2006-05-05T17:11:06.690-04:00Context for this postCorporate blogging has sprouted from organizational communication as a fascinating way to connect internally and externally to individuals interested in the happenings of a particular organization. Blogs have made the impact of a tidal wave over the past decade and while corporate blogging is still relatively new, it has already changed the way many people conduct and view business. Many organizational imperatives inform the practice of corporate blogging and for this reason it was very difficult to try and zero in on only one to describe. However, after some careful thought, I think that the level of organizational identification members have towards their corporation has the strongest effect on corporate blogging. Organizational identification is accomplished within a company when members of that company take the characteristics of the organization including its values, beliefs, rites and culture and make them their own. In order for a blog to even be thought of, one must be vested in the factors for which a company stands for. Furthermore, when running a corporate blog, this sense of identifying with an organization heavily shines through as the backbone for which posts, comments, and even templates are created. From the corporate blogs that we have been exposed to in class discussions, our interviews, and the research of fellow bloggers, I have found that all carry a high intensity of organizational identification. A great real life example of organizational identification and corporate blogging is evident through John Cass of Backbone Media. John is the director of corporate blogging strategies and he is a true believer of the power which corporate blogging beholds. He is the main contributor to the Blog Survey Blog and is clearly in high identification with Backbone’s values, beliefs, rites, and culture. His association with Backbone is evident from the content that he produces as well as his feelings towards the company in relation to blogging as he has been much appreciated to share with our class. I also found that organizational identification had a tremendous impact on the way in which one of my interviewees, Tim Jackson blogs on behalf of Masi Bicycles.Tim has been a die hard bicycle enthusiast since he was just a child. I’m serious; he has a picture of himself on his blog, Masi Guy when he got his first bike for Christmas. Now, Tim says that he is living the dream as a brand manager / corporate blogger for Masi bikes and I can’t think of another corporate blogger on earth who identifies more with their company than he does. While reading Tim’s blog, it is quickly apparent that Tim has taken the heart and soul of Masi bikes and made them into fun interesting blog posts. If Tim did not identify with Masi as an organization to the level that he does, it’s questionable whether the blog would even exist and it’s certain that it would not be written with the same persona that has made it so successful.Through blogging as a class we have talked about some very interesting issues in regards to corporate blogging. And, in dealing with organizational identification, I definitely feel that our own blogs progressed more and more once individuals within the class took in the values, beliefs, rites, and culture that Dr. Carl established for advanced organizational communication. All in all, I’d say it’s been a pretty majestic experience and one that I will take with me in pursuit of my own career. To all my fellow bloggers out there, it’s been real and I’ll catch you in the blogosphere!Tags -->corporate blogging organizational communication---This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.[...]
2006-05-05T17:10:56.116-04:00Context for this postWhen I first learned that we would be learning about blogging in our Organizational Communication class I thought I misunderstood. Before this class I thought blogs were just an on-line journal that internet junkies would add to each night before bed. After our class discussions, readings, and contributions by Mr. John Cass of Backbone Media, I have a whole new understanding of and appreciation for blogging.As I reflect back on our corporate blogging interviews as well as our own experiences blogging, it’s only natural to apply the organizational communication imperatives. The first one I would like to discuss is organizational identification. This is when an employee highly identifies themselves with a company’s values, rituals, and ultimate mission. A highly identified individual will truly feel as though they are an important and influential part of the organization. Having organizationally identified employees can be good for a company. If an employee writes a post they need to believe in what they are writing. This is especially true for commenting because the employees need to be able to respond to constructive as well as destructive criticism. If they are not identified with the organizations values, this may reflect in their posts and comments which would only be detrimental to the company’s credibility.When employees are identified with an organization they often take on automatic responsibility. This is when an employee will take responsibility for anything and everything that they have the expertise to. If they do not know how to do something, they will instead, automatically direct the information or task to someone who knows how.This is also beneficial for corporate blogs. If an employee is surfing the blogosphere and finds some negative sentiments posted about their company and/or their products, what are they going to do? Some employees will just read in the information, maybe pass the link on to some colleagues. However, an employee that practices automatic responsibility will comment on the post, say they are from the company, and provide the appropriate facts to defend their argument. That employee took the initiative to stand up and defend their