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the big blog company | Blogs in the media
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Blogs in the media
March 08, 2005
Tuesday
Dinosaur blog
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media • Journalism 
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An informed friend and obviously a journalist with a sense of humour (unless it was a sarcastic laughter) sent me this cartoon about a dinosaur blog…

Love it!

February 24, 2005
Thursday
Rap this, beeyotch
Jackie Danicki • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media • Journalism 
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Back in November, a BBC interviewer asked me if blogging is “the new jazz”. I cannot tell you how hard my eyes rolled at that one.

When I related the exchange to Mike Sigal from Guidewire, the group that stages DEMO, his eyes widened. ”Actually,” he said, “the interviewer didn’t realise it, but his question could be interpreted to make sense.” Mike’s take was that, since bloggers riff off of one another, in a way the whole process of blogging is somewhat jazz-like. Well, okay.

Slate’s Josh Levin has taken an analogy that just about makes sense and managed to get it all wrong. No, I’m not referring to his mistaken belief that credential is a verb (c’mon, dude, didn’t a grasp of basic grammar come with those credentials of yours?). His claim that rappers and bloggers were “separated at birth” is, I guess, supposed to be a humorous take - or so the exclamation point in the subtitle indicates. Levin proclaims:

[I]n newspaper writing and rock music, the end goal is the appearance of originality—to make the product look seamless by hiding your many small thefts. For rappers and bloggers, each theft is worth celebrating, another loose item to slap onto the collage.

Levin maintains that citing sources in blog posts equals stealing. The logic that has led him to this conclusion can only be imagined, and it ain’t pretty. (Does he pride himself on never citing research or sources in his own work, or did I imagine all those links to, er, bloggers in his piece?) Still, he’s demonstrated adept use of another trick of the trade that makes “credentialed” journalists, as he’d refer to himself, so goshdarned special: Dressing up an incorrect argument as a humour piece, all the better to claim, “Hey, it was meant to be funny, don’t take this stuff so seriously!” when he gets laughed at for being wrong. As Peggy Noonan wrote recently (and Adriana blogged here even more recently):

When you hear name-calling like what we’ve been hearing from the elite media this week, you know someone must be doing something right. The hysterical edge makes you wonder if writers for newspapers and magazines and professors in J-schools don’t have a serious case of freedom envy.

Congratulations on your credentials, Levin. I hope they have served you well in an industry where you imagine that citing research and sources is tantamount to theft, because you won’t be getting by on them for much longer. 

February 22, 2005
Tuesday
The Blogs Must Be Crazy
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media 
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Another late-found gem, which has now given rise to neo-Noonanites in the blogosphere. I will join them in saying that Peggy Noonan’s essay is the best explanation of blogging in one piece so far.

When you hear name-calling like what we’ve been hearing from the elite media this week, you know someone must be doing something right. The hysterical edge makes you wonder if writers for newspapers and magazines and professors in J-schools don’t have a serious case of freedom envy.

The bloggers have that freedom. They have the still pent-up energy of a liberated citizenry, too. The MSM doesn’t. It has lost its old monopoly on information. It is angry.

In great detail, the power of blogs is described. Well, I might add. And a few predictions are made.

Finally, someday in America the next big bad thing is going to happen, and lines are going to go down, and darkness is going to descend, and the instant communication we now enjoy is going to be compromised. People in one part of the country are going to wonder how people in another part are doing. Little by little lines are going to come up, and people are going to log on, and they’re going to get the best, most comprehensive, and ultimately, just because it’s there, most heartening information from . . . some lone blogger out there. And then another. They’re going to do some big work down the road.

February 21, 2005
Monday
The Daily Blog?
Jackie Danicki • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media • Journalism 
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For those who haven’t seen it, you simply must check out Jon Stewart’s Daily Show take on bloggers. In addition to hitting the nail on the head about credibility and journalism, using words like blogosphere without explanation, and providing a graphic illustration of the waves of influence of blogs and how a single permalinked post from one blog can eventually reach the mainstream offline press, it’s pretty freaking funny, too.

