Friday, July 28, 2006

Sun's Blogging Policy's Sage Advice

Here's some great advice from Sun's blogging policy for those of us who blog about their company.

Think About Consequences
The worst thing that can happen is that a Sun sales pro is in a meeting with a hot prospect, and someone on the customer's side pulls out a print-out of your blog and says "This person at Sun says that product sucks." In general, "XXX sucks" is not only risky but unsubtle. Saying "Netbeans needs to have an easier learning curve for the first-time user" is fine; saying "Visual Development Environments for Java sucks" is just amateurish. Once again, it's
all about judgment: using your weblog to trash or embarrass the company, our
customers, or your co-workers, is not only dangerous but stupid.

NewPR Wiki a font of PR-blogging knowledge

I highly recommend that PR professionals interested in expanding their blog perspective check out the NewPR Wiki . It contains a significant number of resources such as examples of corporate blogging policies and a list of corporate executives' blogs.

Corporate Blogging Advancing Slowly - Survey

Trade journal Warren's Washington Internet Daily reported that corporate blogging is still in an "early adopter" phase, but those who have jumped in are having success. Respondents to a survey sponsored by Porter Novelli and Cymfony said more companies (92%) are monitoring blogs than have blogs (78%). The survey also stated the obvious that blogs are screened by corporate users to check developing trends, gain competitive insight and gauge company buzz. This doesn't seem to talk about individual users' business blogs but about "corporate" blogs.

"New!" -- We'll call it 'Text Mining'

I applaud the efforts of the folks at UC Irvine in the area of text mining and believe it's vital for reserach to continue in this area, but this press release does make it seem that they've uncovered something new. According to the release:

"The demonstration is significant because it is one of the earliest showing
that an extremely efficient, yet very complicated, technology called text mining
is on the brink of becoming a tool useful to more than highly trained computer
programmers and homeland security experts."

I would have to argue that folks in the business world have already established text mining as a useful tool. (Hopefully Homeland Security isn't just learning about it!)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Setting up Factiva NewsPage 2.0 -- the YouTube version

Whenever people talk about blogs written by Factiva employees, Daniela's name comes up. She comes up with great ways of getting her clients engaged through the interactivity of blogs. Here latest idea is posting YouTube videos of her demonstrating new product features. Nice.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Mining Even Deeper into the Long Tail

Factiva Insight is offering content for our clients to mine from nearly 2 million of the most-read blogs (among lots of other content). We often have the discussion about the value of continuing to add more blogs from the end of the long tail. One argument goes that adding blogs that are read by EVEN FEWER people can't be good business. (It costs money to process more content and there has to be a point of diminishing returns.) But at least one person, Chris Anderson, who has authored a blog and a new book called The Long Tail, and an article by the same name in Wired, would disagree. He argues that there's gold in that tail. (Listen to him on NPR's ATC.)

Models like Netflix and Amazon show that there is money to be made when you continue to add lots of esoteric content because there are buyers for seemingly every last title. (Something like 98% of Netflix's huge list of titles have been rented at least once.)

Wal-Mart fighting in the blog trenches

Interesting stuff about how Wal-Mart is engaging in a blogosphere battle with its critics, in part, with its creation of its blog, subtitled "a project of working families for Wal-Mart". It seems to me to be a thinly veiled attempt to look like a non-corporate voice against the company's critics.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Dell Tries to Be More Approachable

Dell follows McDonald's, Google and others online with a corporate blog. McDonald's did it to fight its hurting public image. Google did it to foster it's image of hipness. Dell is probably in the camp of the former. Either way, it will be interesting to watch develop.

The blog, one2one is subtitled, Direct Conversations with Dell. (Hey, that's something even they don't offer via their customer service phone number.)

And one might question the name choice. Be careful with the URL. The site's name is one2one, but the URL is Leave off the "dell" and you can have some sexy chat with lovely ladies just standing by waiting to talk to you.

Eastman Departs Biz360

Some changes at the top of Biz360 as Deborah Eastman, its CMO and EVP of sales and marketing, leaves.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Where is the line for people who blog about work?

A few of my co-workers were chatting this morning about how much a person like myself should say when blogging about product development issues. It is a tough question. In my role at Factiva, I'm privy to product development and business plans which would be very interesting to write about. The things we wrestle with when deciding new product features and where to take the business would make for interesting writing. However, revealing such things could be ba for business. We don't want to tip our hands to the competition. (Are you reading this, guys?)

But at the same time our customers (and even our Sales team!) appreciate when we talk about our innovation and what's coming next. So it's a fine line.

Factiva has taken a very bold step encouraging its employees to blog. Trusting that we will figure out where the line is and not cross it. Perhaps one of us will say too much, but I think the trust that our employer gives us also fosters loyalty which would discourage us from doing something to harm the company.

The other aspect is the challenge of balancing honesty with common sense. This is the harder one. How much can I or should I say about my feelings about bad decisions or corporate mistakes. I don't think there are lots of them at Factiva, but let's face it, all companies make 'em. I'm still not sure where that line is.

So, I'll keep talking about things that I think are interesting, but for now I'll also keep holding back those things that are really interesting. (Like what the director of Factiva Core Products is really like.)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Tips on Making a Blog Work for Your Company

Good piece on corporate blogging from Factiva: The conversation has shifted to allow anyone with a keyboard and an interesting point of view the possibility of equal voice.

The Wal-Mart Parking Lot Phenomena

In the past folk songs were written about finding America on the New Jersey Turnpike or the like. The new window into America seems to be the Wal-Mark parking lot.

I've come across a significant number of mentions on the Web with the term "parking lot" near "Wal-Mart." In fact, "parking lot" is consistently one of the most frequently discovered noun-phrases occurring near Wal-Mart. When I first found the "Wal-Mart Parking Lot Phenomena" I figured it was some anomaly in the data, but no, it's real.

A lot of things happen in this new public space. A few I found just in the past 7 days: a person witnessing a mom slap her child, FEMA information booths for Katrina victims, geospotting caches, a suicide victim found, volunteer sign-up tents, fireworks sales, lab puppy sales, a man who reportedly hid under a woman's car and then licked her toes as she loaded the trunk, people finding Jesus, and young people finding love. Ah, Wal-Mart, your clarion call beckons us all.