company name because they had the facts. Automatic responsibility is also great for a corporate blog that is maintained by multiple people. One person may normally write the posts and another may research, however, if other aspects of one person’s job become too overwhelming, other employees may take over the blog to ensure consistency as well as credibility. If nobody maintained the blog and responded to comments it could hurt the company image all around.Both organizational identification and automatic responsibility are a result of a corporate culture. I would also say that a company’s culture can be reflected through their blog. Redding’s ideal SCOPE model can be used to analyze company blogging as well as blogging policies. Supportiveness is evident in the amount of help or input that is put into the blog, researching for blogging topics, as well as responding to comments. Even starting up a blog for a corporation needs a lot of support because it is seen as risky. Credibility is displayed when a company posts and responds to both constructive and destructive comments. A company can give the impression of being more credible more easily through a blog than other marketing tools because blogs are not only a dialogue between consumers and producers but they are also extremely human in tone. Blogs reflect a company’s openness as well. If a company chooses to allow comments, and posts positive and negative information they are seen as more open. Some company’s even post their blogging policies as well. Some companies choose to monitor comments and some do not. Participatory decision making is seen in blogs byidentifying who does the posting, who is allowed to post, and who is not allowed to post. Blogging can actually facilitate participatory decision making because it can connect many employees [...]
2006-05-05T17:10:40.000-04:00Context for this postOrganizational identification is one of the greatest organizational imperatives that informs the practice of corporate blogging. Identification is "an attitude or incipient action," and identification means that a person tries to select a decision that matches or fits with the interest of the organization (Tompkins, 2005). When the employee identity is aligned so much with the organization that they begin to speak about the organization as "we" instead of "they," s/he has a high level of organizational identification (Feather and Rauter, 2004). This concept is essential when a company decides to blog for many reasons. The organization must make sure to choose the right people to blog because it will affect the readership, the success, and the outreach capabilities of the blog on the blogosphere. This ripple effect will not occur if companies do not consider organizational identification when deciding to blog.If a person were going to be the face of a company, typically the company would want the person to be a good representation of their organization. When blogging, the employee who actually blogs is the first point of contact to readers, and this makes deciding who is going to blog very important. One should choose someone who identifies with the company and its goals and visions, in order to have the appropriate appearance to the public. If the blogger does not care about the company, how can s/he be expected to care about the blog, and its content? Most likely, the blogger will not post relevant or meaningful information, which will eventually affect the company and how the public perceives it. The face of the organization must emulate the ideals of the company and choosing someone strongly connected will ultimately be in the organization's best interest.The blogger that identifies with the company will care and contribute to that organization and thus the blog. Therefore posts will be more pertinent, and generate richer content. Since the content will be relevant, the readers will appreciate the blog more. If they see a caring and consistent blogger who posts thoughtful things about the organization (or whatever pertains to the purpose of the blog) readers will visit often and probably add comments to the organization's blog, or their own blog. In turn, this will create a sort of community around the blogger and his/her audience, which will benefit the company.Since the blogger has strong organizational identification, and has now created an active public through posting, and commenting, and outreach, the public itself may begin to show signs of identification with the organization. Due to the personable nature of a blog, the readers will develop a sort of relationship with the blogger and therefore the company. This is one of the greatest strengths of a blog: it creates ambassadors for the organization. These people will typically promote and buy products of the company because they believe in the blog!A ripple effect has now occurred, beginning with company's choosing a blogger that is strongly identified with the organization. This blogger has created a blog that is interesting and relevant to the company and the public/consumers. The public will then continue to monitor and comment on the blog, which creates a community around the organization. This community will inevitably become identified with the company as well, creating ambassadors and goodwill for the organization. All these effects would not be possible if the corporate blogger was not identified with the organization s/he worked for.*On an aside, I would be curious to know if CEO blogs are any more successful than "lower-level" employee blogs—is being higher up in the organization chart correlated with how strongly identified you are??Works CitedFeather, N. T. & Rauter, K.A. (2004). Organizational citizenship behaviours in relation to job status, job insecurity, organizational commitment and identification, job satisfaction and work values [Electronic version]. Journal of Occ[...]
2006-05-05T17:09:43.446-04:00It's that time of the semester again!
