Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 14 Nov 05 14:45
Journalists can move to the web, if there are business models for online journalism that pay sufficiently well. But it seems to me that newspapers are unlikely to survive a transition away from their expensive bricks-and-mortar legacy to agile web publishing. Systems like Craig's list are leapfrog businesses, they jumped over the newspaper industry and nabbed its bread and butter, classified ads... no?
David Kline (dkline) Mon 14 Nov 05 15:05
I'm not so sure. Check out this article on magazines (and I bet something similar applies to newspapers): _________________ READERS OF DIGITAL VERSIONS OF print magazines appear to be growing less reliant on print editions and are utilizing related digital options, including the websites and email updates of those publications, according to the third year of a reader profile study of one of the major digital publishing platform providers. The findings, which come from a custom Nielsen//NetRatings study of readers of digital magazines adapted by NewsStand Inc., finds the percentage of digital magazine readers who also read the publication's print edition has declined from 40.1 percent in 2003 to 29.0 percent in 2005. Use of the magazine Web sites has fluctuated, but currently is averaging 55 percent of digital edition subscribers. Email updates has increased slightly, and RSS feeds, while still a small percentage, has doubled since 2004 to 4.0 percent in 2005. Other Mediums Used By Digital Magazine Subscribers The findings comes as the print world is trying to come to grips with its migration to digital media, and whether the legacy of printed formats will hold up in digital form. While some remain dubious, digital editions have grown to be a significant share of the subscribers of some trade publications, especially tech industry magazines. According to data released Tuesday by magazine circulation auditor BPA Worldwide, top digital magazine titles have shown a dramatic increase in their "digital-only" subscription bases. All but one of the top 25 digital publications audited by the BPA, had double-digit growth in digital-only subscriptions during the reporting period ending June 30, 2005. The top digital title eWeek boosted its digital only subscribers 16.2 percent. Followed by a 30.0 percent gain for Computer Weekly, and a 32.9 percent gain for Redmond. The fastest-growing digital edition was Microscope, which grew 49.4 percent during the period. Consumer magazine publishers also are wrestling with the conversion to digital. Some major publishers such as Playboy have already embraced digital editions, and the Magazine Publishers of America will hold its first digital publishing conference, "Magazines 24/7: Leveraging Consumer Magazine Brands In The Digital Age," Dec. 8 in New York. Joe Mandese is Editor of MediaPost. http://publications.mediapost.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Articles.showArticle&ar t_aid=36118&passFuseAction=PublicationsSearch.showSearchReslts&art_searched=%2 2digital%20versions%22&page_number=0
Jeff Loomis (jal) Mon 14 Nov 05 17:08
Now there is a URL that needs tinyurl.com
David Kline (dkline) Mon 14 Nov 05 17:43
yeah, how do they come up with stuff like that? Weird.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 14 Nov 05 18:22
What I was suggesting, though, was not that newspapers can't make the transition and hold onto their readers, but that they'll have a tough time supporting the transition while sustaining their legacy systems in the interim if they're losing the classified ad market to more efficient online operations like Ebay, Craig's List, Realtors.com, etc.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 15 Nov 05 07:01
Moving on... could you say a bit about your conversations with business bloggers like Robert Scoble of Microsoft? Scoble seems to speak pretty freely about the company, given his position in the ranks.
David Kline (dkline) Tue 15 Nov 05 09:00
Yeah, Scoble is an interesting and admirable character, in my view. He says what he thinks -- and even criticizes Microsoft when he thinks it's warranted -- but he sticks to what he knows. For example, I just finished a piece for Wired on whether or not companies start blogging mainly when they're in trouble -- i.e., when they have bad PR or their traditional communication strategies are ineffective. Scoble told me he thought the premise was true for at least some companies, but when asked whether that was why Microsoft executives hired him away from NEC and encouraged him to blog, he answered: "They don't let me come to those meetings."
nape fest (zorca) Tue 15 Nov 05 14:18
how well do you think blogs might work within organizations as knowledge bases? i haven't been paying too much attention to the business side of blogs, but it does seem that groups blogs might be ways for individuals within a business or organization to share information that might otherwise reside only with single individuals or units.
