How Blogging Brings Dialogue to Corporate Communications [en]

[fr] Notes d'une conférence que je viens de donner à Zurich sur les blogs en entreprise.

As promised to the participants of this (Monday) evening’s event, here is my slideshow of the talk, notes, and links. *note: notes written up on the train on the way home, I hope the links aren’t too broken and that it makes sense; let me know in the comments if there is anything weird.*

Thanks to everyone for participating so well 🙂 Please feel free to add notes, comments, further questions, things you took away from the talk in the comments to this post.

*note: the beginning of the notes are roughly what I said; questions and answers are not included — there were lots; I gave an accelerated version of the second part of the presentation, as we had talked a lot, and actually, covered much of what was important anyway.*

For links related to corporate blogging, see those tagged [corporateblogging]( and [20070924]( for those linked to today’s talk. Click on the “related tags” on the right to explore further.

I’ve added slide numbers in brackets roughly when they appear. Not that the slides are that interesting, of course…

[1] [2] Blogging is a tool that brings dialogue, and the point of this talk is to see how that happens in a corporate context.

[3] Two main aims:

– understanding the “[bigger picture](” blogging is part of
– practical advice on introducing blogs into a business setting.

[4] As you’ve probably noticed, I’m not a Powerpoint wizard, so won’t be dazzling you with fancy slides and lots of buzzwords. I’d like to have something approaching a conversation with you. I’m obviously expected to do quite a lot of the talking (that’s what I was asked to come for!) — but you know lots of things I don’t, and you’ll have comments and questions. Please ask them as we go along… I’d rather go off-track from my presentation and be sure to address the things you’re wondering about. *note: and yeah, that’s exactly what happened! got so caught up in our conversation that I lost track of time!* This way of doing things, you’ll notice, is related to what blogging is about.

[5] First, I need to know a bit more about you. I know you’re communication executives and I’m told you’re already familiar with blogs — that’s a start, but I need more:

– who reads blogs?
– who has a blog? (personal, corporate, work-related?)
– who is blogging this talk? *(nobody — hopefully in 2 years from now, half the room)*
– who uses a feed-reader (NetNewsWire, BlogLines, Google Reader)
– who is in a company that uses corporate blogs?
– who has employees/clients who blog?
– who has read The Cluetrain Manifesto? Naked Conversations? (required reading!)
– who is in a company that is blogged about? do you know?

[6] Before we get to the meat (practical stuff), let’s clarify

– what is blogging?
– where does it fit in?

There’s a lot of confusion there.

Blogging is:

– a [tool](
– a culture
– from a business point of view, a strategy

Different [layers](

Blogs@Intel · Intel Corporation

[7] [Using just the “tool” layer]( often fails, because it’s just publishing “official communications” in a different wrapping. And official communications are boring — I hope I’m not breaking the news to anyone. Example of this: []( Not very exciting.

I think a lot of corporate blogging failures can be attributed to stopping at the “tool” aspect of blogging, and underestimating the cultural aspects.

Listening and Learning Through Blogging

[8] Example that gets the “culture” layer: [Listening and Learning Through Blogging on McDonalds’ CSR blog](

> I’ve just finished my second posting, and I’ve realized how much there is to learn about the blogosphere. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at other blogs, listening to what others are saying about what we’re doing, and picking up some suggestions along the way. ([McDonalds’ CSR blog](

From a business point of view, adopting blogging is a strategic decision, because it impacts the culture. It’s not just a shiny tool we can use to do the stuff we do usually, it’s linked to deeper changes.

[9] So we’re going to concentrate on the “culture, strategy” side of blogging, which is the first part of this presentation. So we’re going to have to backpedal, zoom out, and look at the big picture: [10] The Internet, The Cluetrain Manifesto.

**So, what’s [the Cluetrain]( about?** It started as an online rant, and grew into a book in 2000. It’s still valid today.

Basically, the Cluetrain says that [conversations are happening](, inside and outside your organization, and they can’t be stopped.

[11] People are tired of being talked at. They (inside: employees; outside: customers) are too busy having [12] real conversations with their friends, people they know and trust. Offline as well as online. They won’t listen to fabricated discourse (a lot of marketing). I know that when I receive my bank statements, I’m interested in how much I’ve spent, and the flyer giving details about my bank’s latest service goes straight to the bin. What about you?

[13] These conversations are everywhere. They’re talking about you — you the companies. A lot of our day-to-day conversation is about brands, consumer products, services… These conversations [14] can’t be controlled. Control is a big issue when it comes to corporate blogging.

Is communication something you control?
Are conversations something you can control?

[15] We know how important word-of-mouth is in marketing, and in the shaping of buying decisions we make. We listen to our friends (people we trust) way more than advertising.

Do great stuff. Care. Let people know. They’ll talk about you.

[16] Blogging is about jumping in there, being part of the conversation. And this conversation is bigger than just blogging.

Not that easy, but [not that hard]( remember what it is to be human. To be passionate about something. To care. Bring that into the conversation.

So the important question becomes: how will this fit into my corporate culture — or not? Is it compatible?

[17] What [I mean]( by corporate blogging: blogging that has to do with corporations, businesses. Blogging beyond the tool (culture). Everything is possible.

– internal
– external
– one author
– multiple authors (group blog)
– very official
– unofficial
– employee blogs
– news outlet (with the danger of missing the “culture” and falling back into the “just tool” use)

[18] Some quick [examples]( of real “corporate” blogs. A lot of damage control in my examples — one thing blogs are good at.

