Friday, June 08, 2007

Women Blogging and Business - Eileen Brown

The next speaker at the WBB conference was Eileen Brown. Her plenary was entitled: Changing Customer Perception Through Blogging.

Eileen began by raising the gender politics of the technical world. She pointed out that there are only 3-5% women working in her sector of the world of technology. A gender pattern that was certainly reversed at this conference and was commented on by many of the participants.

The central theme of her talk was questioning why companies blog? How can blogging change the public perception of a company? From her experience at Microsoft, negative perception can carry through into custmoer (dis)satisfaction. The purpose of blogging in Eileen's job seemed to be a means of introducing a personal element, presenting the image the company employees were 'real people'.

How fantastic to work for a company that prizes innovation, that has a 'just do it' attitude!

Why does Eileen blog? She then talked about the work of Robert Scoble, and his influence in changing perceptions of Microsoft. Her central argument for using blogs are because it is an effective medium for getting information out to people who she would not normally come into contact with, or could touch herself. However, there is a risk in blogging, as the disturbing case of the threatening posts on Kathy Sierra's blog shows.

Technorati rankings are used as a tool for tracking perceptions of Microsoft. Bloggers have even changed how internal processes have been handled in their company. She then went on to consider what policies on blogging companies have. Microsoft's seems pretty apt to me: 'Blog smart'. In that environment, the blogging community is self policing about the nature of posts that are put forward. 'Blogging smart' is an empowering concept, rather than restricting.

She put out a list of her 'top 10 lessons' for blogging:
Blog frequently (a rhythm of blogging, not necessarily every day)
Answer every comment
Don't sell
Link. link. link
Traffic isn't the goal
Be authentic
Expect criticism - be humble
Don't blog when you're drunk / down / angrey
Blog Smart
Never delete a post

Great advice for those of us who are venturing into this arena.

I was particularly interested in the way that the blogging and its linked idea of storytelling personalises the corporate image. What is it about the narrative and the individual that does this?

And a closing note: great cartoons from gaping void.



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