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Saturday, January 01, 2005

Blogs : The Killer App For Citizen Generated Media

David Kirkpatrick writes, Personal Internet postings are not only changing how we communicate with each other, but also how business markets to consumers. Excerpts with edits and comments:

Blogs are not only a new form of publishing, but also a new form of communication. Blogs are comparable in import to e-mail or instant messaging. As a result, they will have a huge impact on business. With blogs, ordinary people, for the first time, can easily create and manage their own websites. These online personal journals are structured fundamentally differently from the web as we’ve known it up until now. Blogs are not built around the fundamental building block of the rest of the web - the page. Instead, blogs are built around the post—a piece of content created at a specific time. Each post has a unique, permanent web address called a permalink. Bloggers routinely link to one another’s posts, which remain accessible indefinitely. That linking gives blogs a viral quality, so an intriguing post can get broad attention amazingly fast.
Buczaczer, who runs Reverb calls blogs "the killer app for citizen-generated media." He thinks the structure of blogs makes them an efficient way to measure and influence opinion. "Word of mouth relies on the influentials," he says. "It’s the tipping point. Who are the most trusted folks out there? The link system within blogs becomes a natural way for influentials to rise to the top in a way that’s easily identifiable. During the elections, the same 10 blogs were quoted over and over—they became the influentials. There’s no reason that can’t happen across every category, every hobby, and every interest.
Blogging further blurs the lines between PR and advertising. "Now you’ve got to pitch the bloggers, too," says Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman Public Relations. "You can’t just pitch the conventional media." One way Edelman does this is with e-mail lists. For Nissan, his firm sends a group of 2,000 influential auto industry thinkers and writers, including many bloggers, a monthly e-mail from Nissan's CEO Carlos Ghosn. Edelman says his staffers spend a lot of time participating in online communities and blogs, "seeding conversation, but only on a permission basis." He talks about "feeding the bloggers." Blogs may present opportunities for business, but they also present potential minefields. Some unwitting workers, who've written under their own names, have been fired for what managers considered inappropriate blog posts. And brace yourself for the big sucker punch: Employees blogging anonymously. A taste of what may come can be found on an over-the-top unsigned blog ostensibly written by an employee of The Strand, a New York City bookstore. In colorful, obscene language, the blogger complains about his job, his bosses and the store's customers. And on LiveJournal.com's self-publishing service, there's a blog where 144 participants, most of whom claim to be Wal-Mart employees, rant and rave about the retailer. Many post bile-filled comments about their work conditions. And you thought gossip around the water cooler was annoying? David Kirkpatrick in his inimitable style has goven a ringside view of blogs - excellent read.

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