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

ISBN: 978-0-471-79023-5
251 pages
April 2006
Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers (0471790230) cover image


From the creator of the number one business blog comes a powerful exploration of how, and why, businesses had better be blogging: Naked Conversations.

According to experts Robert Scoble and Shel Israel, blogs offer businesses something that has long been lacking in their communication with customers -- meaningful dialogue. Devoid of corporate-speak and empty promises, business blogs can humanize communication, bringing companies and their constituencies together in a way that improves both image and bottom line.

The authors use more than 50 case histories to explain why blogging is an efficient and credible method of business communication. You'll find yourself excited about the possibilities blogs present after reading just a few pages. Discover how:

  • Prominent business leaders, including Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks, Bob Lutz from General Motors, and Jonathan Schwartz of Sun Microsystems, are beginning to use blogs to connect with their customers in new ways.
  • Blogging has changed the rules of communication and competition.
  • You can launch an effective blogging strategy and the reasons why you should.
Featuring a foreword by Tom Peters, this is a resource you and your business can't do without.
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Table of Contents


Introduction: Of Bloggers and Blacksmiths.

I. What’s Happening.

1. Souls of the Borg.

2. Everything Never Changes.

3. Word of Mouth on Steroids.

4. Direct Access.

5. Little Companies, Long Reach.

6. Consultants Who Get It.

7. Survival of the Publicists.

8. Blogs and National Cultures.

9. Thorns in the Roses.

II. Blogging Wrong & Right.

10. Doing It Wrong.

11. Doing It Right.

12. How to Not Get Dooced.

13. Blogging in a Crisis.

III. The Big Picture.

14. Emerging Technology.

15. The Conversational Era.


Name Index.

Subject Index. 

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Author Information

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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New to This Edition

From this book, students will learn:
  • Blogging is not just another tactical communications distribution channel, but a new strategic medium that benefits both companies and customers
  • Why businesses of all sizes and in all places should blog
  • Why such traditional taboos such as praising competition or publicly discussing product prior to launch make sound business sense in today’s new Conversational Era
  • How a poor understanding of blogs is costing one small specialty manufacturer $10 million in replacement products for disgruntled customers
  • How a reviled software giant is seeing a new public image of openness develop thanks to thousands of active employee blogs
  • What an outspoken NBA owner does with his blog to connect to team fans
  • What employers and employees should know about hiring and firing due to blogging and a code of ethics for blogging
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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)

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Related Websites / Extra

Links from the bookVisit this site to use a list of all of the sites referenced in the book, conveniently linked here to save you time typing them in
Naked Conversations blogVisit this to see authors' original interviews of the subjects in the book, the discussions that shaped the book, and ongoing discussions about business blogging best practices.
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