BLOGGING UP: News Roundup–01/26/06

I call it “BLOGGING UP”: when organizations, government agencies, politicians, commercial companies, advocacy or lobbying groups or big media (print and electronic) try to use blogging for internal or public communication. The whole premise behind this website is that political blogging is coming of age as many mainstream folks and institutions try to adopt or adapt to blogs.

I will start a new feature here–titled BLOGGING UP–which will periodically survey the variety of “professional” manifestations.

A global roundup for this week:

From Japan: “LIVEDOOR’S HORIE USES BLOG TO DENY WRONGDOING.” The president of a company accused of financial misdeeds starts a blog to protest his innocence. Note his youth (33) and that he is an “Internet mogul.” Will 72-year-old presidents of lumber supply companies do the same someday?

The Japan Times reports:

Livedoor Co. President Takafumi Horie, at the center of a high-profile probe over alleged securities law violations and financial statement falsifications, denied on his Internet blog Sunday involvement in any wrongdoing. Horie, who has been keeping out of public view, wrote, “Concerning the matter that is suspected, I do not think I have done anything.”

It is the first time he has denied his involvement.

The probe by Tokyo prosecutors is centered on whether Livedoor misled the stock market in 2004 over one of its many merger-and-acquisition deals in an attempt to boost the share price of an advertising subsidiary, Livedoor Marketing Co., then known as ValueClick Japan Inc.

The probe also focuses on allegations Livedoor falsified its financial report for the year through September 2004 to show a profit of 1.4 billion yen when the firm was actually in the red.

In his blog, Horie wrote he has been busy holding daily meetings at the company’s head office to study how to cope with the situation.

“Every day, I’m moving back and forth between (my home in Roppongi Hills) Residence and Mori Tower (where Livedoor is headquartered). I’m having various types of meetings on measures (to deal with the scandal),” Horie wrote.

The 33-year-old Internet mogul said the situation is difficult as Livedoor executives have been questioned by prosecutors.

“An announcement onfinancial figures is approaching, and I’m pressed for preparations as the bulk of documents have been confiscated,” Horie said. “Of course, I’m sacrificing my holiday.”

Prosecutors will soon question Horie, according to investigative sources. Executives including Chief Financial Officer Ryoji Miyauchi, 38, and Director Fumito Kumagai, 28, have been questioned on a voluntary basis since Friday.

Horie normally writes regularly on his blog, “Livedoor President Diary,” covering a variety of topics — from his business plans to what he ate and purchased that day.

But he has not been updating it much since Livedoor’s head office in ritzy Roppongi Hills was searched Jan. 16.

From the USA: A major law firm, Preston Gates & Ellis, has started “Government Contracts Litigation blog”. PR Newswire reports:

[the blog] will give subscribers and visitors access to the latest news and trends in government contracts litigation and allow them to stay abreast of the ongoing developments in the legislative process. Visitors can also find information about upcoming events and additional external resources relating to government contracts litigation.

“This blog presents an opportunity to share our knowledge and experience in contract litigation,” said Bill Shook, partner at Preston Gates and head of the firm’s Government Contracts, Construction and Procurement Policy Group. “This one-of-a-kind blog is focused solely on government contracts litigation and will be a valuable informational tool for contractors and government officials alike.”

The blog, which is updated regularly, is the first among the nation’s AmLaw 200 Law Firms dedicated exclusively to government contracts litigation. It condenses the most pertinent information on current and past government contracts litigation into one easy-to-search system.

Then there more consolidations in the world of milblogs: Milblogging.com, the huge military website, teams with Military.com, the blog portal, “to Accelerate Spread of Soldier-Journalism.”

Business Wire reports:

Military.com, the largest military and veteran membership organization, has announced the addition of Milblogging.com (www.Milblogging.com), the leading military-related blog portal, to its family of online military sites. The popularity of military blogs has skyrocketed as the military community, mainstream media and the American public look to assess progress in the Global War on Terror.