– [Dell]( started out badly, listened, learned
– [McDonalds CSR blog](
– [English Cut]( “my tailor is rich” (haha) fairytale; blogging to demonstrate expertise and built credibility (and [drive your business through the roof](
– [Palm’s response to Engadget’s open letter]( a personal reply, and look at all the comments
– [Robert Scoble]( ex-Microsoft, hired for his blogging skills and reputation
– [Nee-Naw]( a LAS employee — impacts the image we have of the LAS
*note: this is where things started going fast*
– [Richard Pierre SA]( Swiss, also an “expert” blog (demonstrating expertise)
– [Rapleaf’s “we made mistakes”]( if you mess up, and talk about it, and say sorry, chances are many will forgive you
– [Domaine du Crest]( winemaker, Geneva; insight into vinyard life
– [Yahoo! official blog]: taking the heat in the comments
– [4500 Microsoft employee bloggers](
– [DreamHost, ongoing disaster]( being candid about what went wrong
– [Larry’s take on the Vista SR bug]( info straight from the horse’s mouth
– [Michel-Edouard Leclerc](, French CEO (see also [reaction in food poisoning crisis](

[19] Who should blog?

Corporations do not blog. Humans do, people. You can’t remove the person from the blog. Businesses with a “do the right thing” attitude. Enthusiasm needed! [20] Bad guys shouldn’t blog. Businesses who mistreat customers and employees shouldn’t either. Not if you’re dull or cheesy or very controlling. (See Naked Conversations, pp. 134-138.)

[21] [Why]( should one blog? Very important question.

– to communicate differently, humanise the company
– not just another channel to push the same tired message through.

Where does blogging fit in strategically? => who, what exactly…

See [possible objectives here]( Basically, anywhere there are people doing things. Except probably high-confidential security stuff.

[22] How?

You want to get blogs going for all the good reasons, but how does one

– start blogging [23]
– blog well? (ongoing work!)

[No real “one size fits all”.]( Many answers to this, depends on the situation/culture of the company in question.

Some general answers, however.

[24] Check out the [corporate blogging 101](, very precious stuff there.

enable blogging. Encourage employees to blog. Blogging is a grassroots phenomenon, but it needs support form the top. There are maybe people already blogging — find them, and use them to encourage more blogging.

[25] have a purpose (that important Why? question). Don’t blog to blog. Figure out what **current needs** can be adressed by blogging. You can start small:

– event?
– product?
– “news”?
– project?
– office life?
– expertise on one topic?

This is very context-dependant. Need to understand the context well to be able to choose/advise wisely.

Careful! If you’re using a blog to post the usual “official communications”, you’re missing something.

[26] **learn the culture**: this is the big bit. Listen to bloggers (online and offline, in-house and out). Get training (this is where it’s worthwhile to put your money, as you’ve saved on expensive software).

Before going to [India](/logbook/), I studied the culture, but it couldn’t prepare me totally for what I found when I went to live there. You need to go to a foreign culture to really “get” it. Blogging is a foreign culture.

Learning to blog well can take time. Not everyone is a natural. Ongoing effort!

[27][28] Remember, blogging is about **Me & You**, having a conversation.

– dialogue
– relationship
– people

[29] **Listen.** Read blogs. Read comments. Be open. Get a feed-reader.

[30] **Passion.** Believe. Be passionate. If you’re not interested, it’ll be boring.

[31] **Style.** HUGE subject. How to write on a blog. It’s difficult.

– write for the web
– use “I”
– use links, make your writing 2D instead of 1D
– informal
– short paragraphs
– simple, direct language
– no jargon or corpspeak
– tell a story, as if to a friend
– author name, but don’t sign posts like e-mail

[32] **Time.** Don’t kid yourself, it takes time. Commitment. Easily an hour a session, a few times a week. But it’s fun 🙂

If you try to remove any of these ingredients, I doubt your blog will be successful and survive.

[Best practices?](

[33] DO:

– eat your own dog-food
– trust your bloggers
– read other blogs
– be [part of the community](
– use a feed-reader
– link! even to competition, negative stuff
– be human
– learn the culture
– use an existing blogging tool
– discuss problems
– define what is really confidential
– give existing in-house bloggers a role (evangelists! learn from them!)
– tag, ping, use the “kit” and other social tools

[34] DON’T:

– try to control
– use a ghost-writer or outsource blogging
– “roll your own” tool
– ignore established blogging conventions, they’re there for a reason
– copy-paste print material in posts
– use corpspeak
– force people to blog
– write happy-clappy stuff
– write blog posts or comments as if they were e-mails (starting with Hi… and ending with a signature)
– be faceless (signing with the name of the company instead of the person)

[35] FUD: fear, uncertainty, doubt. Cf. Naked Conversations pp. 140-145 for discussion, really, it’s all there:

– negative comments
– confidential leaks
– loss of message control
– competitive disadvantage
– time-consuming
– employee misbehaviour
– ROI absent…

[36] ROI of blogging (google for “ROI blogging” — without quotes). Comes up often (need for quantitative measurement), but still very debated topic. Respected experts all over the map, from [“it doesn’t/can’t apply”]( to [“here is a way to calculate it”](


– hard returns
– soft returns

There is a return, it’s a worthwhile investment, say those who do it. How to measure it is another story. Sorry 🙁