2006-04-25T19:40:09.056-04:00I was reading over our class blog and I must say we have certainly picked up momentum and, if I can say so myself, we are turning out to be quite the informational blog. I really think we have some great resources here--we have information on how to start blogging, why people should blog, what some of the benefits and detriments can be (opening the door for critical feedback, competitors seeing your products), and other neat tips and factoids. At the beginning of the semester I would have never thought that we would grow so much as a blog.
2006-04-24T17:53:44.663-04:00In my interview with Cathy Taylor of Adweek’s blog, Adfreak, she mentioned the fact that she’s “lucky” that her blog covers such a popular topic – advertising – because it’s something that everyone is exposed to and that people are likely to have a general interest in; as a result, it is a very popular blog, and a great majority of visitors to the blog are regular people, not industry professionals. Advertising is a very large, very public, very broad field, so it’s easy to see why many people would be interested in reading about it, especially in the short, witty, image- and link-filled form of a blog post. She contrasted her blog with having a blog about wallpaper, which has a “built-in audience,” where really only the few people involved with the industry would become involved with such a blog, and far fewer people in the general public would pay attention to or care about it. This is evidence that all corporate bloggers must each have a unique sense of what they see as “success,” because there is such variety in the range of readership.
2006-04-24T06:25:39.173-04:00As I was online window shopping at Bluefly.com, an online store that sells designer clothes and accessories at discounted prices, and I noticed the retailer had their own blog, Flypaper. A blog about clothes and fashion and Hollywood and things I can’t afford - an automatic winner in my book!
2006-04-24T17:45:07.793-04:00After having just done a research project about another web-based communication phenomenon – the message board (music fan-based boards in particular) – for my Media Audiences class, I thought I’d look into comparing message boards to blogs used for business purposes.
2006-04-24T02:22:21.646-04:00What can a blog do if it’s successful? I found a very interesting list of potential benefits on the web here: http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2006/04/17/1578027.htm
2006-04-24T02:05:33.043-04:00To blog or not to blog? This is the question that seems to be circling around. Sure, there are benefits. Well, wait, there CAN be benefits, but there are still infinite risks. Hell, if Google can accidentally delete their own blog, bad things can happen to anyone. Yes, it’s true: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/03/and-were-back.html
2006-04-23T19:21:45.410-04:00Throughout this semester we have hit upon some very interesting topics in regards to corporate blogging. Some of the topics that stick out in my mind in regards to blogging are its uses as a career booster, a marketing tool, and as a function for coporations to be transparent. There are also some challenges that face blogging including credibility, ethics, and time contraints for working professionals. So where does the conclusion of our blogging experience leave us thus far and what does the future of blogging look like?
2006-04-22T14:51:30.340-04:00For my second interview for the Corporate Blogging Study I interviewed Aliza Pilar Sherman. Aliza is not a corporate blogger but rather a blogger specialist. During the interview she mentioned that one of the most effective corporate blogs out there right now is actually by GM. I was extremely surprised to hear this being that GM is such a huge corporation but in fact they have a blog that is personal, effective, fresh and appeals to the kind of audience that reads blogs (a younger, more hip audience). After looking over the blog there is no surprise to why it is held in such high esteem. The blog exhibits posts by the Vice Chairman of GM and covers topics ranging from global product plans to the new Saturn concept car. Please check out this blog at http://fastlane.gmblogs.com/ and check out some information on Aliza Pilar Sherman at http://www.mediaegg.com/. Thanks!
2006-04-22T02:32:52.520-04:00Alright, by now I think that many of us have a pretty good idea of the momentum corporate blogging is picking up and the potential benefits towards one's career for starting a blog. However, amongst all this hype and hurry there is still a question that I think many others, myself included, have towards starting a blog which is; what do I blog about? For those of us in college right now, this concept is seemingly hard to grasp. In the good old teenage days we didn't have to worry about what kind of information we used to present ourselves as because most of the time it was in a joking manner and it was also only known about by our own friends. Now, i hate to say it, but it's time to face the music. Ahhh we are getting old!! People take what we say seriously and even worse (for some), our careers depend on the way in which we choose to show ourselves in the public eye (myspace, blogs, ect...).