Military blogs deliver perspectives from the front lines, offering unfiltered, first-hand accounts. In addition, servicemembers and families share slices of life on duty or on the home front, covering good news and intensely personal stories that may not make the headlines. Milblogging.com organized this blogosphere, making it easy to find blogs of military interest.

Milblogging.com characterizes over 1,100 blogs from 24 countries by country, branch of service, gender and popularity. Milblogging.com offers community and exposure for military bloggers – offering traffic, commentary, recognition and in-depth coverage of the best military blogs on the Internet. In addition, this year marked the first Milblogging.com awards, the “Milbloggies,” to outstanding military bloggers. Milblogging.com is the ultimate starting point to find blogs such as “Sandman Chronicles” from Iraq , “Far from Perfect – The Life of an Army Combat Medic,” “My Son, My Soldier,” “Grandmother in Iraq ,” and “Journal of a Military Wife.

Milblogging.com was created by J.P. Borda, an Operation Enduring Freedom veteran who blogged from Afghanistan in 2004-2005 and started Milblogging.com after returning from deployment. “Its mission is to help people all over the world find the milblogs that interest them in just a few clicks,” he said. J.P. is a respected voice in the military blogging community, and remains, he says, a milblogger at heart. J.P. has been featured by MSNBC, Newsweek, Army Times, The Washington Post, The Rush Limbaugh Show, NPR, BBC radio, other blogs including Instapundit.com and Blackfive.net, as well as other newspapers, radio programs, and television stations across the country.

I mentioned in a previous post about “CaptB” (“One Marine’s View”) that, from the perspective of a historian of the media and the military, milblogs are an amazing development. For the first time in the history of war, we have the ability to read the words of the front-line warriors, literally “live from ground zero.”

Originally posted January 26, 2006 at PolicyByBlog

Comments

  1. Original Reader Comments (14)

    This concept of “Blogging Up” reminds me of a discussion I had with the communications director I work with for a university system. A few years ago we started a college-prep/recruiting campaign that targeted students from 8th grade to 12th grade to get them interested in attending our universities.

    Each month we meet in a brainstorming session to see if we can enhance the campaign. It seems like almost every month the idea of blogs comes back onto the table. The concept of it is perfect. We enlist a few students to blog weekly, post pictures and let these high school kids see how fun and exciting college is, especially our colleges. But usually the list of negatives outweigh the positives. Do you censor the posts? Are there topics that can’t be talked about (i.e. underage drinking)? How do you pick the students? Do we pay the writers? Etc.

    Other universities have used blogs in recruitment, some have succeeded and others have failed. An article in the December 2005 issue of University Business titled “To Blog or Not to Blog” goes through the pros and cons of using blogs for university recruitment. (http://www.universitybusiness.com/page.cfm?p=1084)

    Ball State University features bloggers and podcasters on their admissions page. (http://www.bsu.edu/reallife ) Other colleges use “blog-like” qualities like photo essays and student testimonials, (http://admissions.missouri.edu )

    It’s interesting to see how all fields and all sectors of business, government, military etc. have to grapple with these issues of “to blog or not to blog.”
    February 10, 2006 | Unregistered Commentersmarin3

    As mentioned in earlier posts, the popularity of blogging is going to continue to grow as more and more of the public become knowledgeable of it and come to grips with the potential of its power.

    As “Blogging Down” showcases, businesses and organizations will too, see the same opportunities and try to take advantage of the new medium to communicate with their publics.

    One problem that is beginning to become an issue concerning blogs in the governmental sector is the potential of the leakage of sensitive information from meetings or conversations that were originally thought to be private conversations. On the increase are questions surrounding possible violations of some state and city laws regarding open meetings. For example, in Madison, Wisconsin the city government is trying to come up with solutions to counter the problems it is beginning to have with emails as well as the new medium of blogging among its city council members. Last year Madison officials received an “a cease and desist order” regarding emails that were being sent via its wireless Internet system during meetings, as members would hit the “reply all” button on their laptop computers. The city attorney issued the opinion that all of these “conversations” fell under the rules and regulations of holding a public meeting. Should these emails become open records? The increased use of blogs by political officials will become a challenge; especially for the legal gurus who will begin to take advantage technology advances by challenging the unknown areas concerning this new medium.