[37] A closer look at some examples… [coComment]( [disclosure: ex-client]:

coComment blog -- Corporate Blogging Example

[38] Read the first sentence… what is wrong here? Not a human speaking. Don’t post press releases as blog posts. You might cite them, or link to them, or comment on them, but don’t stick them in there as posts. How does the reader think his “feedback” will be received when he’s being spoken at to start with?

coComment -- Corporate Blog Example 1

[39] Privacy concerns raised on other blogs. Good to address the issue and respond, instead of hiding! (it would just get worse… cf. Kryptonite). “Click here” looks bad, though, and hints that the medium (blogging) isn’t really understood.

coComment blog -- Corporate Blogging Example

[40] OMG. What is this doing here? Did somebody smoke something? First-time author on this blog — an introduction would have been more appropriate.

coComment blog -- Corporate Blogging Example

[41] Note that this is a multi-author blog, which is usually the case with an “official blog”, though often there will be one “main author” who carries it. Apology for painful upgrade, that’s good. E-mail-like signatures on each post, however, again point to incomplete understanding of the culture.

[Flickr]( great example (and great photosharing service too, sign up today).

Flickr Blog -- Corporate Blog Example

[43] Look at that outage notice. It’s fun! Really fun. And there are updates. Two of them. As a user/customer, I feel that they give a damn.

Flickr Blog -- Corporate Blogging Example

[44] Coverage of what’s going on in the community. Blogging is a lot about community, nurturing it.

Flickr: it's not just blogging

[45] Here, a forum post. It’s not just about blogging, remember the “bigger picture”? But same kind of attitude. How you engage with others in the community. Treat them as people and not like numbers. Look at how well this issue is documented, with links and all — and this is a “problem situation”. We’re not shoving the dirt under the carpet here.

[Moo]( *note: if you got a business card from me, this is where they come from!*

MOO | Blog -- Corporate Blogging Example

[46] So, this is a promotional posting (ad, marketing, oh my!) but look… it feels like she was e-mailing a friend, rings true.

Up for debate (bloggers will tell you “yes”): can you feel if somebody put his/her heart into a post?

[47] Closing notes:

Blogging is a strategy. Deep change in communications. Not pushing a message anymore, but

– conversations
– relationships
– trust
– people

The question to ask is:

Is my company/department/team ready for this?

Blogging is a grassroots phenomenon, so bottom-up (you can’t force people to be passionate about something and blog about it), but needs support from top-down. There are maybe already blogs in your company, and you might not know it!

Read The Cluetrain Manifesto and Naked Conversations to start. (I’m serious.)

Eat your dog food. If you’re going to introduce blogging in your company, you need to start blogging — before. Open a account and start writing about stuff you’re interested in. Use your blog as a [backup brain](, writing things as they occur to you. For you first, and for sharing with others in case it’s of interest to them.

Blogging is technically cheap, but culturally expensive.


Some extra stuff, off the top of my head (some from off-presentation discussion):

Blogging tools: [Wordpress](, Movable Type and Typepad ([SixApart](, Drupal.

Looking up stuff in blogs: use [Technorati]( or Google BlogSearch. Use Technorati Cosmos to see who linked to a given blog post.

The “Because Effect”: I make money *[because of](* my blog, not *with* my blog.

Discussion of trust and reputation in the blogosphere. Auto-regulating medium.

A few sketches I made while preparing this talk, but didn’t use:

Cluetrain 101 Sketch 1

Cluetrain 101 Sketch 2

Cluetrain 101 Sketch 3

[Open-sourcing the invitation copy.](

Good example of an “event blog”: [LIFT conference]( (and go to the conference, too, it’s a great event).

*promotional 😉 note: if you would like to have me come and give this talk (or another!) elsewhere, please don’t hesitate to [get in touch]( This is one of the things I do for a living.*

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Suw Charman at Google: Does Social Software Have Fangs? [en]

[fr] Mes notes de la conférence que mon amie Suw a donné chez Google aujourd'hui.

*Here are the notes I took of [Suw Charman](’s talk. They’re not necessarily well-constructed, and may even contain inaccuracies. I did my best, though!*

It’s trickier than it seems when using blogs in business.

Will talk about using blogs and wikis internally. What can you do when things go a bit wrong?

Software is easy to install, so companies install it, some people start using it, but they’re not getting everything they can out of it.

Wikis are for collaboration, blogs are for publishing. Clear how the technology works, but not clear why some people don’t adopt social software internally for their work.

Suw Talks at Google


Low-level fear of social humiliation. How are they going to come across to their peers and bosses? Fear of making mistake. People don’t realise they’re afraid, they just feel a bit uncomfortable talking /publicly/ to their collegues. E-mail is different because it feels private, it’s 1-1 communication. You’re not exposing yourself as much. People become “shy” when you give them a very public place to work.

Also, some people aren’t comfortable in writing. Some are better talkers than writers, and are not comfortable writing in a semi-formal environment. E-mail is more informal. Blogs and wikis are perceived as requiring a higher level of writing skill. Again, people don’t admit to this.

This doesn’t happen in very open organisations, but often if permission isn’t explicitly given to use such tools, that will really get in the way. “Blogs as diaries”, etc — psychological mismatch. What the boss /thinks/ blogs are, and what they are used for in business.

Trust in the tool. “So you mean anybody can change my stuff?” for wikis. “Can I stop them?” Not comfortable trusting the content placed in such tools, and the tools themselves. “What if the tool loses everything?”

Will the tool still be around in one or two years? If we pour our data into this wiki, am I going to just lose everything if management pulls it down?