2006-04-21T11:59:14.930-04:00Just wanted to provide a quick update on our corporate blogging study. The students have conducted all 20 interviews (thanks to all the corporate bloggers who participated -- we'll be following up with a more personal thank you in the near future) and transcribed at least one of them.
2006-04-19T21:55:37.406-04:00While working on my own personal job search on Bostonworks.com I came accross an article entitled "Blogs 'Essential' to a Good Career." The article basically gives the opinion of Ben Day, a man who essentially says that he "blogged his way into a career as a high-earning software consultant while maintaining the freedom to schedule frequent jam sessions and performances as a keyboard player." Ben feels that blogging is something that every person needs to do in order to get a successful job.
2006-04-19T15:45:24.096-04:00I was reading Janet Johnson's blog over at Marqui and she spoke about "You as a Brand". I was thinking about it and wouldn't that just fit perfectly into the blog? I want to take it a step further than Janet did and suggest that big corporations that rely heavily on branding must focus extensively on the language they use in their blogs. Extreme examples always demonstrate things easiest. When you think about it, we've spoken about this in class several times. Blogs for companies like Adobe and Microsoft most likely rely on complicated, technological language because this reflects their brand as a leading technology company. A company like Starbucks would use coffee related vocabulary integrated into the individual's blog. Companies like Nike and Reebok whose brand focuses on an athletic lifestyle would utilize fun, easy going vocabulary.
2006-04-18T14:28:34.043-04:00What is all this I hear about spam on blogs? In an interview with my corporate blogger she expressed concern over the amount of spam on blogs. She said that she could not allow trackbacks on her corporate blog because spam will take over. This is a huge issue because trackbacks are a great way to build relationships among bloggers and ultimately pinpoint the best blogs.
2006-04-16T22:32:17.630-04:00In class last week we had a conversation on what we would say if we were asked about blogging. Many students replied that our parents and other "older people" that we knew barely knew how to check email let alone start a blog. I agreed with my fellow students until I stumbled upon an article in my local newspaper which completely contradicts our ideas. In an article entitled "Gotta Blog" by Carol Scibelli from Long Island's Newsday the topic of baby boomers blogging is addressed. http://www.newsday.com/business/custom/retirement/ny-act2spd4702928apr15,0,6422729.story.
2006-04-11T17:38:52.986-04:00Think back to the beginning of our blogging studies. Remember the Cluetrain Manifesto and the 95 Theses? Well there is also what seems to be a continuation of the Cluetrain’s message in the book Naked Conversations by Robert Scobel and Shel Israel. I’m not sure if any of you have found the chance, but the first chapter of the Cluetrain Manifesto is available on-line and I would encourage you all to read it. The writing style and language of the authors is both clever and entertaining, check it out at Cluetrain Manifesto, Chapter 1. The main point of the Cluetrain and of Naked Conversations is that markets are basically conversations. Blogging provides a forum for these conversations where consumers are connected to employees in the corporations. In a column written by John Naughton at The Observer on-line,“Amazon may live to rue naked aggression against blogging,"Naughton describes what happened when a skeptical Amazon employee joined in the blogging discussion. Recently, Amazon invited the authors of Naked Conversations, which advocates corporate blogging, to join Amazon employees in a luncheon discussion. In the discussion Werner Vogels, who is the chief technology officer at Amazon, allegedly started questioning the authors in a very direct, critical, and almost “rude” tone. As Naughton describes, Vogels asked questions mainly about how a blog would benefit a corporation financially. He asked about the ROI, or, return on investments. Scobel and Israel express this idea of blogs as forums for discussions about corporations. Rather than focus on the money that blogs can potentially generate, they focus on the relationships that form between consumers and companies. Could it be that perhaps Amazon is just not the right kind of company to blog? According to Scobel and Israel if companies have not started blogging they: “won't know what people are saying about you. You can't learn from them, and they won't come to see you as a sincere human who cares about your business and your reputation.” This is just one of Scobel and Israel’s points that express how the blogosphere is one of, if not the best, form of two-way communication for corporations and consumers. Apparently, Vogels could not be convinced. I think the authors of Naked Conversations have a great point here in that it's important to know what is being said about your company. Being able to comment on such blogs or defend your image, is just one of the benefits to companies who are a part of the blogosphere. As we discussed in class, I decided to check out John Moore’s blog called “Brand Autopsy,” to see how the dialogue between Amazon and the authors of the book panned out on the blogosphere. In his post entitled “Wretched Conversations,” Moore outlines the “he said, she said” argument between Werner Vogels and Scobel. Basically, what Vogels says is that Amazon always sets a high standard and that’s why they are so critical of the blogging concept for Amazon. He goes on to say that he does not feel that blogs should be “institutionalized” by Amazon just because everyone else is launching them. I think this is a good point I mean, blogging is quickly gaining popularity. Could it be that blogging is just going to end up being another regular marketing tactic that companies employ? Wow… as I finish going through the posts, I agree with Moore. This really is a "he said, she said" war on the web. However, I think it’s a really great example for us as students learning about corporate blogging. Here is Amazon, contemplating the decision to blog.[...]