Now, what I want to know is, why doesn’t the Daily Show have a blog?

Link via Jeff Jarvis

February 20, 2005
Sunday
Bye bye email… hello RSS
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media • Syndication 
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BusinessWeek online sums up the two powerful messages from the Business Blogging Summit that took place last month.

  1. Blog feeds are rapidly replacing email as a form of proactive marketing communications.
  2. Marketers wishing to post their own blogs should not approach the form as another one-way communications medium, but should plan for their blogs to offer two-way dialog.

Chris Pirillo, a vocal advocate of RSS as an alternative information delivery argues that spam, which is the 800-pound gorilla responsible for most enterprise email blacklists and whitelists, is impossible via RSS.

Because the user controls his or her subscription, RSS subscriptions imply confirmation that he or she wants to receive your message.

Pete Blackshaw, of Intelliseek stressed:

Blogging has become a new form of one-to-one marketing, but one not always dictated by brand. It has concentrated more power in (customer) ‘influencers,’ and thus requires a new targeting mindset.

See, we told you so. grin Well, I would not say that email is dead as a communication tool although I admit that it is considerably hamstrung by spam to be the medium of choice for PR and marketers in a corporate environment. For marketing, RSS is the best channel as it replaces the push (by the marketer) with pull (from the customer/reporter). I have stopped reading email newsletters from people in my ‘industry’ since if they do not know by now about blogs, that means they are rather behind. (And I do mean in my ‘industry’ i.e. online communication, self-publising, marketing, expertise building etc.)

February 14, 2005
Monday
Bloggers as news media trophy hunters
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media 
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I loved the headline so much I had to reproduce it here, I mean, the words trophy, bloggers and hunters in one sentence does stretch the imagination somewhat. Unlike pyjamas and geeks and cats, words frequently associated with blogging. By the uninitiated that is. grin

The news by CNET.com is that bloggers have laid claim to a prominent media career for the second time in five months.

On Friday, after nearly two weeks of intensifying pressure on the Internet, Eason Jordan, the chief news executive at CNN, abruptly resigned after being besieged by the online community. Morever, last week liberal bloggers forced a sketchily credentialed White House reporter to quit his post.

I have been outrageously busy in those two, for the blogosphere glorious weeks and I haven’t noticed anything until today.

Jordan, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in late January, apparently said, according to various witnesses, that he believed the United States military had aimed at journalists and killed 12 of them. There is some uncertainty over his precise language and the forum, which videotaped the conference, has not released the tape. When he quit Friday night, Jordan said in a statement that, “I never meant to imply U.S. forces acted with ill intent when U.S. forces accidentally killed journalists.”

This may be good news for visibility of blogging in general (especially if you subscribe to the school of thought that there is no such thing as bad publicity) but I would give ear to Jeff Jarvis’ call to bloggers to keep their real target in mind.

I wish our goal were not taking off heads but digging up truth.

Well, for me the truth is out there, sure, but the way to get there is to first communicate openly.

“Welcome to the age of transparency”
Jackie Danicki • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media • Journalism • Quotes 
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Jeff Jarvis has some wisdom to share with his fellow Big Media players about what the resignation of CNN chief Eason Jordan - and all of the other big stories pursued relentlessly by bloggers and all but ignored by mainstream media until someone resigns or is fired - means to them:

First, journalist-priests are no longer the gatekeepers in either direction—to authority and truth for the public, or from newsmakers to the people. Now the public can demand answers from the powerful and the powerful can avoid the press and talk to the public in new ways.

Second, news just speeded up and old media isn’t ready for this. We used to control the speed of news because we were the gatekeepers. No more. That is a big disconnect between big and citizens’ media: We want answers and we don’t want the press or the powerful to take their sweet time to give them to us.

Third, off-the-record is dead. Now that everyone has access to a press—the internet—anyone you talk to could be a Wolf Blitzer in sheep’s clothing.

Welcome to the age of transparency.

