Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Sun's blog energized!

See Jonathan Schwartz's blog's new look:

Color talks.

Yodel Anecdotal vs Google Blog

When venturing into Yahoo! Corporate Information territory, you'll discover "Yodel Anecdotal" -- -- Yahoo!'s coporate blog in bright orange and purple.

Larry Tessler, VP User Experience & Design, posted "Design out of the box" christening the Yodel Anecdotal blog on August 11, 2006. Posts are frequent, almost daily, with Yodelers ranging from Blog Editor -- Nicki Dugan, CIO -- Lars Rabbe, CFO -- Sue Deckler, Jeremy Johnson -- Platform Engineering, to Chief Yahoo! -- David Filo and Intern -- Doreen Bloch.

The mix of personal voices enhances the purpose of this blog:

Yodel = to sing with frequent changes from the ordinary voice
Anecdotal = a short account of a particular incident or event of an interesting or amusing nature

This blog, like the official Google Blog -- -- stands out from other blogs like those in my blogroll that only have one or two authors. Having different company employees voice their experiences helps users learn about the company and its people.

The other benefit is fresh content published more frequently. One drawback may be coordinating & authorizing blog-writing efforts for publication.

When comparing "Yodel Anecdotal" to the "Google Blog", I found myself drawn to the Yodel blog because of the energizing colors. In contrast, Google's blog appears clinical and less inviting. Another reason the Google Blog isn't as appealing is because there's no "Comments" option besides the occasional "Your Feedback". All Yahoo! posts have a "Comments" option that extends an invitation to readers to add content -- appropriate in our user-generated content world.

Yahoo! Lists 24 official blogs and 2 unofficial blogs on Yodel Anecdotal. In contrast, other than Google’s “Inside Google Desktop”, no other Google blogs are shown under “More Google Blogs” -- the space is blank.

What’s the purpose of the Google Blog?

"Googler insights into product and technology news and our culture."

Yahoo! and Google use two different approaches in communicating the purpose of their blog. Yahoo! uses a creative blog title while Google uses their company name followed by this one-liner spelling out their Blog’s purpose.

In their own right, both Yodel Anecdotal and Google Blog are effective in communicating messages, but which blog appeals more to this century’s users and why?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Transferred Biz Blog Review Posts August 19 - August 26, 2006 Archive

Business Blog Study — Ingo Haupt — Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany
Aug 26, 2006

Yesterday, I received the email pasted below from a German student conducting a study of business blogs. I completed the survey (not for the offers but because I think business blogs are powerful business tools that should be studied!) using Bob Sutor's Open blog -- -- as the example corporate blog to answer questions about.

It's interesting because I owned an IBM Thinkpad that I recently sent my father. It's a demo model that I bought on an ebay auction some time back -- good machine! I purchased additional memory and accessories for this Thinkpad from IBM online.

The survey questions attempt to link your views of the company blog, your trust in what's communicated via the blog, the sense of community you are a part of because of the products you use and your communication about this on the blog with your loyalty to the company and the use of their products.

One of the tech items on my future buy list is another IBM Thinkpad --

IBM’s tech support and customer service people are so accessibly, efficient, and wonderful in terms of client service. I'm sold on IBM because they helped me with queries even when I hadn't purchased the IBM Thinkpad from IBM, only the accessories. They didn't respond to me as an "insignificant client".

Here's Ingo Haupt's email:

Hello Fiona:

My name is Ingo Haupt and I am a business student at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. Within the framework of my degree dissertation I am conducting a study on Business Blogs as an instrument for consumer loyalty.

The purpose of my research is to learn what quality aspects of a business blog are most important for consumers and how companies can use their weblogs to create and strengthen consumer loyalty. I would like to invite you to participate in my online survey about business blogs. The survey will take 10 minutes or less to complete.

By doing so you would be making a significant contribution to advancing the knowledge on how companies can develop relationships with consumers through their weblog. As an additional bonus three shopping coupons for Amazon will be raffled amongst the participants of this study. You can reach the survey at the following link:

As a matter of course all information will be treated strictly confidential. The survey results will be published anonymously, so no conclusions on the statements will be possible. I would also appreciate if you forward the link of this survey to other people you know, that are regular readers of business blogs!

Please feel free to contact me by email for further questions at
or have a look at my personal weblog at where I am documenting the progress of this study.

Thank you very much for your time and help, Ingo Haupt

Jonathan's bringing FUN to Sun!
Aug 21, 2006

Have you seen Jonathan Schwartz's recent post "Acquiring Hewlett Packard's Legacy"? Here's the link:

Jonathan says:

“I love the humor and mischief in Sun. It's one of the things that drew me here long before I joined the company, and one of the things I really appreciate about our culture. But frankly, it's one of the things that's gotten close to being rinsed away by years of cost cutting. So I'd like to officially declare, herewith, a rebirth of fun at Sun.”

And the rebirth is through ART -- read about it in his post -- and take a look at this art project he references:

Jonathan -- When can I profile you on Biz Blog Review?
I've got some interesting questions to ask you about Sun's corporate culture and the changes you're talking about on your blog. Your ideas are interesting and the atmosphere you're trying to cultivate for employees sounds intriguing. On your blog, I noticed you don't really respond to commenters -- why? Is there a reason that you don't? Some bloggers do -- they engage in a dialogue for a while before posting their next entry. Look forward to talking to you!

Launching "Career Thoughts"
Aug 21, 2006

Even though I have a number of projects on the go, I'm in a pre-permanent employment period and there are a number of thoughts yoga-ing my mind -- what I'm going to publish in the "Career Thoughts" Category on my blog.

By "permanent" employment, I mean "full-time" employment.

David Maister -- Eccentric and "widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading authorities on the management of professional service firms" -- published an interesting piece on his career path here: which I thought would be a good way to kick off this Category.

David -- I'm allowed to call you an eccentric (smile) --

What I particularly like about David is how candid he is in his blog posts as you will see when you read about his career path.

It's so interesting to learn about what prompted David to make certain career/life decisions. Doing an undergraduate degree in statistics prompted him to initially become a statistician. Discovering being a statistician was not his passion or special talent, he pursued further education and taught statistics to support himself. Although the stats still bored him, he found that he loved teaching!

And so he pursued a PhD at Harvard Business School (HBS) becoming a specialist in logistics and transportation. Why this field? Because of a most helpful faculty member and because money was an issue. This field offered a large scholarship!

Even though David dedicated himself as a specialist, he discovered again that this was not his life's work. So he returned to HBS as a faculty member to teach management of service business and factory operations.

David describes the act of writing in academia as “publish or perish” because academics are expected to write and writing terrified him, while the topics didn't really excite him. But he always wanted to be a published author.

Once committing to writing articles for a magazine, David's consulting career took off.
In his post:, David describes how difficult it is to "find your passion" and that, "most successful business careers have been based on experimentation and opportunism".

When discussing career momentum and adding force to that momentum, David says: "...only those determined to get somewhere will actually do what it takes."