David Kline (dkline) Wed 16 Nov 05 09:46
I could re-state what I wrote in the book on that subject, but maybe it makes more sense just to copy and post it here. Note that this was written in April, so enterprise and project-management blogging has no doubt advanced since then: _____________ Although the phenomenon of employee blogging has received considerable attention in the media, its burgeoning effect upon enterprise productivity has been largely ignored. This despite the fact that "industrial strength" or enterprise blogging is already beginning to supplant some of the traditional systems and methods that managers and employees use to communicate with each other and carry out their daily tasks. That's because blogging software platforms appear to have significant advantages over more costly traditional knowledge management systems designed to enable employees to access, store, forward and publish everything from departmental reports, sales forecasts, marketing plans, financial analyses, engineering documents, and supplier and vendor contracts to individual to-do lists, appointment calendars and meeting notes. For one thing, current knowledge management systems are built upon a veritable Tower of Babel of differing document and data formats as well as application-specific interfaces, protocols and operating systems. If you don't know what ODBC, SQL, MAPI, or POP3 is, then you're just going to have to trust us that in many firms, trying to access critical information or communicate effectively with colleagues is a bit like talking in tongues -- only without all the associated convulsing and dancing about (unless, of course, you happen to be one of the system's harried administrators). Enterprise blogs, on the other hand, store, publish, and forward everything in the most widely-used publishing format on earth: HTML, the language of the Web. And when you add in RSS syndication capabilities -- a kind of "subscription service" that automatically delivers relevant information to those who request it -- this means that employees can access all the data and reports they need without having to spend hours hunting for them. If, for example, Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley wants to keep up with the relevant goings on in our hypothetical infant car seat business, he no longer needs to badger his underlings to forward him whatever reports they happen to be able to dig up from their files or from a back-up tape in the archive somewhere. Instead, he can simply "subscribe" to the division's most critical information -- key departmental reports, sales forecasts, R&D feasibility studies, supplier and distributor communications, product and industry news, market research, and, of course, customer feedback surveys -- and have it delivered automatically to his desktop computer to review at his leisure. As no less an authority than Microsoft chairman Bill Gates pointed out: "If I do a trip report, say, and put that in blog format, then all the employees of Microsoft who really want to look at that can find the information [simply by subscribing]." Aside from convenience, ease of use, and seamless interoperability, of course, enterprise blogging offers two additional and very powerful advantages over traditional email-dependent communications systems: persistence and searchability. As David Berlin, the executive editor of industry journal ZDNet and one of the most insightful advocates of enterprise blogging, put it: "It's scary [when you realize] that email is not searchable, it's not accessible to anyone else, and most of the time if somebody leaves the company, they just simply wipe it out, even though it [contains] everything that person ever did and everyone they were in contact with. That information is simply lost." Not so with blogs. For all these reasons, then, a still-small but growing number of firms have begun to use internal blogs as project- or enterprise-wide management systems. Whether blogs will replace current document management systems, or current document management systems will develop blog capabilities, the simplicity and ease of use of this technology virtually guarantees its wider adoption within corporate America. Will this lead to macroeconomic increases in business productivity and economic growth? Anyone who recalls the "productivity paradox" of the 1980s will certainly be cautious in speculating on that point. During that decade, over 20 million PCs entered the American workplace for the first time, and economists expected a surge in productivity to result. None was seen, however -- at least not until the advent of email and networked communications in the early 1990s. Thus the "paradox" was finally understood to mean that automation alone, unless accompanied by improved communications, does not necessarily lead to increased productivity. Or, as the futurist Paul Saffo famously put it, "A computer without a network is nothing more than a paperweight." If there's one thing we can absolutely and positively say about blogging, it's that it fosters improved communication. It therefore seems likely that just as blogging is finally realizing the Web's original promise as a medium of individual expression and public discourse, so may enterprise blogging bring about some of the larger productivity increases long promised by information technology. ___________________
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 16 Nov 05 10:40
There's a Yahoo group on this subject that's been around for several years: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/klogs/ "Klogs" are weblogs used for knowledge management within an organization. If some corporations are understanding how blogs can be effective internally, does this mean that their PR departments will be more effective in understanding and addressing the blogosphere? (For reference, Steve Broback posted yesterday that PR people in general aren't getting blogs: http://blogbusinesssummit.com/2005/11/blogging_the_pr.htm)
Jamais Cascio, WorldChanger (cascio) Wed 16 Nov 05 10:56
Does "tagging" have a place in the organizational blogosphere? Blogs and RSS are useful tools, in combination, but how has the tagging concept worked its way into the set?