Many people just don’t see the point. See social software as something they need to do /in addition/ to what they’re already doing. Parallel with KM disasters.

Biggest problem: how to get people involved. Two basic routes: top-down, and bottom-up.

Top-down can work all right if you have a hierarchical company and control what people are doing. Will work while managers go “you have to use this, or…” but people will abandon it when pressure disappears.

Bottom-up. Trojan mouse. People start using stuff because they think it’s useful, and it spreads through the organisation. Grassroots can be very powerful in getting people to use this kind of software. Risk: incompatible software, duplication of efforts, managers closing things down.

Go for the middle way: support from above (yes, you can use that, we encourage you to use this) but rely on the “bottom”, people using the software to have it spread.

Adoption strategy:

1. Figure out who your users are, not globally, but as small groups with shared needs. You need to understand what these people do every day. Good place to start: look at how they’re using e-mail. E-mail is a very abused tool. CCing just to let you know stuff — we get a huge amount of e-mail for things we don’t really need. Or things like conversation often happen badly in e-mail: somebody missing from the CC list, or somebody replying to one instead of all. And you can’t just access somebody’s inbox. People send out attachments to half a dozen people, and they all send back with comments, need to merge. There are places where these things can be done better/quicker. Identify who is influential within your area — supernodes — who can help you spread adoption, push a tool from something that is used locally to something that is used business-wide.

2. How is this going to make their lives easier? Some use cases can be very small, not very impressive, but very practical. E.g. coming up with a presentation in a short time by using a wiki. Doing that by e-mail wouldn’t work, not in four hours. Another thing is meeting agendas. Put it on the wiki instead of sending out agendas in Powerpoint, Excel, Word… The minutes can go on the wiki too. Looking for places where conversations are fragmented => wiki. Blogs: look for people publishing stuff on a regular basis. Start with those simple use cases, then these practices will spread to other uses. People are bad at generalising from a high level (ie, wikis are for collaboration — d’uh?)

3. Help material on the wiki won’t help people who aren’t comfortable with it. Print it out! Or people are so used to hierarchy, that they recreate it in the wiki, even though it might not seem necessary. If this is the behaviour they feel comfortable with, then we’ll enable this. Come up with naming schemes to make this possible. Be very open to letting the people use these tools the way they want to: coffee rotation, sports page, etc.

4. At one point, requests for help etc. dropped. Critical mass had been reached. People were self-organising.

Top-down stuff: Suw’s more in favour of bottom-up, but often needs to be married to top-down.

Important thing: having managers who accept the tools. Some people can really get in the way of this kind of adoption project. Work around them in a way.

Managers who are the most successful in getting their people to use these tools are those who are the most active, who blog, use the wiki, encourage their people to use it. E.g. manager who would put everything on the wiki and send one-liner replies to e-mails containing questions about this with pointer to the wiki.

Use the tools regularly if possible. Easy to slip back into the old ways, but go back to using the tools.

Beware: adoption and usage is not the goal. Getting your job done is.

Q: what about privacy and secrecy?
A: easy to create little walled gardens in a wiki. also, everything that happens on a wiki is logged.

Need for wiki-gardners. Most of the problems are not technological, but cultural. How people react to the environment. Social vs. hierarchical organisation.

Tool recommendation: depends a lot on who is going to use it. E.g. MediaWiki sets business users running screaming, because it doesn’t look like Word. Happier with SocialText, maybe. What is the users’ comfort zone regarding tools? What about the existing IT infrastructure? Businessy users tend to like shiny stuff, branded, Word-like. More technical users tend to be happy with bland-looking things that might even be broken.

Q: external use cases for blogging?
A: “blogs are diaries” => scary for businesses. Some very mundane use cases: Disney used blogs to announce events (threw away their customer crappy tool). Personal knowledge management — “what have I been doing, what stuff do I need to find again?” Person who has to report on what he’s doing: blog about it, and let boss read. Competitive intelligence. What’s happening out there/in here. Also, “oh this is interesting!” — people blogging about social things, not business-related things. Actually good, allows people to get to know each other. *steph-note: I think Google understands that.* We tend to underestimate the importance of social relationships in business.

**Update, July 3rd: the video**

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Blogging 4 Business: Panel on User-Generated Content [en]

Panel: Euan, Struan, Mark, Lisa

Engaging with the consumer.

Blogging 4 Business

Struan: lawyers hate risk, and also really bad at blogging. Law firm in New Jersey which was told not to blog. Works for big law firm. Been advising clients about blogs and online stuff for the last 12 months. Problems with user-generated content, or staff which might be blogging. Risk-management perspective. Caution.

Mark: short war between Israel and Lebanon. Photographs discovered by bloggers. Wake-up call about how powerful blogging and user-generated content can be. Reuters in Second Life: what journalist ethics in a virtual world? *steph-note: hate it when “virtual” is used to describe digital spaces, because it sounds like “unreal”.* [Global Voices Online](

Lisa: worked for eBay. Hard to give all power to users, keep some control. Yahoo.

Euan: “branding”, “customers”, event terms like “web2.0” etc., vocabulary indicating hordes of people piling onto something that was previously small, maybe fragile. Real danger of killing it in the process. How do you influence (rather than “control”) these environments? *steph-note: let me add “engage with your brand” and “user-generated content” to that list, just mentioned in the moderator’s question.*

Lisa: Quality? depends what the objective is. Asking users to provide photos of sunsets which match the one in the film. Ad contest, winning one (Doritos) cost 12$69 or something. Doritos: is it going to be good? Five finalists (with which D. were all OK) were so keen on winning they actually did their own campaigns, sending the videos to their friends, etc.