2006-04-09T22:59:47.070-04:00In my last post, I mentioned the thought that any company can blog as long as they have the right corporate culture and the right personal to blog. This made me think of all the terms we learned in the first half of the semester. It seems to me that many of them are relevant to blogging. These are things that could be considered essential for a company to have in order to blog.
2006-04-09T23:06:31.673-04:00In the first half of this class, we studied NASA, and its communication flaws that led to the Challenger and Columbia disasters. We learned that as a result of these tragedies, NASA has predictably lost credibility with the public. This is due to a loss of the normalization of risk when the cultural mitosis occurred.
2006-04-06T15:29:39.726-04:00Everywhere I turn these days, I hear something new about blogging. Even my mom has called me to tell me now that I’ve talked to her about blogging, she is noticing it on the internet and it being discussed on the news. Even driving down the parkway I’ve seen huge billboards that reads “BLOGGING” with a small AT&T logo at the bottom. Blogging is a hot new trend in not only corporate world, but also the entertainment industry. The television industry seems to be hopping in the blogging boat. USA TODAY, published an article April 5th called, “TV Goes to Blogs: Shows Add Extra Information as Treat for Fans.” The article talks about how not only do popular TV shoes like Grey’s Anatomy, The OC, and The Unit, have fan websites about the shows, but now have blogs. Some of these blogs are written by the actual characters on the show while others are written by the producer or director.
2006-04-03T08:26:21.206-04:00So everyone knows that a good blog would have a credible blogger. But how does one build credibility without bragging about oneself? On a Microsoft blog post, the author explains that she hates when bloggers talk themselves up, just to sound good to the world. Do you think this is necessary when blogging? Do you have to brag about every little thing you accomplished in your industry for others to take you seriously? How do you build credibility without sounding like you are trying to sell yourself?
2006-03-31T09:45:04.206-05:00I received an e-mail recently from Janet Johnson over at Marqui's World about her post entitled "Fear of the Blogosphere". She had recently talked about blogging and social networks at a conference on Media Literacy & Teen Health. Some people who attended her talk (educators and social service people) experienced a lot of anger, fear, and frustration when they found out what Janet's perspective was about who is responsible, at least in part, for some of the horror stories involving social networking sites like MySpace and Live Journal.
- Kids are already out there. They're already engaging with their friends in the blogosphere.I write about this on our class blog not only to help Janet spread the word but also to cite this as an instace of "blogger outreach" -- where one blogger reaches out to other bloggers in order to build a relationship and share ideas. How companies are using blogger outreach is one aspect we are interested in, among many other things, as part of our corporate blogging study.
- And Bobbie Eisenstock's rules of the road should be available to every parent wondering what to do about it.
Pass it on. Blogs and social networks are not going to go away. So let's figure out how to help each other deal with it. And let's show how the blogosphere can do some very good work.
2006-03-22T19:40:15.563-05:00After much class discussion, a posting by Dr. Carl, and response/comment from Tim Jackson of Masiguy, I have yet another resource for why people should have corporate blogs. “Benefits of Blogging” is a post and article that I found while researching one of my interviewees, Tery Spataro. Definitely check out the posting, which also gives practical examples of different types of blogs such as product blogs, and consultant blogs. Once I figure out how to trackback, I will give Aliza Pilar Sherman proper credit for her article.