Posts Tagged ‘blogs’

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Corporate Blogs

July 24, 2008

I went exploring corporate blogs after our Omni Class and browsed through some blogs that were given as good examples. I also discovered some new I didn’t know about. One of the successful examples shown in class, Johnson & Johnson’s blog “By the Way”, impressed me by its authentic tone. It sounds very approachable, friendly. It does have a human voice, which is consistent even though several authors contribute to the blog.

The most exciting entry I found in the JNJ BTW blog was related to their corporate social responsibilty projects. It is a first-person narrative about a trip to Africa, where the company supports educational and HIV prevention awareness pograms in Tanzanian schools and helped build a medical center for burning injuries in South Africa. Those are great stories that regular media would not fit into their limited time/space slots, but the company’s blog is an excellent way to not only get the word out, but tell the whole story. More importantly, it works, because it is not corporate speak or PR-speak, it is emotional, it is personal and that’s what makes it valuable and credible.

A blog that was not mentioned in class, but occurred to me as an idea to google-search is any existing blog of The Coca-Cola Company. And there it was – fresh, brand new and their only one so far: Coca-Cola Conversations. Coke seems to have jumped a bit late on the blog wagon, as their blog was launched in January this year. It’s  mostly a conversation about the brand’s history, collectible Coke items and Coke fan news. The best thing about it is that it is written by the company’s historian Phil Mooney, who has been with Coke for 30 years!!! How many corporate bloggers can say that? He does a good job of linking current events with past glorious moments of the company and its brands. It makes sense for the blog to be brand-focused, but I believe the company faces many other critical topics it should be engaging into conversations about. Nutrition and health is definitely one of them. This topic is featured on the main company website, which, however, still resides in Web 1.0 and is not as conversational as a blog.

The Coca-Cola Conversations blog was just featured by NBC Nightly News in a report that tells how corporate blogs have tripled in just two years. It gives an impressive account of how the 76-year-old Marriott CEO is also the company’s chief blogger even though he can not type and calls hiself a “technophobe”. He usually handwrites or voice-records his posts, which end up posted on the blog by a member of his communication team. After the report was aired, Bill Marriott actually put up a post titled “How Do I Blog“, explaining how it works. His blog was created one year before the Coke blog – in January 2007.

And, well, I take my words back about who is the blogger with more than 30 years of experience in a company. Bill Marriot wins over Coke’s historian Phil Mooney, I am sure.

* photos used here were taken fom the JNJ BTW blog and the Coca-Cola Conversations blog.

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Trip to Tunisphere

July 13, 2008

The mere coincidence of the first letter of my name and Tunisia made this small North-African country a relevant pick for my class assignment this week to plunge into and explore the international bloggoshpere via Global Voices Online.

My perception of Tunsia has developed in three stages over the years. Stage number one – wishful thinking. Stage number two – the mediated reality check through the eyes of a friend. Stage number three – the virtual reality check.

During stage one Tunisia has always seemed to me like a very attractive travel destination. I remember seeing an article about some gorgeous Tunisian Mediterranean seaside resorts several years ago in a flight magazine. Then, last year one of my best friends made a trip there and provided an exciting account with plenty of photos, but emphasized that the place looks and feels far from the polished tourist magazine image.

Here I am concerned mainly with stage number three – expriencing Tunsia through its blogosphere or as they call it over there – the Tunisphere. This online trip proved to be the closest to reality from all my previous impressions. In my wanderings throughout Tunisian blogs I arrived at several observations. First, it is a vibrant community of bloggers, many of them rightfully concerned with the issues of political freedom, human rights, social justice and freedom of expression, which apparently are seriously threatened there. Second, Tunisian bloggers fill in a void space that official media do not reflect and the consequesnces of being a blogger and a journalist in Tunsia often include censorship, closing down of your blog or publication, job loss, personal freedom restrictions and even imprisonment. That was the case with Slim Boukhdhir, who remains in detainment since December, 2007, and has gone on numerous hunger strikes to protest the harrassment he experienced in jail by Tunisian authorities.

What is happening to blogger and journalist Slim Boukhdhir is terrible and at the same time not surprising in a country, where YouTube is banned. Yes it is, believe it or not! You can not access the biggest online video sharing service anywhere in Tunsia, because the government is affraid that you might stumble upon footage of police violence on Tunisian workers in the rich Phosphorous mines of Gafsa, Redyef and Oum el Arayess, who went on strike earlier this year to defend their right of employment. Many people were seriously injured. Official media remained silent, as if nothing was happening. This was the first case when Tunisian bloggers joined forces with human rights activitist in getting the story of repression out to the rest of the world. They even posted videos, showing wounded protestants.

The Tunisphere is a land of contrast. Just like Tunsia itself – it has both a serious and a casual face. Aside from the serious human rights and freedom of expression issues, there is obviously a young, hip, fashion and style-conscious generation in the country, which also contributes to the bloggosphere. A good example is one of the winners of the first ever Tunisia Blog Awards. Yosra World received the “Most Trendy Blog” award in 2007. Another top Tunisian blog is Subzero Blue, which is one of the few written in English.

A curious news that circulated in the Tunishere very recently is about Dahsha – the new online Arabic encyclopedia. Tunisian bloggers introduce and discuss how it is similar and different from Wikipedia. The principle of volunteer contributors is the same, but Dahsha publishes also video materials, studies and books, which are not supported by Wikipedia as types of content. It currently holds over 32,000 articles and is aiming to “enrich Arab content on the Internet”, according to blogger Mohammed Marwan Meddah. I wonder what are the chances of Dahsha joining Wikipedia one day? And I ask myslef – does it really have to? No doubt it is a different voice in the virtual conversation of knowledge and perhaps it is better for us to be able to draw on a multitude of authentic voices and viewpoints instead of trying to merge the sources.