How long it will take old media - and business - to get up to speed with this new age is anybody’s guess. I suspect the ones who lag will find themselves left behind. Forgive me if I don’t shed too many tears for their demise, though. 

Noble Scoble
Jackie Danicki • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media 
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The article on Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble in the current issue of The Economist ends on a pondering note:

Will corporate bloggers start to get tongue-tied and sound just like tedious press releases? [...] Will [Scoble] criticise only the small things, but toe the line on the big issues? As his page views, fame and influence increase, it might become increasingly difficult for him not to feel self-conscious, and to resist the deadening effect that this can have on any writer’s prose.

Could happen. And if it did, who would suffer? Well, as the article implies, both Scoble himself and Microsoft would be worse off if the ongoing peer review called the blogosphere calls him on his (at this point hypothetical) suckage. That’s the thing about blogs: anyone can have their say on one, and if the influential nodes in the network are of the opinion that you are full of BS and nothing more than a PR puppet, well, word gets around.

Look, the only reason Scoble has credibility is because he has earned it. Earned it with whom? Sure, with his employers at Microsoft. But it’s the credibility he has earned with the blogosphere that makes him so influential.

The key thing to remember is this: When it comes to credibility, the blogosphere giveth and the blogosphere taketh away. I’m pretty sure Robert Scoble understands this perfectly. How long it takes other companies to cotton on to it is another question entirely.

February 13, 2005
Sunday
Another one bites the dust
Jackie Danicki • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media 
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Blogger Patrick Crozier is wondering how in the world the blogosphere, considering its relatively limited readership, has brought down yet another mainstream media journalist, CNN’s Eason Jordan.

As I explained in Patrick’s comments, there are several waves of influence with blogs:

1. That blog’s own readers
2. The readers of other blogs, whose authors link to Number 1’s posts
3. The readers of online publications - Guardian Online, Wired.com, MSNBC.com, Slashdot, Janes.com, etc - which pick up on blog content
4. Offline publications which pick up on stuff from online (such as when Matt Drudge in 1998 broke the Lewinsky scandal and it then hit everywhere in the mainstream media)
5. Readers of those offline publications spreading the news via more traditional word of mouth

Because, you know, this is what it’s all about - word of mouth, but in an incredibly accessible, unprecedentedly permanent, tangible, searchable way. It is entirely correct to credit the blogosphere and not blogs. The format makes all this possible, but without the network to pass on the information, it goes nowhere. 

February 09, 2005
Wednesday
Bloggers send a warning shot to corporate America
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media 
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Yesterday FT had a very interesting and well researched article by Scott Morrison on the ‘power’ of blogging. The aggregating and networking prowess of blogs, that is, this time used to the detriment of a large company that ignores complaints from its customers.

It started with a simplegripe posted on a weblog - the blogger was unhappy that his new mobile phone did not work as advertised. It was not long before other angry bloggers chimed in with their own stories, flooding the “blogosphere” with a stream of complaints that culminated last month in a class action lawsuit against the second-largest wireless network operator in the US. The lawsuit against Verizon Wireless - and the way it came about - highlights the challenges that weblogs pose to corporations.

It picked up on the most interesting aspect of blogosphere:

Tech-savvy people have for years shared their views through obscure internet chatrooms and bulletin boards. But easy-to-use blogging software and powerful search engines are now creating vast and efficient “word of mouth networks” on which tens of millions can compare information.

Yes, and the trusty Scoble (thanks to him for doing such a splendid job in explaining blogs to corporate world) appears:

If companies don’t understand that and don’t learn how to track what people are saying, they are going to be hit violently with PR problems that they don’t understand or know where they are coming from.

And, funnily enough, it is blogs that would help companies with crisis management. The case of Verizon PR disaster signals that companies cannot hide more or less successfully behind a wall of press releases, PR spin and market power:

Hundreds of disgruntled Verizon Wireless customers took to the blogosphere to trade stories, swap hints about ways to adapt their phones and tell of their efforts to make the carrier correct the problem. Several posted letters in which the company tried unsuccessfully to mollify its angry customers.  Verizon Wireless, which declined to discuss the lawsuit, found itself conducting a crisis-management exercise in full public view.

