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The power of blogs February 11, 2007

Posted by Steve Field in Blogs, Naked Conversations.

The subtitle of Naked Conversations — how blogs are changing the way businesses talk with customers — is no hyperbole. The way businesses are communicating is changing, and Scoble and Israel illustrate this well in their book.

Although the latest Edelman Trust Barometer indicates that that trust in business is on the rebound around the globe and that, as an institution, business is trusted more than media and government, only about half of people have a high level of trust in business. The majority of Americans (and people in 17 other countries surveyed this year) say that they place the greatest level of trust in “people like them.”

That is the benefit of blogging. Blogs are inherently conversational. Consider the features of blogs:

  • They are generally written in first person and express the voice of the writer
  • They link between and respond to other blogs and bloggers, creating a virtual community
  • They allow for visitors to leave comments on the blog and engage in conversation with the blogger and other visitors

These qualities add a human dimension to a faceless technology. Rather than just sitting in front of a computer, blog visitors are able to engage and see the human side of the blog author.

I think Scoble’s recount of how Microsoft bloggers put a human face to Microsoft is a particularly poignant example. Referred to as “the borg” or “the evil empire,” Microsoft had a public perception problem. By embracing the bloging phenomenon and creating an environment where their employees could blog freely allowed people to see that Microsoft wasn’t an evil empire — it was an organization powered by real people.

As media fragmentation continues and people continue to slide down the spectrum from consumers of news to participants in history, conversational marketing will become even more important. I am not sure that it will continue to be in the form of blogs though.

Shel Holtz, was right when he warned that corporate blogging should not be overrated (p. 109). While powerful, it is just one tool, and a sea of new technologies exist around the corner. Some of these technologies, things we might not even be imagining right now, may prove to be 100 times more effective than blogging.

What is important (and Holtz, Scoble an Israel all agree on this point, as do I) is that the rules for corporate communication have changed.

And blogs are a great way to communicate in this new communication environment.



1. Kathy - February 17, 2007

Love your blog! BTW, can you tell me in class how you inserted graphics and color call-out boxes?

One of the most compelling portions of Naked Conversations is the mention of Microsoft employees who blog. Their individual stories and blog topics were interesting, but their purpose was more interesting: to let people know that, despite their company’s reputation, real people work there. They work hard, and what they do affects people all over the world. The company may be thought of as an evil empire, but it is not composed of evil people.

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