The Hypothetical Entrepreneur – Blogging Businesses

From Adam Scouse:

In an effort to better familiarize myself with the so-called blogosphere, I described in a previous post looking into what my buddies were reading online in their spare time.  However, the power of blogs has not been limited to those within dormitory walls.  Businesses have also embraced and encouraged blog writing within their company for a variety of reasons. 

According to Social Text’s Fortune 500 Business Blogging Wiki, 12.8 percent of the Fortune 500 companies are currently blogging.  Topics vary by company and post; however, they seem to correlate mostly with current events and recent product developments.  A fascinating example is General Motor’s FastLane Blog .  Recent posts address the looming economic downturn and its effect on the car industry while the blog fosters reader discussion through commenting. 

Not all blogs are created equal.  Social Text also offers links to blog reviews that base ratings on ease of finding, frequency, engaging writing, relevance, focus, honesty, social-interaction design, and responsiveness. 

Author David Kirkpatrick wrote about the evolution of blogs within companies in his article for Fortune.  He mentions the multiple applications he has witnessed for blogs and refers to managers who strongly encourage blog writing to their employees.However, Kirkpatrick is quick to mention that there are trade-offs and examples where lay-offs have occurred after personal posting.

Coming from an academic perspective, I originally did not associate much validity with what I read in blog posts.  In fact, Internet sources in general are frowned upon by professors.  However, research done by Thomas Johnson and Barbara Kaye during the 2004 presidential election investigates how the public perceives blogs.  Realizing that this study is specific to presidential topics, the study sheds some light on the typical blog reader. 

According to the study, blogs have maintained credibility among those “politically interested Internet users, journalists, and public officials.”  The study even mentioned that readers prefer blogs to traditional media sources.  It appears that readers believe writer bias within blogs is somewhat of a strength over traditional media sources and the depth of blogging material is greater. 

While I may not be able to use blogs in my traditional research as a student, I certainly do use blogs to do research in my everyday life much like one might use Wikipedia.  As long as I understanding the strengths and weaknesses of blogs, I can use them as an effective tool for keeping informed on a daily basis. 

You can follow the full series of posts by Adam Scouse for Handshake 2.0 at The Hypothetical Entrepreneur.

Adam Scouse is an intern for Handshake 2.0, a member company of business acceleration centerVT KnowledgeWorks, located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, a technology park, a research park, and a science park on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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