Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thou Shalt Blog

The author of the book The Social Media Bible has put up his Ten Commandments of Social Media over at the Fast Company Web site. Here's the very first one:

Commandments 1. Thou Shalt Blog (like crazy)
Blog. Please. That's the first priority. Set up a blog, a personal blog, a business blog. It's easier than you think. Use an existing blogging site such as or or install your own branded blogging site right on your own server by using WordPress. And, WordPress is free.

It's interactive, it's more or less permanent, and it represents exactly what you want to say. The hardest part is doing it on a regular basis, so people keep coming back. Any business that wants to maintain a continuous relationship with its customers should really look into keeping a blog.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Thought for Memorial Day

I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day. I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it. We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did. ~Benjamin Harrison, our 23rd President. Memorial Day was known as Decoration Day until after World War II.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Watch What You Say

One of the great things about blogging is that it can be instantaneous, off the cuff, a response to what's happening in the real world in real time. But that spontaneity also has a downside, if you're not careful.

According to the Wall Street Journal, in 2007, there were 106 civil lawsuits against bloggers and others in social networks and online forums, up from just 12 in 2003. The Media Law Resource Center in New York, a nonprofit clearinghouse that tracks free-speech cases, says that there have been about $17.4 million in trial awards against bloggers.

Remember, blogging is publishing. The same rules of libel and defamation apply in the blogosphere that would apply to any newspaper. So be spontaneous, but don't be reckless.

Monday, May 18, 2009


A blogger over at Seeking Alpha, a top-notch investment site, has put together a list of his favorite financial blogs. I would list them here, but there are several dozen of them, on topics ranging from European economics to Cacluated Risk, the blog that has done the best job of covering the housing and subprime stories here in the U.S.

Seeking Alpha itself is a very worthwhile site as well. If you're not already clicking over there regularly, I highly recommend it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Kindle News

The next major platform for blog readers appears to be Amazon's Kindle, which has announced a new program for uploading and publishing blog posts. There's no charge to bloggers for having their material distributed, but Amazon plans to charge readers - prices haven't been announced, but speculation is that it will be something like $1.99 a month per blog.

I generally trust that Amazon knows what it's doing, which is why this comes as a significant step for the world of blogging. If Amazon thinks people will be willing to pay to read a blog, they must have evidence that they're considered pretty popular and valuable.

Now that doesn't mean people will be willing to pay to read the kinds of marketing blogs we handle here at Triton. But it does mean that blogs have become a regular, accepted and even necessary part of people's online reading habits.

If people are willing to pay to read a blog, don't you think they might be likely to stop by and catch up on your blog - for free?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Don't Start a Blog?

I thought this was an interesting piece of advice from a Web site that handles PR for Managed Service Providers:

Over and over again, I warn MSPs not to launch corporate blogs. The reason: Most of the blogs turn into content graveyards because MSPs don’t have time to update the sites.

That gets at one of the issues we strive to avoid here at Triton. It's hard to update a blog every day. It's hard to know what to write about, and it's hard to find the time to write up your thoughts coherently and concisely.

But when you let Triton handle your blog, you get fresh, informative items posted every single weekday. Clients will never find your information stale and out of date. Each time they click on your site, they will find something new to read.

That's how you keep people coming back. Let us show you what we can do for you.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tell It to the King

The latest person to get into trouble over his blogging is none other than CNN talk show host Larry King. King keeps a blog on the CNN Web site, even though a couple of years ago he said that he never goes on the Internet at all.

Now, blogs borrow material from other sites all the time, but it is considered kosher to always provide an attribution. Larry (or someone calling himself Larry) apparently has been putting up posts from other sites without any indication that it came from anywhere else. That's a no-no.

Everyone realizes that everything on the Internet is linked to everything else. There's no problem with that. But if you do, give credit where credit is due.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Beware the Blog

The Wall Street Journal recently had an article about the pitfalls that bloggers and Twitterers can fall into if they're not careful. Cisco actually got sued for defamation when an item in its blog accused a couple of lawyers - who were in the process of suing Cisco - of engaging in criminal activity.

Twitter, which is more fleeting and hit-and-run than a blog, seems to be getting people in even more trouble. EBay recently went after a Twitterer who had been following the company's earning reports, conferences, and things like that. EBay forced him to put a disclaimer on his Tweets - and given that they're only 140 characters long, that must have put a damper on his Twittering.

Blog posts move too quickly to get a full compliance review on every item, so bloggers are advised to be careful. Here at Triton, we've been working with advisors long enough to know how to put up meaningful posts that won't run afoul with the authorities.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

And the Winner Is...

The Software and Information Industry Association recently handed out a bunch of awards (the Codies) to member firms, and one of them was for the Corporate Blog of the Year. That went to Mark Logic CEO Dave Kellogg's blog, titled simply Mark Logic CEO Blog.

It's instructive to read Dave's blog and see what people regard as exemplary in this field. Dave touches on a lot of complex, technical software issues, but he also deals with whatever topic strikes his fancy. There's a funny post up there about an interview with the guys who founded Twitter, for example.

