Bloggforum 2.0, the aftermath

As y'all know (if you've been paying attention, hehe) I was at the Bloggforum 2.0 in Stockholm last Saturday participating in a round table type of discussion around the topic of "Blogs and companies".
Not my favorite topic of the bunch, I was much more keen on the parallel talk "Blogs and media" which was in the room across the hall at the same time, and thanks to all the helpful participants with their MP3 podcasts I can at least listen to it now. Yeay!
And yes, this means that there is a podcast of your humble site-mum ranting on at the Bloggforum available here (mp3), thanks to the efforts of Richard Gatarski at Skolsmart. It's in Swedish though, a language I'm not used to presenting in which might explain my slight stutter as I roam my brain for the right words. Or maybe I was just dead nervous, yeah that's it. ;)

We didn't have much time to continue to spin on and chat about each topic that was brought up sadly, as 45 minutes really isn't all that much time and many people in the audience had much to say as well and interesting questions too. You can't hear them very well on this MP3, makes me wish that we had the setup the earlier panel had that morning where a microphone was passed around and everyone who asked questions stated their names, and blog-URLs, first.
Trying to follow a set list of topics we should cover seemed rather silly, when everyones input was flowing quite naturally all over the topics related, and the short time space made some areas of discussion feel interrupted or incomplete. Here's a few things I didn't have the chance to spin further on, and wish I had said, in no particular order at all.

About RSS: So why don't I think advertising in RSS is such a great idea? Simple, the RSS-feed is already an ad (in most cases). It's a headline, and a teaser first few lines of an article, and if you like it you may click on the link to read more. It would be an ad served with an ad. Not that this is unheard of in this day an age, but it doesn't mean that I have to like it. I go on and on about this in the e-book Unleash the power of RSS which is a must have for those who want to know all the possibilities of marketing with or within RSS feeds.

Now, not everyone uses RSS this way. Some people feed out their entire website with RSS, the images, the whole article, the whole enchilada and dressing too. In those cases yes, perhaps advertising within the feed ain't such a bad idea as why would people visit their site when they get the milk for free? ;)
Feedburner already offers RSS-ads within feeds via them, and as you can see here BoingBoing uses the ad-spiced feed option. Even Google Adsense are testing the waters of advertising within RSS feeds, so in the future it's likely that we will see google textads in feeds. How this will affect peoples RSS reading habits is anyones guess.

About Blogs being "personal": Define personal. Is it when bloggers talk about their daily life, daily? Do they really have to be? Are they more successful when they are personal? Out of all boingboing readers, how many know or care what Cory Doctorow had for breakfast? I gave up smoking after 18 years of puffing the cancer sticks six months ago, and haven't said a word on this blog about it, until now. (that joke only works when you know that Sweden's self-proclaimed "biggest blog" is about a man trying to quit smoking. He does anything but, as he writes about the troubles of quitting each day.) I really don't think that blogs need to be personal at all, if by personal we mean full of anecdotes about a persons daily humdrum life a phenomenon also known as "journals". I read blogs on lots of topics because of what that person has to say on that topic, how they filter links on that topic, what insight they have on the news on that topic - and that is personal a plenty without being a dairy. I do fancy community blogs - such as Viewropa and Metafilter as well, where the blog itself is the "personality". Metafilter is a cranky snooty eclectically well educated blue mtf, for example.

Should every corporation/company have a blog?: Gee isn't that a little like asking "should every human have a sailboat?", there are too many undefined/unknown parameters in this question for it to make sense. That old-school stuff about target market and where they hang so that you may strike up a conversation with your potential buyers is still valid you know. Is your target on the web? Great. Do they have blogs themselves or do they read blogs? Do they hang in forums perhaps? Is it better for your company to start handing out tools your target may use in their own blogs, or should your company support the communities where the target likes to hang out.... Or should your company start their own blog? In short, no, I don't think every company on the planet should have a blog, but I do think its a great idea for some companies. As a great example of how-to do it right I plugged Jewelboxing. By blogging images of how their customers are using their product they a) scratch the customers back showing off some nice creative work from illustrators, photographers and musicians etc and plugging their links while b) scratching their own backs showing off how their product can be used. This symbiotic relationship between punter and peddler is brilliant. It's interesting to check out as well, since the images of what others have done with the white canvas known as the jewelboxing serves as inspiration to potential buyers, and gives us a juicy collection of interesting links out like every blog should.
So if your company should start blogging needs another question, what can your company give other bloggers?

There was more, so much more, that could have been discussed especially since the audience seemed quite keen on it too, but we'll just have to cram all that in next time right?

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caffeinegoddess's picture

Sounds very interesting. Shame I can't understand Swedish. :/ I'd love to have a listen. I agree with the points you expanded upon though. Great points. :)

Dabitch's picture

Define interesting. ;) Kidding.

How ridiculous is this, I just went through other posts linked at the bloggforum and see that I have chosen the exact same headline (give or take a few strategic punctuation marks) as The sum of my parts.Weeeeird.

Dabitch's picture

Aha, it turns out I still had more things lodged in my brain here. I keep thinking we could have put on a real show if me and swedish ad-blogger Researcher duked it out, as I know we have different opinions on a few things and act as siamese twins on others. That could have been a lot of fun. And it would have been much more on the topic of advertising and less PR. Advertising is having a field-day with blogs, see virals (which mainly spread through them and email and forums), blogads and branded sponsorship deals for bloggers.

The thing about blogs that I personally always fancied - apart from the community ones which are my faves - is the single-subject blogs. Super nerds blog about supernerdy stuff they know a lot about. Flyfishing specialists blog about flyfishing. ;) Art Historians blog about art! I'm a sucker for the insight of people that are really into something, whatever that something may be.

But as I look around the blogosphere (shoot me for using that word) in smaller countries like Sweden I find that what floats to the top are blogs that regurgitate the national and international news. Based on a badly researched paragraph in a cheap tabloid with less than stellar journalistic skills, they'll blog their opinion on the Terry Schiavo case over in Texas. They haven't checked out the full story behind the Terry Schiavo case, just read the evening tabloid, and none of them had any new insight on the matter. No extra links to other articles or something like that, just their opinion. Badabing, there it is. It was little opinion-bytes in every blog "That Terry thing is bad. Americans are nuts". Okaay. Just once I'd like to see a Swedish Doctor, Lawyer, Nurse or Next of kin to someone in such a situation blog their opinion on the case as they have more insight on that particular matter - be it from experience or work. What would happen had Terry lived in Sweden? As I have understood it - and I might be wrong - the next of kin to a patient in a vegetative state would not be the person who decides to stop the feeding, as that is a medical decision (just like in Holland). Think about that for a second. Yes, that mans Doctors make that decision every day, let patient X starve to death, and the next of kin be they parent, spouse or child, have nothing they can say about it. Grandma getting too old to save? Remove the feeding tube and let them starve to death. Did any of the Swedish blogs note this? I didn't see anyone do that, I must be reading the wrong ones. Actually, I'd love to see a regular nurse blog - nurses are always in the news directly or indirectly, and a real nurses input on the tabloids hysterical headlines would probably make a very interesting blog.

Oh dear, did I just jabber on there again? :)

yaksox's picture

Wow congratz on giving up the fags Dab ;) Y'know... since you mentioned it.

Dabitch's picture

Cheers Yaksox. It's easier when you have a really good reason to (like the little passenger in my belly).