Mark: social media providing an alternate way of judging which photos are best for illustrating a subject.

Struan: as soon as you encourage the community to produce stuff, you need to be prepared to what might come back your way. *steph-note: stuff will come back your way whether you ask for it or not; it’s already out there!*

Lisa: when there is product attacking a product which has positive to it, there are often many positive comments which come to its defence.

Euan: flamewars etc. Law struggling to keep up with what’s happening. Jonathan Schwartz who wants to blog financial information, but it’s illegal to do so for the moment.

Struan: there is nothing to stop the information getting out through an unofficial channel.

Moderator: July 2006, Reuters brought to task by some bloggers. What was the internal response to that? (We know the public one…)

Mark: very quickly issued a classic release for news organisations in which they thanked the blogger for the photograph. Hasn’t happened again. Been continuous dialogue with professional photographers and bloggers.

Moderator: need for vetting UGC? Editorial decisions that journalists take all the time but that the public may not be familiar with.

Struan: YouTube, MySpace, not in their interest to check the content (if they did, more liability!) as long as they react quickly in case of content. Guardian: comments not approved — Time: comments approved => higher risk, because involves judgement call. *steph-note: I think this is with UK law, not sure it would work like that in CH.*

Euan: if you try to sanitise the conversation it will move somewhere else.

Lisa: guidelines. Help community moderate itself.

Question to Euan: what are the rules to “keep it pure”, when consulting? (re: fears of “commercialisation”)

Euan: authenticity. It’s not anti-advertising, or anti-commercialism. *steph-note: not sure I got that Q&A right.*

Struan: biggest problem for companies getting into blogging is finding something interesting to write about, and somebody who is capable of writing it. *steph-note: I agree, but it’s often because they don’t think of looking in the right places.*

Question: legal implications if you have bloggers and you let them do it, and they say things that are not necessarily the view of the company?

Struan: company won’t be really able to distance itself from the bloggers. Need to trust the people who are blogging. Posts don’t need to go through the legal department, but some guidelines are in order. When can they blog, how much? Do they understand the basics of trademark and copyright law (to avoid silly lawsuits), do they understand what is and is not confidential? Manageable risks, not something to panic about. Plain English is OK. Encourage bloggers to get a second opinion if they have doubts about what they’re posting. Fair use.

Euan: BBC blog policy (wiki page, developed by existing BBC bloggers). Much more conversation than if just the legal dept. had taken care of it.

Struan: blogger who wrote some potentially offensive political stuff on his blog, somebody googled him, found he worked for Orange, he was suspended (later reinstated). Petite Anglaise story (well recounted). The employer should have had guidelines to protect itself (not nice for bloggers, but better for the company).

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Blogging 4 Business Conference [en]

[fr] Notes de la conférence Blogging4Business à laquelle j'assiste en ce moment à Londres.

So, unless some miracle happens, I’ll be blogging this day offline and posting it tonight when I get back at Suw’s. There seems to be no wifi provided for conference attendees unless you are willing to shell out £25 for a daily pass. (Actually, it seems there were a certain number of passes available.)

I would honestly have expected an event titled “**Blogging** 4 Business” to be “blog-aware” enough to realise that providing free wifi to connected people will encourage blogging of the event. Granted, most of the people I see in the room are taking paper notes (not that there is anything wrong with that) — this doesn’t seem to be an audience of bloggers. But wouldn’t it be an intelligent move to encourage the blogging public to “do their thing” at such an event?

I missed most of the first keynote and panel, spending time in the lobby chatting with Lee and Livio of [Headshift]( (my kind hosts today), and [Adam](

**Panel 1** incomplete and possibly inaccurate notes (they’re more snippets than a real account of what was said, partly because I don’t understand everything — audio and accents)

How do you respond to crisis online? (cf. Kryptonite)

Ged Carroll: In the 90s, faulty lock was broadcast on consumer TV. Mistake: didn’t tell the blogs that they were monitoring what was being said in that space, and that they were working on a solution (they *were* in fact acknowledging the problem, but hadn’t communicated that state of things to the public).

Moderator (Paul Munford?): how do you prevent something like that from being so predominently visible (search etc.)?

Darren Strange: owns his name. Same if you type “Microsoft Office”, his blog comes up pretty quickly too. Blogs attract links, good for search engine ranking.

Question: brands need ambassadors, OK, but where’s the ongoing material to blog about Budweiser?

Tamara Littleton: brand involvement in the site keeps things alive and happening. Reward ambassadors with merchandise.

*steph-note: on my way to London, I was reading the Cluetrain Manifesto (yeah, I’m a bit late on that train) and was particularly inspired by the part about how most of traditional marketing is trying to get people to hear a “message” for which there is actually no “audience” (nobody really wants to hear it), and so ends up coming up with ways to shove it into people’s faces and make them listen. This idea is kind of trotting in the back of my mind these days, and it’s colouring what I’m getting out of this event too.*

Question: transparency is a big thing… “creating ambassadors” (*steph-note: one “creates” ambassadors?!)… where is the space for disclosure?

Tamara Littleton: it’s about creating an environment, not saying “if you do this you’ll get that reward”. Rewards could be access to information about the product. Invite people to take part in something.

Ged Carroll: two types of rewards: merchandise etc, and also reputation-ego. Doesn’t have to be tangible.