Blogs are clearly credited (or blamed depending on where you are standing) with providing a sufficient reason and critical mass for the plaintiff to bring action against Verizon.

“Blogs were very instrumental in him being able to, in a relatively short time, determine that nobody was going to give him any relief,” said Michael Kelly of Kirtland & Packard, the law firm representing the plaintiff.

There are more examples in the article of cases when blogs caused headaches for corporate America but there is also sound advice from Mike Masnick, chief executive of Techdirt. Most companies are oblivious to blogs and those that are aware do not know how to respond and believes that:

… the best strategy is to engage bloggers openly and honestly in their realm. Any whiff of insincerity will be picked up and turned against a company.

Remember Mazda ‘blog’, for example?

I guess it’s appropriate to end with Scoble’s quote whose blog managed to humanise Microsoft.

It’s the new world and you want to be part of the conversation

February 03, 2005
Thursday
Venture blogging in the news
Jackie Danicki • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media 
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There’s a great piece in the latest edition of Venture Capital Journal about the business of venture capitalists who blog. The journalist did an unusually good job covering the whole blog thing, and profiles several venture bloggers and their experiences in blogging. Unsurprisingly, every single blogger featured specified that the best thing about blogging is the networking aspect - meeting clever, like-minded, well-networked people through their blogs. Additionally, the VCs say their blogs help tremendously in giving entrepreneurs an idea of what they are and are not looking to invest in, which saves time and effort all around, and reduces the number of totally off-the-mark pitches the VCs are subjected to.

VCs are busy people who have to be careful about what they do and do not reveal on their blogs. That so many are blogging so successfully is testament to the fact that blogging your expertise does not mean you’re giving away that expertise. Done right, it will mean you reap the benefits of a vast network and are able to work more efficiently and from a more informed viewpoint. Because, lest we forget, blogging is not a one-way “You, customer/potential customer, read NOW about why I rock and you should spend money with my company!” deal. Unfortunately, I meet a lot of very clever people whose business models could be fed substantially by blogging, but who are so protective of their knowledge that they are afraid to show a little of it off via a blog. Those who can’t let go of that white-knuckle grip on their competence are the ones who are missing out on enhancing that competence - and who will continue to do so.

Link via Andrew Anker at VentureBlog

January 28, 2005
Friday
Blogging and journalism cont’d
Adriana Cronin-Lukas • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media • Journalism 
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An interesting panel discussion as relayed by NevOn: The discussion was moderated by Dan Forbush and addressed the impact of blogs on their work, their general view on the value of blogs as a communication channel, and how best to promote their blogs. It's worth a read and here are a few juicy quotes:

Blogs are an incredible medium and will change the economic dynamics of whole sectors of industry. You don't know until you've tried it. Blogs occur naturally; you can't force people to read blogs. If you create value, people will find you and talk about you. It's an automatic feedback mechanism.

...

For a monthly print magazine, a blog offers great ways to share new and fresh content more frequently with readers. Involve and engage the readers. Help readers better connect with us and other readers. We have tremendous Google juice. Our site uses cascading style sheets which has given us high respect by web developers. Starting to see articles created for the blog make it into the print magazine. Open blog up to the readers, don't worry about editorial controls.

...

'Blogging' means different things to different people. The technology that enables it is the fascinating thing, and that is what will change things completely.






January 22, 2005
Saturday
Blogs at Harvard
The Big Blog Company • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media • Events 
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Jeff Jarvis of Buzzmachine is on the roll reproducing his experience at a conference on “Blogging, Journalism & Credibility” taking place at Harvard University this weekend. There are some worthy points that should be noted here:

Jay (Rosen of PressThink) says that journalists have been slow to recognize the debt they owe blogging and that is because this new medium—this new press—was not developed by them. The people who understand this new press—the ethic of the link, the art of conversation—are bloggers.

