Us. In the media.
Adriana has participated in a BBC Radio 4 discussion about the use of blogs for businesses and how it is part of the way New Media is challenging entire business models.
If you are curious what blogs mean to the commercial world… or just want to hear what a great sounding voice Adriana has, you can listen to her here (requires Real Audio Player).
In today’s Guardian Jane Perrone writes:
80,000 new weblogs are being created every day. Technorati tracked more than 14.2 million blogs this month, compared to 7.8 million in March.
But the statistics show not everyone who starts a blog stays the course. Although the blogosphere has doubled in size in just over five months, only around half of all blogs are “active” - in other words they have been updated in the past three months - and just 13% are updated every week or more often.
But that does not really matter, does it? As I often point out, talking about blogging as a unified subject is focusing on the format and missing the most fascinating aspects of the phenomenon. It is like judging the success of printing press by the impact the Communist Manifesto, or the Bible or trashy novels for that matter, have had on the world. And this is actually what happens - there are people complaining about how blogging can be toxic by causing confusion or lack of transparency and credibility(!) and many arguing that blogs are nothing but self-absorbed rubbish at worst and an online version of tabloids in terms of facts and reporting at best, etc etc etc. Even is such objections were true, which they mostly are not, they are irrelevant to the understanding of what is happening with communications and the ability of audiences to connect not only with the ‘broadcasters’ but also with themselves.
My point in the article is that we should not be focusing on the numbers - that is playing the game by the big media rules - but on those aspects of blogging that are truly revolutionary. Self-expression, individual creativity in the public space/domain giving rise to a new online social infrastructure, on top of the technological one.
If you know somebody, how long does it take to know what they are thinking? It’s a long drawn out process. But with blogs it’s the other way around - you meet the person’s mind through their blog.
I see this every day and I myself have found a number of amazing people in a very short period of time. That makes blogging a social activity par excellence. And this is before the pyjamas even come into it.
Cross-posted from Media Influencer
Kyle Wingfield has a go at the increasingly noticed issue of business blogging in Wall Street Journal Business Europe.
He coins a wonderful analogy of what it must feel like for companies toying with blogging:
This may feel a little disconcerting at first; after all, the primary way that companies communicate with the public emulates the style of television broadcasts: a one-way message sent from one source to the masses. Think of it, though, like learning to ride a bicycle: The off-balance sensation eventually will give way to a confident, even liberating, feeling that allows you to go farther, faster, than you could before.
As I already said somewhere in a comment, I think the article makes a point for business blogging without overstating it or mocking it, which is the two extremes so many mainstream commentators fall into. Oh, and I get quoted a lot…
A day earlier there has been an equally positive article on the merits of blogging for business in the FT. Here is a good summary for those without paid subscription courtesy of Niall Cook of Marketing Technology blog who rejoices in the good press FT gave business blogging:
I love the Financial Times. They always make me feel good about the crap I’ve been spouting at my ever-sceptical colleagues for the last two years.
Two mainstream business press articles on business blogging in two business days? Hm, may be blogs are, like, getting out there, like, among the business people…
It seems that blogging is gaining some traction or at least some coverage. This time it is Bobbie Johnson in the Guardian (no surprise there) writing about the business potential of blogging.
There are now millions of bloggers creating a network of interesting voices. Despite the grassroots “free” ideology, the hype has expanded further ever since it became clear that some people were making money out of the medium.
There are some who are making a fortune from blogging. Belle du Jour was a blog by a London call-girl, who has recently published a book and signed a deal for a TV series. Nick Denton is also mentioned as a king of commercial bloggers. I am not sure about that but yes, Denton is using the blog trend to ‘re-invent’ online nano-publishing, which is an old model by new means. But that is not the point. Gawker media stock is high and the company’s business model is profitable. His latest blog, Lifehacker, attracted sponsorship from Sony and demonstrated how weblogs are inching towards legitimacy with the traditional business community.
But as a ‘blogging expert’ points out:
“It’s possible for an individual, skillful blogger to have income from a blog,” says Adriana Cronin-Lukas, a consultant for fledgling firm the Big Blog Company (www.bigblogcompany.net), and a serious weblogging evangelist. “But ultimately it is the communications aspect of the blog that brings money in - by blogging about a company or expertise.”
