No class on Friday (1/25) so you must…

Reply to this thread with a CRITICAL THINKING RESPONSE to the first chapters of our Blog! book.  To earn credit for participation on that no-class day, I expect a thoughtful on-line, blogged discussion of what we’ve covered so far, posted sometime between now and Friday at 5pm.  How can businesses capitalize on blogging?  What about the legal issues with employee blogging?  What are the risks to candidates in politics or corporations in starting a blog?  What are the benefits?  Is blogging all hype?  Or a truly new media that, like newspapers and television news, deserves careful study and protections for those who post?  And let’s hear it:

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17 Responses to “No class on Friday (1/25) so you must…”

  1. Stephanie Says:

    Well since I like to get things done right away, I will post my thoughts. I especially like the interviews in this book-it’s nice to hear from more than just the authors. And since I am also interested in business, I have reactions to and questions about some of the interviewees* (is that a word?)from the business section:
    ~Robert Scoble: Known for being an honest business man and blogger, even when what he says
    on his blogs does not benefit him.
    ?How can you ever tell if a blogger is not telling the truth?
    ~Nick Denton:I thought it was interesting how Nick said that he believes blogs are given
    way too much credit for being this revolutionary new thing! He also thinks that people
    try to make blogs more complicated than they are. Instead, he believes that blogs are
    evolutionary and will aid in making a huge change.
    ~Joi Ito: Besides how cool this guy’s name is, I liked the point he brought up about making
    money and having blogs. He said something like getting paid to do blogs might change the
    point for why some people do them.
    ? Do you think that blogs will eventually have some sort of money-making aspect
    attached, and do you think that blogs will become more popular because of that
    or do you think people will just stop using them because of the money involved?

  2. I don’t have time at this moment to do the assignment, but I just wanted to say that I really like the new look of the site.

  3. undhonorstud Says:

    The first thing that I did find really interesting was the whole section on Howard Dean. I found it interesting that he went from so few supporters and no money all the way to the top, at one point, thanks to his campaign’s ability to make use of the internet and blogs specifically. He was able to reach out to many people through the internet and outline his views, concerns, and plans for the future. Candidates this year have been trying to follow in his footsteps to a point by making Facebook profiles and their own blogs, but it all started with Dean. Too bad for him he was not the most talented politician and so he created his own downfall, especially with his weird yelling or whatever you want to call it lol but yeah…thats about the most interesting part to me so far.

  4. So far I have been enjoying the book, but I do have some problems with it. The first problem is from the political side of things that, I feel, they are giving blogs too much credit. While blogs seem to be a great way to get well known as a candidate and a great way to make money, but who are the people reading the blogs, and who are the people who are voting. Blogs are more widely used by the younger generation, but it is the older generation that are the ones going out and voting and making a difference in who wins. But this of course was in the past, it will be interesting to see if it truly will make a difference in this election.
    The business side of blogs make a lot of sense to me. Before I see a movie I want to know what people think who have already seen it, or find out about a game before I would buy it. Looking at the part of the book that talked about the items like the lock problems are very true. People will attack with a vengence if they feel that they were ripped off in some way, and that can strongly influence what people buy. One thing that I did not find mentioned that I feel should have been is how blogs are hurting some parts of the economy. I have stumbled upon several sights that offer complete seasons of TV shows, or entire CDs for free. This can hurt the sales of certain products.
    Overall I have enjoyed this book. It has opened my eyes to the world of blogs and the power they have. Almost to the point that it is scary to know that unprofessional people who are not held accountable for what they do are able to write anything they want for any body to read. It worries me.

  5. The benefit of a blog is it gives the reader a sense of one-on-one communication with the author. Unlike press releases or news headlines, a blog entry feels personal. It’s almost as if the author is writing directly to each individual reader. A company interested in starting a blog would need to study their market and ask themselves if having a blog written by the CEO, VP, etc would be an asset to their sales.

    Companies like Boeing, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google all have blogs written by higher-ups in the company. Google and Facebook allow regular employees to post entries but Boeing and Microsoft have specifically chosen individual employees for the task of authoring content.

    The benefits of corporate blogs are not without drawbacks and liabilities. CNN allows news anchors and show hosts to write in their own blogs on CNN’s website. The difficulty with this new approach is maintaining their anchors’ neutrality on issues. Some networks, such as Fox News or Al Gore’s “CurrentTV” have obvious agendas and their anchors reflect that agenda in their blogs. Other news networks, however, such as CNN rely on (most) of their anchors maintaining a sense of neutrality in their writing. Wolf Blitzer, for instance, hosts “The Situation Room” on CNN and has also moderated quite a few presidential debates this year. His political neutrality is vital. If Blitzer were to voice obviously biased opinions on his blog, his (and CNN’s) future debate moderating rights could be threatened.

