media deign to write about them, but because of their blogs and other blogs linking to them. I consider that revolutionary as I can’t see how that would have been possible on such a scale before the blogosphere without some top-down umbrella organisation connecting all those people and getting them together…

Yes, blogs are certainly not the answer to every marketing question but my position is that marketing is often asking the wrong questions and it’s not blogs’ job to answer them and be judged by whether they answer it or not.

April 28, 2005
Blogs are great - reason number 1,837
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media • Journalism 
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These two articles have been blogged extensively but the positive things they say about blogs simply must be recorded on this blog. The Economist goes for blogging in a big way, following from Murdoch’s speech last week:

Blogs, moreover, are but one item on a growing list of new media tools that the internet makes available. Wikis are collaborative web pages that allow readers to edit and contribute. This, to digital immigrants, may sound like a recipe for anarchic chaos, until they visit, for instance,, an online encyclopaedia that is growing dramatically richer by the day through exactly this spontaneous (and surprisingly orderly) collaboration among strangers. Photoblogs are becoming common; videoblogs are just starting. Podcasting (a conjunction of iPod, Apple’s iconic audio player, and broadcasting) lets both professionals and amateurs produce audio files that people can download and listen to.

The tone in these new media is radically different. For today’s digital natives, says Mr Gillmor, it is anathema to be lectured at. Instead, they expect to be informed as part of an online dialogue. They are at once less likely to write a traditional letter to the editor, and more likely to post a response on the web—and then to carry on the discussion. A letters page pre-selected by an editor makes no sense to them; spotting the best responses using the spontaneous voting systems of the internet does.

And the BusinessWeek has a front cover and a headline made in heaven - Blogs Will Change Your Business. You see, we told you…

Go ahead and bellyache about blogs. But you cannot afford to close your eyes to them, because they’re simply the most explosive outbreak in the information world since the Internet itself. And they’re going to shake up just about every business - including yours. It doesn’t matter whether you’re shipping paper clips, pork bellies, or videos of Britney in a bikini, blogs are a phenomenon that you cannot ignore, postpone, or delegate. Given the changes barreling down upon us, blogs are not a business elective. They’re a prerequisite.

If you can have tinbasher blogging and yoghurt blogging, it is hard to think of the kind of business that cannot blog.

The authors of the article also get the full implication of blogs and related technologies, again something that does not come as a surprise to the readers of this blog:


Sure, most blogs are painfully primitive. That’s not the point. They represent power. Look at it this way: In the age of mass media, publications like ours print the news. Sources try to get quoted, but the decision is ours. Ditto with letters to the editor. Now instead of just speaking through us, they can blog. And if they master the ins and outs of this new art—like how to get other bloggers to link to them—they reach a huge audience.

This is just the beginning. Many of the same folks who developed blogs are busy adding features so that bloggers can start up music and video channels and team up on editorial projects. The divide between the publishers and the public is collapsing. This turns mass media upside down. It creates media of the masses.


Picture the blog world as the biggest coffeehouse on Earth. The racket is deafening. But there’s loads of valuable information floating around this cafe. Technorati, PubSub, and others provide the tools to listen. While the traditional Web catalogs what we have learned, the blogs track what’s on our minds.

Why does this matter? Think of the implications for businesses of getting an up-to-the-minute read on what the world is thinking. Already, studios are using blogs to see which movies are generating buzz. Advertisers are tracking responses to their campaigns. “I’m amazed people don’t get it yet,” says Jeff Weiner, Yahoo’s senior vice-president who heads up search. “Never in the history of market research has there been a tool like this.”

Exactly. And yet there are those who say that there is too much information and how that causes distress to the marketing industry…

April 27, 2005
Beyond clueless about blogging
Perry de Havilland • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media 
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It is better to be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt
- attributed to various folks

The Sun, a British tabloid newspaper more famous for what happens on page three than its news reporting, has an article on their website called Blogging for your votes written by Corinne Abrams.  There are three pictures of young people representing the main parties and under each there is a link to view their ‘blogs’. 