Darren Strange: trying to have non-techie people try new releases of Vista, etc. Installed everything on a laptop, shipped it to the people’s house, and gave it to them. “Take the laptop, use it, blog if you want to, write good or bad things, or send it back to us, or give it to charity, or keep it, we don’t really care.” Huge debate about this. Professional journalists will be used to this kind of “approach”, but bloggers are kind of amateurs at this, they don’t know how to react. Disclosure: just state when you received something. *steph-note: and if you’re uncomfortable, say it too!*

**Panel: Lee Bryant, Adam Tinworth, David ??, Olivier Creiche**

*steph-note: got wifi, will publish*

Blogging 4 Business

Lee presenting first. Headshift have quite a bunch of nice products in the social software department. “It aint what you do it’s the way that you do it, and that’s what gets results.” (Bananarama)

Concrete business use cases.

Olivier talking now. “To blog or not to blog?” Simple answer: blog. Serious Eats. Citrix: a lot of knowledge disappeared when people left the company — a lot of knowledge out there that is only waiting to be gathered out of people’s e-mail boxes. Used Movable Type for that.

Another case study: AEP, also wanted to prevent e-mails from being the central repository of company knowledge (e-mails are not shared spaces!) Start small, experimental. Need to find the right people to start with. Another one: Arcelor/Mittal merger. Decided to communicate publicly about the lot of stuff. Video channel. Wanted to be very open about what they were doing and how, and answer questions. Good results, good press coverage.

David: allowing lawyers to share their knowledge and expertise, not just in their offices. Blogs, RSS, wikis allows time-critical sharing of information. *steph-note: like I’ll be publishing this as soon as the panel is over…* Catch things on the fly and make them available over a very short period of time.

Adam: starting to roll out business blogs just to allow communication. Bringing about profound change. *steph-note: very bad account of what Adam said, sorry — audio issues.* Other problems: educational issues. Best to not force people to use this or that tool, but open up. Share. Get people inside the teams to show their collegues what they’re using.

Question (moderator): a lot of evangelising going on in terms of blogs. Do blogs/wikis etc deliver on the promise of breaking down barriers, etc, when it comes to internal communication.

Lee: not a simple black/white situation. It comes down to people. Big problem: people bear a high cost to interact with communication systems and get no feedback. But with social tools (lightweight), we get immediate feedback. Integration with existing corporate systems.

Question: is social media the end of communications as we know it.

Lee: every generation of technology sees itself as a ground-breaker. But they’re all layered on top of each other. We have technology that delivers on the initial promise of the web (equal publication, sharing, etc) *(steph-note: yay! I keep saying that!)*

*steph-note: more northern English please ;-)*

David: now, using the web to create communities of practice, getting lawyers to communicate with people unthought of before.

Question: how do you deal with outdated material.

Lee: with mature social software implementations, any piece of information gathers its own context. So what is relevant to this time tends to come to the surface, so out-dated material sinks down. More about information surfacing when it’s time than getting out-dated stuff out of the way.

David: social tools make it very easy to keep your content up-to-date (which was a big problem with static sites).

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Demain, Capsule de Pain [fr]

[en] On the radio early tomorrow morning. And the day after. Not live, thank goodness.

Un mot rapide pour vous dire que je serai dans [la Capsule de Pain]( (RSR1) demain et après-demain matin (c’est tôt, vers 7h25 il paraît — nul souci cependant, nous avons enregistré ça il y a quelque temps déjà). Sujet: blogs, entreprises…

**Addendum:** vous pouvez écouter tout ça sur [le blog de M. Pain lui-même](

Aussi, pendant qu’on y est, Femina du week-end prochain. Ah, et la Tribune de Genève de jeudi passé (quelqu’un l’a?), et le Quotidien Jurassien de mercredi dernier, et de vendredi (?). Et RougeFM/RadioLac je sais plus quand. Et… je dois en oublier.

Un peu le déluge de journalistes ces temps, de nouveau. Va falloir remettre la page [Presse](/about/presse) à jour.

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Video: About Lush and Blogging [en]

[fr] Une petite vidéo puisque la TSR m'a posé un lapin (tournage prévu pour cet après-midi, reportage annulé mais on garde le plateau -- détails suivront) qui raconte ma découverte de Lush et ce qui fait que je pense qu'ils devraient se mettre à bloguer.

How do I call this? A Vlog? A podcast? A video podcast? A videocast?

Anyway, here’s a little about me and [Lush]( and what makes me say Lush should get into blogging. Enjoy! *Yes, I messed up with the date. We’re the 20th. Shows you what not having any regular schedules anymore did to my internal clock.*

*Sorry, DailyMotion is taking a little time to get the video up and running. You can check out a [16Mb MP4 version of the video]( while you wait.*

Dailymotion blogged video
CTTS: Lush, Me, and Blogging
Video sent by Steph

It took me ten minutes to shoot, an hour or so to edit, and many many hours to figure out the right export settings and upload it to [DailyMotion]( I’m open to criticism (though I don’t like it, of course, I won’t lie) if you think there’s a way I could improve this.

Here are some links related to this video:

– [Back from Dublin](
– [Twinkle ballistic](
– [Blog post about Lush in Lausanne](
– [Lush contact page](
– [Rehab for your hair](

*(If you’re reading my blog through RSS or subscribed in iTunes and the video isn’t coming through properly, **please** let me know.)*

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Stamm Genilem sous les projos [fr]

[en] Spoke briefly at a networking event this evening. Almost froze up on stage (try cramming a general talk about blogs in business in 4 minutes, and then speaking with huge spotlights in your face which don't let you see the public at all). Didn't get a chance to say that if blogging is technically rather easy, mastering it as a media and a culture is more difficult. That's why blogging classes make sense, particularly if you're looking to use your blog "seriously" (business, politics) and can't afford to mess up too much as you learn.