David also gives us a window into his thoughts and the questions he asked himself while discovering and moving through his career path:

He says -

"If what you have now isn’t what you dream (or dreamed) of, then you must keep looking, experimenting, and adapting. You must always search for the next thing you think you can feel passionate about, so that you will have a burning reason to show the discipline and drive that will distinguish you.

Once you have found something to try, you must then throw yourself into it and work at it with as much commitment as you can muster until you can answer three questions:

Is it as exciting as I thought it was going to be?
Is there a market for this? (Will anyone pay me to do it?) and
Can I make a contribution that others are not (yet) making?

All three must be present to succeed. If any component is missing you must move on. Living your professional life this way is not easy.

Each step in my career often seems to other people like a terrific “step-up” accomplishment: giving up my statistics job to go get a master’s degree, signing up for a doctorate, joining the Harvard faculty, then later leaving it to become a solo consultant.

The truth, however, is that for me (as for most people) each successive step was a terrifying leap into the unknown, requiring me to abandon the security of what I had without any certainty (or even probability) that it was going to work."

I find David's life story an inspiration. We can read so many short published biographies and never really know what prompted people to make certain decisions -- the reasons why.

My own life is an unusual one that caused my return to education as a "mature student" at USC.
In future posts, I'll tell you a little about this so that you can follow my professional progression.

A blog is a public realm and I'm careful what I say on my blog because I'm yet to step into a "permanent" - although not guaranteed - official professional position of employment. Even when I reach this point, I'd still be mindful of my published (and unpublished) thoughts.

Leo Bottary questions the HR Pros about "Finding The Best Talent"
Aug 21, 2006

Recently, Leo Bottary -- Senior Vice President of Corporate Practice for Hill & Knowlton Tampa -- asked those involved with identifying and hiring PR professionals within their agencies the following questions:

How do you identify and select the kind of employee who will provide a level of client service that is consistent with your agency's culture and values?

What do you look for, and what do you believe serve as reliable predictors when it comes to meeting your high client service standards?

Here is the link to the debate if you want to join in:

Leo's blog is a collective conversation on Client Service Insights (CSI). Personally, I find this fascinating because every industry has clients and we all need to learn to build long term trusting relationships with those clients.

Leo's views on client services are educational too -- take a look!

Bob Sutor -- Blog ROI and Blogging...
Aug 19, 2006

Anyone who knows me well will tell you that Bob Sutor’s my favorite corporate blogger! And it’s not just because he recognized Biz Blog Review at its inception but because he’s so authentic. If you’ve not visited his site, actually looked at his blog in-depth, or read a single Sutor post – get over there now!

You’ll discover an eclectic blend of IBM developments, family projects, Open Source initiatives, health topics, travel stories, education, humor, writing, guitar lessons, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones. And much more – written and posted with personality!

Last Friday, I asked Bob about whether or not he measures the ROI of his blog. Put short, the answer is “No”. But he is attempting to track visits to his site out of interest. In contrast, says Bob, the IBM developerWorks blogs -- do track hits to their sites as a means of measuring ROI because it’s an indicator of people interested in developers “talking about IBM products/goods”.

Bob views his own blog as a communications tool that is personal with a dual audience that is “internal” – within IBM – and “external” – within the public arena outside of IBM.

When discussing blogging, we also touched on the topic of “spelling” and “comment moderation”. If you have posted to your blog and you have spelled words incorrectly – should you edit the post and correct the spelling or leave it? Is the attention to detail important?

If a particular commenter is posting negative comments continually or is using your blog as a platform to damage your character/reputation, should you moderate the comments or not post them to your blog?On the topic of spelling, Bob says that he pays attention to detail and prefers to edit so that words are spelled correctly.

I have to agree with Bob on this point – I do the same. Being correct on spelling is tougher when posting comments to other blogs because once posted by the moderator, the commenter cannot edit the spelling errors. The same is true when posting a string or two of thought to someone elses blog and you leave the other four strings of thought behind in mind! Unless you restate what you mean – nobody knows what you mean!

On the topic of comment moderation we both shared examples (other than advertising/spam) where we simply chose not to post the comment for decent reason. After our discussion, I gave this further thought, and I’d say that this is a good measure:“When you blog, you don’t write down your every thought in your blog posts. You carefully think about what you are going to say and by “thoughtful process” you create your blog entry. Why then, should you have to post the comment of every/any thought that comes into someone else’s mind? I think you have a choice to moderate based on the same thoughtful process."

Other subjects I’d loved to have discussed further with Bob are Open Source and his experimentation with the WordPress program.Bob’s site is an excellent starting point to learn about Open Source –“Open source describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product's sources. Some consider it as a philosophy, and others consider it as a pragmatic methodology.

Before open source became widely adopted, developers and producers used a variety of phrases to describe the concept; the term open source gained popularity with the rise of the Internet and its enabling of diverse production models, communication paths, and interactive communities.[1]” –

Even though I'm not a programmer of any kind, I find Bob’s style of writing clear and easy to understand, when he writes on his blog and about Open Source in these two essays:

1. Open Standards vs. Open Source: How to think about software, standards, and Service Oriented Architecture at the beginning of the 21st century --

2. Adjusting to a more open world: Understanding and overcoming resistance to open technologies --

You can also learn about IBM as a company and why they donate code to various foundations like the Eclipse Open Health Foundation --
// -- and and the Mozilla Foundation --

“IBM has already helped integrate into Firefox support for Microsoft Active Accessibility, an industry standard for access technologies such as screen readers, which read software and content aloud. "IBM's commitment to further Firefox's capabilities and reach people who have disabilities marks an important technical advancement for Firefox," Mitchell Baker, Mozilla president, said in a statement.

The market for access technologies is large. Between 750 million and a billion people globally have a speech, vision, mobility, hearing or cognitive disabilities, according to the World Health Organisation. In the US, the Rehabilitation Act requires federal agencies to provide access to electronic and information technology for all employees and citizens, irrespective of their abilities.”


There are so many blogs out there written by different people and different organizations for different reasons. When following blogs, interacting on blogs, and becoming involved with the people writing to those blogs, it’s a personal choice.

What I find most stimulating in discovering a blog like Bob Sutor's is that it not only represents the man himself and his organization, but that Bob puts incredible effort into its creation to personally share and educate on a diverse range of topics with his sincere voice and experience.

Thank you for sharing your blog with us, Bob, and for showing us what it means to "strike the right chord, if we can find it"!

PROFILE: Bob Sutor
Vice President, Standards and Open Source
IBM Corporation

Dr. Bob Sutor is the Vice President of Standards for the IBM Corporation. In this role he has the responsibility for driving and executing the cross-company business and technical strategy for open standards and open source as they relate to software, hardware, services, vertical industries, and emerging markets.

Previously, Sutor was Director of WebSphere Product and Market Management. This included ownership of the WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere MQ, and the WebSphere Business Integration product lines, as well as web services and Service Oriented Architecture.

