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Monday, June 09, 2003

Managing A Business Blog

Panel information.

Jimmy Guterman: mentions the personal connection you feel with someone when you follow their blog, but may not have seen them for awhile or perhaps even met them. ... (later) "Before I go on, I just got an IM that said, 'Introduce yourself, Moron.'" And he does.

Jason Butler: BostonWorks is the jobs classified section of the Boston Globe. They're running a collaborative HR blog with three people, finding information useful to their clients.

Adina Levin: differences between blogs and wikis. Wikis are a bit more conducive to communicating a group consensus. We don't see them in conflict.

Biz Stone, on developing a blog voice: starting out with one thing generally morphs into talking about whatever you're really interested in. Finding your voice is a little like jogging, something you do every day. Jimmy Guterman wonders if you have that same flexibility as a business. Adina Levin thinks perhaps yes; like diverging from a meeting agenda if that seems appropriate. We already have social constructs for this. If people are having conversations with co-workers or customers, it's bound to have business relevance.

Jason Butler has discovered an interesting side channel: some of their salespeople use stuff on the blog as an entree to go out and talk to the customers. Knowing the customers, they can point out items of interest.

Jeff Jarvis asks Jason Butler about the HR blog, raises fascinating management issues. How do you manage people who are paying you money? Jason: think about putting together a conference. You lay down ground rules about the speaker's role of providing information rather than shilling for a company or product. Follow up: do you have employees that spend too much time on the blog? Jason: "Only me."

Audience question about what happens to competition when you're linking, and/or seeing (through referrals) that your competitors are checking you out (perhaps on their intranet)? Adina Levin: good questions, haven't dealt with them as a problem yet, but sometimes on her personal site the referrers admittedly can make her nervous. Biz mentions referral blocking services. (Firewalls work too.) Audience member comments that it's valuable to know what your competition is thinking.

Biz Stone tells story about a co-worker where they started a blog "in her name." Not long before she was hooked and wanted to start posting herself. It's contagious. Adina Levin comments that peer pressure works well. And, identifying the projects and conversations that already exist and adding the blogging process.

About the tools, Jason Butler mentioned they went with BloggerPro because it was cheap, easy, and accomplished everything they needed. Adina Levin mentions that the personal blogger tools are really good if you only have a few people blogger. They (Socialtext) are trying to focus on serving the needs of teams, where there are concerns about administration and security. Biz Stone mentions that the information that some of the measurement tools provide (Technorati, etc.) is some of the coolest information involved in the process. Adina Levin: "Ev In A Box" is something that you probably never will see. The cumulative human intelligence is what's compelling.

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