    Blogging will continue to increase in popularity and many, especially in the government realm, will adopt its many uses and advantages. But…..a warning to politicians at all levels of government (businesses and organizations pay attention also): get your attorneys and/or legal staffs to begin looking into and coming up with solutions regarding these and many other unforeseen issues regarding electronic communications and especially those dealing with blogging.
    See (http://www.madison.com/tct/news/index.php?ntid=72217&ntpid=5)
    February 12, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBigAL1993

    Corporate blogging is a global trend now. Here is a list of blog links of Europe corporates: http://www.corporateblogging.info/europe/ Meanwhile, blogging has been included into organization communication research. ( http://cmnu531.blogspot.com/2005/12/final-blog-postings-blogging-as.html )

    Unquestionably, corporate blogging has created a new interactive way in organizations. The executives and employees can thus know each other better, build closer relationships and thus have more efficient cooperation. Besides, it enables an audience to have a better on-line conversation than most current corporate websites.

    There is a phenomenon that the executives have a much lower attendance in blogging than their employees. According to a survey among company executives in the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa and Australia ( http://www.writer4business.com/bosses_blogs.htm ), only 2 out of 10 senior business executives actually write their own personal blogs. 83% of the respondents said their blogs were written or drafted by someone else, although they approved the text before it was published. Of the 17%, who said they wrote their own blogs, most said they first asked for advice from HR and communications colleagues. Asked why they did not write their own blogs, nearly half replied that they found it too time consuming while 39% said that they had difficulty in expressing themselves in writing. Such a lacking of voices from the top in corporate blogging may cause the unbalance and insufficiency of communication. We should expect the further “blogging up” will improve this situation.

    Furthermore, since most activists in corporate blogging are employees, another interesting question about corporate blogging is whether it will challenge the existing hierarchy. Some researchers have given a negative answer, such as Scott Rosenberg: ( http://blogs.salon.com/0000014/2004/06/25.html#a630 )”But for large numbers of workers in America, particularly those at big companies, the dominant fact of life remains don’t piss off your boss. And, in an era of health-insurance lock-in and easy outsourcing and offshoring, many U.S. workers remain doubtful that they can simply waltz into a new job should their activities displease the current hierarchy to which they report. So the odds of them feeling at ease publishing honest Web sites about their work lives are extremely poor.”
    February 12, 2006 | Unregistered Commentereusuee

    You mentioned one element of “BLOGGING UP” is the attempt “to use blogging for internal or public communication” within the corporate culture. I found it interesting that at a recent media conference, media consultant, Guidewire Group, announced that “big and small companies are rushing to adopt blogging as a business tool” based on their conducted survey research according to Financial Times (London, England) writer, Kevin Allison in his article, “Who’s afraid of the big, bad blog? Corporate Internet Policy: Some companies find that letting employees do the blogging may be the key to success in the blogosphere.” Allison continued, “The key to success, it turns out, is to take the company out of the picture and let the employees do the blogging.” He exemplified this point by discussing IBM’s incorporation of blogs into the company’s internal communication. The company encourages “IBM bloggers to use their real names, state their position in the company and stick to writing about what they know.” David Radin, of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, reported in, “The business of blogs,” an article covering a meeting discussing blogs, that another technology company, Microsoft, also uses blogs. Steve Ballmer, the CEO, maintains an official Microsoft blog, which according to one expert from Microsoft, allows him to “combat its image as an evil empire, because he has been uncensored, giving both positive and negative opinions about the company.” The Dominion Post (Wellington, New Zealand) published “Blogs go corporate blogs, wikis and podcasts,” an article that states, “Besides showing the public face of a company, blogs can also be used internally as vehicles to plan projects, train staff or to keep the different parts of a large company in touch.”

