This actually is a question I have thought about quite often, especially after having spoken with companies who do not use blogs as they fear that people could write something negative.

End of March we launched a blog at ZHW School of Management. Before we launched the blogs I had very interesting discussions with some of my colleagues, most of them having been very critical about my idea to launch a blog. They came up with lots of stories about companies having had bad comments on their blogs, people writing all their anger in blogs, etc. and they kind of tried to convince me not to launch this blog (were they scared about seeing bad comments about themselves?). To be perfectly honest I had some doubts, especially after all those negative feedback, but we still did it and guess what happened?

Not one negative comment about lecturers or courses, but more and more students and lecturers being interested in using this new media and posting their experiences: study trips, humour, funny stories happening at school as well as interesting articles from Alumni sharing their experience about their life back in business. I don’t say that we never will get any negative comments on the blog it probably will happen, but I am quite surprised and happy about how the blog has evolved and how suddenly people at school have discovered that they have a voice and there are other people out there listening to them.

There are not a lot of comments to a post though, but the amount of readers increases by the day. Last month we had about 200 readers a day, which is not a huge audience but still 1/6 of all our students are reading the blog. Not to bad for a beginning.

So why do people fear blogs? There indeed are some bad cases about bloggers spreading negative word of mouth via blogs, but anyway, people speak with each other and spread the word. If a company is using technology correctly and is willing to adopt its authoritarian style of communication, if it is willing to listen to its customers and get involved in discussion it can build up trust and a virtual relationship with its customers. And if there are some bad blogposts floating around they can respond to them within no time and can get their view out into the market.

Any experiences or thoughts on that?

workshop.jpg workshop2.jpg

Last Friday an online marketing workshop called: PUNCH ABOVE YOUR WEIGHT took place in London. Small companies have learned how to create a good story that connects them with their customers and use the web to build their presence online.

Dr. Alan Rae, Managing Partner of Ai Consultants (www.howtodobusiness.com), Dr. Lisa Harris, Senior Lecturer at Brunel Business School (and my PHD supervisor), Dr. Fintan Clear, Lecturer at Brunel Business School and Jas Dhaliwal, MBA student at Brunel Business school and successful author of the blog called “the web pitch” (www.thewebpitch.com) have organised this workshop to teach small companies how to use the web 2.0 tools.

I found this workshop very interesting and I am sure the others did too. It is impressive how small business can present themselves online and use online networking tool to connect with business partners and clients. The second workshop will already take place mid July. More information can be found on http://www.howtodobusiness.com.

Congratulation for your first successful workshop!!

A speech hold by Jürg Stucker, CEO of namics led to an interesting discussion about B2C respectively C2C or H2H? 

In a comparison of Web 0.5, Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 he stated that with Web 2.0 the relationship moved from B2C to C2C, which raised an interesting point (http://blog.namics.com/2007/06/business_im_web.html) about marketing having to take the network perspective. This means that a company should take the social network of customers into consideration as customers are interconnected and speaking with each other. Thus the relationship would rather be a B-C-C relationship. He than posed an interesting question: Wouldn’t the term H2H (human) be more suitable? Regarding the new type of dialogue taking place on the web, where people speak to each other in a human voice – and expect companies to do the same if they want to join in the conversation – the term H2H might be quite suitable. People don’t want companies to speak in a corporate voice; they expect them to be open, tell the truth and speak in a human voice. Thus, even if a blog is written by a company, the author should behave like a “human” talking with his peers and not like a marketer employed by a company.

After having had a very interesting discussion with Jas last week during the doctoral symposium in London I was inspired to revive my blog and share some thoughts.

Most literature about blogs is quite evangelist explaining how software connects weblogs with weblogs, and writers with readers, knitting together the community and arguing that blogs have revolutionised the way we receive information and connect with each other in online environments.
Blogs have three main benefits, being their ability to share information, to build relationships and to manage knowledge. Their ability to build relationships is shown below:

Jas has blogged about his interview with Steve Clayton, Chief Technical Officer for the Microsoft Partner Group. Along with his team, Steve manages Microsoft’s relationship with 35,000 partners across the UK.
http://www.thewebpitch.com/interviews/steve-clayton-and-his-blue-monster/

This blog post has been picked up by Steve Clayton and mentioned in one of his blog posts:
http://blogs.msdn.com/stevecla01/archive/2007/06/14/the-blue-monster-scoble-and-change.aspx
This again has driven readers of Steve’s post to Jas’s blog …..and so on.

