Shame on the Red Cross
I'm with Seth Godin on this What to do when you are wrong
The Red Cross got sued by J&J yesterday.
It turns out that in the 1800s, Johnson & Johnson had used the Red Cross symbol for more than a decade before the US non-profit started using it. It also turns out that they generously gave the organization the right, for free, to use the symbol for its work, forever, as long as they didn't use it for reasons not directly related to their mission.
Mission? The Red Cross recently licensed their logo to a brand of surgical gloves, for example. And first aid kits that a licensee sells at Target.
In the press release, Mark Everson, the Red Cross' president, is quoted as saying, "For a multibillion-dollar drug company to claim that the Red Cross violated a criminal statute, . . . simply so that J&J can make more money, is obscene."
I think that's a typo. My guess is that Mr. Everson meant to say, "Oops! J&J is a good corporate citizen, a significant donor to the Red Cross and the original and rightful owner of the trademark. We'll unwind our deals as soon as we can and go back to focusing on what we do best."
That's what I would do, anyway.
Moms Turn to Blogs
Women, the principal audience for morning TV, are tuning out in increasing numbers in a Wake-up Call to A.M. News.
"Watching morning television for me is the equivalent of reading People magazine in the dentist's office," said Lauck, who writes for websites from her home in Santa Rosa, Calif. "They don't have anything new or particularly relevant to my life. It seems like a lot of fluff. I feel like I can get information faster and cleaner on the Internet."
They are turning the TV off and turning to Mommy blogs to swap tales about the pressures of modern motherhood.
"Now that I've been blogging, the morning shows feel like they're staged to me, whereas the mommy blogs are pretty authentic — to the point of being almost too honest some times," said Blecherman, a former senior manager at Deloitte & Touche who now does part-time consulting from home. "It's a way to get really fresh information from other moms, kind of like a virtual moms group. I don't see a need to watch the morning shows."
Social Networks Useful to Share Identity
Sharing video, photos and music with friends and family online or How Social Networks Became Useful.
According to a November eMarketer report by senior analyst Debra Williamson, 2007 ad spending on U.S. social-networking sites will jump to $865 million from $350 million in 2006 a close to three-fold jump. By 2010, the report estimates, spending will reach $2.15 billion.
Meanwhile Bruce Nussbaum calls Identity, the New Paradigm.
A while back, I posted an item on "identity" as a new paradigm that could replace "experience" in our business culture. Academia, especially linguistics, has been talking about the shift from experience to identity for some time. The idea is that the concept of "experience" is passive.
But life really isn't like that. People are not passive--they make their own lives. People interract with their environments to create their distinct identities. Let me repeat that--people interract with their environments to create their own identities. This amounts to co-creating your own products and services.
YouTube, MySpace, Flickr, Second Life and in the gaming world, you create an identity. Yes, there are avatars and they are the purest form of identity. But for me, it is the identity you build in the real world working with tools provided by companies that is the most interesting. How you configure you iPod or how you organize your cell phone defines you and reflects who you are. TiVo, Nikes, the sessions and workshops you chose and listed at the World Economic Forum, etc. That's your identity. None of that is passive.
Report from Le Web 3
This new media is both intimate and intuitive.
This market and communication transition we're going through is not about technology, and it sure as hell isn't about marketing. It's about Love. Love enabled. Love re-asserting itself in the business between people.
Last Friday, I had the pleasure of speaking to the Boston Business Exchange, a group that is in the process of changing its name and its meeting venue, so no link.
Suffice it to say, they are business men and women who want to go a step beyond traditional networking, so naturally they are interested in blogs.
I spoke on Getting Naked and Blogging for Business, but in only 15 minutes time, I had to severely limit what I said, so I limited it to a few stories.
As for consultants, here are some additional benefits.
You choose your niche and focus
o Write about what you feel passionately about. It’s how you’ll attract readers
o Position yourself as an expert
o Differentiate yourself for competitive advantage
o Write often, write short.
o Make your blog part of your overall marketing plan
o Think of it as managing your public reputation
Increase your visibility as an expert.
o Give away your resources as links
o Be a trusted filter of news in your industry or niche or neighborhood
o Point out important articles, news and resources
o Give your clients and prospects a reason to visit often
o Blogs are “word on mouth on steroids”
o You’ll get noticed and journalists will respect you.
Increase your sphere of influence - Connect with Others
o Reach beyond the people you know
o Reach people in the future
o Reach around the globe
o Connect to people you respect and admire with your blogroll
o Be generous with links and credits
o Collaborate and cooperate on projects
o Your value is in your relationships, your value in trust, not your exclusive knowledge
Make a chronicle of your professional life
o Content management system –great for notes .
o You set the categories
o When you read something you can make note, opine
o Corporate memory
Build your brand
o What’s your story? What’s your talent?
o Who do you INTEND to Be?
o What’s the POINT of what you do?
o Show how you think innovatively
o Let your personality shine through with all its passion and enthusiasm
o Share your knowledge and expertise and let people get to know you
Become a Better Communicator
o You will be exposed to more different points of view
o You will read more and write more clearly
o You will understand other groups/cliques better
o Listen to your readers
Using open source collaboration software used by Wikipedia, spy agencies are now assembling intelligence reports in a new way.
Spy Agencies now share the wikipedia way
The system allows analysts from all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies to weigh in on debates on North Korea's nuclear program and other sensitive topics, creating internal websites that are constantly updated with new information and analysis, officials said.
The system, which the public cannot access, is divided into classification categories starting with "sensitive but unclassified" and ending at "top secret." The program is still being developed, officials said, and has not replaced procedures used to create intelligence reports for President Bush and other policymakers. But it is being used to assemble preliminary judgments for a National Intelligence Estimate on Nigeria and may replace unwieldy methods for creating such reports.
Socrates on blogs
I like Jeff Jarvis's post, Is writing the highest form of speech commenting on Nick Lemann's New Yorker article, On the Internet, everyone is a millenarian
As the flood of responses and comments to Nicholas Lemann’s “On the Internet, everybody is a millenarian” article in the New Yorker continues to flow, bend, ripple and eddy, one can’t help but notice how Lemann’s piece simply stands there, mute, defunct. Sans capacity to comment, respond, defend, link. It’s Plato’s old distinction in the Phaedrus“>Phaedrus: blogs are the speaking voice, alive and self-present. Lemann’s article belongs to the world of print, of writing.
Socrates talks about the written word as a lesser form of shared knowledge. He praises conversation, teaching, humanity.
Well worth reading in its entirety.
FeedBurner Networks - Venture Capital
There's so many new tools for blogs, I can't keep up.
The new Feedburner networks look very interesting. Take a look The Venture Capital Network
A FeedBurner Network is a collection of blogs that fit within a particular topic. The goal is to create high quality collections of similar types of publishers. For example, if you are interested in reading Venture Capital bloggers, you currently have to manually poke around to find them. Some bloggers have taken it upon themselves to compile a list of Venture Capital bloggers (65 – where did all those come from?) and you can use Technorati to find Blogs about Venture Capital. But – none of these approaches is particularly organized, scales, or is really manageable.
A FeedBurner Network is managed by a coordinator. At this stage the coordinator is the gatekeeper for the network, although it will evolve so that all members of a network can promote other potential members. As a result, the content is "filtered and selected" by the network coordinator (and ultimately members) so that there aren't "fake" Venture Capital blogs as part of the network. The result should be a higher quality network and a quick and easy way to find “Venture Capital bloggers.”
Blogosphere 60 Times Larger Than Three Years Ago
"The blogosphere is doubling in size every six months and is now 60 times larger than it was three years ago, according to the latest quarterly installment of David Sifry's "State of the Blogosphere" report. He writes that Technorati now tracks over 35.3 Million blogs."
Businesses Can't Shut Out Their Customers Anymore
More and more businesses are paying attention to what blogs say.
They can't shut out their audience any more.
more and more firms are paying greater attention to what blogs are saying about them - and even trying to meet the bloggers halfway.
Companies have been used to a level of control, and it's been very much a one-way street," says Matthew Yeomans of Custom Communication, an agency which seeks to help businesses navigate their way around the burgeoning blogosphere.
"For years, they've shut out their audience and hidden behind the world of PR. That's all blown out of the water now. They can't do that any more."
It can be an amazing piece of market research that you can get for free," he says.
"The more enlightened companies are not trying to control this conversation, because they realise they can't. The web is out there for anyone to see. But the best companies are seeing that as an opportunity, not a threat."
I've been wondering how book clubs were going to survive the disruption of the Internet.
If you're a big reader like I am, you used to join book clubs to read about new books coming out on a regular basis and to get the four free books you got for joining. Of course, you had to fill out those reply cards or you got their book of the month on a regular schedule which if you didn't want it was a pain-in-the-neck to return.
Amazon changed everything. Not only could you get books whenever you want delivered to your door, you could find all the information you could ever want about any book whether you ordered it or not, including professional reviews and reviews by other readers. Amazon taught me how mathematics could be a competitive advantage with algorithms that looked at what I read and recommended new books. With its size and scale, Amazon could create the largest inventory and realize the enormous profits that could be made by catering to the long tail.
Netflix catered to the long tail as well. But the reason I joined was "no more late fees ever". I liked too the single price per month no matter how many DVDs I ordered so long as I only had three at a time. Like Amazon, Netflix had information on every movie and an easy way to create a list, a queue which I could add to and reorder any time. Easiest though was the delivery in thin, red envelopes that became the postage-paid return.
Since book clubs can't compete with Amazon, why not model after Netflix? That's what Zoomba does. Create a reading list of booksellers, get one a month for $9.95 - no shipping & handling, no reply cards, no book that you didn't ask for.
That's smart. Now they just need some blogs to get people talking about the new best sellers.
Click for Design
Design blogs are "equal parts bulletin board, cocktail party, garage sale and aesthetic manifesto."
They're a great interactive resource," says interior designer Ky Ta of the District. By posting questions on blog comment boards, he says, "you can basically leverage the entire design community to solve problems. They're also a great buying guide for people who don't necessarily know where to go to look for certain things. So they're really providing a free service, and anyone with an Internet connection can use it."
Read more about people obsessed with design and the wonderful, terrible development of design blogs in The Washington Post, Blog Wild.
The CIA blogs
The CIA is blogging! Probing Galaxies of Data for Nuggets.
The CIA has debuted its Open Source Center, part of the reorganization following the failures of intelligence collection related to 9/11. (Good thing Open Source Media, OSM changed its name back to Pajamas Media, or it would be called a CIA front!)
It even has a blog on blogs, dedicated to cracking the code of what useful information can be gleaned from the rapidly expanding milieu of online journals and weird electronic memorabilia warehoused on the Net.
By adding the new center, "they've changed the strategic visibility," said Douglas J. Naquin, a CIA veteran named to direct the center. ". . . All of a sudden open source is at the table."
Blogging in China
So who are the leaders of the online revolution in China? It's party member and dance girl and the New York Times has the story, Party Girl and she's a blogger.
What I find wonderful is the irony of people speaking their truth to each other in personal weblogs can undermine a rigid, authoritarian regime.
"The new bloggers are talking back to authority, but in a humorous way," said Xiao Qiang, director of the China Internet Project at the University of California, Berkeley. "People have often said you can say anything you want in China around the dinner table, but not in public. Now the blogs have become the dinner table, and that is new.
