It Happened to Me

BloggerCon Notes 3: Blogging in Business, David Weinberger

Saturday, April 17, 2004 — 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
David Weinberger, discussion leader

  • Blogs seem to have underpeformed in businesses that would benefit: business that have high contact witgh their customers
  • In

    the mid-90s: “Create your own homepage” software was all the rage. It

    didn’t take off, but blogs — a variation on that theme — did

  • “Maybe weblogs don’t fit very well in the business world”
  • “What is the Blogging ROI?”
  • Why aren’t businesses blogging?
  • Which types, if any?
  • What stops them?
    • Culture?
    • No business case
  • Does blogging matter to business? It does if communication is key

Discussion on internal blogs
(i.e. blogs accessible only by those within the company

  • There are legal issues: whatever appears on an internal blog could be considered property of the company
  • The content of an internal blog could be subpoenaed
  • Blogging as cheap knowledge management software: blogs let you look up solutions to problems found months ago
  • Ethan Zuckerman: Prospect Foundation taking on blogging as an internal communcations tool.
  • An interesting intersection of blogging and intellectual property: a biotech company’s lawyers:
    • Don’t want the sales/marketing department blogging internally, as the entries may contain subpoena-able competitive info
    • But they do want the scientists blogging internally so they can see their ideas and scour for what’s patentable
  • Blogging

    can be a useful way to get the message across within a company where

    email fails. Email is often perceived as “permanent and negative”,

    while the same thing said in an internal blog will not be seen in the

    same light.

Discussion on external blogs
(i.e. blogs accessible to the public)

  • What do you do when the rank and file are perceived as speaking “on behalf of company”?
  • The

    marketing/PR department of a company would probably resist blogs: it

    encroaches on their turf and surrenders their control of “the message”

  • Legal department of a company would probably also resist blogs: headaches
  • Lawyer’s

    dilemma: What if you’re a lawyer, you argue one side of a case in your

    blog and then find yourself arguing the opposite in court? Can your

    blog entry be used against you?

  • Weinberger: Would CEOs even

    blog? Don’t they still print out their email? [ Our CEO, Elliot Noss,

    has probably forgotten more about email than I will ever learn. And

    yes, he has a blog. — Joey ]

  • Useful for companies with international clientele: it’s great at overcoming time zone and real-time issues
  • It has been recommended to many companies to get a blog simply because it helps you get a better ranking on Google
  • Examples of business blogging at (Rick Bruner’s blog)
  • Re:

    fear of putting out the wrong message with a blog — We’ll all

    eventually be able to embarrass each other via Google. Is that going to

    happen in business?

  • Weinberger: Will Prell ever have a blog for their shampoo?
  • For small businesses that exist only online, blogs are useful
  • Ethan

    Zuckerman: Once worked with a Hollywood studio on a system that allowed

    fans to create their own fan sites. The studio insisted that all sites

    had to be vetted.

Blogs and perception of the company

  • People know a fake when they see one — fauxblogs, like Raging Cow were a bad idea
  • Blogger damage control: witness the Plaxo debacle. It got so bad that at PC Forum, their Privacy Officer had to respond

A cute phrase that came up during the discussion: “Blog-curious”

Weinberger: It doesn’t make sense for companies to just jump into blogging. They’re going to read them first.

3 replies on “BloggerCon Notes 3: Blogging in Business, David Weinberger”

I have yet to see an argument for corporate blogging which actually illustrates corporate benefits as opposed to making complaints about corporate life and how blogging differs fro it and is superior. Q: why is a corporate initiative to introduce blogs different from a corportate initiative to have better landscaping?

In life –and in marketing!– Perception is everything.

It was not my perception that the room was of a unanimous conclusion that fauxblog Raging Cow was a bad idea. Just the opposite is my own personal take on it.

Raging Cow was aimed at the 16-24 age group, with some spill up and down in demos. It served the purpose of crating buzz and discussion about the new brand. It also gave the marketers of the product a keen insight into teh language and initial take of “early brand samplers,” –at this target age, a very difficult group on which to conduct market research.

Surely most of the people at BCII might turn their nose up at the idea of using a blog for so purely commercial a play. But again, the room was packed with high-minded ivory tower intellectuals, people engaged in professions, not a group of manufacturers, or even a particualrly marketing-savvy bunch of bloggers.

I thought Dr. David did a great job of leading the session, keeping it as focused and on topic as one could ever want.

But the room, in my view, was lacking in diversity. When I spoke about blogs for Acme Widget (sic) and the use of internal blogs for project development and internal communications, it was summarily dissed by a good many people in the room. The impression I got, later confirmed by a few others, was that these points were too mundane. Sad to say, amoing the intelligentsia, it seemed that they would discuss their high-brow view, and no other insights were of note.

Again, I stress that this is not reflective of David, nor of ALL of the attendees at that session.

One last observation: as the session ended I spoke with one of the very same high-minded ivory tower types, and remarked at how impressed I was with this person’s prime gig and client list. What I got in response (to what I meant in a most complimentary manner) was an icy explanation of how winning loads of scholarly awards and having been published in major scholarly journals was this person’s ticket to these hallowed halls. “Well, fuck me!” I thought, and left the room to go have lunch with some friends.

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