Structurally, it's updated at least once a day, so people would never get out of the habit of clicking on it. It uses Blogger, the same flexible (and free!) blog-hosting service that we use. And most importantly, it gets people talking about Mark Logic, even people like me who ordinarily have little contact with the software industry. What more could you want?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Source

Anyone who is interested in creating a blog should really take the time to familiarize him- or herself with Technorati, which is sort of the Google of blogs. It's not just a search engine for blogs but a way to track them: how your blog ranks among the most popular blogs in your category, who's been linking to your blog, all kinds of cool stuff like that.

It's also a way to keep up on what's percolating in the blogosphere. Technorati tracks the stories that have been appearing on every type of blog - corporate, personal, professional - so you can keep apprised on what's happening. You can also set up an account for yourself there to follow the blogs you're interested in. It's definitely a source worth checking out.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Quote for the Day

"Eventually, most businesses will use blogs to communicate with customers, suppliers and employees, because it's two-way and more satisfying." - Bill Gates, founder and chairman of Microsoft

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Graveyard

Many people start up blogs with the best of intentions and lots of enthusiasm: They think they'll have plenty to say for years on end and loyal readers will bookmark them and check back three or four times a week till the end of time. This leads to the conundrum of dead blogs. A dead blog is defined as one that hasn't had a new post for three months.

For instance Bad Medicine, a blog on medical politics, hasn't been updated since July 26, 2008. Ramblings of a Madman hasn't had any new ramblings since May 15, 2008. Something called Corporate Bloggers Revolution hasn't had a new post since October 29, 2006; apparently the revolution never came.

That's kind of sad, isn't it? These blogs sometimes stay forever out there in cyberspace, left in limbo, never to be updated or even read. There should be a blog morgue that people can call up to get their dead blogs removed.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Best Blog?

The blog frequently cited as the best corporate blog out there is the one run by Google. The blog search engine Technorati, for example, ranks the Google blog as the number one most popular corporate site. Since Google searches for and categorizes everything in the known Internet world, the blog is at liberty to discuss most anything connected with the Web. They'll talk about anything from cloud computing to tracking the swine flu.

One interesting thing about the blog is that it's not easily detectable from Google's home page. You sort of have to go looking for it. Another interesting aspect is that it uses Blogger, the same free blog-hosting service we use here at Triton News. But that's not so surprising, since Blogger is an arm of Google.

Of course, Google has a whole army of employees ready and willing to write blog posts for it, and the entire Internet at its fingertips. And everyone and their uncle goes to Google to look up stuff every single day. So no one should feel too bad if their own blog doesn't measure up to Google's. There's plenty of room for the little guy, too.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Checking Them In

Marriott Hotels is one of the many corporations that has been keeping a blog on its Web site. And it has been doing some great work in tracking the effectiveness of that blog. There was a recent news story attesting that Marriott's blog gets 6000 visitors a week, and a total of over 600,000 visitors since it opened for business over two years ago.

The upshot of all that? Marriott's blog is linked directly to its reservations page. So the company has been able to track that a whopping $5 million worth of bookings have come in via the blog.

The kicker is that Marriott's blog is written by CEO Bill Marriott - who doesn't use a computer. He writes his posts in longhand and they get posted for him.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

It Takes All Kinds

A lot of businesses want to start a blog, but they're not sure what exactly they should be posting there. Company updates? Larger news items that might be of interest to their clients? Economic developments affecting their industry? General "Reader's Digest"-style news and jokes? Recipes?

The answer is yes to all of these, except maybe recipes. Whatever your clients want to be informed about - or even more to the point, whatever they want to read day after day - is what should be on your blog. If you ran a tax consultancy, that might be changes to the tax code or new strategies you've been hearing about. If you're an advertising firm, it might be about a new designer you've hired, with links to some exciting new graphic looks. If you run a scrapbooking site, it might be homey personal-interest stories.

Every blog should consist of what people want to read. And obviously, that will be different for every company. There are ways to monitor your page views to see what prospects are clicking on and what they're ignoring, to see if the content you're posting is working. And if it's not, we'll keep trying till we find the right formula to keep people coming back.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Origins of My Blogging

Back in 1997, when I was an editor at Worth magazine, I was asked, as part of an effort to beef up our presence on the Web, to write something called a blog. I began writing weekly dispatches about the world of sports business for a blog we called "Ballpark Figures."

I was pretty happy with what we ended up producing. The magazine at that point had not been covering sports very much, and there were a lot of key battles being fought: about player salaries and union relations, about ticket prices, about public support for stadiums. I wrote up a few of these types of articles for Sports Illustrated, but mostly they ended up on my blog.

But it's also worth noting what we didn't understand about the nature of the Internet back then, or at least how people would come to use the Internet. I posted stories once a week, as if people wouldn't drop by the site any more often that that. There was no interactivity, no way for readers to respond to what I was writing. Each post was roughly the length of a newspaper column, without any briefer posts dropped in to vary the pace and reel in readers with shorter attention spans.

We know a lot better now. And most blogs, if done well, are getting a lot more readers than "Ballpark Figures" ever did.