David Kline (dkline) Wed 16 Nov 05 11:29
I can't answer that question, unfortunately, because I haven't looked at it yet. Meanwhile, check this out: Report: Online Newspaper Readership Up 11% in Oct. By E&P Gerry Davison, senior media analyst, Nielsen//NetRating Staff Published: November 15, 2005 2:05 PM ET NEW YORK If there's a silver lining in the dark cloud that was last week's circulation figures, look no further than your nearest newspaper Web site. While the Audit Bureau of Circulations' numbers showed a 2.6% decline in daily paid circulation for U.S. newspapers, Nielsen//NetRatings reports that newspaper Web sites grew 11% year-over-year to 39.3 million unique visitors in October 2005, comprising 26% of the active U.S. Internet population. The 11% increase exceeds the growth of the active Internet universe as a whole, which rose 3% year-over-year. According to Nielsen//NetRatings, among online adults who read either a print or online newspaper, 22% have shifted their readership preferences from offline to online sources. The majority of readers, 71%, still prefer print newspapers, while 7% divide their time evenly between the two sources. NYTimes.com was the top U.S. online newspaper site, with 11.4 million unique visitors in October 2005. USAToday.com and WashingtonPost.com took the second and third spots with 10.4 and 8.1 million unique visitors, respectively. LATimes.com and SFGate.com rounded out the top five with 3.9 million unique visitors each. Then come Web sites for the Boston Globe, New York Daily News, Wall Street Journal, Houston Chronicle, and Chicago Sun-Times. "The growth among newspaper Web sites demonstrates that these entities offer unique incentives to visitors," Gerry Davison, senior media analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings, said in a statement. Most, if not all of the top newspaper sites offer interactivity such as blogs, podcasts, and streaming video/audio. These interactive features, combined with Internet users' thirst for up-to-date information, make newspaper Web sites an increasingly appealing choice for news." Men (56%) constituted the majority of online newspapers readership in October. People with an income between $100,000 and $150,000 and those with a bachelor's or postgraduate degree were also likely to visit online newspapers, comprising 21% and 52% of visitors, respectively.
David Kline (dkline) Wed 16 Nov 05 12:35
Thanks for the link to k-logs, Jon. And no, I don't think they will encourage PR pros' embrace of blogging. In fact, I think the biggest roadblock to corporate adoption of public blogs does not lie in the executive suite, but in the corporate PR department and marketing communications office.
nape fest (zorca) Wed 16 Nov 05 15:33
thanks <dkline> and <jonl>. the phenomenal adoption of tagging within blogs and on places like flickr and del.icio.us seems to be telling us something about how users can build topographies of information. i can't imagine that some businesses won't find it useful, but also haven't run across any truly notable examples.
David Kline (dkline) Wed 16 Nov 05 16:39
Then check out this cnet article. They don't use the word "tags," but they describe the process: A prime example is the MySpace social network site, recently purchased by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., which has become so important in the music business that it recently announced the creation of its own label. The more than 500,000 bands and artists that maintain sites there provide streaming access to songs, interviews with musicians and instant networking with and among fans. It's those connections that can spread likes and dislikes at the speed of gossip. Members can add people with similar likes into their personal networks, browse the favorite movies and bands of others and then add those groups as "friends." Small labels have seen public awareness of bands rise sharply after reaching a critical mass on MySpace. Doghouse Records new media director Matt Rubin cites the case of one of his bands, The Honorary Title, which was one of the first groups featured on the front page of MySpace and now has had more than 35,000 people ask to be "friends." It's a more personal experience for people," Rubin said. "Younger fans love that. If they have the time, bands should do the whole participating thing." Major label executives have said that it's nearly as important to have a presence on MySpace as it is to have a single on the radio. "As I talk to our A&R (talent scout) guys, many of them spend a fair amount of time on MySpace," EMI's Klein said. "MySpace has gotten to a critical mass in terms of volume, and it is almost an instant market research unit." http://news.com.com/Grassroots%20taste%20makers%20define%20opinions/2009-1025_ 3-5942440.html And then there's this study: http://www.intelliseek.com/releases2.asp?id=141 And this is specifcally about using tags in marketing: http://freshtakes.typepad.com/znetlady/2005/09/tagging_what_is.html
nape fest (zorca) Wed 16 Nov 05 18:45
that freshtakes article is a great overview. here's one that's not about business specifically, but some good thoughts on tagging... http://www.alexandrasamuel.com/20050516/today-in-the-toronto-star-tagging/ also kinda fun to watch clay shirky and peter merholz duke it out over semantics... http://www.peterme.com/archives/000558.html http://shirky.com/writings/ontology_overrated.html
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 16 Nov 05 18:50
(Zorca slipped me with some good links... but here's what I was gonna say. BTW Clay's "Ontology is Overrated" is what led us to start the "You're It" blog at tagsonomy.com.) Information Architect Peter Morville on tagging: http://semanticstudios.com/publications/semantics/000057.php "As leading indicatrs of semantic serendipity, the folksonomies of Flickr and del.icio.us are cool, but when it comes to findability or re-findability, stacked up against Google and Google Images and Google Desktop, they barely merit attention." Though I think Technorati's approach to tagging can be useful. It's easy to tag your blog items so that they'll be indexed by Technorati's parsebots, you just use the href attribute rel="tag". http://technorati.com/help/tags.html You can also use tags internally on your blog. What makes the tags useful? I would agree that they don't help you find specifics, but they're useful in aggregating posts by subject. So if I'm hearing noise about Bob Woodward today, and I want to see what a few random bloggers are saying, I can look up the tag "woodward" on Technorati and get relevant hits. Check out http://technorati.com/tag/woodward (...and be distracted by Crystal Boudreau's tornado photos!) Do you think this aggregate view adds new perspectives? Or would we be better off reading the NY Times and the Washington Post?