There are probably many examples like this in the blogosphere, which proofs that the web is enabling worldwide-connected people to speak together

This post is for the students in Überlingen!

Please post your solution to the group task “How can companies use blogs”.

Wish you a successful continuation of your studies!
Christine

As we couldn’t access the Internet during our groupwork on Saturday we used the old traditional way. But here you can find some impression about a great lesson in Überlingen. Thanks to Lisa and all the student for this good time!
30-03-07_ueberlingen1.jpg30-03-07_chateau2.jpg30-03-07_castle.jpg30-03-07_group-action.jpg30-03-07_group1a.jpg30-03-07_group1b.jpg30-03-07_group2.jpg30-03-07_group2a.jpg30-03-07_group3.jpg30-03-07_group3b.jpg30-03-07_lisa2.jpg

This post might seem to be a bit weird to some readers as it is discussion a totally different subject. It’s about cow deals.

It’s written in honour of yesterdays winner, the cowdeal champion called: Mr. Böckli :-). Thanks to some phantastic deals he managed to buy all cows, horses, pigs and cats and won both games!

Congratulation and a big Muuuuhhhhh!!

Back from London I finally found time to write a few words about the blogcamp Switzerland.

Being quite a “new” blogger I was curious about what this blogcamp is all about. So I went there to see….and I saw!

A great bunch of people all passionate about topics all around blogs. The day was quite informal, one could pick and choose which speech he/she wanted to listen to and just pop into the room this speech and discussion took place. So did I, and I was impressed by the good discussions taking place. Coming from the marketing side i was a bit “scared” only meeting IT geeks….and due to my weak technical background not being able speaking with them. OK, I couldn’t really contribute to the discussion but I got a lot of interesting insights and very much enjoyed the company and the event.

As I came in quite late, I could only manage to listen to two presentations.
The first one was held by Mark Lawrence about: Multilingva: An Open-Source Multilingual Blog Implementation. In a few words, the presentation was about how multilingual blogs can be implemented and used. Companies for instant might be quite happy if they could have a blog with multilingual features (e.g. if not only the language of the content, but also the language of the customer interface could be changed)..
The second “presentation” was a discussion about: What will blogging tools look like in the future? The discussion was lead by Gabor Cselle. Interesting point like: will technologies of blogs and wikis merge in future? Or, wouldn’t it be easier for a blogger to be able to post a new article directly on his blog without having to accessing the administrator interface? and lots more…

A spent a great time and would like to thank to the organisation team of the blogcamp!

While reading blog posts I have stated that lots of blogger are writing about facts and figures regarding blogs, are providing information about Web 2.0 or about how to create a successful blog; how to be found on a search engine, how to use blogs for your business, etc.

So I thought it’s time to share two interesting statements, written by Tim O’Reilly, in his article: What is Web 2.0. Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software:

“If an essential part of Web 2.0 is harnessing collective intelligence, turning the web into a kind of global brain, the blogosphere is the equivalent of constant mental chatter in the forebrain, the voice we hear in all of our heads. It may not reflect the deep structure of the brain, which is often unconscious, but is instead the equivalent of conscious thought. And as a reflection of conscious thought and attention, the blogosphere has begun to have a powerful effect.

First because search engines us link structure to help predict useful pages, blogger, as the most prolific and timely linkers, have a disproportionate role in shaping search engine results. Second, because the blogging community is so highly self-referential, bloggers paying attention to other bloggers magnifies their visibility and power. The “echo chamber” that critics decry is also an amplifier.

If it were merely an amplifier, blogging would be uninteresting. But like Wikipedia, blogging harnesses collective intelligence as a kind of filter. What James Suriowecki calls “the wisdom of crowds” comes into place, and much as PageRank produces better results than analysis of any individual document, the collective attention of the blogosphere selects for value.
While mainstream media may see individual blogs as competitors, what is really unnerving is that the competition is with the blogosphere as a whole. This is not just a competition between sites, but a competition between business models. The world of Web 2.0 is also the world of what Dan Gillmor calls “we, the media,” a world in which “the former audience”, not a few people in a back room, decides what’s important.”

Does the blogosphere really have such a power and can it really make a difference?

I’ll be there, what about you?

I have discovered this information about the blogcamp on Marcel Bernet’s blog, where you can find more information about this conference. Thanks Mr. Bernet!

http://www.bernetblog.ch/

In relation to the comments on the post “Are bloggs such a powerful tool for companies” I’d like to share this interesting link to a “wiki”, where you can find some good example of corporate blogs:

http://www.eu.socialtext.net/bizblogs/index.cgi

Christine

April 2020
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