Click on one of the links and you get taken to a pop-up window rather like a non-interactive comment pop-up with a single scraggly bit of undated and unlinkable polemical text about their party and views… perhaps I am missing something (if so please set me right!) but that actually appears to be their “blog”! smiley_holy_crapola.gif smiley_laugh.gif

Is that really what The Sun thinks a blog is?  Given the amount written about blogs in the media these days and the number of journalists who have their own blogs, to drop such a clanger seems extraordinary. If ever there was an example of a company in desperate need of our services in order to show them how not to make complete pilchards of themselves…

April 19, 2005
Blogs at the corporate Gates
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media • Marketing & PR 
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Tony Perkins of AlwaysOn, the blogazine of innovation writes in the hard copy (not available online) about Bill Gates’ comments on blogging during a private dinner at Gates home on Lake Washington:

Blogging makes it very easy to communicate. It gets away from drawbacks of email and the drawbacks of a website. Eventually, most businesses will use blogs to communicate with customers, suppliers and employees, because it’s two-way and more satisfying.

That’s a simple statement, true and coming from a ‘businessman’ such as Bill Gates ought to appeal to the more traditional suits.

Perkins adds his own thought:

Gates knows that the referral power of the blogosphere is also exploding and marketing and PR executives must embrace this reality or risk losing control of their messages.

Lose control of their messages? Marketing and PR executives, Step. Away. From. The Message. You cannot control it anymore, the best you can do is to shape it, while respecting your audience and the medium you use to engage them.

via The Red Couch

April 18, 2005
Rupert’s warning
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media • Journalism 
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A must read blog post by Jeff Jarvis about Rupert Murdoch’s important speech and warning to the American Society of Newspaper Editors telling them that papers are whistling in their own graveyard and recommending some solutions, including even blogs:

...these new [digital] natives want news on demand, they want news to be relevant, they want a point of view (hello, FoxNews), they want news that affects their lives, they want the option to get more information and points of view, and they want to join in the debate.

He also mentions Merrill Brown’s report for Carnegie whose conclusions were quoted by Murdoch.

What is happening right before us is, in short, a revolution in the way young people are accessing news. They don’t want to rely on the morning paper for their up-to-date information. They don’t want to rely on a God-like figure from above to tell them what’s important. And to carry the religion analogy a bit further, they certainly don’t want news presented as gospel.

Instead, they want their news on demand, when it works for them. They want control over their media, instead of being controlled by it. They want to question, to probe, to offer a different angle.

Most importantly, Murdoch gets to the heart of the matter when he says that technology isn’t the problem - attitude is.

What I worry about much more is our ability to make the necessary cultural changes to meet the new demands of the digital native. I said earlier, what is required is a complete transformation of the way we think about our product and the Internet itself. Unfortunately, however, I believe too many of us editors and reporters are out of touch with our readers. Too often, the question we ask is “Do we have the story?” rather than “Does anyone want the story?”

And the data support this unpleasant truth. Studies show we’re in an odd position: We’re more trusted by the people who aren’t reading us. And when you ask journalists what they think about their readers, the picture grows darker. According to one recent study, the percentage of national journalists who have a great deal of confidence in the ability of the American public to make good decisions has declined by more than 20 points since 1999. Perhaps this reflects their personal politics and personal prejudices more than anything else, but it is disturbing.

This is a polite way of saying that reporters and editors think their readers are stupid. ...

Newspapers whose employees look down on their readers can have no hope of ever succeeding as a business.

April 12, 2005
Kryptonite revisited
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media • Marketing & PR 
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Finally we get to hear what Kryptonite, the unofficial poster child for companies burned by the blogosphere, has to say about it. The interview with the General Manager of the company is interesting, mainly because he still does not seem to understand what caused the PR disaster for Kryptonite.

Community Guy says it all:

He clearly misses the point all together - if you had a better relationship with the world outside of the company walls, you wouldn’t have to “be ready”. You’d already be having the discussion.

April 08, 2005
Drudge is feeling the blog heat
Jackie Danicki • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media • Journalism 
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In LA last week, Perry and I had lunch with the Drudge Report‘s Andrew Breitbart, who is in the hot seat now as the press clamours to find out if he is the mastermind behind Arianna Huffington’s new celebrity group blog. (Andrew and Arianna both attended our party the week before. Don’t come near us, or you’ll end up with reporters on your doorstep, too.)

This New York Observer piece about the matter, entitled “Blogorrhea” (yawn), has been much-linked in the blogosphere. It is well worth a read, if only to delight in Matt Drudge’s paranoid distaste for bloggers. Quite ironic, when you consider that he started out as the self-styled lone internet journalist attempting to challenge and usurp the mainstream media. Drudge has a history with this kind of denial, but the Observer piece is still fun reading.