Hey, I am a serious weblogging evangelist! Shucks.
Bobbie draws attention to the budding industry that caters for bloggers:
In fact, for all but a select few, this city of gold will always prove elusive. Instead, it seems the real way to make money from weblogs is not from producing the final product, but in delivering services to bloggers eager to live the dream.
There is Blogger.com now owned by Google, and Movable Type and Typepad created by Six Apart. The company got £5.8m in funding and now has 80 people with offices in the US, Japan and Europe. Last month they completed the buyout of LiveJournal, with a user base of more than 5m people. Now the company has three products aimed at three markets, and a good profile among a business community that is providing them with income.
Then there is Technorati that is fast becoming
...one of weblogging’s most innovative applications, searching the web in real time to let bloggers track who is speaking about them. The team - and many users - see it as a vital part of the interconnecting ecosystem that forms the heart of what is termed “the blogosphere”.
Cronin-Lukas points out what the bean counters want to hear: blog readers are desirable consumers. “A recent survey by US-based ad network Blogads revealed 61% of blog readers are over the age of 30, and more than 45% spend five to 10 hours reading blogs each week.”
With figures like that, it will be hard to persuade some eager beavers not to jump on the bandwagon.
So, c’mon eager beavers… get a-blogging.
Another article about ‘blogging’ in the UK mainstream press (and not in the Guardian!), this time about the tendency (if a few cases can be called that) of bloggers getting fired for blogging about their work and employer on personal blogs. It is written by a journalist blogger from the position of whether bloggers have any say in this. Michael Pollitt has a pleasant looking blog disconnected jottings and blogs about the article himself:
Careless blogs cost jobs looks at what happened to two bloggers when they wrote about work. They were dooced. In case you’re wondering, the word dooced was first used by American blogger Heather Armstrong who lost her job in 2002.
Joe Gordon of the Waterstone’s firing fame. He had been making remarks about his employer on his blog Woolamaloo Gazette for some time when things came to a rather shocking (for Joe) finale:
Shortly before Christmas, he was called to his manager’s office and informed of an investigation for gross misconduct. “I was suspended on pay and escorted from the premises of the bookstore I had worked in for 11 years,” Gordon wrote. He was dismissed in January for bringing the company into disrepute.
There is also this bit in the article:
It’s also important for employers to devise blogger strategies. Adriana Cronin-Lukas, a partner in The Big Blog Company, is an ardent blogger who also helps companies set up blogs. “I want employers to understand that employees are individuals and they have their freedoms,” she says. “If the company doesn’t have a blogging policy, it’s very hard for employees who have personal blogs. If an employer has a very strong opinion about blogs, then they should have a policy and give bloggers a chance to decide for themselves.”
They print anything these days, I tell ya.
Michael reveals on his blog that the Waterstone affair continues:
Joe Gordon contacted me on Monday afternoon to say that there was a settlement offered by Waterstone’s following an appeal with the help of his union (The Retail Book Association) against his dismissal in January. In lieu of reinstatement, Waterstone’s was now coming to an amicable agreement involving compensation.
Waterstones should be officially commenting in the next few days and Michael will blog about it on his blog. By the way, doesn’t it look so odd nowadays for a company to take a few days(!) to comment on something that happened weeks/months ago? This is not going to be possible for long as those companies who refuse to communicate will be confined to their PR controlled oblivion…
The final twist in the tale is that Joe will be running an official Forbidden Planet blog as part of his new job.
The company will be using the blog to communicate with customers, says Joe, as well as sharing new book titles they are excited about between issues of a quarterly magazine (Joe will write for that as well).
The message of the article is that both bloggers and companies should take note:
Blogs are growing in influence within and beyond the “blogosphere”. But most bloggers are not aware of the dangers they face when casually turning in what they think is a harmless account of their day at work. No matter how well intentioned, the blogger is usually the loser. And bloggers and employers clearly need to understand each other better before the word dooced is heard more often.
This was something we expected all along and hence our ‘bloglaw’ development. It did not take long to work out that if we tried to get companies to open up and let their employees communicate on their behalf (as it should be in the first place), the concern will be that of control of legal implications and reputation. Our position so far is that the benefits of blogging far outweight the risks, which although there, are also managable. Forewarned, forarmed…
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:
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…