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Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers [Hardcover]

Robert Scoble , Shel Israel
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Product Description

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.

Review

Scoble, a video blogger for Microsoft, and technology guru Israel have put together a bible for business bloggers. Drawn from their own experiences, as well as from numerous comments posted to their blog (http://redcouch.typepad.com/), they have produced a book with the conversational style of blogs. Starting with a brief history of -Word-of-Mouth- products such as the ICQ global instant messaging service and web browser Firefox, and placing blogging firmly in this context, they state that blogs are -Word-of-Mouth on Steroids.- Included are interviews with company bloggers from the technology industry, of course, but also from various other businesses. Scoble and Israel outline the right and the wrong ways to blog in a business context (e.g., don't say anything you wouldn't say directly to a client or the company VP) and provide basic advice on blogging generally and on related emerging technologies. The key points of the book are that blogs are better than traditional one-way marketing because they allow instant two-way communication with customers, developing a loyalty unmatched by other marketing endeavors. In fact, if a business doesn't blog, its customers will abandon that company in favor of one that does. This book should be in all public libraries and academic business collections.—Robert Harbison, Western Kentucky Univ. Lib., Bowling Green (Library Journal, January 15, 2006) 

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.) (Publishers Weekly, December 5, 2005)

From the Inside Flap

"Talk WITH me."

Today's consumer craves human contact. We're sick to death of voicemail. Menus of options that never offer the option we need. A deluge of carefully spun "information" designed not to answer our concerns, but to influence our decisions. Mechanical voices telling us our call is important to them even as they refuse to answer it.

We're frustrated in our attempts to reach a live human being, and when we finally do, all too often it's someone who barely speaks our language and only reads from a script.

It is so surprising that the consumer distrusts the corporation?

Into this charged atmosphere comes a phenomenon called blogging. It's interactive. It's informal. It's peppered with misspellings, grammatical errors, and an occasional forbidden word.

It comes from a real person. And it allows the consumer to talk back.

Robert Scoble, author of the nation's best-read business blog, and veteran consultant Shel Israel believe bolgging is already changing the face of business. They show you how employee bloggers altered the public's perception of Microsoft. How an outspoken NBA team owner uses his blog to connect with fans. How small businesses and Fortune 500 companies alike can benefit from blogging, and how failing to use it properly can be disastrous.

In the totally forthright manner that defines a good blog, Scoble and Israel are equally honest about blogging's dangers. They examine the risk and how to manage them. And they have practiced what they preach. You'll read comments they receive when they publish early drafts of this book on their own blog.

Traditional corporate communication is one-way, and customers are tired of being talked at. They want to talk back. This landmark book shows you how to let them, and why your business may depend on it.

From the Back Cover

Bill Gates on Robert Scoble:

"You are letting people have a sense of the people here. You're building a connection. People feel more a part of this. Maybe they'll tell us how we can better improve our products."

"Scoble and Israel really understand the issues of corporate blogging well. They discuss why it's important for businesses of all sizes to engage in this new form of communication with their customers and of course, the danger of not participating."
—Michael Gartenberg, Vice President & Research Director, Jupiter Research

"Naked Conversations...covers the bases with real-world examples and insights for anyone who might have a stake in communicating, or conversing, in an era in which subjects can be exposed and laid bare at Internet scale, and participation and honesty rather than obfuscation and subterfuge hopefully prevail."
—Dan Farber, Editor in Chief, ZDNET

Whatever happened to honesty in business?

That's what your clients and customers are asking, even if your company's integrity is above reproach. Because, for decades, corporations have talked at their customers and called it communication. Now comes the blog—and an opportunity for your company to talk with customers and let then talk back. Using more than fifty interviews with people at all levels in all types of businesses, these experts demonstrate in a fresh and thought-provoking way how blog can repair corporate image and rebuild lost trust. And they show you how to do it right.

Can your organization afford not to blog? Read this book and then decide.

"Biz Blogging...WORKS. It is of...MONUMENTAL IMPORTANCE"
—From the Foreword by Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence

About the Author

Robert Scoble is Microsoft's best known blogger, with over 3.5 million visitors to his main blogsite annually. By day, as a "technical evangelist" (a marketing position) he helps run Microsoft's Channel 9 website and can be seen with his camcorder taping interviews and getting people inside looks at Microsoft's people and technology. He started blogging in 2000 and within a few weeks, he was invited to Steve Wozniak's Super Bowl party.

Shel Israel has been consulting for over 20 years. He has played a key strategic role in introducing some of technology’s most enduring products including: SoundBlaster, PowerPoint, Filemaker, MapInfo and Sun Microsystems workstations and more. He is editor-in-chief of Conferenza Premium Reports.

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