Il y a un peu plus de deux mois, [je découvrais ce qu’était un Stamm Genilem]( Il faisait froid.

Aujourd’hui, je me suis retrouvée [sous les projecteurs]( pour un brève présentation des blogs. Quatre misérables petites minutes! Si vous me connaissez un peu, vous savez que la concision n’est pas mon point fort. Moi qui ai l’habitude d’avoir tout l’espace que je désire à disposition sur mon blog, et de blablater durant une heure ou plus lorsque je parle en public…

Quelques réflexions un peu un vrac:

– ne pas compter sur le bon fonctionnement de la technologie pour sa présentation
– si on fait parler des gens qui ont un ordinateur à piloter (ou pire, une connexion internet!) pour accompagner leur présentation, prévoir un micro “sans les mains” (je le mets où, le micro, pendant que je pianote à l’ordi?)
– beaucoup de personnes présentes dont l’activité tourne autour d’un site web ou de la fabrication de sites…
– 4 minutes, c’est court
– un spot, c’est éblouissant
– quand on voit pas à qui on parle, c’est flippant
– j’ai passé très près du “blanc du bac” (= crise de panique muette accompagnée de paralysie) environ une minute après le début de la présenation, mais Dieu merci il paraît que personne n’a rien vu
– très sympa de voir tous ces gens que je connaissais déjà, et de discuter avec de nouvelles personnes
– blogs et Stamm, il y a vraiment un point de rencontre: réseautage (dynamique très similaire à mon avis)
– pour savoir ce qu’on dit de vous: tapez le nom de votre entreprise ou d’un événement dans Technorati, par exemple (qui parle de [Stamm Genilem](
– toujours en encore surprise de ce que beaucoup de choses concernant l’utilité des blogs et les dynamiques qu’ils permettent de créer aillent aussi peu de soi pour la majorité des gens; ceci n’est pas une critique à l’égard des gens en question, mais plutôt une critique que je m’adresse à moi-même: j’oublie sans cesse toujours, malgré tout, à quel point les blogs représentent un choc culturel.

Qu’est-ce que j’ai dit au sujet des blogs? En deux mots, que leur importance aujourd’hui est symptomatique de l’importance du tournant que prend (qu’a pris!) le web, pour devenir un média conversationnel. L’ère de la main-mise de certains sur l’information est révolue (médias, dirigeants, personnages publics). Le blog est un outil qui permet une publication techniquement facile et à peu de frais, et qui crée des relations entre auteur du blog et lecteurs (clients, public, partenaires…) C’est un outil de réseautage via internet, une porte qu’on peut ouvrir sur le web vivant d’aujourd’hui, et qui nous permet de faire entendre ce qu’on a offrir ou communiquer. Une image: du bouche-à-oreilles aux amphétamines.

Ce n’est pas exactement ce que j’ai dit, bien sûr, mais ça allait dans cette direction. J’ai aussi parlé du [tailleur-blogueur londonien]( Je n’ai pas parlé de [la démo foirée de reconnaissance vocale de Vista](, mais si j’avais eu un peu plus de temps…

Une chose que je n’ai pas dite du tout et que je regrette, c’est que même si on met en avant la *facilité* avec laquelle on peut publier quelque chose grâce à un blog (et le fait que n’importe qui peut aller sur []( et ouvrir son blog — si vous me lisez et que vous n’en avez pas, filez tout de suite en ouvrir un histoire d’essayer, et donnez-nous l’adresse en commentaire), **[bloguer ne va pas de soi](**. C’est un nouveau média à appréhender, et qui l’est d’autant plus difficilement que nous en avons une expérience passive très limitée. C’est une culture à apprendre, et dans laquelle on ne s’immerge souvent pas sans [choc culturel]( “Des liens à faire.”).

Tout le monde doit apprendre à bloguer. Allez regarder [les premiers billets que j’écrivais]( quand j’ai ouvert ce blog, pour rire. Si on fait un blog pour son propore plaisir, alors on peut sans autre apprendre sur le tas. Les erreurs sont de peu de conséquence. Si le blog ne décolle pas, on se découragera peut-être, mais ça n’aura pas d’impact grave (quoique, psychologiquement, suivant la situation et nos motivations…). Par contre, si c’est son entreprise qui est en jeu, ou bien sa [carrière politique](, il est *normal* de se sentir un peu frileux.

Donc, page de pub: primo, il y a le [cours du Centre Patronal sur les blogs]( [Inscrivez-vous.]( Rectification: le cours sur “**comment faire un site web facilement et sans prise de tête, en profitant de surfer sur la Vague 2.0 le Web 2.0 pour augmenter sa visibilité en tirant parti de la puissance de réseau d’internet**” (c’est bon, vous pouvez respirer). Oui je sais, je la ramène souvent avec ce cours (vous pouvez donc en déduire qu’il reste des places). Si vous avez des idées plus originales pour le faire connaître, je suis preneuse.

Deuxio, c’est pour ça qu’on loue les services [des gens qui s’y connaissent]( ([bibi]( entre autres) quand on se lance dans l’aventure, bêtement. N’hésitez pas à [prendre contact](, et on verra si je peux vous aider ou vous aiguiller vers quelqu’un qui peut.

