I have been focusing on corporate blogging the past two weeks, so I’d like to take a brief break and talk about all the various types of blogs out there in the blogosphere. These blogs follow the same formula of the corporate blog when it comes to key words, meta tags, subject matter, and etiquette. These different blogs have their own agenda, often tied to the business world—the blog may connect to a book or movie, a specific product, TV show, website, or branding, such as:
The Corporate Blog
The corporate blog is much like the Ninthlink blog here—it is about the company, written by company employees, that addresses what the company has to offer, whether that is a brand, product, or service. More and more, companies are relying on these blogs to enhance their Internet presence by maintaining posts every day and using the methods I have been discussing: a focus on the brand, key words, commenting, meta tags, trackbacking, and site meter traffic. This type of blog is published and used by an organization to reach its organizational goals. The advantage of blogs is that posts and comments are easy to reach and follow due to centralized hosting and generally structured conversation threads. Currently, all major browsers (including Firefox, Opera, Safari and Internet Explorer) support RSS technology, which enables readers to easily read recent posts without actually visiting the blog, which is very useful for low-volume blogs.
Although there are many different types of corporate blogs, most can be categorized as either external or internal.
An internal blog, generally accessed through the corporation’s Intranet, is a weblog that any employee can view. Many blogs are also communal, allowing anyone to post to them. The informal nature of blogs may encourage:
-free discussion of issues
-direct communication between various layers of an organization
-a sense of community
Internal blogs may be used in lieu of meetings and e-mail discussions, and can be especially useful when the people involved are in different locations, or have conflicting schedules. Blogs may also allow individuals who otherwise would not have been aware of or invited to participate in a discussion to contribute their expertise
An external blog is a publicly available weblog where company employees, teams, or spokespersons share their views. It is often used to announce new products and services (or the end of old products), to explain and clarify policies, or to react on public criticism on certain issues. It also allows a window to the company culture and is often treated more informally than traditional press releases, though a corporate blog often tries to accomplish similar goals as press releases do. In some corporate blogs, all posts go through a review before they’re posted. Some corporate blogs, but not all, allow comments to be made to the posts.
External corporate blogs are biased, though they can also offer a more honest and direct view than traditional communication channels. Nevertheless, they remain public relations tools.
Marketers might expect to have product evangelists or influencers among the audience of an external blog. Once they find them, they may treat them like VIPs, asking them for feedback on exclusive previews, product testing, marketing plans, customer services audits, etc.
This business blog can provide additional value by adding a level of credibility that is often unobtainable from a standard corporate site. The informality and increased timeliness of information posted to blogs assists with increasing transparency and accessibility in the corporate image. Business blogs can interact with a target market on a more personal level while building link credibility that can ultimately be tied back to the corporate site.
Lately, CEO blogs have started to become popular as well.
The Question Blog
The question blog are blogs specifically designed for Q&A about certain fields, genres, and interests, such as the science oriented The Big Question. There is also interview with Saddam Hussein was a big score for CBS, but for the blogging set, the real news was the raft of online criticism and commentary that followed. So, the media blog, found on most web sites for television, cable, radio, print, and online magazines, are often used and read by bloggers to comment on what the media personality blogger has to say, such as the columns by Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly or Greta van Sustern.
This sort of blog is set up for users to discuss and review new products of a technological nature, such as the iPhone or the latest laptop. These blogs are usually set up by the company that offers then product, but may also be set up by a blogger who is simply a fan of the product.
This is a groupware platform that fuses the collaborative editing features of wikis with the user friendly publishing characteristics of blogs. They are often set up for a team working on a project, such as an anthology of encyclopedia, or by fans of TV shows, comics, movies, etc., to build a site that delivers facts about their common interest.
The Celebrity Blog
Celebrity blogs will have a wider readership than an average person’s, of course. The celebrity can use a blog to keep in touch with fans, to promote a new movie, TV show, book, etc. On CBS.com, a writer for CSI Miami kept a blog to sow the inner-workings of producing a popular TV program, creating an auto/biography of work and entertainment. Blogs by yesterday’s celebrity have helped some to re-enter the limelight, usually by writing about secrets and scandals.