"The content is often political, but not directly political, in the sense that you are not advocating anything, but at the same time you are undermining the ideological basis of power."
Sly and sardonic, Chinese blogs are growing quickly, already 1 to 2
million, despite censorship
What I found surprising to me was the notion that in China, the concepts of private life and public life have only emerged in the past twenty years.
Turnkey blogging systems for verticals
Kevin O'Keefe has done a fine job providing lawyers and law firms with at urnkey blogging system at LexBlog.
Now Paul Chaney, at Radiant Marketing is introducing something very similar for another vertical, the real estate and mortgage industries, at Realtors Conference & Expo.
Congratulations, mazeltov, best of luck with this new venture to a vertical that sorely needs it.
My Butler Blogs
Was blogging predicted in the 19th century in Russia?
Well the Russian Prince Vladimir Odoesky in 1837 did predict something like blogging - for the year 4338.
“The thing is that many households here publish such journals that replace common correspondence. Such journals usually provide information about the hosts’ good or bad health, family news, different thoughts and comments, small inventions, invitations to receptions.”
However, Odoevsky, a prince and a wealthy man, could not imagine people taking so much bother to keep their acquaintances updated on their daily affairs. He suggested the job would be carried out by the butler.
“The job of publishing such a journal daily or weekly is carried out by the butler. It is done very simply: receiving an order from the masters, he makes a notice of what they tell him, then make copies by camera obscura and sends them to the acquaintances.”
Hat tip Steve Rubel, From Russia with Love
Why People Blog
Fascinating blogger study by Edelman and Technorati, Why People Blog.
34% blog to increase their visibility as an authority in their field.
32% blog to create a record of their thoughts.
20% blog to connect with others.
Bloggers trust other bloggers when it comes to new products (63%), far more than company websites (26%) for the best advice on new products.
Tara says the study justifies her cult of Cluetrain. She also has a wonderful Dave Weinberger quote, "We're writing ourselves into history one blog post at a time."
1000% circulation boost
Daytrade team reports that its "Trading Tips" article feeds have increased in circulation by over 1000% since being produced in RSS/XML formats.
People Blog as Therapy
Via Blogspotting's Heather Green (who also has the download link for a summary of the study), a new AOL survey on blogging that finds most bloggers aren't wannabe journalists or political activists, they blog as a form of therapy.
• One third of bloggers write about self-help and self-esteem topics.
• 54 % like to share their thoughts and feelings with others.
• 43% like to chronicle their life and interests.
• 31% turn to blogs for help and counseling.
In times of need or high anxiety, one-out-of-three people (31%) say they turn to either writing in their blog or reading the blogs of other people who are experiencing similar issues; that's six times as many people who prefer to seek help and counseling from a professional (5%). The No. 1 answer was seeking advice from family and friends: 32% vs. 31% who turn to blogs
Conversation is the Kingdom
A not-to-be-missed post by Jeff Jarvis, Who wants to own content?
Distribution is not king.
Content is not king.
Conversation is the kingdom.
In our media 2.0, web 2.0, post-media, post-scarcity, small-is-the-new-big, open-source, gift-economy world of the empowered and connected individual, the value is no longer in maintaining an exclusive hold on things. The value is no longer in owning content or distribution.
The value is in relationships. The value is in trust.
Jeff says there is no scarcity of good stuff out there, the value is in the conversation, in the relationship.
You want to join in on what people do on their own. You want to help people make and find and remake and save the content they want.
Better to be part of a fluid network, better to gather than create.
If I have to pick sides, you can guess what side I pick: small, not big; open,not closed; shared, not owned; enabled, not excluded.
Yet once you think about it, this isn’t so new, really: Isn’t journalism supposed to be about building trust (so how did it become so untrusted?)? Aren’t brands supposed to be about communicating trust (so how did so many of them become so untrustworthy?)?
In the end, isn’t the only asset worth owning trust? Content is not king. Distribution is not king. Trust is king in the kingdom of conversation.
Transcending time and space
I like what Ann Althouse has to say about blogs.
[B]logging is just writing, and like other writing, it has aspects that are better than conversation:
It can reach beyond the people you know.
It can reach people in the future, including the people you know.
It can reveal things that cannot come up in ordinary conversation.
It can allow one person to contribute a larger share of the ideas than would be seemly in conversation.
It lets you leap over your immediate physical environment.
If I stuck to face-to-face conversations, I'd be talking to people in Madison, Wisconsin all the time!
Her commenters add:
[B]logging has made [me] more communicative than I used to be (not that I was shy about talking, being a professor and all...).
I have also found that because of blogging I have likely read more news and commentary on a subject than most people, even my peers. Because, if I am going to argue in public about something, I need to be informed.
I also find by either writing or reading blogs and their comments, I read more and get exposure to a more diverse range of opinions and insights than I received from reading the same newspapers as everyone else or only talking to nearby folks. The exposure has reformed some of my own opinions -- and in some cases -- helped me become more tolerant of the differing view because of greater understanding of why some people think like they do. In others, it's helped me identify issues that I oppose and that's stimulated me to be a more active opposition voice.
Still Another says
Blogs let you see into cliques that you can't really get at any other way. I have learned far more about libertarians and lawyers, for example, than I could ever find out through my social contacts.
For me, blogging has made me a better writer. I have learned much more about Catholicism, marketing, doctors, technology because I read so many blogs by so many smart writers. It has opened my world immensely.
Global Thought Bubble
From the New York Times' editorial on blogs, Measuring the Blogosphere.
It's natural enough to think of the growth of the blogosphere as a merely technical phenomenon. But it's also a profoundly human phenomenon, a way of expanding and, in some sense, reifying the ephemeral daily conversation that humans engage in. Every day the blogosphere captures a little more of the strange immediacy of the life that is passing before us. Think of it as the global thought bubble of a single voluble species.
Agents for all
An agency for citizen journalists. Take a great news-worthy photo?
Send it to Scoopt who will sell it to the press and then split the proceeds 50:50.
BlogHer Con -
This is the start of Blogher live blogging. I've got my coffee, the room is packed and a video Sheryl Crow is playing on the big screen. Now it's Tina Turner, 63 and looking great.
A long jam-packed day means an early start. Attention to detail highlights:
- good breakfast, lots of fruit, small sized muffins, bagels already.
- wireless throughout the lobby and the entire tech center provided by Google
- good looking and skinny folders with all the information we need and no more
- lots of small tables for small groups to talk
- the variety of women from around the country is astounding - a punk rocker next to a middle-aged marketing professional behind a fashion model behind a mommy blogger, in front of the techie, with a lawyer on the side.
- Best tote bags ever from Google
- power strips everywhere
The four co-mothers of the conference, Lisa Stone, Elisa Camahort, Jory des Jardins and Katrin Verclas. Congrats to all of them for all their good, hard work in record time.
Lisa Stone begins
Taking women blogging to a whole new level, pushing way past where are the women bloggers.
We know 43-56% of all bloggers are women
At the closing session, we'll create the mother of all to-do lists
Three questions we'll be asking
- what have you learned
- what will you do with this information
- what would you tell other women not here
She thanks all the women who came and showed up. She thanks the sponsors.
Elisa Camahort, reports on the survey. Jory on the guidelines.
Halley Suitt and Charlene Li debate "Playing by the Rules"
Lisa Stone say women bloggers are not showing up in the search results. They're not on the top 100 bloggers on the Technorati lsit.
Charlene Li, from Forrester. There is a game out there, characterized by the 80/20 rule. Some of us want to be on the A list, others blog for their own personal satisfaction. You have to play by the rules .
Haley: Wasn't blogging begun so as not to play by the rules. Weren't the personal stories told by Jeff Jarvis and others influential in changing even the New York Times to
Charlene Li 's rules
1. Be good at networking
We're not as good at networking as the men are.
- Tell people what you can give.
- Ask people for what you need.
Haley says ask for links. ASK. Women don't ask. ASK again. ASK the third time.
2. Be relevant
3. Be unique
Will men only link to other men? Do you have to write about politics? Who cares about the Technorati 100? Don't we have all have our own A list?
Audience says it's key words and search and you can always find the blogs who write on the subject.
Another says traffic is not an end in itself, your goal is. Think about what you want to achieve, traffic is just the means to get there.
Dina another become credible in what you care about. She gives her example of a citizens group in Texas fighting an attempt by local phone companies to ban broadband.
A female tech CEO says its your own sphere of influence that counts. Let's come up with a new metric that measures female bloggers - a new code.
Another Everyday Goddess: let's have more versions of the lists.
Another: join up in networks for woman bloggers
Complaints about Technorati's reliability in posting all the posts tagged Blogher.
Mary Hodder who once worked at Technorati, is working on a community algorhythm that looks at more than inbound links.
Miriam, who speaks five languages, can write in only one - even though she writes primarily about Africa and Asia and people of color.
Mena Trott, President of Six Apart
Live Journal 72% women and under 21
Typepad about 50/50 women, men.
She says she, Meg (founder of Blogger), Katherine of Flick'r are often dismissed, sometimes by other women
Mark: Empower yourselves, all these companies have open APIs, create your own BlogHer 100.
Amber, a teen blogger says send postcards, offline means work too.
Halley. Blog-whoring - isn't that a female derogatory term. Let's not use it.
Charlene, Ask for links when it's relevant
Halley. Push the medium. Start your own companies.
BlogHer -Session #1 Political Blogging Grows Up
Moderator Courtney Lowery
Courtney is a former AP writer and editor who's interested in the intersection of politics and environment and launched a network of blogs called New West .net to talk about growth and change in the Rocky Mountain West.
Roxanne writes at Rox Populi and is the director of sales and marketing for the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.
Ambra from Seattle works at Google and writes a political blog - Nykola.com and wants to steer people away from the lemming mentality and encourage them to think independently.
Courtney. We're still compartmentalizing political discussions and taking our talking points from the top political blogs. How can we open up the discussion.
Amber. I'm from the more conservative side and I find a lot of the political blogs very boring. They're reporting, not opining. I'm black, Christian, 23, and most interested in opinions, not what I can hear on CNN. I
Roxanne. People who repeat messages in the "parrotsphere" get links. If you have your own voice, you don't get linked. It's too much of an echosphere.
Courtney. You can make politics sexy again by bringing the personal back. The personal resonates. What politics means in your everyday life counts.
Amber. People who don't vote because they don't see the relevance in their own lives. Blogs have the ability to make it real. I've gotten more understanding about social security by reading blogs than by reading any party's website. People are numb to copy written messages. Too many people don't understand and are intimidated by complexities.
Q. How do you break things down for your readers.
Amber. I just write for myself, but what I can do is come at it from a philosophical standpoint. What's the philosophy behind a proposed law And I like to critique political leaders' fashion.
I hear from my emails that people really respond to that.
Q. What can we do to write in a more common language? As a librarian, we need to teach critical thinking. We need to teach what are credible sources.
Roxanne - Who are the experts? I think that expertise can come from a two-way discussion
Q. Bill Clinton tried to start a discussion about race. But it never happened.
Amber. Don't be an anonymous blogger. I emailed one and said you can't keep this up because what you think comes from who we are.