Voilà, fini la pub. Vous pouvez aller vous coucher. (Et moi aussi, accessoirement.)

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Jeudi: Stamm Genilem sur le fameux web 2.0 à Lausanne [fr]

[en] A local networking meetup for entrepreneurs. Topic: web2.0 (blogs and podcasts and stuff). I'll be (briefly) talking. It's on Thursday evening. It's in Lausanne. It's free.

Quand j’ai sondé un peu autour de moi pour savoir [comment mieux nommer]( notre fameux *[cours sur les blogs en entreprise]( “C’est pas marqué mais le prochain cours est les 28 novembre et 5 décembre, inscrivez-vous!”)*, on m’avait dit qu’il fallait parler de *réseaux* et de *”web2.0″* pour attirer l’oeil. (Oui oui je vous casse les oreilles avec [ce cours]( J’arrêterai quand il sera plein. Inscrivez-vous, 28 novembre et 5 décembre.)

Eh bien, voici donc un [Stamm Genilem sur le web2.0](, où l’on parlera de blogs et de podcasts, surtout.

Stamm Genilem web2.0

Euh… un Stamm Genilem? En très bref: [Genilem]( est un organisme de soutien aux créateurs d’entreprises. Ils organisent régulièrement des *[Stamms](*, où l’on vient écouter une assez brève présentation sur un sujet (ici, notre fameux web2.0), et surtout rencontrer des gens. Vive le networking! Pour le faciliter, chacun a l’occasion de se présenter en une quinzaine de secondes brièvement. On a donc une vague idée de qui on côtoie avant de se retrouver autour de l’apéro. C’est très sympa, venez donc nombreux! C’est ouvert à tous et gratuit, il suffit de s’inscrire auprès de cathy at genilem point ch ou au 022 817 37 77.

Ah oui. J’aurai un petit moment lors de ce Stamm pour vous parler de blogs, et de leur intérêt/importance pour les créateurs d’entreprises. (C’est marqué sur l’affiche, je crois.)

A jeudi, donc?

*Et tout ça, c’est la faute à [Thierry]( et [Ramon]( ;-)*

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Cours blogs en entreprise [fr]

[en] The two-day seminar we're giving on blogs in business is finally happening.

Le fameux [cours de formation sur les blogs]( qu’Anne Dominique et moi-même donnons au Centre Patronal ce mercredi et celui d’après aura bien lieu. Il reste encore des places si vous désirez vous inscrire — à bon entendeur!

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Comment faire connaître un cours sur les blogs en Suisse Romande? [en]

Voilà une question qui nous taraude depuis quelque temps, [Anne Dominique Mayor]( et moi-même, ainsi que le responsable de [Romandie Formation](

Nous avons un joli [cours sur les blogs](, destiné aux patrons (ou responsables communication) de PME, qui aura lieu dès septembre (le 6 et le 13, pour être précise). Mais comment le remplir? Comment le faire connaître? Nous avons organisé [une séance d’information en juin](, mais même là, difficile de remplir la salle.

Pour le moment, quand on dit “blog” aux gens, leur réaction est souvent de l’ordre “beurk, non, j’ai pas besoin d’un journal intime en ligne, ça va pas la tête!” Quand on a une chance d’expliquer, là, tout d’un coup, ils sont beaucoup plus intéressés.

Laissez-moi le répéter encore haut et fort: le blog est une technologie, une (des!) culture(s), une machine à ouvrir le dialogue. Ce n’est pas un journal intime. Il *peut* être utilisé pour faire un journal intime en ligne, mais ce n’est qu’une des nombreuses utilisations possibles de cet outil.

Il peut être utilisé pour faire une “page de news” dopée afin de faire passer des infos aux clients. Il peut être utilisé à l’interne, pour mieux communiquer, collaborer, et stocker l’information utile pour l’équipe. Il peut être utilisé “dans l’autre sens”, c’est-à-dire qu’on peut écouter ce qui est dit de notre produit ou service, [comme Robert encourage Nestlé à le faire](, et comme [je le fais]( pour le service [coComment](

Le blog est peu cher, prend certes du temps, mais nous offre une prise directe sur ce que l’on montre sur la toile, et un vrai canal de communication avec “l’extérieur”. Les personnes que j’assiste dans la mise en place de leur blog sont en général bluffées par la simplicité de la publication. C’est *vraiment* facile, pas juste “facile-pour-informaticiens”. On veut changer une virgule, rajouter une phrase? Pas de problème. Inutile de déranger le webmaster pour cela.

Je sais qu’un tel cours (et d’autres, on est déjà en train de comploter) a sa place, mais je me demande si on n’est pas un peu tôt… Et vous, qu’en pensez-vous? Un cours comme celui-ci vous paraît-il adapté? Et éternelle question, comment aider ceux qu’il pourrait intéresser à nous trouver?

Je suis bien consciente que ce billet (que j’ai envie d’écrire depuis plusieurs semaines), publié alors que [24heures parle de blogs et de “yours truly”](, et que [les employeurs de la Petite Anglaise viennent de se ridiculiser en la virant à cause de son blog… bien inoffensif]( “Maître Eolas est en pétard.”), c’est déjà un premier bout de réponse à la deuxième question…

PS: si jamais, messieurs-dames journalistes et autres, c’est Stephanie sans accent. J’ai des origines britanniques et comme c’est à peu près le seul endroit où ça se voit, j’y tiens 😉

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