A 23 year veteran of IBM, Sutor worked for 15 years in IBM Research, specializing in symbolic mathematical computation and Internet publishing. He co-authored the books Axiom: The Scientific Computation System and The LaTeX Web Companion. Sutor was a co-author of the W3C Recommendation Mathematical Markup Language (MathML) as well as the W3C Recommendation Document Object Model Level 1.

In 1999 Dr. Sutor moved to the IBM Software Group and focused on jump starting industry use of XML. This led to positions on the Board of Directors of the OASIS standards group and the vice chairmanship of the ebXML effort, a joint OASIS/United Nations endeavor. Sutor then led IBM’s industry standards and Web services strategy efforts.

Dr. Sutor is a widely read blogger and is a frequent speaker around the world on open standards, open source, web services, and Service Oriented Architecture. He is widely cited in the press and was recently featured in interviews in the Harvard Business Review, CNET, eWeek, and InfoWorld.

Dr. Sutor has an undergraduate degree from Harvard College and a Ph.D. from Princeton University, both in Mathematics.

Full Resume:

Striking the Right Chord, If You Can Find It — Bob Sutor and Family Website and Blogs:

Blog Discussion: Measuring blog ROI, PR vs. your personal voice, and blogging…

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Corporate Blogging at Occidental's SCCUR 2006

On November 18, 2006 approximately 750 participants from 70 colleges and universities participated in Occidental's 14th annual Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research (SCCUR) --

"Why is corporate blogging relevant to students?" was one of the entries selected for presentation.

My opening question to the audience was: "How many corporate blogs exist?"

Back in 2004, David Sifry -- Founder of Technorati -- indicated approximately 5000. Most corporate bloggers then were centered in software and media companies.

By 2006, reports by Anderson C. and Mayfield R. of the Fortune 500 Business Blogging Wiki and Dowling G. and Daniels D. of Jupiter Research suggest the following:
  • Approximately 35 percent of large companies plan to institute corporate weblogs in 2006
  • More than 5 percent of Fortune 500 companies blog externally
  • With 34 percent of corporations blogging, a 70 percent total is expected by the end of 2006.

The growth in corporate blogging is visible as the benefits of this corporate blogging tool are weighed and recognized as greater than the liabilities.

When I first started my Independent Study on Corporate Blogs in January 2006, no entries existed on the topic in the Wikipedia. It's exciting to see the sharing of information on the subject in this online encyclopedia --

Although I've not posted any entries for some time on corporate blogging due to my USC courseload priorities, I will start and build momentum with the New Year.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

USC Fall Semester '06 on the Fly!

The Summer came and went so fast, ending my internship with iMedia Connection - - and starting afresh the Fall '06 semester with all the thrill of new classes and colorful challenges.

During this period I'm learning new tools in Operations Management, Business Economics, Advanced Strategies for Managing Corporate Communications, and Strategic Management.

What's interesting is that although this undergraduate business degree skims the surface in what's possible to discover in all these disciplines, I'm valuing the pattern I can see in how they fit together -- in how the tools complement each other in an "interdisciplinary" way. Here's the link to our programs:

I'm looking forward to joining a company or organization where I can research and explore indepth real-life issues, using and developing on these tools I've learned over four years, to seek solutions.

My blog's been on the backburner as time's been short to keep it up, even though it's been my intention to do so. Further blog posts may remain few through November until after the first week of December when my final exams are over. Thereafter, I intend to add content more frequently.

Officially, I graduate from USC on December 13, 2006.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Transferred Biz Blog Review Posts July 24 - August 12, 2006 Archive

12 August 06 - Pointers from Charlene Li on measuring blog ROI and the impact of user-generated content

In a brief discussion with Charlene Li yesterday morning, I asked her about measuring corporate blog ROI and about the impact of user-generated media/content on business strategy.

On the topic of measuring corporate blog ROI, Charlene suggests that company metrics differ depending on the business purpose but that three main components are involved:

1. Benefit -How beneficial is the blog as a communications channel (marketing/advertising/public relations) whether used by customers or employees?

2. Cost -How much is the technology and time costing?

3. Risk -What risk is associated with the blog and how do youquantify and contain the risk?

When asking Charlene how she sees businesses changing as a result of user-generated media/content, she posed a striking question for businesses to consider:

Are you ready to respond to feedback?

User-generated media/content is customer feedback in the public arena.

Whether businesses choose to harness new technologies or not, the feedback exists. When put that way -- Charlene says -- it gets attention.

Refer to one of Charlene's previous blog posts -- "The Changing Media Business Model":

Charlene's bio will be published on the Profile page shortly.

9 August 06 - Response from GM!

Not so long ago, in one of my posts, I mention asking GM's Bob Lutz a question on his blog via "comments" but the question remains unanswered and still hangs somewhere in the ether out there. Key Question for Business: Are you ready to respond to feedback?

The question: Does GM measure the blog ROI of their GM Fastlane and FYI blogs and if so, how do they go about doing so (in terms of the variables used)?

So I decided to attempt to find the answer by asking the question on GM's Corporate Responsibility Contact Page. Here's the response:


Customer Relationship Specialist: Jennifer Bastian

Dear Fiona Torrance

Thank you for contacting the General Motors Customer Assistance Center regarding your interest in corporate blogs. I appreciate your taking the time to email us regarding this matter.

I recommend that you write to our Public Relations Department at the address below. We apologize, but there is not direct e-mail address for that department.

GM Public Relations100 Renaissance CenterCommunicationsP.O. Box 100Detroit, MI 48265-1000

If you should need to contact us in the future, simply reply to this message or call our General Motors Customer Assistance Center at 1-800-222-1020. Customer Relationship Specialists are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Eastern Time.

Again, thank you for contacting General Motors


The General Motors Consumer Support Team


Although this does not answer our question, it is the kind of response I've received in the past when using company contact pages. This may take a couple of weeks via snail mail, but I may receive some kind of an answer for you from GM yet!

We are venturing into PR territory's time to setup a new category on my blog.

9 August 06 - The value in visiting blogs

There's so much fun to setting up a blog on a topic you're passionate about and sharing that with those who engage the blogosphere.

But I've discovered that it's just as exciting to expore the blogs of others, join in discussions, and "meet" other people.

Leo Bottary ( introduced me to David Maister's blog ( where I came into contact with someone named Shaula Evans --

Shaula's so helpful in providing me with information that I felt I wanted to share the links she's given me with those who read my blog:

The New PR/Wiki CEO Blog List --

The New PR/Wiki Corporate Blog List --

Babson Women's Business Blog --

David Maister on "Adventures in Modern Marketing" --

Start Cooking --

Thank you, Shaula!

26 July 06 - Leo Bottary — Senior Vice President, Corporate Practice Hill & Knowlton Tampa — offers thoughts on corporate blogs

Fiona -

I posted a comment on Richard Edelman's blog just the other day, where I offered some thoughts on corporate blogs:

Regarding corporate bloggers, I think it's similar in some ways to trying to convince some executives, even today, to participate in television news interviews. Assuming they have something to say, some have figured out that instead of taking a beating on a 90 second news segment, they can fill some of that time delivering their own message and actually communicating even much more than that. They're apprehensive because they don't trust the medium, and many never will. Of course, what it really looks like is they don't trust the viewers (their customers).

