Engage: Chapter 4

31 Jan

In chapter four of Brian Solis’s Engage!, “The New Media University 101,” he discusses the influence of blogs, podcasts and wikis.

The interesting thing about blogs, as he points out, is that people severely underestimate the amount of effort a successful blog requires.  Many assume that just because their blog is out there, people are reading it. Many companies also assume that consumers are reading their corporate blogs.

The facts about the lacking credibility of corporate blogs (pg 26) were interesting, but not surprising.  As a consumer and very active user of the internet, I can relate to the skepticism.  I would much rather read a blog where I know the information is honest and not simply pushing a particular agenda or product.  Much like how newspapers really have to strive for objectivity, corporate bloggers need to maintain their dignity and keep their blogs informative rather than persuasive if they wish to be taken seriously.

Another thing that I’ve noticed in my personal experience with blogs is the language (not something discussed in this chapter, but still important to be mindful of).  I think a successful blog should read professionally.  Sure, they can have more of a conversational rhetoric, but they still need to maintain their formality as a business.  The writing style within a blog should reflect the public’s perception of their brand.  For example, references to popular internet memes would complement a geeky tech blog quite nicely–they  would not fare as well if referenced within the blog of popular outdoor equipment giant, Patagonia.

When it comes to wikis (pg 31), Solis discussed appropriately the user-based content control of Wikipedia pages.  As far as credibility goes, I generally accept the information on Wikipedia as accurate.  As Judy Breck discusses in her “golden swamp” concept, open-content is self-vetting.  Companies need to be fully aware of the public’s perception of their brand for this reason–it is inevitable that in a consumer-generated ecosystem, consumer opinion and experience will prevail.

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2 Responses to “Engage: Chapter 4”

  1. emupublicrelations February 7, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    Krystal you are right – the language and professionalism need to stay intact when blog writing. While blogs can be less formal, a level of competence needs to be used.

    Question for you though- you said you accept that what is on Wikipedia to be generally true. Would you use Wikipedia as a source for a newspaper article? Gina

  2. Krystal February 7, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    I wouldn’t cite or quote it within the article, but I would definitely use it as a jump off point. I would use the reference list to maybe hunt down sources, and I would use it to get background information on a person/company/event before I make my interviews, so that I know what to ask about. It’s a good place to find any sort of controversy that’s happened, which could supply a good angle to my story. It just depends.

    So yes, I would use it but none of my readers would know that haha. I wouldn’t quote any sort of encyclopedia… I would likely stick to human sources.

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