Book in Progress – Chapter 4

Description: I’d be thrilled to see your comments/suggestions for my new book: Social Media Changes Everything (for Business). Read on and reply…

Chapter 4: Read a Blog in Your Field

Now that you’re getting a sense of what people are saying and thinking about your company, let’s find out what’s happening in your industry. We’ll do this by reading a relevant blog. With 130 million blogs and growing, there’s guaranteed to be one (and more likely hundreds) out there that exactly match your interests no matter how narrow, specialized, or esoteric.

The word “blog” is a shortened version of the original term “web log”. A blog is a type of a website (or a section of a larger website) with regular entries of commentary, events, audio, video, and/or graphics. Typically entries are displayed in reverse chronological order, newest to oldest.[i]

You can think of a blog as an online newspaper most often produced by ordinary Janes and Joes whether for personal or professional purposes. Unlike newspapers, blogs are rarely written for the masses. Instead, they have a laser-like focus on a specific topic, industry, product line, person, or passion. As a general rule, it is narrowly focused content does best in social media. With 130 million blog choices, to say nothing of audio and video podcasts (which like blogs are also serial offerings) and virtually limitless individual videos on YouTube and elsewhere, every person can assemble their own custom programming from an endless menu of choices.

The social media meal that I consume daily is made from a vast variety of specific ingredients that taste good to me at that time. Unlike in the days of three television channels, in social media it’s a good bet that no two people are consuming the exact same diet. Gone is the time when we can gather around the water cooler in the morning to discuss the previous night’s shared experience watching somebody shoot JR. Instead, social media is the new water cooler and it’s now a 7×24 operation of globally connected individuals self-assembling around very specific shared interests.

Let’s start by finding something of interest to read. Google is a great search engine and we could use blogsearch.google.com but I prefer technorati.com, the self-described “leading blog search engine and most comprehensive source of information on the blogosphere”. Among other factors, Technorati considers keywords, tags, and what they call the “authority” of the writer – essentially their influence.

On the Technorati website, in the box labeled “search the blogosphere…” type a word or phrase that best describes your industry or business interest. For example, if you enter “wine”, you will find 582,351 matching results.

With the results listing, you’ll notice that you get the option to “filter your results” on any of four dimensions. Use the drop-down menus to narrow your search or start over using a more specific search term, for example “wine dinners”.

After you’ve sufficiently tightened you search, focus on one of the results. By hovering your mouse over it, you’ll notice that there are actually several clickable options. If you click on the image to the left, you’ll remain on the Technorati site and will see the first few sentences of the three most recent posts on this blog, but not necessarily the post mentioning your subject.

If you click on the Title in green (in this case: “Wine Dinner Wednesday”), you’ll remain on the Technorati site and see the first few sentences of the relevant post along with a description of the blog.

I recommend clicking on the link to the blog (sidedish.dmagazine.com) to access the post on the actual site. On arrival, you’ll find the full text of the relevant article. But notice that you see only that single post. For many blogs, the browser address for a given post follows a format that includes the date and title of the post like this:

http://sidedish.dmagazine.com/2009/07/29/wine-dinner-wednesday-12/.

While there are various options to access the home page of a blog (and all of the posts there), the method that works consistently is to enter the first part of the address in your browser, in this case: http://sidedish.dmagazine.com/. With that, you’ll see the familiar reverse chronological ordering of all posts, along with helpful site navigation.

Yes, Technorati could make it a little bit easier than this but in return for their great service, they have the right to keep you on their site a little longer.

Having found the right blog, enjoy learning about yet another facet of your industry.


[i] Blog definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog

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To learn more about Dave Nelsen and Dialog Group’s consulting services, visit http://www.get121.biz

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