Blogging takes it a step further because not only are execs uncertain of the medium, but also they're scared to death about what all the messengers will say. As you well know, the conversation is taking place and will continue take place with or without them. The number of people influenced by those conversations is growing every day.

To add to that, the blogging medium is no different than any other in terms of evaluation criteria - participation should be based on individuals, company culture, business/communications objectives, etc. With rare exception, it's not a question of if you should join the conversation, it's how. For many executives, their interest in blogs tends to pique during times of crisis.

I recommend not waiting until you're in trouble to engage in the conversation.
Link to comment on Richard Edelman's blog:
Leo Bottary's blog:

26 July 06 - More male executive blogger presence

I've been observing corporate blogs for a while now and have noticed that there appears to be a greater male executive blogger presence then female.

Susan Underhill is the only female executive blogger at Hewlett Packard - Of the 32 corporate blogs I studied - - predominantly male executives have setup journals on the web.

Today, I've been searching to find female executives other than Susan Underhill or Charlene Li of Forrester Research - - to be profiled on Biz Blog Review, and what I've discovered is that there aren't that many in the blogosphere.

As a female business student, I value learning from women in key business positions, yet some are less forthcoming with guidance than men in similar positions. Susan Underhill was a tremendous help to me during my Independent Study.

There must be more females in management positions that could have company blogs and contribute through these to employee motivation, research, knowledge management, or marketing of their expertise/business.

Early this year, I evaluated some statistics of business students -- male and female -- using blogs/wikis for learning at USC. From my sample, what I discovered is that females overall use the tool more frequently than males, and as a means of reflection. The blog definitely spurs critical thinking.

An article published in the Wall Street Journal not so long ago (I forget the article title and issue) discussed the lower presence of females in executive positions. Yet certain studies showed that females in the classroom often -- contrary to former Harvard President Summers' view -- outperformed male counterparts in the math and science arena.

It's interesting to watch this presence in the blogosphere and to see if more female executive bloggers are going to emerge. What are the reasons for the lower numbers of executive female bloggers? And how does this impact the blogosphere if at all?

25 July 06 - Dell’s One2One blog - Blog Outreach!


July 2006 marks Dell's official corporate blog launch.

Actually, July 5 to be exact with blog post title: "XPS 700 BYO" where Mary Joseph of the XPS Product Team presents performance features of the 700 BYO in a vlog.

As vlogs are posted and comments stream in, Dell turns less into more saying, "Real People are Here and We're Listening".

Today's post is titled: "Dell Customer Advocates in the Blogosphere" where Dell tells how they "began monitoring blogs to help customers who needed help from Dell support"
Dell says they have people responsible for blog outreach because:

"Finding and supporting customers in the blogosphere is a difficult and risky undertaking. It does, however, allow us to address many ongoing issues head on. And when the process results in resolution of a customer issue, we think it's clearly worth the effort."

Corporate blogs connect real people, create jobs, provide information and sell products/services. They generate criticism/feedback and are used for research. And Archives, such as One2One's, provide the public with an inside view to technology's role in corporate and organizational change showing customer and employee interaction.

24 July 06 - What S has to say on calculating executive blog ROI

S's Profile:

Here is S's take on calculating corporate blog ROI:

Fiona –

Very interesting website…

Have you thought about calculating the ROI on business blogs by focusing on executives who are in the midst of a reputation management issue?

For example, if you could find a CEO who was responding to a product recall or an accounting scandal, he would be actively trying to manage the publicity.

You could measure the number of times his blog gets picked up by the media against any stock price movements.

Anyway…just a thought.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Transferred Biz Blog Review Posts July 1-20, 2006 Archive

20 July 06 - Discussing corporate blogs and changes in technology in Florence, Oregon…

I've just returned back from a week's visit in Florence, Oregon. Aside from enjoying cool weather, kayaking on Wohink Lake, and meeting the gentleman that John Kerry saved, I answered a recurring question: "What work do you do?"

After telling all about my participation in the Cybercamp 2006 for migrant workers' children run at USC during the summer, I explained that I enjoy reviewing corporate blogs. This prompted the next question: "What's a blog?" Answering this question created a wonderful opening to discuss corporate blogs and why they are being used.

A retired college vice president then asked me how I keep up with technology. My response was that I wasn't sure that I do - but I try. And I try by reading what researchers, marketers and advertisers have to say.

The reason is because researchers and marketers/advertisers track how technology is used to reach the consumer or how the consumer uses technology to communicate their needs. Inevitably, they mention the technology with a basic explanation of who produced it and how it's being used.

I'd be interested to know how you keep up to date with changes in technology, and how you see these changes impacting corporate blogs.

20 July 06 - Google links to Seeking Alpha conference call transcripts

Today I received the following email from David Jackson of Seeking Alpha network blog:

Hi Fiona,

Sorry to take so long to get back to you. I tried your page, but couldn't load it. Here's the Seeking Alpha about page:

Also, Google started linking to our conference call transcripts, something which should be very useful for business school students!


Here is the link mentioned on the Google blog:

This is the response I emailed David:

Hi David,

Thank you for this information - I appreciate you taking the time to send me the links.

What I usually do is post the information to my blog (and update the Profile).

When I initially contacted you, I was in the process of moving my blog and setting up the new Website so it is possible that you could not access the site -- sorry about that. It should be accessible now.

I studied investments and "alpha" under Joe Chen at USC during Fall 2005. Joe's website is accessible at if you are interested in reading some of his Working Papers (intriguing!).

Thanks again for you inputs!


13 July 06 - Blog ROI question for Charlene Li of Forrester Research

On July 7, I emailed Charlene Li the following question in response to the June 5 post on her blog --

Hi Charlene,

Eric Kintz of HP recently referred me to your June 5 post "Calculating the ROI of blogs - it's not about the math" because I am posing the question to a number of executives to find out their thoughts/views on the topic.

Here is the link:

My blog used to be located at originally setup for a USC Independent Study on corporate blogs and is now located on a new site in progress:

I agree with you about the subjectivity involved in trying to measure a blog's ROI. The reason I say this is because of the differences in executive blogs -- their objectives, number of posts, comments generated, and harnessing of new technologies to increase or measure traffic.

When I studied 32 corporate blogs, the data I obtained and placed into statistical models appeared 'noisy' and needed transforming -- it was still hard to make specific statements. I was looking at the success of the blog as a business communications tool.

The vast differences in the blogs makes it difficult to come up with that 'template' that one of your commenters /pd is asking for because metrics cannot be used in isolation.

How do you account for the cost that may be incurred from a blog post perceived negatively and build that into the ROI calculation?

You mention: "In my case, I believe that I can associate my blog with increased business and marketing value to Forrester because I write about certain topics only on my blog. If I wasn’t blogging about these topics, then I wouldn’t have had the content, exposure, and influence to interest those companies in becoming Forrester clients."

