Naked Conversations is a concise guide to the blogosphere written by a qualified team: Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble and self-described “recovering publicist” Shel Israel who’s now a writer, speaker, and consultant on blogging, innovation, and communications. The authors show how blogs are now changing organizations and explains how readers can use blogs for a variety of business purposes, especially marketing and public relations.
After a short introduction about the history of blogs, they describe how Microsoft’s blog, Channel 9, allows customers, programmers, and MS employees to converse with one another and invites the world to see what goes on inside Microsoft. (If you so desire, you can watch programmers and developers at work via streaming video.) Several years ago, the blog was merely a vehicle for a small group of programmers to share code.
As an example of how blogs can put a human face on a product—and also move sales and marketing—the authors describe how Thomas Mahon, a former Savile Row tailor, partnered with a former ad executive to produce two blogs, www.gapingvoid.com and www.englishcut.com. The sites provide information about tailoring techniques, fabrics (are Super 150's really the best worsted-wool out there?), and where to buy Mahon’s custom-made suits. The two blogs cater to different audiences—those with a deep interest in fine tailoring and fabric, and those who just want to know where to buy bespoke suits and fine textiles.
Throughout, Scoble and Israel list the elements of the most effective blogs, including the importance of simplicity, focus, passion, authority, a comment section, and so on. “Tell a story,” “be 'linky,'” and “use your referrer log” are other bits of advice.
Approximately 70,000 new blogs are created every day, according to Technorati. More and more people use them to maintain their businesses and share their personal lives. But no technology is forever, conclude Scoble and Israel, whose blogs, respectively, can be found here and here. In fact, they insist, it may not be long before blogging, too, is just another relic of the past.
- Sara Grant