    In my opinion, this aforementioned “neutral” approach to blogging defeats the purpose of the medium. Blogging was invented to allow people to voice their opinions in a location where anyone could say whatever they wanted. Censoring these opinions is negating the whole process.

    A politician may write in a blog with a bit less caution, as long as they stick to their publicly declared stances. Mentioning something contradictory in a blog post immediately flags the candidate as indecisive, a quality which has led to many a politician’s demise.

    As long as the market provides ample reason to author a blog and certain guidelines are followed, blogging can be a great asset to a corporation or public figure.

  6. That’s a very interesting approach, in terms of “free speech on-line.” The legislature of the U.S. is slow to react to the rapidly changing and evolving technology. I will refer you to Lawrence Lessig’s Book “Code Version 2.0” for more discussion on regulation of what appears to be unregulate-able (the Internet).

    And it does go back to what journalists disclose about their bias/es. Everyone has them, but is it important to “hide them” as journalists, or announce them so people can choose who to trust for information?

  7. I had a few problems with the book so far. First, this book was written a few years ago. I feel blogging has changed a bit over those years. I don’t know specifics, but I don’t think blogging on a personal level is as big anymore. In high school, people found it cool to blog all the time. Two years later, I have asked my friends if they blog and opinions have changed. They just don’t feel it is “the way” to interact. Instead they have switched to mediums such as facebook to share about their life. Although blogging may have had a big impact on Dean’s campaign run, I am not as interested as how it is impacting this election or even the last mid-term election. Dean’s campaign took place when blogging was relatively new. Now that blogs have been around for a while, how has it affected elections? My second issue with the book is the bias it seems to have. Although they do point out quotes from blogs leaning to the right, most of the interviews seem to focus on the democratic party bloggers. It was mentioned a few times that Bush used his bloggers to win the election and organize volunteers. If I wrote this book, I am sure I would have found someone who worked on their blog and found out how their group approached the new medium. Although there is not much the authors can do about the changing culture of the changing blogs from the time the book was published until today, but hopefully there will not be as much of a slant throughout the rest of the book.

  8. One thing that we’ve touched on, but not spoken about at length, is that the appearance, or visual affect, of a blog probably highly influences peoples’ interpretations of it. Blogs are just another type of media in that if they are put together poorly, or are visually unappealing, people may overlook the content of the site and pre-judge negatively. The more dangerous side is that a visually appealing site lends itself credibility which it may not deserve.

    Another way in which blogs are just another type of media–though blogs make it easier to “participate” in politics, business, etc, that participation will only be superficial as long as people are not motivated to participate outside the blogosphere. Yes, blogging gets the word out, but so does spam e-mail (and are those e-mail spammers outside looking for the most recent missing children that they are forwarding about? Probably not). So, as Mike says in his post, unless the bloggers are going out and voting, buying merchandise, or participating somehow in the non-electronic world, blogs aren’t bigger than any other type of media. They are just more interactive.

  9. semitone36 Says:

    To be totally honest I pretty much fell asleep while reading the entire political chapter of the book. It seemed like old news to me. However the business chapter really grabbed my interest. It’s in my opinion that there are basically two sides to our world today: corporations and consumers. Neither side knows what the other is doing and there is very poor communication between them. While what the book said about the power of blogs in the future of business is mostly speculation, the idea that consumers can directly communicate their needs to corporations is very appealing. Basically that would mean that lame tv commercials would die off, facebook wouldn’t have to send our info to corporations just so they can carpet bomb us with their annoying ads, and the age old saying “they don’t make em like they used to” wouldn’t be true anymore because manufacturers would know exactly what to make us and how to make it.

    I might just be a shiny-eyed marketing major but if blogs could have as much power as the chapter speculated that it could, it would revolutionize businesses and even economies world wide!

  10. One thing that I found very interesting that we’ve already covered in class (although briefly) was the “lifespan” of blogs. Some believe that blogs will soon become a thing of the past, that they are just a fad. But in the introduction, Burstein explains that forms of “blogs” have been present throughout our history…just in completely different forms. So although some of the aspects of blogging as we know today will probably phase out in the future, I don’t think they will ever really go away.

    From what we’ve talked about in class and what we’ve been reading about, I definitely believe that blogging will make a huge impact on the upcoming election. I know in my situation, the majority of the news that I hear about it from the internet…so I will know more about a politician that uses the internet to aid in their campaign.

    I haven’t yet started to read many blogs, but I think I will soon, since I should probably start thinking about who I want to vote for. However, I have stumbled onto a few blogs while searching for random things and realized that’s what they were (only because of this class – without it I would’ve had no idea…haha).

  11. viperx1101 Says:

    Businesses can capitalize on blogging by slowly integrating their products into the blogging world. Like in part 2 chapter 1, they talk about making a blog for a half a year before introducing a product. The blog would be on the same topic as their product, and after gaining a loyal following, they would be able to introduce their product with little to no negative opinions, and mostly positive feedback.

