Blog #3- Blogs and Social Media-Cara

1.  The readings discussed the uses and viewpoints of businesses that use blogs and social media as an communication tool for their business.  It discusses businesses that encourage their employees to blog, as well as business who don’t.  The study had been done previously in 2006 and 2007 and the results of the 2008 study were being compared to the benchmarks set by the previous years.  Generally, the study was done to discover whether or not blogs were considered a relevant tool in public relations and the different opinions and parameters that should be set upon employee blogging.

2/3.  Considering the speed at which technology advances, a 2008 study on blogging might already be outdated, but it still asked some very relevant and interesting questions.  Considering at the time of the survey, less than half of Fortune 500 companies were using blogs as a form of communication, it is still a very relevant conversation to have in asking why that is.  When I think of the uses of corporate blogging, just as the article said, I think it puts pressure on a company to be held accountable, “There is very solid agreement (84%) that blogs and social media have made communications more instantaneous because they force organizations to respond more quickly to criticism,” (p. 10).  A very specific time when I experienced this firsthand was when Netflix announced its price increase and the split between streaming and their dvd service.  There were numerous articles being written about what was happening and I was reading all of them, and in response the CEO blogged about it.  A link to the blog was emailed to all Netflix subscribers and the CEO said his piece and there was room to comment (despite the blog having a limit of I believe 500 comments and the number being reached by the time I read it).  Whether or not what the CEO said was legitimate, there was still an extra outlet for his message to be sent directly to stakeholders, which was convenient and useful.  I still ended my Netflix subscription.

I am an advocate of companies blogging.  I feel that it makes companies more attainable, it forces them to be in tune and connected to their customers, and allows for a conversation that might not have previously had an outlet to be had.  In general, I find that blogging is a tool that should be taken with a grain of salt.  Anyone can start a blog and anyone can write anything.  I’ve heard comments about blogging almost becoming a threat to traditional journalism, which would be a shame, but I was comforted in the fact that overwhelmingly in this study respondents had more faith in traditional methods of journalism to be truthful and credible than blogging (p. 11).  I do think that people who hold careers in traditional methods of journalism need to be aware of the fact that most people don’t necessarily see blogging as a credible source and must ensure that their work stays credible to ensure that traditional journalism stays relevant.  I think it is important, especially considering our First Amendment rights, that there is an outlet for anyone to speak their mind, but in conjunction with that there needs to be a credible source of information that does have checks and balances.

The idea of checks and balances brings me to my third thought about the article.  I found the idea of only writing positive blogs about a company and a company monitoring that interesting.  I wonder if that question would be more easily answered if the purpose of the blog was more clear.  After the third year of this survey, people are increasingly responding that they find it unethical to post negative comments about their company (p. 13).  I suppose that it would be unethical to use the blog as a venting platform if the purpose of it is to present a new product to customers.  With any new initiative, I think it is critical to have a clear mission so those involved know what the parameters are and what is expected.  I think having a clear purpose for blogging is critical since it is so widely available and uncontrolled.  I think if an employee is using professional blog in a way that does not contribute to the mission of the blog, then it is unethical to write any information that is not inline with the mission.  If it is a personal blog that is not affiliated with the company, then that is a different discussion.

4/7. What I found “difficult” about the reading was that I do think it might be slightly outdated at this point.  Considering the availability of blogs I was curious if there were more studies or articles out there following up the research that had been done.  I found a website that broke down some numbers regarding the effectiveness and traffic of websites of companies with blogs compared to those who don’t have them.  The article I took this from was written in 2010 and had projections up until 2012.  This article also brings in Twitter in conjunction with blogging and how that effects traffic. Here are some illustrations of the results: 

I also thought this was an interesting viewpoint in comparison to the study because it is looking at the effects of blogging from a statistical standpoint on website traffic and social media followers as opposed to the opinions of people who work at the companies.

5.  I think a question that needs to be asked or focused is the one I previously asked and that is regarding the purpose of companies blogging. Moreover, since blogging has been popular for a few years now, is that mission effective or has it changed? Is blogging for companies still being used the same way in 2012 as it was in 2008? Also, in 2008 only half of Fortune 500 companies were blogging.  I would be interested to see what the statistic is in 2012 because another question would be is any company that isn’t blogging at this point allowing themselves to fall behind and become irrelevant?

6. Blogging is relevant today and in the business world is becoming a legitimate medium for communication.  I still do not think that is necessarily a legitimate medium in all interpretations, but like any other media outlet, one needs to use their best judgment when citing a blog for information.  Understanding how visible a blog is and who the audience is, I believe is key in understanding how to correctly utilize a blog, whether it be for a class like this, a personal blog or a company.  Blogs are beneficial in they allow for immediate feedback and one is doing themselves a disservice by not taking advantage of the two-way feature that blogs have.  What is important now in considering blogging, is knowing what is appropriate and designing a blog that is beneficial to the platform.

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