Determining the impact of your content, exposure, and influence on Forrester clients is tricky to measure. I am interested to know how you would go about this. If you have the time, would you give me your thoughts on this?

I look forward to hearing from you.


Fiona Torrance
USC Marshall School of Business

11 July 06 - Setting up a blog creates a cultural expectation

John Cass, Director of Blogging Strategies for Backbone Media, conducted the Corporate Blogging Survey in 2005 and An Interview with General Motor's Best Customer.

The entry is titled "The GM Blog: Lessons for Customer Blogging Relations" and is found at this link:

Cass sums up that by setting up a blog allowing for comments, customers expect their questions to be answered.

Bob Lutz of GM does not answer every question on the GM Fastlane blog and has stated in a number of posts that he does not have the time to respond to all queries.

The difficulty is that not all customers read every post and know this and some are disappointed when their questions are left unanswered or unaddressed.

Recently, I asked Mr. Lutz a question on his blog about how GM measures blog return on investment (ROI) and I tied the question in with the subject matter of the post. It suprised me to see a single comment "B-O-R-I-N-G" posted and yet my question is still unanswered.

Mr. Cass's survey answers the question to a degree. Being tenacious, I explored the GM Website and discovered the Corporate Responsibility Report Contact page --
gmcorpcit_comment.html. I posted the same question via this page and look forward to see what comes back.

9 July 06 - Rishabh Ratnu introduces me to Starcom MediaVest Group’s Xpanse Asia blog

When starting my original independent study on corporate blogs at, an individual named Rishe would offer some interesting questions and insights on my blog, yet I did not know anything about him.

Today, Rishe introduced me to his company's blog -- Xpanse Asia --located at

The blog is Starcom's Small Town & Rural Solutions initiative -- "We fuel brands through contact innovations based on consumer insights in the Small Town and Rural space across Asia to deliver results that make a difference to the bottom lines of these brands."

Xpanse Asia blog started in February 2006 and contains interesting information about the initiative with pictures of activities and people involved.

What I particularly like is the sense of culture conveyed. The author writes:

"Punjab, the land of gaiety and merrymaking, where festivals are celebrated with much aplomb and fanfare. Being a predominantly agricultural state that prides itself on its fields, hardly surprising, that its most significant festival is Baisakhi, which marks the arrival of the harvesting season."

This blog is worth reading because it shows how such an initiative in rural India is evolving and how effective a blog can be in showing the world what companies, like Starcom, are doing and also the cultural dynamics at play.

6 July 06 - Seeking ROI — What does David Jackson of Seeking Alpha say?

On this mission to discover how companies or "if" companies measure their blog ROI, I contacted David Jackson -- Founder of The Seeking Alpha blog --

Here's David's response:

Hi Fiona,

Sorry about the delay getting back to you.

Seeking Alpha is actuallyan aggregator and filter for stock market blogs, not a single blog.

We have over 150 contributors. So I'll leave it to you to see if youwant to adapt your questions to that!

Your project sounds fun!


Adapting the question, we eagerly await David's response to this one:

Hi David,

Thank you for your feedback!

Do you know if any of your 150 contributors to Seeking Alpha are measuring their blog ROI?

That would be interesting to know.

I would love to post something different about you on my Profile page: -- say an interest you have or something in your line of work that you would find intriguing to research further.

If you have the time to email me back that would be great.

Enjoy your day!

5 July 06 - Eric Kintz — HP’s VP of Global Marketing Strategy & Excellence — on measuring executive blog ROI

Here's Eric Kintz's response to our question:


Thanks for pinging me. The ROI of corporate blogs is a critical question that generates a lot of interest in Fortune 100 companies. Can blogging be justified by the additional sales it generates?

I agree with Charlene Li ( that it is difficult, possibly dangerous, to attach a number to blogging ROI because blogging is all about the relationship and the dialogue with your community.

In her words, “It’s that investment in the relationship that turns intangible, unquantifiable blogs into hard metrics”. We track traffic, links to our blogs as well as links on “influential blogs”, but these are proxies for the quality of the relationship.

I would be very interested in your findings


5 July 06 - How Does Hewlett Packard Measure Executive Blog ROI?

Recently, I asked Mr. Eric Kintz -- VP of Global Marketing Strategy & Excellence for HP -- the following question on his blog: "The Marketing Excellence blog by Eric Kintz":

Hello Mr. Kintz,

I've noticed Mr. Tankus is no longer blogging for HP and his blog was one that I used in an Independent Study at USC --

Would you mind being interviewed and profiled on my new site --
My new blog is located at

I am particularly interested in how companies calculate blog ROI and how the metrics differ from traditional calculations for say PR/marketing campaigns. How does HP calculate executive blog ROI?

I look forward to your response.

Fiona Torrance
USC Marshall School of Business

We look forward to Mr. Kintz's response to this question!

4 July 06 - How Does GM Measure Blog ROI?

Yesterday I asked Bob Lutz a question on his GM Fastlane blog about the metric system GM uses to measure return on investment (ROI) generated by the blog and what variables they focus on. We look forward to his response.

Measuring the ROI generated by a blog is a fairly new field, even though methods of calculating ROI from marketing and PR campaigns long exists.

What I am interested in discovering is how the method of measuring ROI for blogs differs from measuring any other PR mechanism.

A report written by Heidi Cohen on July 7, 2005 titled "Corporate Blogs: Measure their value!", states that, "To date, ROI hasn't been applied to blogs."

Cohen suggests refering to how other marketing components within your company are valued (how you calculate their metrics) and to apply a similar method to valuing your business blog.

Other practical approaches include:

Media placements
Direct revenues or traffic
Improved search rankings
Brand effect
Increased buzz
Promotion generation

In collating relevant costs, include direct cost factors involved in creation and operation of the blog and soft/shared costs such as executive blogging time and corporate communications.

Cohen offers the following method for calculation of blog ROI -- Combine the revenue and investment components to yield an ROI calculation as follows:

ROI = [annual profit (loss)]/investment costs
Where profit (loss) = dollar value of success metrics - fixed costs - variable cost
With fixed costs = relevant ongoing marketing and overhead associated with blog
With variable costs = costs associated with product sold
With investment costs = one-time costs to launch the blog

With the growth in corporate blogs and blogs receiving financing from venture capitalists, such as Rafat Ali's blog and blog, their ROI should be measured to record blog value and impact.

Knowing blog ROI is important because it can help managers make strategic business decisions.

Heidi Cohen's report is available at:

Monday, October 09, 2006

Biz Blog Review Moved Back To Blogger!

After moving my blog - Biz Blog Review - from ( to a WordPress application (, I've decided to return to using (this site) for these two main reasons:

1. Blogger is "WYSIWYG" - What You See Is What You Get
Posts take less time because the application is easy to use. In contrast, WordPress takes more time because the application isn't as easy to use.

Although I support open source and enjoy the challenge of learning WordPress, I've not got enough time (busy college workload in my last semester!) to download new versions of the application and to post.

2. The simplicity of Blogger allows me to focus on content and rather than the blog application software (I've got side-tracked!).