    However, not all agree that company blogs or corporate use of blogs is beneficial for the company. Radin wrote, “Very few business people have made the jump to blogging because blogging is less controllable than traditional media, Web publishing and corporate e-mail blasts.” The Dominion Post also reported of skepticism among some companies in the Australian and New Zealand region. The Deloitte branch in Australia believed corporate blogging could actually do more harm than good.
    February 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNOLA7

    A candidate for governor of Arkansas recently decided to “blog up” his intention to run for office and he made headlines statewide for the manner in which he made his announcement.

    Bill Halter is a 45-year-old Democrat who has never run for public office, but who held the position of acting director of the Social Security Administration during Bill Clinton’s presidency. In October of last year, Halter developed a committee to explore the possibility of a political campaign and he began raising money, mostly from individuals outside the state of Arkansas.

    His success at raising funds and his delay in announcing his actual intention to run for governor spurred speculation about his candidacy and created buzz about his ultimate political intentions. The manner in which he eventually announced his run for the governor’s office made big news.

    On January 20, a Halter spokesman told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that Halter had nothing to announce, and that some announcement would come by the end of the month. Yet, less than three hours later, Halter announced on his website, http://www.BillHalter.com, that he was running for governor of Arkansas.

    Thus, Halter made big headlines not only for entering the governor’s race, but for doing it in an unconventional manner. There was no big rally and there were no TV cameras. There were no balloons, no coffee and donuts for staffers, no banners and no carefully crafted sound bites. His website simply screamed the words “He’s running!”

    In an editorial examining Halter’s candidacy, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette called him the “Mystery Candidate” and said “Get this: The guy announces his campaign on his web site, late at night. How mod can you get? His may not be the conventional approach but, hey, this is a web-sited day, and night, and maybe that’s what all the candidates will soon be doing. Instead of hiring a band, finding sites around the state, and trucking in crowds.”

    Arkansans know little about this candidate’s platform this early in the campaign, but his decision to “blog up” his campaign has already established him as a cutting edge contender in his first political race.
    February 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterHog79

    It seems entirely predictable that government and commercial interests would see the potential power of getting integrated into a growing medium. The mythology about blogs is that they are independent, first-hand accounts of something, untainted by what many bloggers view as the biased media. That reputation must be incredibly exciting to government and business, because it allows them to reach their consumers directly, without the media filter. And, since the people who use blogs often don’t spend a great deal of time verifying the credentials of the blogger, this idea can work. My hope is that media users (all media-not just blogs} will become more media literate and will learn that just because something pops up on a computer screen does not mean it’s true. This is a particular problem for youth and young adults, who have grown up in an Internet world and are quite accustomed to searching Google or Wikipedia and assuming what shows up is true. I hope universities will recognize the critical nature of teaching media literacy and making sure that such teaching remains open to all emerging information sources while explaining to students each medium’s possibilities and potential problems.
    February 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa7005

    The only kind of company that really ought to be concerned about “blogging up” is a company that conducts shady dealings. Radiant Marketing Group “blog up” on their website about the business of blogging and its pros and cons. In an interview with Steve Rubel (a marketing strategist), he explained that blogging up has a place in business because, “The future of blogging is that it will humanize business.”
    (http://radiantmarketing.typepad.com/radiant_marketing/2004/
    08/the_future_of_b_2.html)
    He likened this to the old days when you personally knew the people who produced your goods and services. Rubel explained that, “the future of blogging is public relations. This is not PR, but actually relating with publics”. If this trend continues, it will not only make business more personal, but politics as well.
    February 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterdiversgirl

    “Blogging up” is an interesting phenomenon that deserves our attention and – at the least – has captured my curiosity.

    First, a corporate president who normally uses his blog to post things “from his business plans to what he ate and purchased that day” uses the medium to defend his innocence. While most blogs are either personal, political, business-oriented, etc., Takafumi Horie’s blog is both personal and professional. This interesting combination begs the question of where the line between the two is (or should be) drawn. When Horie writes on his blog, is he writing as good ole’ Takafumi or the president of Livedoor Co.? And what legal issues could this involve?