Sharon Brogan (sbmontana) Wed 16 Nov 05 20:15
The Newshour did a long piece tonight on "Citizen Journalism": http://www.pbs.org/newshour/media/index.html
Nancy White (choco) Thu 17 Nov 05 19:50
Hey, we should invite Alexandra to be a guest in VC and blogs!
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 17 Nov 05 21:00
Good idea! Meanwhile, this is the last night of the _Blog!_ discussion, unless we want to continue hanging out. David, do you have anything to add?
Sharon Brogan (sbmontana) Thu 17 Nov 05 22:01
We have focused mostly on political and business blogs -- as most discussions do -- but most blogs are neither of these. They are personal blogs, some with a theme (knitting, or kids, or poetry) and some that are more like public journals or 'commonplace books'. These are the blogs I like to read. This is the kind of blog I write -- or 'keep' -- I'm curious why they aren't the blogs we talk about? Because they are on the 'long tail', with small (relatively) audiences? I am confident that my poems get more readers online than they would if I were actually "published" -- between Watermark and my poetry sites, hundreds of hits a day. For poems. I think this is amazing.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 18 Nov 05 10:35
We didn't get to blogging and media, either. There are so many kinds of blogs, we could go on for weeks. A new discussion starts today, but as a former host of inkwell, I know it's fine for us to keep posting here. I'm prepared to hang around and hope David will hang in, too.
Gail Williams (gail) Fri 18 Nov 05 10:42
Why not? Lots of interesting ideas, and plenty to talk about!
David Kline (dkline) Fri 18 Nov 05 10:57
Actually, Sharon, a recent AOL survey found that blogs are more likely to deal with personal matters than politics or current events, and nearly 50% of bloggers see the activity as a form of therapy. According to this survey, about one-half of bloggers (48.7%) keep a blog because it serves as a form of therapy, and 40.8% say it helps them keep in touch with family and friends. Just 16.2% say they are interested in journalism, and 7.5% want to expose political information. Few see blogging as their ticket to fame. I addressed this issue in my book: _____________ Blogs help break through the anonymity and isolation of modern life. They give people a voice and a forum with which to speak truth to power -- or at least to reach out and touch someone. And although blogs certainly won't give rise to a million new citizen-Shakespeares, they do enable talented but heretofore-unacknowledged people with something to say to find an audience -- and thereby pluck from the indifference of daily life a bit of validation for themselves, their ideas and their creative abilities. In other words, blogging's ultimate product is "empowerment." A weblog "creates a fluid and living form of self-representation, like an avatar in cyberspace that we wear like a skin," says the Web producer Tom Coates. "Through it we articulate ourselves." Or, to put it another way, "I blog, therefore I am." [Indeed, blogging] can produce a new and powerful sense of meaning in a blogger's life. Tens of thousands of women, for example, are now documenting their rites of passage as new mothers or in new careers through blogs -- and just as important, sharing those experiences with others and receiving support and counsel in the process. In a similar vein, many others are writing a daily record of their battles against cancer and other deadly illnesses, sharing their strength, hopes and fears with friends and supporters they never knew they had. The truth is that these are not just the tiresome ramblings of the boring written to the bored. Though for the most part not professional writers, bloggers are often eloquent in the way that only those who are not self-consciously polished often are -- raw, uncensored, and energized by the sound of their newly-awakened voices. And by keeping a daily record of their rites of passage, bloggers often give a shape and meaning to the stages and cycles of their lives that would otherwise be missed in the helter-skelter of modern existence. Sages and psychotherapists, after all, always advise us to view the struggles of our lives as journeys -- as pilgrimages, if you will -- so that we might gain from them not just the memory of difficulties endured but the wisdom of lessons learned and challenges met. Finally this advice is being put into practice on a massive scale, by millions of ordinary people through their blogs. And while it is impossible to divine the end result of this epic social experiment on either the individual lives of the bloggers themselves or on society as a whole -- other than, perhaps, to predict a decline in the numbers of people who visit therapists just to have someone to talk with about their lives -- one must assume that the more deliberatively people appraise and document their lives, the more purposefully those lives will be lived. ________________________
Hal Royaltey (hal) Fri 18 Nov 05 12:41
Hard to believe, but our two weeks have passed and the interview is officially over, and it's time to thank David and Jon for a great time. On the Well, however, nothing is ever really over. Please feel free to continue the discussion. There are a number of questions and comments still hanging fire ... Thanks guys!!
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