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Thursday, October 19, 2006

How Blogs Changed the World

I enjoyed reading the survey of varied opinions about the usefulness of blogging by academics at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.
While some profs are writings blogs to relay information to their students, others don't read them at all.

But blogs are changing how we communicate that will extend beyond the blogosphere. Here's my list of how blogging is good and bad for business and society.

1. Blogging holds writers accountable and is bi-directional. Enabling people to comment on posts enables incorrect information to be immediately pointed out, and allows other opinions to be part of the conversation. An error in a high-profile blog will get greater exposure than an error in a news article. Companies can talk directly with their clients and get feedback that was previously impossible to collect.

2. The language of blogging is more digestible. You can't write a blog like a press release, so the words have to be more direct, unscripted, and easier to understand. Bloggers who try to hide behind marketing-speak will be called out. Blogs are written in a narrative style that gives better insight into the author's thought process as events are occurring, unlike polished policy papers that have been sanitized.

3. Blogging breaks control of information distribution from the media. Allowing new voices is a positive, and it is changing the political discussion, critically assaying the media and government from all sides.

4. Blogs provide a filter that focuses on interests. If your interest is in Internet technology, shoes, or biodiesel, there's a blog for you, saving time scouring the universe.

On the other hand:

1. Reading blogs can be a huge waste of time. Productivity is lost during the millions of hours per week that workers are reading blogs instead of doing what they are paid to do.

2. It takes time to trust blog authors. Since everyone can publish, there are many untrustworthy sources spewing rumor, inaccuracies and propaganda and truth (just like TV!), so be careful whom you read. Professional writers at news organizations and experts in their field are the best sources to start with, but of course many bloggers have earned their stripes over time.

Blogging is changing the expectations of communication, focusing on immediacy, niches, and accountable. Corporate communications and news will never be the same.

By Jason Dowdell at 12:44 PM | Comments (2)

(2) Thoughts on How Blogs Changed the World

I think your most important point is how the language and style of blogs can't sound like marketing, or press releases. It has to be real, and you can't get away with anything else. What a breath of fresh air: real people talking to other real people about real things! We'll never go back to artificial marketing BS language again.

Comments by Jeff Brooks : Thursday, October 19, 2006 at 10:30 PM

I like the "self" accountability that happens with blogs. As you write and react to them, they help define who you are faster than any car or home can.

Comments by Mary : Friday, November 03, 2006 at 04:24 PM

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