The Band Blog
Bands—known, national, and local—as well as musicians often blog about their experiences on the road, doing shows, putting the next album together, dealing with groupies and fame (or lack of fame). Band blogs allow fans to interact with band members. Myspace has been a popular site for band blogging, and record companies will set up blog sites for their acts. New songs can be previewed for fans too, and links to downloads, for a price, will be found on blogs.
The Political Blog
The political blog takes several forms—journalists and regular people commenting on politicians, world leaders, and political issues, or kept by politicians and world leaders. Matt Drudge’s The Drudge Report is considered to be a pioneer of the political blog, but that was more biographical than auto/biographical. At issue here is an inquiry of honesty in a politician’s blog, as well as determining what their biased agenda may be. This sort of blogging needs to be cautious. Jessica Cutler, “The Washingtonienne,” blogged about her sex life while employed as a Congressional assistant. After the blog was discovered and she was fired; she then wrote a novel based on her experiences and the blog: The Washingtonienne: A Novel.
The News Blog
This is also a media blog. journalists often blog either through the newspaper/TV channel they are associated with, or outside their journalistic workplace, where they can be free to speak their minds. Independent and amateur journalists will also blog on the news, presenting commentary and editorial that may not be available from a mainstream news source. It is becoming more common now for traditional news outlets to seek out information from the less-formal news blogs. There are “armchair” journalists out there who find information better than some professional journalists—they may have more time and resources.
The Genre Blog
I will lump a number of blogs under this category that are self-explanatory and can be considered “genres”: the photo blog (where users share their photos with one another, or one user posts his/her pictures); medical blogs, travel blogs, movie blogs, food blogs, tech blogs, economic blogs (very popular now with Wall Street crashing the past week, aka “econoblogging”), war blogs (quite popular in the first few years of the Iraq War, where soldiers write about their experiences in the field). Often, one can go to a blogring (sometimes called “meta-blogs”) and find compilations of like-minded blogs, such as the UKknitters, which lists may blogs about—yes, knitting.
Blogging and the Classroom
The blog has replaced the pen-and-paper journal course work at all levels of education, from high school to undergraduate and graduate work. Teachers have students create blogs either through the school’s internet system or public sites such as blogspot.com, where they discuss texts that have been assigned, films viewed, or lectures. Students and teachers can comment on each other’s blogs; teachers can also maintain a blog through the course to convey further insights. Obviously, there are issues of caution and ethics involved in maintaining such blogs; a hacker could break into the teacher’s or a fellow student’s blog and post embarrassing to libelous text, causing trouble in a person’s life. Such blogs, if not deleted after the course, can be accessed by future employers, law agencies, and anyone else wishing to gather information on a person (for interest, someone could express a political or social view while reading a questionable text assigned to a class and these words could be misconstrued or taken out of context to be used against the blogger).
Interactive Blogging in the Digital Village
Early sites such as OpenDiary, Friendster, and LiveJournal, and newer sites such as Myspace, Twitter, and Facebook, are referred to as “the digital village.” These blogs are interactive—diaries are linked, people can comment on entries, and another party can post contrary accounts of a shared experience—e.g., a former couple can argue about what “really happened” to bring about the demise of a marriage or relationship. Each village has its own look, feel, rules, and ambience—blogging on MySpace is a much different experience than Livejournal. These villages are also social networking spaces, where business and personal lives intersect and blur. There are those who have accounts on all these spaces, and those who prefer Facebook over Myspace, out of loyalty, features, or simply because they do not have time to visit and play in every online village.
Call to Action
Do you have questions about the blogosphere, social networks, what kind of blog may be best for you, what kinds of blogs would you want to link to your blog to enhance interet presence? I’d love to talk to you about this! Contact me at [email protected], or 858.200.9060.
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