I put up my photo as a black woman and what I think for most people doesn't track. I'm a deviant from black people, I'm a deviant from conservatives. I'm a deviant from woman. Or at least what most people think black, female conservatives should think. I'm myself.
Roxanne. Engage people more from the other side. They're just yelling at each other. I comment a lot on other blogs and ask them - respectfully - why do they think the way they do.
Audience. When I read bloggers on either side, they're much too hostile to the other side.
Amber. If you think that yelling at people will convince them. There is too much mud-slinging. I hate Ann Coulter.
Audience member. She needs a sandwich. She needs a makeover.
Roxanne. But people like conflict, they like drama.
Audience Matthew. He's from England and sees America is a very apolitical country, apart from the 15% who read and write in the blogosphere. How do you get people to get interested in politics?
Courtney: We make it personal. Isn't that what women are really good at.
Audience member. Apart from making it personal, let's get more facts. The news focuses on the polls. Those aren't the facts that people need to make a decision.
Courtney. Where do we want political blogging to go. How do we break out of the echo chamber.
Roxanne. It's marketing. Give them sugar. Weave politics into culture blogging.
Amber. I don't think that people need sugar. They need the truth. I think you just have to be who you are. I'm come across far more interesting pro-life blogs then any
Roxanne. Blogging about Ann Coulter's clothes is the sugar.
Courtney. Too much of the mainstream press dumbs down the issues.
Amber. Everyone should understand politics if they're old enough to vote. The black community often doesn't understand the issues.
Audience member. I'm part of a group blog focusing on second generation South Asian Americans. We have bloggers from all sides of the aisle. It's a unique niche, a void that's become a gathering place for all sorts. It's real, with a variety of voices. Sepiamutiny.com.
Roxanne. You're providing a real service that the mass media isn't.
Audience member. I'm black, married to an Italian, just back from Kenya and I'm really interested in South Asian Americans. Now I know where to go.
Blogs in Space
BloginSpace.com is beaming web feeds of blogs into deep space using a powerful satellite broadcast.
So when the aliens come, they will know all about Hampsterdance, the Dancing Baby and probably will be singing, "This Land is Your Land, this land is my land" which they will have learned from Jib Jab.
Just some of the top ten web fads according to CNET.
If you want them to know what you're thinking and writing about, add your feed and beam it into deep space and whatever alien life force is out there. Mindcomet says, "Aliens Love Blogs too."
Via BL Ochman's What's Next
It's Public Relationships
Terrific post by Dave Weinberger on Joho saying it's not public relations, it's public relationships.
PR needs to get out of the intermediation business. It means that more voices have to be allowed to speak from within the corporation, since relationships based on a committee-produced controlled voice will fail. It explains why blogs are such a useful tool: They are public relationships. It assumes there's persistence to the relationship, not merely press releases thrown in our faces whenever the company has some new crap to flog. It assumes mutuality. It relies on the relationships being based on frankness and transparency.
Building public relationships seems to me to be a useful rubric for all that PR agencies do, including the traditional services they will continue to provide.
For example, PR agencies are going to continue to scan editorial calendars looking for opportunities to get coverage for their clients, and they'll continue to monitor and measure what's being said. But if they do that within the context of building public relationships, perhaps they can help their clients get past their obsession with column inches. It's not about that and it never was. It's about building long-term, continuing, honest, mutual public relationships
Part of the Corporate Memory
A salute to IBM who will be adding blogging tools to its forthcoming 2.5 Workplace collaboration platform.
Interesting that corporate officials see the main benefit to incorporating blogs into business communications is that they become part of the corporate memory
Word of mouse
Are Internet searches overtaking personal recommendations, long considered the best source of word of mouth?
In the travel industry, consumers around the world are turning to the Internet first as they figure out where they want to go on vacation.
As blogs continue to evolve as personal filters, presenting only choice bits and commentary, I expect their recommendations and their slams to become more powerful.
If I weren't a Mac addict, and I were shopping around for a new computer, I sure wouldn't buy a Dell after the Dell Hell Jeff Jarvis experienced.
Word of mouth, word of mouse.
BBC Hails Blogs
After the London bombings, the BBC calls blogs, the "ideal news resource."
All of a sudden, the blog turned out to the ideal news resource. At their most mundane, weblogs record the minutiae of the author's day; on Thursday, this trivia became the biggest story in the world.
Every feature of blogging found a new use. Comments sections became "Are You Alive?" sections. PayPal accounts became donations to buy beer for the emergency services.
And long before politicians had a chance to make a statement, Londoners' own reactions were being quoted as the voice of Britain around the world.
As the media and emergency services tried to work out what was going on, many of the clues came from the bloggers.
Acts of violence can cause damage in their aftermath; they can frighten people, and they can turn them against each other. This time, there was a new tool available - blogs - and they've been used for communication, help and humour. So much for terror.
Wiki for A Killer Flu
I am happy to report that the wiki I suggested the writers of Effect Measure put up in my post On Borrowed Time has been up now for about a week under the instigation of bloggers at Effect Measure, The Next Hurrah and Just a Bump in the Beltway.
The Flu Wiki is a wonderful experiment in collaborative problem solving in public health and self-reliance.
A Wiki is a form of collaborative software that allows anyone to edit (change) any page on the site using a standard web browser like Explorer, Firefox or Safari.The purpose of the Flu Wiki is to help local communities prepare for and perhaps cope with a possible influenza pandemic. This is a task previously ceded to local, state and national governmental public health agencies. Communications technology has now become sufficiently available to allow a new form of collaborative problem-solving that harvests the rich fund of knowledge and experience that exists among those connected via the internet, allowing more talent to participate.
Already there have been 23,000 page views with contributions from scientists, epidemiologists, sociologists et al according to the DemFromCT, the contributor from the Next Hurrah.
Declan Butler emailed me from Paris as soon as it went up. He's the senior reporter for Nature magazine and the author of the fictional blog that first alerted me to the danger. It's still the best piece for imagining what it will be like when a pandemic breaks out.
If you can contribute do so. Otherwise, just read so you know what's happening and what's not. Here's some other links to get you up to speed.
From Trust for America’s Health, June 2005, A Killer Flu, which projects over half a million Americans could die and 2.3 million could be hospitalized if a moderately severe strain of a pandemic flu virus hits the United States.
In Foreign Affairs, July-August, 2005, The Next Pandemic, by Laurie Garrett. If the H5N1 virus becomes "capable of human-to-human transmission and retains its extraordinary potency, humanity could face a pandemic unlike any ever witnessed."
Avian Flu blog - What we need to know
It's cheap to be an entrepreneur
From the entrepreneur's channel and Boopy, It's a great time to be an entrepreneur.
His top four reasons;
1. Hardware is 100x cheaper
2. Infrastructure software is free
3. Access to Global Labor Markets
3. Search Engine Marketing changes everything
SEO marketing=blogs and Blogs are changing everything
Don't Follow Dell's example
If there ever was a good example of asymmetrical warfare, of a single blogger fighting a large company and drawing other readers and commentaters to his cause, it's Jeff Jarvis's battle with Dell Computer.
Take a look at Dell hell, neverending.
It's everything a company shouldn't do.
J.D. Lasica posts a very interesting summary of Chris Anderson's talk at Supernova.
Anderson who coined the term "long tail" is now writing a book about the phenomenon.
Chris: The Long Tail is basically about a variety bloom. We've had a variety bloom for decades in this country, centered on products. Today, there's also an explosion of information about products. So you don't just have variety but you have information about that variety.
Three forces that make for a Long Tail market: (1) the tools of production have been democratized, we've made it easier and easier to make stuff; (2) the Internet has lowered transaction costs so it's easier to buy stuff; (3) finally, there are new ways to connect consumers -- word of mouth, recommendations, search, techniques that drive demand.
"Filters are the most powerful new opportunity in the Long Tail."
We've had filters in the past, but they've been pre-filters. Now it's about post-filters.
Pre-filters include Editors, A&R guys, studio execs, buyers. In the post-filter word, it's the marketplace that decides. Post-filters include peers, recommendations, word of mouth, sites like CD Baby, collaborative filtering, mp3 blogs, viral videos.
"We look at the blogosphere as a focus group with 15 million people going on 24/7 that you can tap into without going behind a one-way mirror," says Rick Murray, executive vice president of Edelman, a Chicago public-relations firm
Marketers Scan Blogs for Brand Insights in today's Wall Street Journal.
New technology like Intelliseek's Blogpulse, free online services like Technorati and Yahoo's Buzz together with improved methodology and more expensive technologies such as "natural language processing" help marketers decode what's happening among different demographic groups.
Blog-monitoring services charge big companies $30,000-$100,000/year
As boomers grow older, we can expect more research and information on successful aging and The Wall Street Journal has already begun with its Journal Report on The Secrets of Successful Aging.
It may surprise you to learn that aging is about a body that doesn't deal well with stress anymore says Robert Sapolsky, a Stanford University neuroendrocrinologist and leading stress researcher.
How well we deal with stress is one of the most significant factors for predicting how well we age. People who deal well with stress tend to have a lot of social support.
Successful agers are not loners. People who age well tend to be close to extended family and have a strong network of friends and social relationships. Marriage in particular protects men from the perils of aging. (Among women, it doesn't seem to matter if they are married or not, as long as they have other close relationships.)
In primate studies, relationships also make a difference in the quality of old age. "One of the crappiest positions you can get late in life is to be an old baboon in a troupe where you were once a young baboon," says Dr. Sapolsky of Stanford. The reason: Baboons, particularly high-ranking ones, spend their lives terrorizing those with lower rankings. But rankings slide. Powerful baboons get old, and the young baboons they once terrorized eventually end up in a position to get revenge.
But there is one subset of male baboons that escapes the stress of old age. These are the animals that spent their middle age establishing close relationships with the females in the troupe. Late in life, these baboons get harassed just as much as any other baboon, but they stick around anyway, because they've got a network of nice, female baboons that keep them company, groom them and generally act as a buffer against what would otherwise be a miserable life.
"Connectedness in old age is enormously important," Dr. Sapolsky says.
In sum, be nice to the women in your life and blog. No better way to stay connected and grow old successfully.
Naked Conversation and Interview
Transparency is one of the things I love most about blogs. You learn about the writer, what he or she cares about, whether they correct mistakes, how they respond to feedback, those little things which are everything when it comes to building trust.
Shel Israel is one of those people I've come to trust without ever having met him, simply through his blog and emails. Since I'm going to the the Blogher conference at the end of July, I'm looking forward to meeting both him and Scobel, who will be attending and easy to spot in a room full of women.
I first came across the Red Couch, now named Naked Conversations, when he and Robert Scobel posted chapter one, Blog or Die, in their new book, now title Naked Conversations, how blogs are changing the way businesses talk to customers. The book itself is being posted chapter by chapter online for feedback in a remarkably transparent, real time experiment in publishing with each chapter only whetting my appetite for the whole thing. Feedback, conversation and promotion all at the same time. There you go, another reason for blogs.
I was pleased, honored and delighted to take part in an interview for the book when Shel contacted me. I'm even more honored and pleased that he's posted the interview even though it's not going to fit in the planned structure of the book.
You will learn a lot more about me and what I'm doing and what I think about blogs, if you read the Interview: Jill Fallon. If you get the sense that I'd rather talk about other people than myself, you're right, so that's why you should read the interview.
