Business Week: “Blogs Will Change Your Business”

I haven’t seen it, but Doc says it’s the cover story (May 2, 2005) in Business Week. In Blogs Will Change Your Business, Stephen Baker and Heather Green offer this warning: “Look past the yakkers, hobbyists, and political mobs. Your customers and rivals are figuring blogs out. Our advice: Catch up…or catch you later.”

There are some 9 million blogs out there, with 40,000 new ones popping up each day. Some discuss poetry, others constitutional law. And, yes, many are plain silly. Let’s assume that 99.9% are off point. So what? That leaves some 40 new ones every day that could be talking about your business, engaging your employees, or leaking those merger discussions you thought were hush-hush.

While you may be putting it off, you can bet that your competitors are exploring ways to harvest new ideas from blogs, sprinkle ads into them, and yes, find out what you and other competitors are up to.

The divide between the publishers and the public is collapsing. This turns mass media upside down. It creates media of the masses.

Companies over the past few centuries have gotten used to shaping their message. Now they’re losing control of it.

The dot-com era was powered by companies — complete with programmers, marketing budgets, Aeron chairs, and burn rates. The masses of bloggers, by contrast, are normal folks with computers: no budget, no business plan, no burn rate, and — that’s right — no bubble.

A prediction: Mainstream media companies will master blogs as an advertising tool and take over vast commercial stretches of the blogosphere. Over the next five years, this could well divide winners and losers in media. And in the process, mainstream media will start to look more and more like — you guessed it — blogs.

We’ll see. In the meantime, I’m getting a thin spot on the top of my head from people patting and smiling when I talk about blogs. I’ve bookmarked the new blog at Business Week Online(Blogspotting.net).

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