Mr. Drudge said he doubted the market for news links would support more players.

“I don’t think that need is there,” he said. “I think I fill that need.”

...Mr. Drudge said Mr. Breitbart’s influence was a moot point, because “I’m the final edit. I have control on the Web site. I always have the final edit. My name is on the page.”

If anyone is handy with PhotoShop and would like to graft Matt Drudge’s face onto Norma Desmond‘s body, feel free. 

March 25, 2005
Blogs in Action
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media • Events 
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Last night I attended a Six Apart event on blogs, in action at the Polish club, which is a very nice trad-looking venue indeed. A good counter-balance to the high-tech and business topic and the audience. The people assembled were an interesting bunch and my impression that there is a pent up demand for such events. My only reservation was that much was crammed into the session and a series of events would allow to spread the backlog of blog knowledge to ‘evangelise’ in the UK. It would also allow a sustained focus on blogging, which is sorely needed here. The good news is that Alistair and the tBBC gang are planning such a series, with focus on individual sectors and industries. So, watch this space.


I was taking copious notes during the session but having come across Suw Charman’s account, I put my hands in the air and said ‘teach me master’ - I am a fast typist, or so I thought, but Suw’s “demon typing hands” put me to shame. She captured most of the talks on her blog and I shall only reproduce the one by David Carr, our esteemed bloglawyer, who first scared everyone away from blogging and then told them what to do about it.

David Carr
Lawyer and director with the Big Blog Company. Issues around libel etc.

Lots of horror stories that can frighten any blogger - the lesson from that is stay away from lawyers. There are several issues, such as privacy, but the one that comes up most often is libel. It’s a major worry and with good reason. Some people have formed the view that the internet is beyond the reach of law and that you can post whatever you like and it doesn’t matter. This is nonsense. All the law that applies to traditional publishing applies to blogging. There’s a little difference in the way corporate and vanity publisher are treated, but not with libel. Whether you are commercial or not, the position is unsatisfactory for bloggers. Law is governed by the Defamation act,

In 97, someone pretending to be one Dr Godfrey posted to a Usenet group and said lots of horrible things about him, the real Dr Godfrey took the view that the comments were libellous. Faxed Demon internet, and asked them to take it down. Demon said it’s nothing to do with them, they were just hosters. Godfrey took Demon to court and won - Demon said they were innocent carriers. But that only works up to the point that they have received notice of the libel. Because Dr Godfrey had noticed them, and not taken down the posting, they lost their defence.

Law does not require you to police your comments - if someone leaves a libellous comments, you are not necessarily obliged to do something about it unless someone notifies you, and then you must take it down. Difficulty is what is a plausible complaint and what is silly and frivolous. Puts blog owners in difficult position, because they will remove the offending item rather than face a lawsuit, although implication that someone wrote something libellous could also be interpreted as libellous.

Have disclaimer on the comments to the effect that your comments are here under sufferance and that it’s a privilege not a right, and that comments may be removed at any time for reasons of law, taste or decency. ‘On any grounds that the editors see fit’. May be less important with personal blogs, but particularly with commercial concerns.

Photos and permission is another issue.

All in all, a good evening that should be repeated.

March 24, 2005
A blog is a blog when it’s a blog….
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • Blogs & Blogging • Company blogs • Blogs in the media 
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... and not thinly veiled PR.

Since blogs became the next big thing, an increasing number of companies have come to see them as the next great public relations vehicle—a way for executives to demonstrate their casual, interactive side.

But, of course, the executives do nothing of the sort. Their attempts at hip, guerrilla-style blogging are often pained—and painful.

Rebecca Blood says:

Repositing marketing materials on a blog is a waste of time. I would advise them to just stop right now. Those materials already exist. The blog that is powerful is when it is real.

As has been said so many times on this blog and elsewhere, blogs can provide companies with a connection they don’t otherwise have with the public, employees and clients. But it may take some time before executives figure out how to best use them. David Weinberger goes back to the nature of blogging - it is a conversation:

Success in blogging is exactly the same as success in conversation, where if you stay on message, you’re being a bore. It’s very hard to wean yourself. You stay on message then congratulate yourself for staying on message. Then what you do is alienate readers.

Amy Joyce of Washington post seems to imply that unless company bloggers disclose something that they should not, the blogs are not worth the read.