Party Poker very rich
All that spam - comment spam and track back spam that drives bloggers mad is making some people very rich.
Party Poker, - you certainly know the name as the leading site for online poker - I refuse to link to it - is a Gilbratar-based company that didn't exist 5 years ago.
Today they announced there going public in the London stock exchange, "planning a flotation amounting from eight to ten BILLION dollars. Link to press release on PR Web.
Can't some lawyer dream up a cause of action for all the time party poker has taken from our lives in deleting their commercial spam and start a class action on behalf of us bloggers?
Blogs as Filters
One of the things I love about blogs is the good ones, the ones I like, point me to interesting sites and information I most likely would not have found on my own. Because someone else whose intelligence and "take" I like reads a lot and points to the good stuff, I'm confident that it won't be a waste of time.
Here are a few gems I found through it - on blogging, the Internet and women.
Eight Ways to be a Good Customer. Good customers make better companies
Yahoo Serious About Employee Blogging - Posts blogging guidelines
Miami bombshells. Soon the Red Hats vs.the Bombshells.
We’ve captured the full breadth of what it means to be a woman in the 21st century, and we are exhausted. But – now we’re exhausted together!. ....Start your own bombshell circle - a gathering of overworked, under-appreciated, guilt- ridden, stressed out women ready to unleash the wild woman inside our souls.
Web-driven entrepreneurs now comprise 25% of all small businesses. Thank eBay and Google.
Women "better investors than men" We knew that here, and it's true in the UK as well. "They take a more balanced and considered view and time and again, it pays dividends."
The Talmud and the Internet
Thanks to David Boxenhorn, I found this startling metaphor - The Talmud and the Internet - that works astonishingly well. He quotes from the Industrial Standard Review and so shall I.
The Talmud is a sprawling text that addresses every aspect of Jewish life: from dietary laws to animal husbandry to what God and Moses really talked about on Mount Sinai. It began as an oral tradition and was first transcribed during the Roman era, but the rabbis continued inserting commentary through medieval times. In the process, God was transplanted from a stationary home of bricks and blood sacrifices - the Temple - to a portable, "virtual" home with a shifting architecture of words, thought and prayer - the Talmud.
The Internet has numerous parallels to the Talmud. Both are the products of countless contributors, both aspire to be perfectly encyclopedic and both express their wisdom in an ad hoc web of references to other authorities (the Hebrew word for a passage from the Talmud means "webbing"). They even use similar visual strategies to represent the simultaneity of their voices. A page of the Talmud resembles a Web page, explains Rosen, in that "nothing is whole in itself. ... Icons and text boxes are doorways through which visitors pass into an infinity of cross-referenced texts and conversations." Rabbis who lived centuries apart appear on the same page, conversing across time, commingling with Biblical excerpts, parables and bits of history.
The Talmud, like the Internet, "talk[s] about God one moment, sex the next and commerce the third."
Far from "a broken-down state of affairs," this strikes Rosen as "astonishingly human and therefore astonishingly whole." By relating absolutely every idea from all possible angles, without passing final judgment on correct or incorrect, relevant or irrelevant, the Internet and the Talmud each invest their shattered, centerless cultures with a kind of mosaic unity. The Internet, like the Talmud, becomes "not merely a mirror of the disruptions of a broken world," but something that "offers a kind of disjointed harmony." No matter how ridiculous or vulgar the parts, the whole cannot help but make sense.
From the Amazon review by Michael Joseph Gross.
The Talmud and the Internet by Jonathan Rosen is a small, wise, ingenious meditation on faith, technology, literature, and love. .. Rosen finds a real parallel to the Talmud, "a place where everything exists, if only one knows how and where to look." The literary resemblance has a cultural resonance, too. Rosen observes that "the Talmud offered a virtual home for an uprooted culture, and grew out of the Jewish need to pack civilization into words and wander out into the world." And the Internet suggests to Rosen "a similar sense of Diaspora, a feeling of being everywhere and nowhere. Where else but in the middle of Diaspora do you need a homepage?" In Rosen's analysis, the Internet and the Talmud signal and salve social and spiritual isolation -
On Borrowed Time
It was a fictional weblog that got me interested in avian flu.
Its imaginative putting me in the place where a pandemic is happening, telling me a story in other words, made me begin to grasp the seriousness and the likelihood of a global flu pandemic in the next few years.
Like most other people, I'm the victim of my own experience. Never having suffered a public pandemic, it's hard to imagine one. Never having experienced public panic or a breakdown of essential services, it's hard to imagine them. Somehow, I expect that all the wonders of our modern age from medicines to the Internet to an abundant supply of food, will continue without interruption forever into the future. I fancy myself a student of history, so you would think I'd know better.
Didn't the 9/11 Commission point to a "failure of imagination" as a principal reason that kept US officials from understanding the al Qaeda threat?
I think we are at a similar point now.
Have you heard anyone in the Centers for Disease Control talk about this? Maybe they are ashamed about their obesity fiasco. You remember that or do you? In 1999, the CDC director said obesity was epidemic in the United States, accounting for more than 300,000 deaths a year. Last year in a widely publicized study , the CDC upped obesity-related deaths to 400,000 until the figures were exploded as the whoppers they were. A embarrassing comedown for the CDC who had to admit only 25, 815 obesity deaths. Nevermind
It took a magazine, not a government agency, to alert me. And they did it with a story and a weblog.
Nature magazine is devoting its current issue to highlight progress and "incoherence in the world's response to a potential human pandemic."
From its editorial
Millions of people killed in highly developed countries within months. Tens of millions worldwide. The global economy in tatters. A Hollywood fantasy? No — it's now a plausible scenario. The first act, the spread of avian flu to, and probably between, humans, has already started across Asia. Unless the international community now moves decisively to mitigate this pandemic threat, we will in all probability pay heavily within a few years. Then, hard questions will be asked as to why we were not prepared.
Sceptics abound, convinced that talk of a pandemic must be scare-mongering, or scientists crying wolf. Surely with support care, drugs and vaccines, at least the rich world can easily stand up to a flu virus? After all, this is 2005, not 1918, when a flu pandemic killed up to 50 million people worldwide. But while the science and medicine of flu have advanced substantially, our ability to mount an effective public-health response has made remarkably little progress over the decades, and the potential for panic is, if anything, greater given the impact of television and the Internet.
The time for diplomacy and denial is over. It is time for advocacy and action.
The avian viruses in Asia are evolving: they've jumped the species barrier to infect pigs in Indonesia and human-to-human transmission may well have occurred. According to World Health Organization earlier this month, the H5N1 viruses "are continuing to evolve and present a continuing and potentially growing pandemic threat."
I'm in no way qualified to assess this threat, so I went to Effect Measure whose editors are senior public health scientists and practitioners who write anonymously and link to all the blogs writing on avian flu. They call the conclusion of the WHO report "chilling"
Evolution of a pandemic strain of virus may be preceded by numerous small steps, none of which is sufficient to signal clearly that a pandemic is about to start. This poses a difficult public health dilemma. If public health authorities move too soon, then unnecessary and costly actions may be taken. However, if action is delayed until there is unmistakable evidence that the virus has become sufficiently transmissible among people to allow a pandemic to develop, then it most likely will be too late to implement effective . . . responses."
WHO is openly admitting that everyone is unprepared.
"We are working on pandemic preparedness on borrowed time," the WHO's top influenza official, Klaus Stohr, told the meeting, reiterating that conservative estimates indicated that up to 7.4 million people might die.
"The objective of pandemic preparedness can only be damage control. There will be death and destruction."
"National pandemic response plans are the key," he said.
If millions of lives could be lost, if state and local governments don't know what to do, why in God's name has the CDC been more concerned about obesity and even getting that wrong. Not until this week did the CDC Director Julie Gerberding say
Even a "medium level pandemic" in the United States could result in 89,000-207,000 deaths and up to 734,000 people people being hospitalised...... According to Gerberding, between 15 percent and 35 percent of the US population would be affected by a flu pandemic and the cost to the US economy would be between 71 billion and 166 billion dollars.
The US has only a draft pandemic response plan, and has ordered only 2.3 million doses of Tamiflu, the only antiviral medication that seems to work.
It's Decisive Inaction.
The US pandemic influenza plan, in the works for five years and in only in draft form since last August will be completed in final form "by the end of the summer."
Marcia Cross, the [the Government Accountability Office's] director for health care, told lawmakers that federal officials have yet to determine what role the federal government will take in purchasing supplies of vaccine against bird flu and other flu strains. The government has also not cemented which population groups would be priorities for emergency vaccination in the event of an outbreak or finalized plans for possible quarantines or travel restrictions.
The delay has left state health departments unable to properly plan for flu emergencies, she says. (Via WebMD).
If there is a pandemic, it will be everywhere.
The scene of the disaster will be everywhere.
Everywhere is local. All the battles will be fought on the local level.
So, if the government is not prepared, what can ordinary people and businesses do to prepare? What will happen when 25% of the workforce gets sick
Effect Measure has begun a Pandemic "To-Do" list which I hope they make it a public wiki.
1. Rationing. Who gets what first? Who gets what at all? Who secures scarce supplies?
2. Care-giving. There are simply not enough hospital beds. There are not enough nurses. There are not enough caskets.
Time NOW to offer minimal nursing training for volunteers and a way to keep track of them. One commenter said many died needlessly in 1918-1920 from lack of hydration and nourishment.
3. Emergency equipment
and I'll add
4. Emergency plans to carry on essential services like water, electricity, fuel, banking and food supply. It's time for businesses to review their emergency contingency plans as well as their business continuity plans NOW. Time NOW to establish policies for people working at home and the means for them to do so. Time NOW to introduce Wikis to capture the knowledge necessary to keep businesses going. Time NOW to prepare crisis management blogs. Time NOW for people to assess their own personal and family preparedness.
If you need more to break out of your complacency, read Canada Sue's imaginings of what would happen in her hometown of 100,000.
World wide blog count
Now over 60 million according to Duncan Riley at The Blog Herald.
Fortune has a wonderful article, The Amazing Rise of the Do-It-Yourself Economy. Call them citizen engineers.
a number of factors are coming together to empower amateurs in a way never before possible, blurring the lines between those who make and those who take. .....they’re simply finding a way—in this mass-produced, Wal-Mart world—to take power back, prove that they can make the products that they want to consume, have fun doing so, and, just maybe, make a few dollars.
Bloggers, those do-it-yourself journalists, showed big media that the barriers to entry (like owning a printing press, say) didn’t much matter. Podcasters took radio into their own hands, creating audio shows and putting them online. Amateur music producers, using software that was once the province only of major labels, invented mash-ups: combining songs into totally new ones, then giving them away or selling them. And with the advent of services like Google AdSense, which let people easily put advertising on their sites, these tinkerers could—while not vaulting themselves into Bill Gates territory—at least break even.
Blogs are serving as an R&D center & focus group as well as identifying potential customers.
A Hard Lesson
Ingersoll-Rand learned a hard lesson when it failed to respond to a digital assault by a blogger. It cost them $10 million. Now they have a person monitoring blogs.
How long before other companies realize that monitoring blogs is essential for a company's health?