...

The way to get diversity is for the entirety of media to find diversity and balance. That is what is new: In the past, you had a one-size-fits-all, one-newspaper town. Now you have access to all the media of the world. That is what brings you diversity.

...

While on the hit parade of old arguments, we got the argument that bloggers are an echo chamber seeking only their own views. I said that’s a red herring. We link to that with which we disagree.

...

Hinderaker goes back to Bill Mitchell’s question from his presentation, in which he asked what tool we need to help build trust. Hinderaker says it would help to show us the material behind the story. The attitude bloggers have is—via the link: “See for yourself. Don’t take our word for it.”

...

Chris Lydon gives us his best Emerson quote ever: “Do not destroy the mass media but liberate the individual from the mass.”

...

Jimbo Wales, founder of Wikipedia, says that a few years ago, nobody could have predicted that a bunch of unpaid citizens could replace the Encyclopedia Brittanica with its budget of $350 million but it happened. He said that the business model of The New York Times is not sustainable.

Jeff Jarvis moderated another session and this is what happened:

Rick Kaplan, president of MSNBC, said at the session I Oprahed yesterday that blogging actually drives ratings on shows and that there is a corollation between shows that devote effort to blogging and the growth in audience.

January 14, 2005
Friday
Why (disclosed) blogging for dollars doesn’t taint the blogosphere
Jackie Danicki • Blogs & Blogging • Blogs in the media 
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On the back of the news that Howard Dean’s campaign paid two pro-Dean bloggers for “consulting”, with the goal of influencing their blog posts, the Wall Street Journal reports today that this revelation:

shook the confidence of many people in the blogosphere

If this WSJ report was a blog posting, that line would have to include a link to supporting evidence. But it’s not a blog posting, so it doesn’t - and I don’t think the supporting evidence could be found anyway.

Let’s be clear, here: Both bloggers, who were openly pro-Dean long before his campaign started paying them “consulting” fees, disclosed on their blogs that they were employed by Dean. Why in the world this would shake anyone’s confidence in the blogosphere is beyond me. I could see it maybe shaking someone’s confidence in the two specific blogs involved, even though the bloggers fully disclosed their connection to the Dean operation. But beyond that, it gets a little crazy.

The nature of the blogosphere is that individual blogs are constantly subjected to an ongoing peer review. That’s how credibility is earned, undermined, and maintained. Through that ongoing peer review, blogs lose credibility and they gain it. To suggest that that self-regulation, that system of checks and balances that no boss or law has imposed - but that thrives anyway - undermines the blogosphere is bizarre. It’s one of the things the blogosphere does best, and with so few people trusting big media to get it right, I think it’s bloody cheeky - as they say here in London - for Wall Street Journal reporters to be writing unsubstantiated lines about “many people” having their confidence in the blogosphere shaken. 

After all, who brought the news to light of the aims with which these two bloggers had been paid by the Dean campaign? Yep, that’s right - another blogger. (She thinks the WSJ line about shaken confidence in the blogosphere is dubious, too.)

tBBC in NMA magazine
Jackie Danicki • Blogs & Blogging • tBBC in the media • Blogs in the media • Marketing & PR 
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Adriana Cronin-Lukas in New Media Age

If you’re in Britain and into interactive marketing and business, you may have noticed tBBC’s own Adriana Cronin-Lukas featured in a two-page spread in the latest issue of New Media Age magazine, out today. In an interview with NMA editor Michael Nutley that touches on emergent branding via blogs, using blogs in internal communications, and commerical use of blogs in general, Adriana, whom Nutley describes as “on a mission,” pulls no punches - hence the title:

Plain speaking

Yep, we’ve been accused of that a time or two - and not just in our own blog comments. So well done to Adriana for very clearly speaking her mind, and thanks to Michael Nutley for using so much of it as direct quotations in the article. Now, we just have to get Adriana back to London from LA so she can read the piece for herself…

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