3. Blogger's community of techi helpers are so supportive! They email and give feedback when you're in need of guidance with your blog. I expressed a lot of frustration initially when I setup Biz Blog Review on because of my own lack of technical experience but the Blogger people were so helpful.


Since WordPress 2.0.3+ eliminated the referrer check in their core files and my posts were blocked, I haven't blogged on my own blog.

Recently, Professor Kathi Berens at USC asked me to discuss my blog experiences with her Writing 340 class and this was when I realized that I really would prefer to return to using

The question I faced is: How do I communicate this "three-point-turn" to the blogging community? Since I just switched to using a new blog site for Biz Blog Review, I thought about how confusing this would be to my audience.

What I explained to Professor Berens's class is that I started Biz Blog Review initially without a real set plan -- the blog just evolved as my independent study unfolded.

When we look at my first post on this blog, we see in January 2006 that it's merely an "Annotated Bibliography" - just parts to a research paper. This develops to blog posts of email communications with executives, and later to blog discussions and interviews with different executives.

Initially, my intent was just to house research information. But I've derived so much enjoyment from interacting with people and sharing insights through the blog that it's gone beyond just a knowledge management system.

In my presentation to Professor Berens's students, I listed the following questions for students to think about before setting up a blog:

1. What will your blog’s purpose be?
2. Do you want people to participate?
3. What will the blog do for you?
4. How frequently can you blog?
5. What should you bear in mind?
6. Should you blog on other blogs?
7. How techi do you want to be?

These questions help us discover our blog topic and how involved we want to be in blogging. They're questions I didn't ask myself before starting Biz Blog Review -- I just dived in! So, it's apt -- this Biz Blog Review.

I'll copy over the blog posts from the other site in the coming weeks to consolidate all blog posts in one place. For easier reading, I may invert and place black text on a white background. This is a work in progress...we're back!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Biz Blog Review has moved!

Biz Blog Review has now moved to site:

The blog is located at:

Any feedback on these new sites is most welcome!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The 32 Corporate/Executive Blogs Analyzed:

I researched the following 32 company blogs (or executive blogs representative of the company) for statistical analysis to try to determine how effective the blog is as a business communication tool:

Hewlett Packard
Dow Jones: Wall Street Journal
Sun Microsystems and
Wiley & Sons
Mercer Capital
Cisco Systems
Pricewaterhouse Coopers
Jupiter Research
Red Hat
Forrester Research, Inc.
Schwimmer & Associates
Wired News
Burson Marsteller
Hitachi Data Systems
Versant Solutions


Thank you to the following USC faculty and staff for your contributions:

Professor Sandra Chrystal -- Associate Professor of Clinical
Center for Management Communication -- Marshall School of Business

Jude Higdon -- Project Manager
Teaching & Learning Services -- Center for Scholoarly Technology

Professor Bert Steece -- Professor
Department of Information & Operations Management -- Marshall School of Business

Professor Ronald Bruck -- Professor
Director of Math Computing Labs -- Mathematics Department

Professor Rex Kovacevich -- Associate Professor of Clinical
Department of Marketing -- Marshall School of Business

Professor Steve Posner -- Part Time Lecturer
Center for Management Communication --Marshall School of Business

Thank you to the following corporate executives willing to answer my questions:

Mr. Mohammed Amin -- International Taxation Specialist, Pricewaterhouse Coopers

Mr. Bob Sutor -- Vice President of Standards and Open Source, IBM

Mr. David Gee -- Vice President of Hewlett Packard's Worldwide Marketing, Software, Technology Solutions Group

Ms. Susan Underhill -- Vice President of Hewlett Packard's Global Certification and Partner Education

Mr. John Earnhardt -- Media Spokesperson, Cisco Systems, Inc.

Mr. Brad Berens -- Executive Editor, iMediaConnection, Inc.

Mr. Chris Charron -- Vice President and Research Director, Forrester Research

Mr. Neville Hobson -- Communicator, Blogger and Podcaster
One of the leading European early adopters and influencers in social media communication for business.

Mr. John Cass -- Director of Blogging Strategies, Backbone Media

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Independent Study on Corporate Blogs -- Academic Achievements

Personally, I learned so much from Professor Sandra Chrystal as my mentor and from this study of blog-use as a business writing tool. Here is some of what I gained:
  • improved writing skills for print and online work
  • broadened perspectives on technology and business trends
  • stronger critical thinking skills for analysis
  • enhanced quantitative abilities for statistical application
  • developed professional conduct and contacts

During the study, I produced the following work:

1. Research paper -- "Why is corporate blogging relevant to business students?"

Achievement: 1st prize in Professionalism -- USC Undergraduate Writing Competition 2006

Internship: Imedia Connection Inc.

2. Knowledge Management System -- Biz Blog Review

Achievement: Grand Prize -- USC Webfest 2006

3. Independent Study on Corporate Blogs --

Statistical analysis of 32 corporate blogs; two research papers based on primary research interviews with corporate bloggers and academics; guest speaker to advanced business writing class at USC Marshall School of Business with video footage; and knowledge management system.

Achievement: Honors -- USC Undergraduate Symposium 2006

The USC Chronicle article, "Taking Another Leap in Technology", discussing this study is accessible at this link:

Summary of findings from Independent Study on Corporate Blogs:

I started Biz Blog Review at to research and evaluate corporate blogs for an independent study. For this study, I analyzed 32 corporate blogs for the Spring 2006 semester. These blogs are listed in my blogroll.

A summary of the study findings are as follows:

A link exists between the frequency of posts to a business blog and the number of comments which may be used to indicate how successful a blog is as a business communication tool. The analysis of data obtained from the study appears 'noisy' and even when transformed poses difficulties in interpretation. A number of outliers are present.

Corporate blogs have a specific business objective and the blog platform is designed to achieve that objective.

Stages of development are evident in the evolution of the corporate blog as it impacts the online community and the executive blogger. Vice President of Standards and Open Source at IBM -- Bob Sutor -- recently consolidated his blog creating an Open Blog on his site:

The personal voice of the executive blogger is an important connector to the audience in the writing process. Bob Lutz -- GM's Vice President -- is professional yet personally engages his audience while expressing a business message.

The psychology present in the corporate blog pertaining to the message and the executive, and how it impacts the blog function, is another captivating field to look at.

The blogroll (links to other business blogs) may be indicative of a corporate network if the executive blogger links to other corporate blogs.

Not all corporate blogs have obvious blog policies and liability statements, such as the Club Siemens blog. Comparing corporate policy on blogging is an area of study in itself.

Some corporate blogs cease after achieving a purpose or are not updated, such as the Nike Art of Speed blog and the Ford Mustang blog. The reasons why corporations stop blogging is also an intriguing domain to explore.

Certain blogs do not invite comment, but are effective even though posts average 5-10 a month, such as Randy's Journal belonging to Randy Baseler of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Some companies have a number of high profile executive blogs, such as Hewlett Packard, while others sport one executive blog only.