They might want to read how bloggers can lay waste to a product by Joshua Jaffee in today's C/NET
Today, most corporations still do little, if anything, with blogs, wikis and social networks, but that will change quickly over the next few years as more companies integrate these technologies into their daily routines. And if early signs are any indication, the evolution will lead to blogs replacing blast e-mails, wikis strengthening collaboration software and social networks taking conversations around the water cooler to a meta-level never envisioned by the most enthusiastic evangelist of the Internet boom.
So why is Monster.com blogging? It isn't as if they needed to attract visitors. It's about bringing greater value to their customers with personal stories. Monster's blog does it right.
The interview at Diva Marketing tells all.
It's the Blogs, Stupid
"Blogging is forcing firms like ours to shut up and listen." says Mike Manuel in the latest interview posted over Naked Conversations, formerly the Red Couch. If you don't listen, you WILL LOSE.
Like it or not, we are living in the next generation of marketing characterized by networks, connectivity, decentralization, easily available content and knowledge management tools, swarm attacks, memes and guerillas. Companies would do well to learn from the lessons of the Pentagon.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, the Pentagon began to adjust its thinking and infrastructure. A decade of terrorist attacks culminating in the unbelievable horror of watching the World Trade Center's two towers collapse before our eyes, exposed our vulnerability to small cells of fanatical Islamofascists or other terrorists using easily available weapons. The lesson the Pentagon learned at a terrible cost was expensive, high tech surveillance can not beat "humint" - human intelligence from people on the ground and in the secret cells.
The power of a networked meme shared by ordinary people changed governments in the past year. In Georgia, the students said "Kmara" -Enough and the Rose Revolution began and resulted in honest elections in March. In the Ukraine, it was "Pora" - It's Time and the Orange Revolution began with free elections last December. In Lebanon, the Cedar Revolution with its "Independence 05" banners mostly ended Syria's occupation. Free elections in Iraq and Afghanistan were unthinkable a few years ago. Everywhere people are speaking freely, many for the first time. Free Iraqi blogs with a banner, "I was not living before the 9th of April and now I am, so let me speak". What we thought was not what people in their heart of hearts hoped for and wanted. The Arab Street is quite different from anything we had been led to believe and is now a vanquished cliche
Enough networked people speaking their minds and the result is whole countries have changed and are becoming real democracies. It's called freedom. And it's happening here too. In the US, we have a political and economic democracy, but until recently, the mass media was a dictatorship of culture. Oh, there was competition but it was ABC vs. NBC, Universal vs. MGM, the New York Times vs the Washington Post, Time vs Newsweek, Coke vs Pepsi. Today, an attack can come from anywhere, by a single nobody on a blog, connecting to other nobodies with more information and expertise, creating together a body of facts that can topple a network news anchor like Dan Rather or a cable news producer like Eason Jordan.
Today, John Podhoretz writes about the democratization of the media causing a mass-media melt-down, Hollywood, newspapers, television, talk radio and the music industry are all suffering rapidly declining audiences. The market now speaks in a million different voices to say in countless ways they don't like what they are getting.
Or as Hugh McLeod in the Gaping Void writes, the external conversations of the market are talking back to companies that used to talk only to themselves in self-referential internal conversations. This is not bad news for companies, this is GOOD and IMPORTANT news.
Just as the Pentagon had to discard its MAD theory of Mutually Assured Destruction, companies are having to discard their MAD theory of Mass Audience Demographics. There are hundreds of thousands of niches to be listened to and served and it can be done with a healthy profit.
How can a company possibly keep track of and listen to thousands of niches?
To rework a cliche that won a Presidency - IT'S THE BLOGS, STUPID.
If you use Technorati to follow blogs, employ search feeds and allow corporate blogging, you've got your human intelligence. When you comment on other blogs, you're playing court to and building relationships with other bloggers, each of whom is the tribal chieftan of its own audience. You also have the tools to deal with blog swarms or a corporate attack. While you have to get used to a lack of control, you get a much better grip on reality and what's happening on the ground.
There has been an astonishing collapse of trust by Americans in traditional sources of authority. People are placing more trust in people like themselves according to Dick Edelman and are creating their own Personal Web of Trust. The only way to get into anyone's personal web of trust is to listen, to be real and honest, sometimes fallable, and always learning. Most importantly, it's being on their side, not just your side. It's being their advocates, putting their interests above yours. It's doing well by doing good.
So get out in the countryside, listen and serve to win over the hearts and minds of the people. They are not just wallets. They want to be known and dealt with as the complex people they are, not just as consumers who buy products. The reward is much bigger. When you align with your customers, understanding where they are and what they need, and then giving them solutions to problems they have, making their lives easier, you've created customer evangelists who will do your marketing for you, just by word of mouth.
This new generation of networked marketing is collaborative, It's Blog or Die.
Great Hidden Tech Boom
Are blogs the Great hidden tech boom?
Michael Malone, once called "the Boswell of Silicon Valley" and most recently editor at large of Forbes ASAP thinks so.
Blogs are the demand side supplying itself
Here are some takeaways from Doc Searls closing keynote at Les Blogs in April in Paris.
Authority is earned, and granted. It is not delivered. The blogosphere is a vast and growing meritocracy. Not just a democracy, though it may be that too.
Blogs are the demand side supplying itself. No big brand company invented blogging, Just as none invented Wikipedia. Or Flickr, or Six Apart. Or the Net. Or the Web.
Blogs don’t have to be sticky. Leaving is more important than staying. What’s sticky are ideas not bounded by any blog, any domain, any owner.
Blogging is about rolling snowballs downhill, not pushing rocks uphill
Bloggers on Corporate Management
For those of you who are new to blogging and don't know, the "godfather" of the blogosphere is Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee who writes the influential Instapundit blog as well as a weekly feature called "Reynolds' Wrap" at Tech Central Station. This week it's called The Unbearable Rightness of Nick Denton.
Even as a columnist, he writes like a blogger, liberally quoting what Nick Denton wrote two years ago.
... Modern communications, and the growth of weblogs and web bulletin boards in particular, have also given power to bitter employees.... Asymmetric warfare has come to the workplace: managers may sometimes have the power to hire and fire, but the peasants have the internet now.
Then relating it to an earlier story in the New York Times about how the U.S. government is having fits over the employee bloggers at the Los Alamos National Lab and from which he quotes.
A blog rebellion among scientists and engineers at Los Alamos, the federal government's premier nuclear weapons laboratory, is threatening to end the tenure of its director, G. Peter Nanos.
Four months of jeers, denunciations and defenses of Dr. Nanos's management recently culminated in dozens of signed and anonymous messages concluding that his days were numbered. The postings to a public Web log conveyed a mood of self-congratulation tempered with sober discussion of what comes next.
And tying it together with his own thoughts.
Things will be different, and already are. Even in the military, email and chatrooms are flattening hierarchies and changing power dynamics....-- employees don't necessarily resent managers who run a taut ship, so long as they feel that merit is being rewarded over sucking up....
The smarter managers will read blogs, looking for real problems that need to be fixed, and they'll respond (perhaps on their own blogs?) to the critics; the smartest ones will even realize that employees know the difference between the chronic bellyachers and the people who have serious complaints, and will respond accordingly.
How many managers are this smart? I guess, thanks to the Internet, we'll find out.
Managers not only have to worry about what their customers are saying about their products and services, they have to worry about what their employees will say about them. Out Loud and on the Internet. The transparency of the Internet now reaches behind the firewalls.
UPDATE: Better managers make for better companies and happier employees.
In a study by Sirota Consulting, the firm examined the stock prices of 28 companies that had tracked their employee morale during the past four years. The results: The 14 companies with "high morale" saw their stocks increase more than 5 times those of the half-dozen companies with "low morale" (16% vs 3%).
Via Kevin Salwen at the Worthwhile Blog
Online advertising set to explode
From Frank Barnako's Internet Daily, a summary of Forrester's latest survey.
A survey of 99 leading marketers finds almost half of them plan to cut their ad spending on traditional media and spend more on online advertising. Total U.S. e-marketing spending will reach $14.7 billion this year, a 23% increase from last year, according to Forrester Research (FORR). Principal analyst Charlene Li added that almost two out of three advertisers want to spend money on blogs. New advertising channels will draw "interest and spending from marketers," with 64 percent of the surveyed advertisers saying they are interested in spending on Web logs, and 57 percent through RSS, she said in a statement. This is a very bullish time for online advertising overall, she added. "Online consumers spend more than one-third of their time online, roughly the amount of time they spend watching TV. Yet marketers spend only 4% of ad budgets online versus 25% on TV."
Charlotte Li even has her own blog at Forrester
More Lawyers Blogging
Some interesting new legal blogs by lawyers and law firms. It amazes that more lawyers aren't taking advantage of this essentially free marketing.
Mediation blog - alternative dispute resolution by Diane Levin
New Hampshire Law Blog by Burke & Eisner
BenefitsBlog - tax, benefits and ERISA by B. Janell Grenier
Arbitrary and Capricious - criminal law by Skelly Wright
Blond Justice - an anonymous, young, female criminal defense attorney in a big city
DUI Blog - drunk driving laws by Lawrence Taylor
Corporate and Technology Law by Stephen Meltzer in Concord, MA
Antitrust Law Blog by Robert Doyle from Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP
Commercial Law, From Bricks to Clicks by Jay Hollander in New York City
Deal Attorney - Contracts, M&A by Anthony Cerminaro in Pittsburgh, PA
Financial Institution Law Blog by Sheppard Mullin
Brain Injury Blog by Michael Kaplan, of De Caro & Kaplen New York City
Electronic Discovery Blog from Preston, Gates and Ellis LLP
How Appealing appellate litigation by Howard Bashman, Pennsylvania
Insurance Defense Blog by Dave Stratton in Washington, D.C.
Safety Lex -torts, rights and accountability by John Philo in Detroit, MI
Illinois Trial Practice
Notes from the (Legal) Underground
Illinois Personal Injury Blog all three by Evan Schaeffer at Schaeffer & Lamere in Illinois
Environmental Legal Blog - developments in environmental law by Stephen Holzer from Parker,Milliken et al in LA
Death and Taxes - estate planning, administration and real estate by Joel Schoenmeyer in Chicago.
Many at Blawg which THE source for law and legal related weblogs
Expect increase in online ads
Is the Internet about to come into its own as a valuable marketing medium? Highlights from the Economist's Online Ad Attack from the Blog Business Summit, Blogs, traditional sites taking eyeballs (and ad revenues) away from television.
Advertising Age says the combined advertising revenues of Google and Yahoo! will rival the combined prime-time ad revenues of ABC, CBS and NBC, and the internet has become the fastest growing advertising medium. ZenithOptimedia says ad revenue on the internet grew by 21% in 2004 and that we can expect that type of growth to continue. As we mentioned in a prior post, they describe how Google advertisers will now be able to select the specific sites where they want their ads to appear, and advertisers can now pay for ads by impression. Google will now also offer animated ads. Yahoo’s Terry Semel says the opportunity for growth is significant. Many firms allocate only 2-4% of their marketing budgets to the internet while it represents about 15% of consumers’ media consumption.
Boing Boing, one of my favorite sites, is already making $40,000/month in ad revenue according to BusinessWeek's new blogspotting blog
Defense Industry blog
Blogs are replacing trade journals. It's easy to see why more updates, more news, more resources and less cost appeals to trade associations.