Although corporate blogging gives many readers what they want from a company—an avenue to listen to and talk to decision makers—it also loses that edgy, voyeuristic feel of personal blogs about bad bosses, annoying roommates and flings. As much as personal bloggers blithely ignore the conventional boundaries of etiquette, corporate bloggers edit themselves to avoid disclosing a company secret or representing an organization in a way not intended by the marketing department.

Well, if the only way for company blogs to attract readership is to titillate them into visiting the blog, business blogging does not have much future. Fortunately, this is totally unnecessary as the reason why people read a blog is that they get something out of it. And it isn’t necessarily the same thing you get out of reading tabloids. Personal does not mean, indiscreet or under the company radar. It certainly is not necessary for Tinbasher or La Fraise… or indeed for Scoble.

Company in trouble? Chief executive in the middle of some scandal? Don’t expect anyone to be emoting about it on a corporate blog. No mention on Lutz’s blog, for instance, that GM’s stock fell to its lowest level in more than a decade this week. The day Boeing’s board announced its chief executive had resigned after an investigation uncovered that he had an affair with a female employee, Baseler wrote about competition from Airbus SAS.

Actually, I would expect an executive with a blog to emote or at least address anything that is happening to his company and is already public, positive or negative. That is the whole point of a blog - a medium for those who have something to say and are willing to do so in a genuine conversation. Then it works just fine.

March 17, 2005
Quote to remember
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media • Products & Services • Brand blogs 
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The blog as business tool has arrived.

Some eight million Americans now publish blogs and 32 million people read them, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. What began as a form of public diary-keeping has become an important supplement to a business’s online strategy: Blogs can connect with consumers on a personal level—and keep them visiting a company’s Web site regularly.
- Riva Richmond, WSJ, Blogs Keep Internet Customers Coming Back

March 15, 2005
Sucking sound
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media • Marketing & PR 
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It’s alright, it’s only a Dyson. Dyson first to use blogs in major ad campaign, sayz the headline.

Dyson has selected Shiny Shiny and Tech Digest, the flagship blog sites for publisher Shiny Media, to run its latest teaser ads. The deal represents the first time that a UK blog has been chosen for a major ad campaign. The teaser features a branded “Pong-style” game, which runs on skyscraper banners either side of the page.

But wait, what it this?

The exact nature of the new product is being keep secret, but will be revealed in a new ad on Monday, appearing on both Shiny Shiny and Tech Digest, alongside a series of lifestyle and shopping sites.

That’s just so blogosphere, dahlink, I mean, nobody really knows or cares about anything there and you can talk about stuff for days on end without anyone coming up with details. I mean, really, teasers ads is the way to go…

Congratulations to Shiny Media for being treated like a media. 

March 11, 2005
Formerly Rosie
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media 
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A blog tagline:

the unedited rantings of a fat 42 year old menopausal ex -talk show host -married mother of four- read at your own risk - my spelling sux

belongs to a blog by Rosie O’Donnell, called formerlyrosie who:

...apparently got the hang of the Web’s approach to discourse fairly quickly. She once had a cuddly relationship with millions as the warm and hilarious television personality with a visible crush on Tom Cruise, but she complicated her public image by quitting her show, announcing she was a lesbian, starting and then quitting her eponymous magazine before producing a Broadway musical starring Boy George. In the end, O’Donnell ended up with a measure of privacy, but she began to drive her friends crazy with all of her opinions. One of them finally said that she should start a blog.

Would you consider that a recommendation for blogging? grin

via CNET

March 10, 2005
Blogging on the job
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media • Bloglaw 
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CNET has done a good job thinking about various problems blogging can cause to those who do so ‘on the job’.

Many of those questions have been already dealt with by other articles and blogs but it is good to see CNET to note that not all is legal minefield:

Has blogging helped anyone land a job?
Yes. Robert Scoble said blogging helped him land a gig at Microsoft a couple of years ago. A Microsoft executive became a fan of Scoble’s tech-focused blog and eventually hired him from NEC. Scoble said the blog’s honest observations, including some criticisms of Microsoft, helped win over his future boss.

Are there some examples of high-profile workplace bloggers?
Yes, some companies have embraced blogs as a powerful communication tool, and some top executives now publish blogs. Examples include: Jonathan Schwartz, president of Sun Microsystems; Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks owner; Bob Lutz of General Motors; and Microsoft’s Scoble.


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