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The Business of Blogging: the Good, Bad and the Wonderful. Pranam Kolari Ph.D. Candidate, UMBC CAS Ph.D. Fellow, IBM Toronto. Tim Finin, Yelena Yesha, UMBC Kelly Lyons, Stephen Perelgut, Jen Hawkins, IBM Toronto. 50,000,000 Weblogs (July 2006)
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The Business of Blogging: the Good, Bad and the Wonderful Pranam Kolari Ph.D. Candidate, UMBC CAS Ph.D. Fellow, IBM Toronto Tim Finin, Yelena Yesha, UMBC Kelly Lyons, Stephen Perelgut, Jen Hawkins, IBM Toronto
50,000,000 Weblogs (July 2006) • Doubling in size every 6 months for the past 3 years Blogs have shown astounding growth Source: Technorati State of the Blogosphere Report (http://www.sifry.com/alerts/archives/000436.html)
Blogs are a global phenomenon Source: Technorati State of the Blogosphere Report (http://www.sifry.com/alerts/archives/000436.html)
Enterprises – the Good • Unlike other forms of communication blog posts are public – and now constitute the ‘influential’ social media • So what’s in it for business? Lets take the case of IBM • the Good • Buzz Monitoring • Marketing Feedback • Public Relations Monitoring • Competitive Intelligence
Buzz Monitoring – Word Of Mouth • “Name” mentions guide branding strategies • Product mentions guide product and feature releases PHP Integration Kit for J2EE WAS IBM Chip Clocks 500 GHz PC celebrates 25 years IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad goes in flames
Marketing Feedback • IBM launched their SOA campaign in September/October • BPM/BAM • SOA Videos • “Launch” movie • Effectiveness of marketing campaigns through blogs
Marketing Feedback • WallstreetTech – “Check out this ‘trailer’ for the launch of SOA from IBM - advertising may never be the same again.” • eBizQ – “Check out this fun "movie preview" from IBM about their new SOA product launch next week.” • … • Monitor blogs that mention IBM and SOA • Follow pulse, and tune strategies
Public Relations Management • Monitor “direct to consumer” products – like (Lenovo/IBM)ThinkPad, Lotus etc. “… passersby stared aghast or fled crying terrorist, the ThinkPad (which was quoted to be an IBM, not a Lenovo) apparently had a number of death throes as the fire went through various phases, until eventually” “I love my ThinkPad, which I got inexpensively off of IBM's refurb site.” “Does Lotus Notes Mean Career Suicide?.” • Monitor initiatives – e.g. IBM academic/university relations “found some famous companies such as IBM, Intel and Micron in the fair … Good, this means opportunities … this university is really small so not many students in the gathering; I never saw a line except … (for) IBM ”
Competitive Intelligence • Analyze what (good, bad) makes your competitor buzzy
Enterprises – the Bad • What’s in it for us? • the Bad • Public Relation Problems • Competitive Intelligence • Compulsion to Blog • Updating Blogs • Computational Issues
The Dell PR Episode • Jeff Jarvis with Dell – Summer of 2005 • June 21, 2005 – “Dell lies. Dell sucks.” • Almost all entries went with – “Is someone at Dell listening…”. Everyone except Dell were listening! • Ended with escalation to Chief Marketing Officer, Dell’s PR department now monitors Blogs • Listen to your customers.
Competitive Intelligence • Your competitors know why you are good, and bad • Be proactive, mine for intelligence
Blogger Limitations • Blogs do not cover all demographics • Mining blogs work best in “direct to consumer” products/services • Blogger attrition is high • Don’t post on compulsion
Computational Limitations • Tools are not yet mature • Visualizations still locked into the inertia of traditional web search engines • Sentiment Analysis for automatic opinion extraction still in early research stages • Spam Blogs skew blog analytics • E.g. navigate through blog search results for “IBM laser printer” on a popular blog search engine
Enterprises – the Wonderful • What’s in it for us? • the Wonderful • Business reaches out to consumer • Engage In Conversations • Influence Discussions • Use Blogs among employees (internally) • Identify Thought Leaders
Engage In Conversations • People blog to be heard • Be the first to address consumer issues • Comment and clarify on consumer blog • Request personal communication • Be the first to acknowledge consumer raves • WOMM marketing • “Acknowledgement” is important
Engage In Conversations • My post wasn’t negative, but all subsequent references from me were positive
Employee Blogs Generate Buzz • Employee Blogs hosted (and endorsed) by the enterprise • Product Information and Updates • Feature Feedback • Typically authored by CEO/CFO, Dept Head, Architects • Employee Blogs acknowledged by the enterprise • bridge enterprise with the blogosphere
Influence Discussions – Generate Buzz • Employee blogs generate interest in IBM’s SOA Launch Video, then picked up by the blogosphere
Use Internal Blogs • Blogs hosted internally by an enterprise • Fosters collaboration • Identify experts • Community dynamics • Bottom-up initiatives • Project Blogs • At IBM • “HackDay” an IBM wide event, developed through initiation on a blog
Internal Blogs – Collaboration • IBM has around 2000 active internal blogs • Conversations extend across geographies • Dialogue leads to collaboration COMMENT POST
Internal Blogs – Buzz/Experts • Rank blog postings by employees • Employee concerns • Internal Product Feedback Screen-shots deleted in this version Screen-shots deleted in this version • Mine tag usage • Who are the experts?
Internal Blogs - Elsewhere • Google, Yahoo, Ask • Product releases • Microsoft • Sun • Employee blogs, not well structured • Adobe • Feature feedback
Trends for the future • Blogs within the Enterprise will only grow • New tools for internal blogging • Ways of connecting blogs with other collaboration tools • External Blogs • Bridge blogs will grow in popularity • Competitive Intelligence will find mainstream use and be open