Take a look at Defense Industry Daily. 60,000 page views a month with no promotion.
Procurement officers from all military branches and top defense industry players are already reading it, he notes, including "all the big guys like Boeing, Raytheon, etc." A project manager for a multi-billion company "actually emailed me about the details of a story. I was amazed he was reading it."
Industry bigs are finding the Defense Industry Daily posts in search engines because "we're writing about a topic that people are spending hundreds of billions on and yet nobody is writing anything about it online. So we are often top 10 in Goggle because there is a vacuum in free public information on the industry."
And who had the scoop? A female blogger. BL Ochman
BusinessWeek: Blogs Are a Business Prerequisite
Businessweek's cover story this week is Blogs Will change your Business. Their advice: Catch up...or catch you later. And it's written like a blog, and they've started their own blog, blogspotting to follow up.
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. (And yes, that goes for us, too.)
Still, blogs could end up providing the perfect response to mass media's core concern: the splintering of its audience. Advertisers desperate to reach us need to tap niches (because we get together only once a year to watch the Super Bowl). By piggybacking on blogs, they can start working that vast blogocafé, table by table. Smart ones will get feedback, links to individuals -- and their friends. That's every marketer's dream.
Yes, we, too, are under the gun. MSM, the bloggers call us. Mainstream media. And many of them delight in uncovering our errors, knocking us off that big pedestal we've occupied since the the first broadsheets started circulating.
We have to master the world of blogs, too. This isn't because they're taking away ad revenue, at least not yet, but because they represent millions of eyewitnesses armed with computers spread around the world. They are potential competitors -- or editorial resources.
Over the Wall
From Dick Edelman in Over the Wall
Buzzmetrics' review of mentions of the 20 top global brands indicates that corporate generated content is responsible for only 12-14% of search results, while consumer generated content is 26%. The consensus is that a company's goal should not be CONTROL, it should be AWARENESS of what's being said and fast RESPONSE.
some of my advice for PR people trying to adapt to a fast-changing environment. We have to be operating in parallel universes, continuing to do a great job with traditional media, while engaging with new media. We should help our clients create original content, and advise them to engender conversations on-line but be honest about our inability to control outcomes. We must be on top of the breaking news in companies, because news is being filled by the person who has the newest information. The coverage of tsunami initially came from survivors with cell phones or mini-cams, and delivered across the Web. Our tone in new media must reflect the different expectations of the audience, which is to demand authenticity, individuality and transparency.
The Power of Personal Testimony
So how are non-profits using blogs to support their marketing goals?
Toby Bloomberg at Diva Marketing has another great interview up with Lisa Meyers Brown, the VP of Marketing, American Cancer Society.
Key takeaway: blogs are examples of how social networks can develop online and facilitate grass roots mobilization.
One key way we can continue to elevate awareness is through the personal experiences of those touched by cancer. We all know there's tremendous power in stories like this and blogs help us tap into this important part of raising awareness.
We are a community-based organization so blogs offer us another touch-point to raise awareness of early detection and prevention. (See their first use of a blog - the colon cancer awareness blog - Fabulous at 50, ) I should point out that this was our first time using blogs this way and that we learned a great deal. Primarily the importance of having volunteers update the blogs regularly and the importance of linking into the blogosphere.
Bill Ives on Blog Excitement
Following the Jarvis post, I want to point to Bill Ives, who continues to write superior posts on the trends in blogs with a reach that extends to RSS and knowledge management. It's always a pleasure to read this experienced, thoughtful and erudite writer. His week end restaurant and music reviews aren't bad either. He thinks and he links.
Using content to create connections among people - Sales support people are using them to great success both internally for product issues and competitive intelligence and externally for customer support.
Adding syndicated content to your blog - New features all the time at the speed of light.
A great disclaimer and blog policy statement An excerpt - "Don't come crying to me if you lose your job following my advice."
What's unique about blogs -bullet points.
And best of all - his seven part series on Why all the Excitement about Blogs in Business.
Part One - Offering a partial antidote to ever exploding content. Blogs bring a filter, they aggregate content and bring context and personal meaning. A simple means to provide users with new levels of control.
Part Two -Reducing the Clogging of the Communication Channels. Bypassing email, spam, and groups to offer news and updates the reader chooses in a form that's easily archived and searchable.
Part Three - Providing the Needed Outlet for the Personal Voice. Empowering individual employees through blogs has already been proven to motivate employees and enhance the quality of the content generated.
Part Four - Aligning with the Rise of Distributed Markets. By turning over a measure of control to customers, businesses build trust and commitment with their buyers, eBay a prime example. Blogs provide an easy access point to the on-line marketplace of ideas and influence both inside and outside the corporate firewall
Part Five - Better Enabling the Decentralization of Business. Bypassing managers and allowing employees and teams to communicate with each other directly and at the same time serving as a valuable resource for future teams facing the same issues.
Part Six - Meeting the Desire for More Individual Connections. There's a pent-up demand for a personal connection. Consumers would rather listen to the informal and unedited thoughts of an individual than the collective wisdom of the marketing department
Part Seven - Driving Better Understanding Through Dialog. Nothing beats face to face communication for effective dialog, but blogs, with their conversational tone and the ability to exchange comments is second. It's marketing through conversations.
Aggregation is the new "scale"
A Baker's Dozen of how the mainstream media can benefit from weblogs by Jeff Jarvis, a man who straddles both worlds. Read the whole thing.
1. Weblogs are meant to be read.
2. Weblogs add information.
3. Weblogs bring perspective. .
4. Weblogs target by reaching and serving specific audiences.
5. Weblogs capture buzz.
6. Weblogs produce story ideas.
7. Weblogs find (and filter) news.
8. Weblogs fact check our ass.
9. Weblogs add speed.
10. Weblogs breed talent.
11. Weblogs experiment.
12. Weblogs are cheap.
13. Weblogs interact.
He wrote this back in 2003.
Today he's writing how Scale doesn't scale anymore. In a decentralized, distributed world, aggregation is key. He then follows through to examine aggregation in advertising, retail, customer service, consumer products, insurance, financial services, education, labor and politics. If you want to see where the future is going, no one is better than Jarvis.
That's why blogs are changing everything.
Blogs in Real Estate
Paul Chaney writes about using blogs in verticals.
Just look at their example of BlogzManor Apartments to see how useful it could be for apartment buildings and condo associations.
Microsoft's voice in Siberia
Experts at Wharton say Blogging will be around for a long time. For those of you who want to read more than my excerpts below, you'll find it at Weblogs are here to stay, but where are they headed?
Wharton legal studies professor Dan Hunter puts blogging right up there with the printing press when it comes to sharing ideas and disseminating information. "This is not a fad," says Hunter. "It's the rise of amateur content, which is replacing the centralized, controlled content done by professionals."
"At its most basic level, it's a technology that is lowering the cost of publishing" and turning out to be "the next extension of the web," says Wharton legal studies professor Kevin Werbach. "Blogging is still in its early days. It's analogous to where the web was in 1995 and 1996. It's not clear how it will turn out."
What is clear is that opportunities for blogging abound. Companies can use bloggers to put a more human face on interactions with employees and customers; marketers can create buzz through blogs; and bloggers can act as fact checkers for the mainstream media. There are dozens of applications for blogs, Werbach notes, and many that haven't even been conceived yet.
"Blogging is really driven by interest and desires, not commercial activity," says Wharton marketing professor Peter Fader. "It's rare to see something take off like this when commercial prospects are so minimal. People just want to share ideas."
One of the big pitfalls that corporations may encounter is not understanding the culture of blogging and produce content that's so carefully vetted that no human voice can be discerned. Microsoft didn't make that mistake.
Robert Scoble, a Microsoft employee who operates Scobleizer, a blog about Microsoft products and developments, maintains one of the more interesting blogs around. Scoble, whose official title is "technical evangelist," sounds like many employees at large companies. He has his share of gripes, but will also defend his employer. The key is that he is balanced, says Brown. "This Microsoft employee has to maintain credibility by remaining transparent. By being negative once in a while, it's more credible when he's positive."
Scoble is so credible as a Microsoft blogger that he is viewed as the voice of the company across the globe. When Ted Demopoulos, principal of Demopoulos Associates, an information technology consulting company, was traveling in Russia recently, he stopped in Surgut, Siberia, where he was surprised to find Scoble fans. "I'm out in the middle of nowhere and they ask me about Scoble," says Demopoulos. "To them, Scoble is the voice of Microsoft."
Scoble represents the power of a blogger who is trusted by his readers to be candid and say what he really thinks. Even as they are downloading their thousandth patch for Microsoft's Explorer, people have a personal relationship with the Company because of Scoble. Microsoft couldn't buy that.
Abundance of the Long Tail
Excerpt from Millions of Markets of Dozens by Joe Kraus, co-founder of Excite.
57% of Amazon’s sales come from books you can’t even buy at a Barnes and Noble (to be fair, there is some skepticism around this number voiced here). This runs totally counter to the traditional 80/20 rule in retailing – that 80% of your sales come from 20% of your inventory. In Amazon’s case, 57% of their book revenue comes from 0% of Barnes and Nobles inventory.
The most interesting, transformative businesses that have been built over the last decade and that will be built over the next one are going to operate in and make money from the long tail. Google, eBay, Amazon, Rhapsody, Netflix, iTunes. What do they all have in common? They all work the long tail and they’re all radically changing the dynamics of their more traditional businesses.
JotSpot is a company that is building a platform to make it easy and affordable to build long-tail software applications.
If you don't know what the Long Tail is read the seminal piece by Chris Anderson in Wired who explains how this totally new, counter-intuitive business model works in the age of digital abundance.
Here are Chris's three rules for the Long Tail
1. Make everything available.
2. Cut the price in half. Now lower it.
3. Help me find it.
The ability of millions of markets of dozens is why truly customer-centered companies will win.
Don't Get in Their Way
There's a lot we can learn about leadership from the military. James Cartwright, General of the USMC, Commander, USStratcom has a Command and Control blog (not accessible) and he wants the right answer from whoever has it. From The Daily Brief by Sgt Stryker- A lesson on how blogs can be used in business.
The metric is what the person has to contribute, not the person’s rank, age, or level of experience. If they have the answer, I want the answer. When I post a question on my blog, I expect the person with the answer to post back. I do not expect the person with the answer to run it through you, your OIC, the branch chief, the exec, the Division Chief and then get the garbled answer back before he or she posts it for me. The Napoleonic Code and Netcentric Collaboration cannot exist in the same space and time. It’s YOUR job to make sure I get my answers and then if they get it wrong or they could have got it righter, then you guide them toward a better way…but do not get in their way.via Jeff Jarvis at his Buzzmachine. Joe Katzman has more about Stratcom's 4-Star Blogger and its implications
Seeing What's Next
Prediction by Scott Anthony, co-author of "Seeing What's Next" (Harvard Business School Press) and partner in Innosight.
...20 years from now, there will be an entirely new industry based on blogs. Just a few years ago, he noted, when eBay was launched, it was selling novelty items, such as Pez candy dispensers. Today, it is a major retail force that even sells automobiles.
HT Roger Simon
Here Come Podcasts
Some of you are just learning about blogs and RSS feeds, so you may not know about podcasting.