    Second, a corporation uses a blog as a public education tool. But Preston, Gates & Ellis (not to mention Takafumi Horie) may now face the same conundrum politicians do. Everything they put on a blog is a piece of them that is published – and that can be used against them.

    Businesses generally carefully protect their public output. In other words, they take careful precaution with their internal operations, hiring practices, strategies, etc. Opening themselves up, even in a small, seemingly benign way, carries the potential for harm.

    Third, military blogging, a topic discussed on previous threads on this blog, is fascinating in its own right for the kind of effect these blogs may or may not have on public opinion and public policy. This question relates also to those who use blogs as Horie has done. How much power will his claim to innocence have?

    Blogs are fascinating, in part, because they are based on a strange concept. A public record of sometimes private, sometimes public affairs carries with it the potential for confusion and grey areas that make mass communication so fascinating.
    February 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterrepublic3

    I agree with the statement about blogs representing “live from ground zero” because the nature of the Internet and specifically blogs is that it allows instant feedback and information broadcast by anyone to a mass audience. This, of course, is perfectly exemplified by the milblogs mentioned in this article, because they literally represent information from the frontlines. Those most likely to blog are under 30, well educated and wealthy, based on web usage statistics http://www.pewinternet.org/trends/User_Demo_12.05.05.htm
    The percentage of seniors who go online is at 22% this number has jumped by 47%, since 2000 (reported in 2004) http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/117/report_display.asp and according to a demographic analysis of internet users, those 65 and older make up only 30% of Internet users http://www.pewinternet.org/trends/User_Demo_12.05.05.htm
    Based on this information, it would appear that senior citizens, while they do not make up a great number of web users, do utilize the Internet, and may turn to blogging in the future. It would take some innovators (CEO’s and others in the corporate world) before it would become 1. Acceptable and 2. Required. There may be a hesitancy for corporate officers and owners to blog because they have more at stake than the personal blogger. At this juncture it seems inappropriate to blog if one is in the corporate hierarchy, but once that barrier is broken, and I think it is beginning to happen, then others will follow suit. It seems that the drawbacks to blogging aren’t enough to outweigh the multitude of benefits it presents.
    February 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commentervanguard15

    What if businesses start “blogging up” not only for internal and external constituency communication, but mainly just flat-out to make money?
    This concept isn’t really a “what-if” anymore, but more of an occurring effort employed by many businesses that are using blogs as a marketing tool.
    NBC has a show on Thursday night, “The Office,” which is quickly becoming a hit series. One of the quirkier but highly popular characters of the show, Dwight Schrute, seems to have his own blog: http://blogs.nbc.com/office/. The template and navigation channels throughout this blog seem ‘real’ in that readers can read about Dundler Mifflin, the paper company Schrute works for. Posting archives are accessible and comments can be made; 197 comments were made on the last blog entry.
    This ‘fake blog’ from a ‘fake person’s’ perspective exemplifies that, not only are companies “blogging up” to communicate factual information about their products and industry, but large corporations could be turning this ideal, once-underground mass communication medium into yet another pop-culture artifact.

    February 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterlittle34

    In a sort of Wikipedia nod to the blog, Chris Anderson of Wired Magazine and Ross Mayfield of socialtext have created Business Blog Weekly, (http://www.socialtext.net/bizblogs/index.cgi) a directory of Fortune 500 companies that have business blogs. They define a business blog as “active public blogs by company employees about the company and/or its products.” The list is relatively new and still in its building stages but they plan to create a Business Blogging Index. They will include share price data in the directory as a way to compare stock performances of companies that blog with those that don’t. Their data show that currently only 4.4% of US big business engages in blogging with its publics.
    According to Stephen Baker in Business Week online (http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/feb2006/tc20060214_402499.htm¬) bloggig technology, hardly being ignored, is being better utilized to “revamp internal communications, reach out to suppliers and remake corporate intranets.” McDonald’s CIO says they use them because they are cheap to deploy, don’t look much different than the programs they replace and represent a great way of bringing collective knowledge together.
    Leading blog search engine, Technorati, attributes tripled blog usage in the past year (up to 27 million) to the fact that they are less expensive and much more user friendly than personal webpages.
    Now that internal blogging is generating positive results, companies are trying to decide whether or not to take their blogs to the public sphere. On one hand, it’s a fresh new way to market to people that willingly give up demographic information and communicate freely about their wants/needs. On the other, are the fears of the unknown associated with new technologies and marketing departments that don’t really know what to expect. Then there’s the fear of comments by “untrusted” bloggers, competitors, and whistleblowers.
    Just as with political blogs, the possibilities are endless, but giving the green light is a scary prospect. Companies, like unsuspecting, trusting to the point of gullibility customers, need to be wary and trepidations about depending on blogs until norms and safeguards are properly in place.
    February 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterow1018