Corporate blogs are growing in number even though warnings of liability continue to echo from the legal community. Measuring the value of corporate blogs in terms of ROI is a fairly new field and is what the business of blogging boils down to.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Biz Blog Review in Backbone Blogging Survey

Recently I discovered that John Cass, Director of Blogging Strategies for Backbone Media, linked to my "Blog Evaluation Strategy" in April, in a post -- Assessing Whether You Should Blog.

Here is the link:

Cass includes the following points on conducting a blogging assessment for your company:

1) Company Goals: Start off by writing down your company goals; list your PR, Communications and SEO goals. Understanding your goals will help you to determine if blogging is a strategy that will help you to achieve your overall marketing goals.

2) Outcomes: Develop a list of outcomes that will be produced by starting a blog. Base the outcomes on the your assessment of your industry's blogging community, the ability of your company to blog and what's happening with your competition. List traffic potential, which goals you expect to achieve through a blogging strategy and how you expect your industry's blogosphere to develop.

3) Keywords: Research the keywords that will help you to target your audience for search engines and RSS feed search engines.

4) Blog Audit: Develop a list of bloggers in your community. Assess each blogger's level of influence and impact.

5) Blogosphere Profile: Take the themes being discussed in your community's blogosphere and assess how your company can enter into the discussion. What unique characteristics about your product/service will elicit discussion and demonstrate leadership.

6) Blog Costs: Describe how much time will it take to blog. Assess the cultural norms of interaction within your community; for example do bloggers send trackbacks. Estimate the costs of not blogging against the dangers of blogging for your company.

7) Justification for the blog: What results will the blog produce, estimate the traffic, SEO results and PR outcomes. Use these results for your CEO presentation.

8) Commit or pull the plug: Review your research and based on the overview give a fair estimate of whether your company should blog or not blog.

John Cass provides Internet marketing, SEO and corporate blogging advice to clients. His biography is available on his personal business blog:

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

All in a May's work!

What an exciting month May is! May leads the way...

Some of us closed the Spring 2006 semester with final exams in the first two weeks and sealed our degrees with graduation by May 12. To top it, I moved home during this period and am still tackling the boxes!

As part of a prize for USC's Undergraduate Writing Competition [], I received the valuable opportunity through Brad Berens -- Executive Editor -- to intern for iMedia Connection Inc. [].

Every week, since mid-March, I have written news articles for Roger Park (News Editor) and then researched for Rebecca Weeks (Content Director). Brad Berens offered me two terrific learning experiences to review and write about recent Forrester Research Reports:

"Interactive Marketing Channels to Watch"

"Social Computing & Interactive Marketing"

From this internship, I have learned the difference between writing research papers and writing for an online audience, and about the latest trends in media, marketing, and advertising.

Working with Brad, Roger, and Rebecca is a wonderful experience -- they are a great team -- and I will miss "my iMedia" when this internship comes to a close on May 31.

During June and July, I will be working at USC's Marshall School of Business Center of Management Communication, and on research evaluating student learning with Dr. Sandra Chrystal.

My goal during this period is also to improve Biz Blog Review. Although my Independent Study ended this Spring 2006 semester, my intention is to share what I have learned and to tweak the focus and layout of this blog. [Neville Hobson -- I have not forgotten you!].

In August, I start the last of four classes to complete my degree (BS Business and Communication) and am also applying for the Masters in Communication Management program at USC's Annenberg School of Communication.

Researching the uses and impacts of corporate blogs, learning about online communities, and social computing are areas that I am interested in.

There are so many things of awesome interest out there in varied disciplines with such little time to pursue them. Connecting with people, sharing interests, and deciding on that passionate specialization is key.

What is important to me is that, that "passionate specialization" contributes to positive upliftment of humanity. From this, all else will fall into place.

Studying at USC represents a transformation/evolution to me that is both personal and professional, and I am enjoying every moment of life as it unfolds.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Bill Cara's Blog: Capital Markets

Today I took a look at Bill Cara's Blog [] and find his daily analysis of capital markets most intriguing. The Trader Daily gives some background on Bill Cara -- here's the link:

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

USC Graduation -- Class of 2006!

I celebrated Graduation this past week with some of my best friends:

Graduate Torrance . Dr. Gary Woods

Dr. Sandra Chrystal . Graduate Torrance . Professor Yolanda Kirk

I "walked early" for graduation and complete my last classes in December 2006.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Post Break: Final Exams

We are currently in final exams at USC and I will continue more indepth posts after May 9.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Hewlett Packard's Susan Underhill -- Vice President of HP Global Certification & Partner Education -- On blogs for knowledge transfer

Susan Underhill
Source: Photo from Susan Underhill's blog

On April 3, I posted a question to Susan Underhill's blog. Here is my question and her response:

Ms. Underhill
How do you see corporate blogs, such as these HP Executive Blogs, contributing to knowledge transfer internally within HP and externally with business, consumers, and the general public?

Fiona Torrance
USC Undergrad Student
Posted by FionaTorrance on 4/3/2006 12:21 AM

Susan Underhill's Response:

Thank you for your question, Fiona.

Though I'm a rather new member to the "blogosphere," I'm very enchanted with this medium as a way to share and exchange ideas and information with lots of people.

The popularity of blogs has certainly soared in the past year or so, as evidenced by the sheer number of aggregator websites that have popped up to enable RSS feeds.

Not every blog posting, of course, is what I would call "knowledge transfer." Nor are they meant to be. Many blogs are simply a way for people to keep in touch about their daily activities or experiences, and that's great.

In the corporate world, we use blogs to share our insights about the knowledge we have that pertains to our positions. I'll admit – these executive blogs are great for "setting the tone" or "giving the view from 30,000 feet."

But if you really want to dig into the "knowledge transfer" type of blogs, try reading some of the postings from our researchers, engineers, and product developers. Of course, you can only see the ones outside the HP firewall, such as those posted on the main blogs page under "Other blogs from HP." []

I can tell you that we have some deep discussions taking place on the blogs as well as wikis inside our firewall. We see them as a valuable means of communication.

Posted by Susan Underhill on 4/13/2006 1:11 PM

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Dr. Sandra Chrystal -- We Are Proud Of You!

Dr. Sandra Chrystal . Dr. Mark Kann . Fiona Torrance
(Dr. Mark Kann presents Award to Dr. Sandra Chrystal April 18, 2006)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

HP's David Gee says, "Your blog is a thoughtful process"


Here is a question I posed Mr. Gee on his HP Executive Blog:

Mr. Gee Thank you so much for your feedback. I posted it on my blog -- -- and already received feedback from an individual named Roche. He brought up the subject of outsourcing and blogging. How do you see blogs impacting outsource hubs and do you think it is viable for companies to oursource their own blogs? Look forward to your response.

Posted by FionaTorrance on 4/9/2006 5:15 PM

Here is Mr. Gee's response:

You can’t outsource your own blog – one of the reasons I can’t keep up as much as I’d like since it’s a thoughtful process

Posted by D Gee on 4/13/2006 2:00 PM

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Josh Kaufman -- Assistant Brand Manager at Proctor & Gamble -- blogs about the MBA's worth

(Click on picture to enlarge)

Here is an article published on Josh Kaufman's site with some details about the personal vs the traditional MBA: (part of the script is posted below my thoughts on the debate) --
Josh raises significant points no doubt born in the minds of different students over time.