Podcasting refers to the technology used to pull digital audio files from websites down to computers and portable devices like the Apple iPod hence the name.
Everything you need to know to get up to speed on what podcasting is all about can be found at Move Over Blogs: Here Come Podcasts. by Stephan Spencer.
Blogs Next Tipping Point?
Frank Baranko over at CBS Marketwatch says 8 million bloggers can't be wrong.
Some selected quotes from his article and the interview with Chuck Richard, vice president and lead analyst for Outsell, a California-based technology market research firm.
[T]hey have "a horrible name and are virtually unknown, but they are going to be big."
Behind the sizzle stirs the essential ingredients of the next tipping point in the information industry.
"Clearly, there is a huge element of vanity press, but that's not important. What is important is the business-to-business applications,"
Richard urges companies to "quickly embrace" the opportunity to engage customer's interests and attention. "The long-term odds are heavy to the upside," he wrote. "You're betting with house money and (companies ) can only lose by not playing."
"The result is a living, always-on example of the potential wisdom of crowds,"
Blogs offer "full transparency and instant dialogue on authenticity and accuracy."
Blogs already are being mined for early intelligence warnings. At least four firms track the online conversations as market research for clients: Intelliseek BlogPulse, Techdirt, Factiva Insight, and Bacon's Information. Paid subscription Web logs are not far away.
A good start
Do lawyers have a moral obligation to blog? Some people think so. One is Kevin O' Keefe
"[B]y blogging they can make a difference in other's lives and improve the image of lawyers and get some work at the same time."
As the joke says, It would be a good start.
Revolution of the Ants
If you've been sitting on the fence wondering if blogs were nothing but hoo-ha, the Daily Deal says social media, like blogging software and services, social networking and affinity group software are NOT the next bubble.
Says Andrew Anker, venture capitalist and vice president of business development at Six Apart, the company that owns Moveable Type and Typepad, "The more time I spent on this, the more I realized that blogging is something more important than people think it is."
"We view blogging as a logical next form of communication," says David Hornik, a partner at August Capital. "Just as e-mail and instant messaging have had significant interest, I believe blogging will have similar scope and that it will be adopted widely."
"I call this the revolution of the ants," says Mark Pincus, a serial entrepreneur who is co-founder and CEO of Tribe Networks Inc., a social networking company in San Francisco. "There are all these disenfranchised people out there who now have power and a voice."
UPDATE: I was distracted and forgot to credit Steve Rubel at Micropersuasion
Do Women Read Blogs
A lot has been made about the Blogads survey that showed 75% of the people reading blogs, albeit in a small, selected subset were men and the survey itself was not a scientific sample. The survey was not a scientific one.
- women aged 25-54 have much more on their minds today than five years ago and little time to hear commercial messages
- they are more stressed than men, or any other group
- they are more likely to feel distracted and "pulled" in different directions
- 74% spend more time thinking about others' needs, than their own
- 59% rarely or never read a newspaper; 56% said the same for magazines
It seems as if they trust their family and friends (26%) just about as much as they trust experts (27%)
“What the survey makes very clear is that women ages 25 to 54 are ‘multi-minding’ today – they’re constantly physically and mentally juggling those multiple facets of their complex lives,” maintains Kelley Skoloda, Director of Ketchum’s Global Brand Marketing Practice.
Yet they shop online more than men (52%) and while they don't buy as many big ticket items, look to see the volume and variety of what they buy online to increase as they look to save time using the Internet as their vehicle of choice.
Sounds like a natural way to market to these women is through blogs that connect women to each other, that connect family and friends in a personal web of trust, that encourage conversations and aren't focused on just selling but sharing and support.
These are just some of the blogs written by women that I read on a regular basis.
Dooce.and Halley's Comment and Testosterhome and Seedlings & Sprouts and My Mom's Blog, The Dawn Patrol and The Open Book and Time Goes By and The Anchoress and La Shawn Barber and Sandee and The Sheila Variations
Some are married, some parents, others single; some religious, others not, one fighting cancer, one the oldest blogger on the Internet, others young, some political, others not. What they have in common is a distinctive voice that brings me back wanting to read more, wanting to find out what they are thinking about, wanting to learn what happened next. We learn from the experiences of our friends and increasingly from the experiences of other bloggers we likely have never met.
My personal expert in marketing to women online and she should be yours is Yvonne DiVita at Lipsticking. Listen in while she interviews Toby Bloomberg of Diva Marketing and they talk about women reading blogs (many more than you think), and some great tips for businesses to attract more women and not just through blogs.
Bigger than the New York Times
Collectively, more people read blogs hosted on Blogspot than the New York Times, more people read blogs hosted on Xanga than the New York Times. Rick Bruner over at Business Blog Consulting ferreted out this information and also points to revealing charts like the one below. Add to Blogspot, Xanga and Six Apart who created Moveable Type and Typepad and you can begin to sense how big the blogosphere is.
In one glance you can see the spiral down of the mainstream media and the spiral up of the blogosphere. To stay on top of Corporate Blogs, the NewPR/Wiki offers a list that is continually updated.
Barry Diller is going to buy Ask Jeeves including its newest acquisition Bloglines for $1.85 billion.
Barry Diller's company, IAC/Interactive Corp, also owns City Search, Ticketmaster and Match.com.
Yahoo is buying Flickr which you wouldn't know about if you weren't reading blogs
Hat tips to Steve Rubel at Micro Persuasion who stays on top of what's happening and tells us in few words than most
Men, good hunters and scouts, were the first to adopt computers and venture onto the World Wide Web. They still dominate the blogosphere when it comes to politics and technology as the Blog Ads survey revealed. Just as it took a few years for women to overtake men in terms of using the Internet, it will likely take a few years until the prominent bloggers are just as likely to be women as men. And then who knows what it will look like. Here's one peek into the future. Return of the She-Blogger
HT American Digest When Women Rule the Blogs.
Did Gallup Miss the Point?
Andy Haven over at Legal Marketing says Gallup misses the point.
The fact that ONLY 4.4 million people a day, and ONLY 22 million people a month are getting news and information from blogs -- a nascent medium effectively run by individuals with (generally) no media training, no editorial support staff, no marketing budget and no corporate sponsorships -- is startling. But not because it's a low number.
Gallup can jump on the bandwagon of everybody else that doesn't get it. Blogs aren't about one small group of people talking AT everyone else, they are about many, many groups of people talking WITH each other. By that standard, they have already eclipsed many other communications media in terms of effectiveness and breadth of impact.
Many lawyers are shy and cringe at the idea of selling or marketing. John Jantsch says
[G]et over it, but blogs are an absolutely perfect tool for the selling shy. The very nature of blogging is educational. For this reason a blog is just a natural fit for anyone providing professional services. Blogs allow you to build a library of educational styled tips, tactics resources and expertise that, over time, can effectively introduce your services to a target market in the most professional manner.
With blogs, those lawyers can do what they do best, read and write - and market their expertise at the same time.
Co-creating with consumers
Sometimes reading blogs is like listening to two very smart people talk. More from Dick Edelman
I had an opportunity to visit on the phone with Chris Charron of Forrester Research. We were discussing the opportunity for public relations in a world of blogs, fragmentation of the media business and lack of trust in institutions. He put forward the concept of Social Computing, in which consumers take signals from their peers. Trust is established by dialogue, intelligent up-selling and respect for consumers' personal information. He posits that in a world where consumers can switch easily among brands, the key source of competitive advantage is ease of experience, not simply features or price points. He suggests further that every consumer touch point, from relevant customer service to relevant and intelligent marketing is critical to successful positioning.
I asked him specifically about my notion of consumers co-creating brands with their corporate owners, with input to product development and shared responsibility for success. He thought this was absolutely right. Companies need to get over their fear of lack of control, to tap into the consumer passion and thereby drive the marketing process. The early advisory to the connectors, the brand loyalists who can drive the brand forward, will allow them to spread the word in a credible fashion. This is especially useful in a crisis scenario, where traditional third parties such as academics and doctors, can be supplemented by average people who use the product. Note the power of the testimony of VIOXX users at last week's FDA hearings on the safety of arthritis medications (I want my VIOXX back, was the common refrain).
Personal Web of Trust
As a result on the Internet, the 'Average Person Like Me' now ranks as high as academics and physicians as a trusted source of information about a company. This was the finding of the Edelman Trust Barometer 2005 - an annual study of 1500 opinion leaders in eight countries.
Kevin quotes Dick Edelman, president of the only independent PR firm.
Nearly 60% of Americans and a comparable percentage of Brazilians, Brits, Canadians, Chinese, French, Germans and Japanese look to their peers for knowledge and advice, up from 20% only two years ago. What's going on here? Part of this trend must be attributed to lack of trust in traditional figures of authority and institutions, such as business, government and the media. Some of this trust void is being filled by alternative institutions such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs). But it is also manifested in a greater reliance on those close to you, who form a personal web of trust that supplements what you read, see or hear in the media, or through official company channels and in advertising.
The Internet has made it easy to reach out to your friends, family and colleagues at work. But it has also allows those with similar interests anywhere in the world to link up in chat rooms. This type of horizontal communication with like minded souls is powerful.
This study on trust has implications far beyond lawyers. Companies who sponsor online communities of people in like circumstances, like people at different stages of their lives, will stand to garner considerable benefits. Not only will they learn what people are concerned about, what their issues and problems are, they will be able to co-create with their customers and clients better products and services.
Richard Edelman concludes:
Business should embrace the "paradox of transparency" (term coined by Shell public affairs executives). Rather than hold back knowledge of a product's benefits and risks, be open with your stakeholders, engage them in conversation and allow them to contribute to the solution. Sure, there is risk of competitive response but is that worse than the consumer outcry that can undermine the eventual acceptance of a product concept? The days of buying consumer approval simply through mass advertising are over. Today the runway for successful brand take off is effective public relations, which provides the strong base of credibility on which advertising can build. The average person like me is demanding a seat at the table, the true democratization of the purchasing process. Smart companies will recognize that ceding control is a central aspect in earning trust.
So newspapers are looking for ways to end the Free Ride Online reports Katharine Seelye in the New York Times. At the same time their online ads are bring them record revenues, a 45% increase in 2004 over 2003.
Seems to me that putting all their archives behind a pay wall further diminishes their influence at the same time it increases the long tail for the blogs who quote liberally from daily newspapers.
Why not charge for the fresh stuff and give away the stale stuff asks Doc Searls. Great and good reporters for newspapers are not being given the credit they deserve when you can no longer find their articles on Google. Doc Searls again on Suitwatch
On the whole, blogs are highly compliant with the ethics of the periodicals section, the ethics of the stacks, the ethics of sourcing and archiving, the ethics of giving credit where due.
The bottom line: In the age of the Web, the practice of charging for access to digital archives is a colossal anachronism. It's time for the New York Times and the other papers to step forward, join the real world and correct the problem. Expose the archives. Give them permanent URLs. Let in the bots. Let their writers and their reputations accept the credit they are constantly given and truly deserve. In other words, stop the printwash.
Blogad survey and Gallup poll
Blogging as a medium is still in its infancy. So just who reads blogs. Henry Copeland who runs blogads conducted his second survey by mailing notices to the top 100 bloggers who spread the word.
Those who responded are self-selected and more political than most Americans. Democrats comprised 39.3% of those who responded; Republicans were 27.3% and Independents were 27.3%.