    In today’s Daily Reveille (Louisiana State University’s student newspaper) there is a story about how both opponents and supporters of the war in Iraq are distrustful of mainstream media for war news and are increasingly turning to blogs for information. The article interviews three military moms whose sons are serving in Iraq who say that they look beyond traditional “left-leaning” media. All three share the view that the mainstream media does not give pro-war mothers enough attention, but instead focus on the likes of Cindy Sheehan, who is an outspoken critic of the war.

    The three moms say they read “Iraq the Model” blog (http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/), which is written by Iraqi brothers to chart the progress that has been made in Iraq.

    This is just another example of how blogs are being used to gather war information.
    February 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjohn444

    If alls fair in love and war, all fair in the blogsphere. There are no rules for either one. Howard Dean used it to raise tens of millions of dollars and Takafumi Horie can proclaim his innocence. There really are no rules.
    According to a Technorati report, by mid-2004, there were at least three million blogs being tracked. So however many people we have in the world, that’s how many types of blogs we could potentially have. I’m sure everyone has that friend who can go on ad nauseum about the most pointless subject. You can bet there’s probably a blog for it.
    February 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterharrison72

    Corporate blogging has officially begun its ascent to the ranks of top communication methods within organizations and to the public. In the February 5, 2006 article “The blog in the corporate machine,” The Economist reports that corporations should always be prepared to respond to bloggers in their venue: the blogosphere. According to the magazine, dealing with blogger critics is especially delicate, because, “In the blogosphere…a corporation’s next big critic could be anyone. He might be an angry customer or a disgruntled employee—though that sort of tie to the company is not essential; nor does he need lots of industry experience or lengthy credentials to be a threat. All a blogger really needs to devastate a company is a bit of information and plausibility, a complaint that catches the imagination and a knack for making others care about his gripe.”

    The PR firm CooperKatz created a “Micro Persuasion” department that helps companies communicate with the public via blogs and other interactive media. In an interview with Steve Rubel, CooperKatz exec, The Economist reports, “[Rubel] reckons that companies should also have a ready-made plan for influencing bloggers if a crisis does occur…. He recommends setting up a ‘lockbox blog’ that is hidden behind an internet firewall, but can be made visible to the public at short notice. Any websites or video clips that companies might want to direct the public to in an emergency, for example, could be prepared in advance. Then, he likes to tell clients: ‘in case of emergency, break glass and blog.’”

    The article goes further to suggest that corporations should not limit themselves to reactionary attention to blogs. Rather, some pre-emptive online investigative work should occur on a regular basis. As an example of why this is imperative, The Economist reports, “In September 2004 word spread quickly through the blogosphere that U-shaped locks by Kryptonite and other firms could be picked, quickly and easily, using only the plastic casing of a Bic pen. Then somebody made a video showing how to do it, and posted it on the Engadget blog site, one of the most popular on the internet. After Kryptonite discovered the problem, it came up with a plan to take care of its customers and improve its locks. But Donna Tocci, Kryptonite’s media chief, says that she now checks 30-40 blogs every day.”

    To be sure, blogs will grow in essentiality for corporations everywhere. Anytime companies begin creating new departments to satisfy their customers’ needs (as in CooperKatz), it is clear that a movement is about to emerge.

    February 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterweezy138

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