What I have realized from my experience as an undergraduate at USC is that what we learn in a classroom -- professor experiences, differences in teaching presentation and styles, group interactions, questions raised by others, and that making mistakes is part of the learning process -- is a valuable contribution to our development to cope and succeed in the workplace.

An MBA allows students/employees to raise their critical thinking processes to a level that involves greater responsibility. And the research involved broadens the foundation of specialist knowledge that is needed to be an expert in a particular field. Mentors in MBA programs guide the research process so that the intended questions are properly and thoroughly addressed.
Face-to-face interaction with others teaches skills highly pertinent to the negotiation process too. People skills and effective communication strategies are needed by MBA students to be successful in business, and this cannot be achieved solely through the online community. These are aspects that cannot be learned or achieved alone in a library or at home either because the benefit of interaction with a mentor and with other students from different backgrounds is lost.
For this reason, I think it is still highly valuable to pursue an MBA degree -- if it is within your means.

A combination of the traditional and online aproaches may work well. MIT's OpenCourseWare is a great resource for online learning, and interaction on corporate blogs is also a valuable tool for students to learn. The two approaches combined are complimentary.


Thoughts on Traditional MBA Programs

“Whatever be the qualifications of your tutors, your improvement must chiefly depend on yourselves. They cannot think or labor for you, they can only put you in the best way of thinking and laboring for yourselves. If therefore you get knowledge you must acquire it by your own industry. You must form all conclusions and all maxims for yourselves, from premises and data collected and considered by yourself. And it is the great object of [our educational institutions] to remove every bias the mind may be under, and to give the greatest scope for true freedom of thinking.” - Joseph Priestly, Dedication of New College, London, 1794.

The debate concerning the value of traditional MBA programs is long and involved, and this manifesto won’t close the issue [1]. For the sake of brevity, here’s a short Q&A on the pros and cons of business school:

Can a traditional MBA program help you? Yes. You’ll meet a lot of great people and get acquainted with a few professors and corporate HR recruiters who can help you land a new job. You will also sink very deep into debt. If you decide to enroll in a full-time program, the opportunity cost of lost wages and future investable savings is huge.

Will a traditional MBA teach you anything you can’t learn by yourself? Probably not. Classroom discussion can be beneficial, but there’s nothing presented that you can’t learn by studying a good book on the subject.

Is a traditional MBA worth the time and money? Sorry – there’s no universal answer. If you’re looking to go into advanced corporate accounting, finance, quantitative analysis, commercial real estate, consulting, venture capital, or investment banking, an MBA or MS in a business-related field may be expected or required. In those cases, caveat emptor: once you decide to attend, the only certainty is that your bank account will be significantly smaller.

If you decide not to go to business school, the Personal MBA is a low cost way to educate yourself about business. (Even business school graduates can benefit greatly from reading these books.) Before we get to the list, however, allow me to set a few reasonable expectations about the PMBA.

Do blogs replace or compliment company Intranets?

Rishe's Comment:

Hey there Fiona!

Thansk for your feedback.

The autheticity/ ownership of blog content is always going to be a big area of possibilities. Ghost written or otherwise, so long as the companies voice is heard, I think it's a job well done.

Now for my query, What I meant to know was, can blogging be used to create dynamic online communities to make the employees feel more connected and instilled with a sense of belonging.

Can they serve as a media for internal communication, say, as against an official Intranet. Which is always suspect in the absense of content updates on periodic basis.

And so far as I knwo blogging, it defines the skew of content from, created by specialists to created by the user. So user generated content can make a difference to communication within the Internal Publics or employees.

Would look forward to your feed.

11:04 PM

Fiona Torrance said...

Hi Riche

Blogs definitely create dynamic online communities -- the interactions on this blog between students and those in business internationally is a real example.

What I love about the IBM blogs, such as Bob Sutor's blog, is how even managers and employees are interacting -- in this sense the blog is a wonderful bonding, mentoring, and motivating tool.

In terms of official intranets and internal blogs, my view is that internal blogs create a more open platform for discussion and reduce email overload. In using an email inbox, we have to choose (by subject line and sent from line) whether or not to open the email. Sometimes people copy one another unnecessarily on emails too.

In contrast, an internal blog allows optional comment (or it can be part of workflow) and also provides time for the commenter to think about what they will say/write. Emails are often fired off in haste with detrimental backlash.

So, on a whole internal blogs provide a number of flexible and useful options.

Internal blogs can be password protected and accessible by company employees only -- not for open comment by the public. Comments can also be moderated. Certain blogs are used internally and externally as long as the blogger registers on the company blog.

My view is that we -- as bloggers -- should take ownership of our postings for credibility.

With marketers using stealth means to sell products and services, blogs are a platform that can, are, and will be used for this purpose. I have already deleted a number of comments that were advertisements because I temporarily lifted comments moderation to allow students to see their comments posted immediately. Stealth marketers can destroy credibility.

This is where Intranets (I am limited in my knowledge on them) may succeed because the content is better protected.

What do you think?

Cisco's John Earnhardt -- On starting blogs

Recently, I asked John Earnhardt, Media Spokesperson for Cisco, about the decision to start his blog. This is his reply --

My e-mail answer to Fiona:

We initiated blogging in our group to basically "extend" the reach of our staff experts.

As you may have been able to surmise, my colleagues have not taken to the form as quickly as I would have liked. We're still basically at the crawl stage...hope to be walking by the end of the year.

In terms of effectiveness, I would rate it a C+...we've gotten some interaction and traction and the blog was recently mentioned in the Wall Street Journal, so we've had some impact, but nothing super tangible.

Hope that helps.

John Earnhardt

Sunday, April 09, 2006

John Earnhardt of Cisco on net neutrality and the influence of corporate blogs

Mr. Earnhardt,

You mention that "The net neutrality issue is a solution in search of a problem that doesn't exist" -- would you explain what you mean by this statement?

Also, do you think that corporate/business blogs are spurring the debate on this issue?

Thank you,
Fiona Torrance
USC Undergrad Student

Posted by Fiona Torrance on April 2, 2006 10:45 PM

Response posted on Cisco's (John Earnhard) Blog:

There has been no need to regulate in this area because there haven't been any bad actors who are taking advantage of their ability to block or slow another application's traffic, yet the OTT's ("Over-the-top" providers) are advocating for Congress or regulators to regulate or legislate.

To be accurate, there has been one instance of an SP blocking a VoIP provider's traffic and that SP was quickly punished by the FCC. Again, a case-by-case basis, not a pre-emptive regulatory or legislative solution.

As per blogs having an impact on this debate, I really couldn't say. My best guess is that as there are more and more information sources out there it will be harder and harder to track what is influential because so many different sources will be touching many different people.

Posted by John Earnhardt on April 3, 2006 03:32 PM