What Copeland found most interesting was just how many qualified as opinion-makers, having satisfied the qualifications for "influential" set by Roper ASW to identify those 10% who set the agenda and steer the opinions of the other 90%. Just what percentage of blog readers qualify as influentials awaits further analysis;
The survey results are quite interesting, but remember these are self-selected responders from a particular subset.
- 75% are over 30
- 75% are men
- One reader in five is a blogger
- 43% have household income over $90k
- Education is the most represented profession (14%); second is computers, software and tech at 10.5%; lawyers, third at 7.1%.
- 50% (the highest for any media) rank blogs tops in usefulness for news and opinion
What I found most interesting is WHY people read blogs.
- 75.3% for news they can't read elsewhere
- 74.6% for a better perspective
- 60.6% for more honesty
- 59.8% for faster news
- 46.7% for more personality
So far, we see a picture of an actively involved, upscale, intelligent audience. Readers of blogs also read Atlantic Monthly, the Economist, the New Yorker, National Geographic, the Nation, National Review, Newsweek and the Wall St Journal.
Now let's take a look at what the Gallup Organization found in its new survey on blogging, Bloggers Not Yet in the Big Leagues." Alas, the survey results are behind a paid subscription, but the Mystery Pollster tells us a lot. First he quotes from Gallup's introduction:
Relatively few Americans are generally familiar with the phenomenon of blogging...Three-quarters of the U.S. public uses the Internet at work, school, or home, but only one in four Americans are either very familiar or somewhat familiar with blogs...More to the point, fewer than one in six Americans (15%) read blogs regularly (at least a few times a month). Just 12% of Americans read blogs dealing specifically with politics this often.
Mystery Pollster then observes:
No, the collective reach of blogs is nowhere near that of television or print media, but focusing on the relatively small percentages misses the rapidly growing influence of the blog readership in absolute terms. The 12% that say they read political blogs at least a few times a month amount to roughly 26 million Americans. That may not make blogs a "dominant" news source, but one American in ten ads up to a lot of influence.
The most remarkable finding is the pattern we would expect in blog readership by age that gets buried near the end of the report. According to Gallup, monthly readership of all blogs (not just political) is 15% overall, but much greater among younger Americans...The age gap in blog reading is particularly noteworthy because it is a complete reversal of the typical age pattern gap for news consumption.
Mickey Kaus points out, "If 12% of Americans really read political blogs, as Gallup reports, that's not a small number. It's an astonishingly large number."
One commenter pointed out that the real lede was buried.
(a) blogs are this influential while still reaching such a small public (b) blog readership and participation are still growing at explosive rates. My conclusion is, we're just at the beginning.
I agree that we are just at the beginning. We've not yet seen the impact of blogging tools on smaller online communities. People going through traumatic life changes increasingly turn to the Internet as their primary source of information. As communities begin to form around life changes, people can directly support and be supported by people who have been through the same life and have a lot of practical advice and tips to share. I also believe that as people will increasingly depend on their "trusted bloggers" to filter from the ongoing information wave, the important information they care about.
Blog or Die
Robert Scobel is one of the most famous bloggers in the country, bringing a human face to Microsoft and becoming arguably the second most famous Microsoft employee after Bill Gates.
He and Shel Israel are collaborating on a business blogging book called The Red Couch, though I like the title of the first chapter he has put up on the net for review far better, Blog or Die. If only I could write as well or as compellingly. Here are some excerpts.
Blogging is one of those “somethings.” It is vital and strategic to the future of business. Some who ignore this fact will face the same fate as the village blacksmith of the last century.
How can this communications mechanism be so damned important? Five years ago, it was dismissed as the purview of lonely diarists, the politically obsessed or the technologically zealous. Today, blogging has become the most rapidly adopted technology in history. Today, in February 2005, 40,000 new blogs will start. By the time you read this book, that number is likely to be much higher. More than 10 percent of all Americans read blogs, an increase of 60 percent in 12 months, according to Pew Research.
[B]logging is necessary. It is necessary because it gives companies and constituencies direct interaction between each other. It is necessary because the other communications tools—press releases, ads, banners, websites, brochures, PowerPoint presentations are all irreparably broken. People neither believe nor trust the slickness of corporate materials and spokespeople.
The result is blogging has become the best way for your company to get attention, promote product adoption, get press coverage and build loyal customer bases. Businesses are made smarter by receiving the kind of direct, candid feedback that focus groups and market research surveys rarely succeed in providing. Blogging is the best way to listen to what the market is saying about you. Letting employees blogs is a superior way to show you trust them.
To not blog today can find you facing the same fate as the village blacksmith of the last century. Ask a leading bike lock manufacturer who ignored posting on how his product could be picked, or a Silicon Valley computer games maker who didn’t pay attention to posted complaints of employee abuse or Dan Rather who stuck to his guns not realizing they were pointed at him.
Blogs have come to prominence just when so much else has failed. Today, they are the best way to
make your company more profitable, grow faster, or get your product more rapidly adopted. They are a kinder, gentler, more polite and therefore more effective way to reach people who matter to your company.
Legal blogbot reads WSJ
This is cool - the first blog avatar I've seen. Andy Havens at legalmarketing reprises the Wall Street Journal article saying the blog as business tool has arrived. He asks in his post and via his little friend he calls the Blogbot - Will law firm marketing departments listen?
It's about the best summary of why lawyers should use blogs that I've seen.
• Name recognition at a greatly reduced price
• RSS feeds don't get blocked by spam-guard like some email newsletters
• Search result increases can yield many more visitors in a span of months
• Content establishes reputation
• Comments allow for interactivity, which is a key "stickiness" factor for repeat viewers
• Authentic voice is more attractive than "PR-Speak" to many customers
Legal services are a perfect match for blogs -- the law is content-heavy. It's not like you're selling leg-warmers here, people. You've got lots to say, and your public wants to hear it. Don't hide your light under a bushel basket. Publish it on a blog.It's the Wall Street Journal, people. How much more mainstream do we need to get before you'll wake up and smell the bacon?
Hat tip The Common Scold
UPDATE: The blogbot has retired to the Bahamas. You couldn't turn off and too many people found it annoying. Hey, I thought it was fun, but I guess it's sort of like those animated toys that sing. By third time you've heard 'raindrops keep falling on my head', you're ready to scream at the next person who walks by
Blogs for managing projects
Tim Buckett has a great post that I just came across via the non-billable hour, changing professional practice one idea at a time. Tim writes about 10 ways to use blogs for managing projects. internally in any organization.
- replacing paper
- building issue logs
- capturing information snippets
- publicising the project progress
- reducing email overload
- capturing requirements
- circulating screenshots
- keeping team members up-to-date
It all makes sense especially when you remember that blogs started with project teams developing software and they had a lot to keep track of.
WSJ on blogs
So sayeth the Wall Street Journal today in "Blogs Keep Internet Customers Coming Back."
The blog as business tool has arrived
Blogs with character are seen as more effective than some more traditional online-marketing strategies, such as static, brochurelike Web sites and electronic newsletters that may get blocked by spam filters.
Several examples tell the story. GreenCine Daily is a blog that sparked a 20-old rise in hits to the Greencine website, an online DVD-rental company. In The Bovine Bugle, read about the daily life at Homars Farm, an organic dairy farm that supplies milk to yoghurt maker Stonyfield Farms, just one of five blogs that Stonyfield features.
Owner Jonathan Gates writes about breaking ice in the heifers' drinking-water tanks, cows giving birth and vaccinating calves, and posts pictures to go with his reports.
"He doesn't even talk about Stoneyfield, and I couldn't care less if he does," says CEO Gary Hirshberg, who decided to launch several blogs after getting involved with Howard Dean's presidential campaign last year and seeing how effectively they built relationships and loyalty.
"Blogging is one of a wide range of ways that we can connect with people [and] strengthen what I call our handshake with the consumer," he says, while supporting longtime Stoneyfield causes like organic and family farming, environmentalism and good nutrition.
Blogging is one trend and technology tool that may benefit small businesses most.
- search engines love them.
- small business owners can provide advice and establish reputations as authorities in their own fields.
- personality is a plus
HBR: blogs a breakthrough idea for 2005
More influential business thinkers are seeing how blogs have become a channel to converse with, influence and be influenced by their customers.
Here's the Harvard Business Review.
Bloggers are driven by a desire to share their ideas and opinions with anyone who cares to tune in. That enhances their credibility, making them more attractive to marketers....
Corporate marketers must deal with bloggers differently from the way they deal with the traditional media. First, they must realize that the blogosphere is not just a place in which to advertise; it is a medium in which to participate.
Marketers can join the conversation on influential blogs related to their products or companies ---or, even better, they can become bloggers in their own right by hosting blogs for customers.
Most radically, they can host independent bloggers on their Web sites, essentially trading exposure for reach and credibility...
Blogs are the most conversational of all the forms of media and marketers can't afford to be left out of the talk.
Why Not Here?
David Brooks says the most powerful question in the world today is Why Not Here?
He writes in the aftermath of the Iraqi election, that people around the Arab world look at voters in Iraq and ask, why not here? He writes about Thomas Kuhn who wrote The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
Thomas Kuhn famously argued that science advances not gradually but in jolts, through a series of raw and jagged paradigm shifts. Somebody sees a problem differently, and suddenly everybody's vantage point changes.
He reports that the head of the Syrian Press Syndicate said, "There's a new world out there and a new reality. You can no longer have business as usual."
It's the same with business, marketing and public relations. There's a new world out there and a new reality. It's the blogosphere, the millions of personal blogs and websites, that can boost or bollix your business. You can't deny it or ignore it. You must deal with it, sooner or later. Why not now?
Why not here?
It's no longer a question of should your business blog, but how do you implement blogs in your business. The technological tools are here. The question today, and it's a harder one, is what is your blog strategy.
Do you want a public blog to have a continuing conversation with your customers.
Do you want an internal blog for your employees.
Do you need a crisis blog, a prepared website with emergency numbers and resources, that you and others use to communicate when an PR or natural disaster occurs.
or do you just want to play defense and keep track of what blogs are saying about you and your products?
More evidence of the blog advantage
Steven Broback over at the Blog Business Summit has created a terrific graph to show the blog advantage over traditional websites.
Future of the Internet
Put together a wide-ranging survey among technologists, consultants, and analysts as the Pew Internet study did and you can glimpse the future of the Internet. The biggest changes will be coming to news organizations and publishing companies because of THE BLOG. Least affected will be religion.
from most affected
- news organizations and publishing mean 8.46
- workplaces mean 7.84
- medicine and health care mean 7.63
- politics and government mean 7.39
- education mean 7.38
to least affected
- religion mean 4.69
Honesty Beats Stonewalling
From the Blog Business Summit, a lesson for corporate bloggers - Honesty beats Stonewalling.
Steve Broback investigates the assertion by Mitch Ratcliffe that lawsuits can be reduced by honest admission of error and finds this article from Medical Economics, Why some doctors get sued more than others
Grena Porto, director of risk management for VHA, an alliance of more than 2,200 hospitals was quoted in the piece: “Patients will often forgive honest mistakes when they’re disclosed promptly, fully, and compassionately,” says Porto. “But they become enraged when they suspect they’re being stonewalled.”