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Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers Hardcover – January, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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About the Authors:

Robert Scoble helps run Microsoft’s Channel 9 Web site. He began his blog in 2000 and now has more than 3.5 million readers every year. Scoble’s blog has earned acclaim in Fortune magazine, Fast Company, and The Economist.

Shel Israel played a key strategic role in introducing some of technology’s most successful products, including PowerPoint, FileMaker, and Sun Microsystems workstations.He’s been an expert on innovation for more than twenty years.

An Excerpt from Naked Conversations:

Bloggings's Six Pillars: There are six key differences between blogging and any other communications channel. You can find any of them elsewhere. These are the Six Pillars of Blogging:

1.Publishable.Anyone can publish a blog.You can do it cheaply and post often. Each posting is instantly available worldwide.

2.Findable. Through search engines, people will find blogs by subject, by author, or both. The more you post, the more findable you become.

3.Social. The blogosphere is one big conversation. Interesting topical conversations move from site to site, linking to each other. Through blogs, people with shared interests build relationships unrestricted by geographic borders.

4.Viral. Information often spreads faster through blogs than via a newsservice. No form of viral marketing matches the speed and efficiency of a blog.

5.Syndicatable. By clicking on an icon, you can get free "home delivery" of RSS- enabled blogs into your e-mail software. RSS lets you know when a blog you subscribe to is updated, saving you search time. This process is considerably more efficient than the last- generation method of visiting one page of one web site at a time looking for changes.

6.Linkable. Because each blog can link to all others, every blogger has access to the tens of millions of people who visit the blogosphere every day.

You can find each of these elements elsewhere. None is, in itself, all that remarkable. But in final assembly, they are the benefits of the most powerful two-way Internet communications tool so far developed.

Other Blogging Books

Blogging For Dummies

Buzz Marketing with Blogs For Dummies

Publishing a Blog with Blogger

From Publishers Weekly

For the past five years, Microsoft employee Scoble has maintained one of the most popular blogs on the Internet. Mixing personal notes with passionate, often-controversial commentary on technology and business, his blog is "naked"—i.e., not filtered through his employer's marketing or public relations department—a key part of its appeal. In this breezy book, Scoble and coauthor Israel argue that every business can benefit from smart "naked" blogging, whether the company's a smalltown plumbing operation or a multinational fashion house. "If you ignore the blogosphere... you won't know what people are saying about you," they write. "You can't learn from them, and they won't come to see you as a sincere human who cares about your business and its reputation." To bolster their argument, Scoble and Israel have assembled an enormous amount of information about blogging: from history and theory to comparisons among countries and industries. They also lay out the dos and don'ts of the medium and include extensive statistics, dozens of case studies and several interviews with famous bloggers. They consider the darker aspects of blogging as well—including the possibility of getting fired by an unsympathetic employer. For companies that have already embraced blogging, this book is an essential guide to best practice. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley (January 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047174719X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471747192
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #280,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dr. Richard G. Petty on March 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
People familiar with my reviews will know that I'm not much given to hyperbole, but on the occasion it is absolutely justified.

I've been a late recruit to the Blogosphere, but I'm now lapping up everything that I can find. One of the most fascinating things to someone who's taught neurology for years, is the way in which links are developing in almost exactly the same way as occurs in the developing brain, and the same principles apply in the Blogosphere, and in the brain of mature individuals as they learn new information.

This book starts with a quick overview of why blogging is becoming such an important part of our lives, and then we're off. We get straight into tons of practical advice.

Although I'm an admitted newbie, I think that even experienced users will likely find a lot to interest them here.

The book identifies eleven tips on how to Blog, with a nice section on each:

1. Get found easily

2. Read and comment on blogs before starting your own

3. Keep if simple and focused

4. Show passion

5. Demonstrate authority

6. Allow comments (Not everyone does, but the authors are quite right in saying that a good blog is a conversation)

7. Be accessible

8. Tell a compelling personal story

9. "Be linky"

10. Build real world relationships

11. Use your referrer log

All of this is sage advice, and the book contains loads more.

By the way, it's also a fun read: so naturally, it is highly recommended!
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Format: Hardcover
Blogging is all the rage these days and authors Scoble and Israel proclaim that "blogs are changing the way businesses talk with customers." The claim is vastly overblown in the sense that most businesses do not and will not talk "with" their customers, but rather talk "to" them.

While the authors enthusiasm for something they themselves do well can be understood, their perspective is limited. For example, they cite Apple and Google among companies that discourage employees from maintaining blogs. The author's attitude is that "some cultures are open and others closed." Frankly it appears Scoble and Israel have no conception of all the legal reasons why organizations may choose to discourage blogging. Trade secret, security, privacy, harassment, international laws all must be scrupulously observed to protect a company against potential liability and unless platoons of lawyers are to be employed merely to review proposed blog postings, many companies are well advised to discourage employees from posting.

Thus, the authors threat that companies that discourage blogging "will be perceived in the public eye as less interesting or relevant than those that do" is humorous as well as misinformed.

Claims such as "[b]logging is cheaper and more effective than most marketing programs in use today" are simply unsupportable, though the authors do cite a couple of examples. But exceptions do not make a rule.

Scoble and Israel fully admit to their personal enthusiasm for blogging and they are indeed believers as every page makes clear. They do present a solid framework for business blogging with lots of solid tips for those sticking a toe in the blogging waters.

But on the whole, blogs are simply one more tool for organizations to consider.
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Format: Hardcover
The short answer to that question is yes.

Don't miss this book even if you and/or your organization haven't yet jumped into the blogosphere.

Scoble and Israel hammer home the point that blogging and other forms of social media are transforming how businesses communicate with customers, suppliers, and all their constituencies.

But this isn't a one-sided, navel-gazing tome on the virtues of blogging. This book is full of hard-hitting advice from dozens of successful bloggers on what makes some blogs work and others flame out.

The book itself is like a blog on steroids, but with a natural thread through the topics that leads the reader easily from one subject to the next. It's more of a conversation than a traditional book.

Throughout the case studies, the authors let the voices of the bloggers shine through, giving the reader a sense of the issues each company faced. When the authors agree or disagree with how a business handled a situation, they let you know-in a civilized way.

Scoble and Israel boil down their research and experience to help businesses understand the nuts and bolts of blogging without going geeky on the reader. They've got eleven tips for a successful blog, how to blog your way through a crisis, and an update of Scoble's Corporate Weblog Manifesto.

Make no mistake-this is a business book. If you're blogging now, read it for the hundreds of insights you'll uncover. If your organization isn't blogging, use this book as a discussion starter for deciding whether blogging is right for your company.
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Scoble and Israel concede that Naked Conversations is not an objective report; the book is written by two blog-champions and sometimes you have to take their arguments with a grain of salt.

However, the authors make a great case for blogs and showcase their power in crisis management, recruiting, and customer support and evangelism. Companies that capitalized on this trend (Microsoft, L'Oreal) came out as big winners, and companies which failed to do so (Kensington, Google) have looming PR crises. Blogs can be instrumental in two-way marketing, and in today's world of 'citizen journalism' they can make for great customer evangelism tools, or if you're not careful, a public bashing from online and offline press. As the authors point out, people are more polite when they know you are listening. The PR folks, the marketing consultants, and mom-and-pop shops stand to benefit from ideas described in this book.

Blogs may not be revolutionary after all, but without a doubt, they add to the repertoire of marketing and PR strategies. Blogs are word-of-mouth on steroids; blogs can make or break your company in a span of several hours, and you better figure out what you're going to do about it before it's too late.
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