    I believe that companies would have their own department entirely devoted to blogging. Because if you let all employees go on their blog, who would say that they would only be on those blogs. There would be no way to police the employees on where they are going on the internet.

    There are many risks involved in starting a blog. Since it is open to anyone to put any opinion they want on the blog, anything can be said. Any bad comment, slur, idea, put down, and anything related, including rumors can be freely said on a blog. All of that applies to a candidate’s blog also. So they run a risk, but usually the benefits outweigh the detriments. Benefits can be getting out information to the target audience that they want. Spreading the word of their policies can be as easy as posting a blog and letting the public take care of the rest.

    At this moment in time I believe that blogging is hype and something to be taken seriously in the media too. It is transitioning from a private standard into a public media, and soon it will be a norm that will have to be policed to some extent. What extent, I thing opinions should still be allowed, but extremely vulgar language might need to be edited.

  12. viperx1101 Says:

    By the way, viperx1101 is Jacob Wagner, just so everyone knows.

  13. martinrottler Says:

    Overall, I agree with the assessment that the book is a bit outdated, given the ever-changing nature of the internet. Much of what was stated by some of the interviewees turned out to be either partially or wholly incorrect.

    I too found a definite lack of interest in the political section. I believe this mainly stems from the fact that I avoid political blogs like the plague. That said, however, there have been many blogs this year that have uncovered very interesting things about the presidential candidates from both parties. Most interesting (to me at least) are the ones that have dug up Ron Paul’s past newsletters. Google them, as they are a rather scary read.

    The section on business blogs was one that I could easily buy in to. As an avid reader of many business blogs , I see the positive effects of both consumer advocate blogs and of a company that allows its employees to provide an inside look at the goings-on of its operations. Both have led to greater corporate responsibility and customer service.

    My one concern that originates from company regulation of blogging by its employees stems from both literal and figurative ownership of the material covered in the blog. There should be clear policies and written agreements by both parties in place before an employee or company endorses or begins blogging. It is also important that the blog’s readers understand the potential corporate bias present in the blog. I think blogs are great new tools for business and social interaction, and disagree a little bit with those that say blogging is less popular. I believe it has become more legitimate and less emotional ranting.

  14. martinrottler Says:

    Whoa…my html screwed up there…sorry!

  15. I whole-heartedly agree with Angela’s point that the look and design of a blog (or any other website) often affects its following. Interface design is something I’ve always been interested and involved in. Content is obviously the most important thing, but good content coupled with a good design is a surefire start to a successful blog.

  16. I think the most interesting aspect of Blog! to me so far is how it illustrates how powerful weblogs can be. On pg. 20, it talks about how the Kerry campaign was affected by their lack of web use because Bush’s campaign used emails and such to contact voters and encourage them to send it on to friends. In reference to the Dean campaign (p.27), three quarters of the money he raised for his campaign came from the internet, not to mention the voter turnout of 700,000 encouraging him to opt out of federal funding. In Jon Lebkowsky’s interview (p. 38) he states, “…blogs alone are not going to have an impact on decision making and policy.” I would argue that blogs alone DO have an impact…I believe Web 2.0 applications and products alone DO make an impact…e-mails and website DO make an impact…and putting them all together can make one BIG impact for a candidate. What would happen if a candidate completely ignored all of these strategies? Opted out of Facebook, Blogging, Websites, Emails, etc. etc. etc. They would fail, and that is fact in my mind. You simply would not be able to run a successful campaign without these tools.
    I think that Blog! has really made me realize that we use Blogs and Web 2.0 without realizing it very frequently, and that they definitely have an impact on a large majority of our lives. Zuniga says on pg. 48 that “Blog are a tool, an instrument, nothing more. In five years, peobably no one will care anymore if you hapen to use a blog to communicate to people.” This may very well be true, but I think that Blogs (and and all Web 2.0) are a very important step at the moment to something bigger (just like Netscape was), and can be utilized in a very effective way.

  17. Stephanie Says:

    I didn’t know where else to post this comment, so I decided to go here. I didn’t get a chance to say what I wanted to say about what we had to read for today, but I really wanted to. On page 249, there was a paragraph that I completely disagreed with. I am looking for more thoughts on this paragraph because I may be interpreting it the wrong way. The second full paragraph talks about blogging your life and how it can benefit you. It suggests that the number of people that go to a therapist “just to talk to someone” might go down. I disagree, there is something to be said about professional therapy. And it goes on to say that “one must assume that the more people appraise and document their lives, the more purposefully those lives will be lived.” That statement makes it sound like that is the case for every scenario. However, I think too much time spent on the computer might have the OPPOSITE effect. What does everyone else think about that? Anyone even notice that paragraph?

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