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新传播评论:博客传播--平实的威力  

2008-07-10 23:28:00|  分类: 环球媒体报道精选 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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 在2005年中国网民突破1亿之际,CNNIC(中国互联网信息中心)调查了当时中国的博客数量:已超过1000万。而到了2007年年末,这个数字已经增长到5000万。如今,“博客”已经成为大众耳熟能详的名词。

  也正是因为博客二字影响如此之大,商界始终没有放弃利用博客赢取财富的努力。在博客营销的概念体系中,大体上分为两条路线:其一,如何利用现有 的数以万计的博客开展营销;其二,如何搭建一个博客来更好地宣传企业的产品从而取得相应的利润。而《财富博客》一书主要探讨的,就是第二条路线的内容。

  《财富博客》(中文版暂定译名)的第一作者罗伯特·斯考伯因为博客一夜成名。2000年,当时他还是微软的一名普通技术人员,在得到首席执行官 史蒂夫·鲍尔默的许可后,他开始撰写博客,并自由发表自己对微软的看法。在2006年罗伯特离开微软之前,他已经是微软的Channel9频道和网络 Blog宣传负责人,还被冠上“比尔·盖茨一号广播小喇叭”的称号。在公司内部,罗伯特就像一名巡回记者,专门负责在微软的Channel9频道上用采访 的方式将微软700余名员工的生活经历、工作理念发掘出来。

  罗伯特的微软博客访问者众多,他通过酣畅淋漓的自由书写、一针见血的个人评论,让一贯高高在上的微软拥有了一张人性化的面孔。连英国《经济学家》都称他为“首席感化官”。《远东经济评论》在2004年7月出版的杂志中用如此煽情的文字写道:

  “从前,有一个戴着眼镜、名叫比尔的‘暴君’,他统治着全球近乎98%的‘领土’。他将自己的软件解决方案强加于人,并且通过高利贷式的授权协 议盘剥整个世界。这个世界对比尔的憎恨是如此普遍,以至于‘暴君’所有的公关活动和慈善事业都不能挽回他的形象。后来,忽然有一天,出现了一个名叫罗伯特 ·斯考伯的胖胖的电脑商人,他通过个人日志,也就是blog(博客),改变了这一切。转眼之间,大家开始重新喜欢这个‘国王’,并购买他的产品。(至少, 人们不再那么憎恨他了,甚至在晚会上见了他,也开始和他打招呼了。)”

  罗伯特的工作在外人看来,的确很难量化,但他这个非正式发言人的确让微软的外在形象得到了极大改观:由傲慢的业内恶棍转变成了开明的合作伙伴,而且,这种转变所带来的财富也是无可比拟的。从这个意义上来说,这样一位人士的《财富博客》是值得一读的。

  这本书的英文原名是《Naked Conversation》,而conversation(对话)一词至关重要。在很多提到宣传(或者叫营销)的书籍里,经常使用的是“沟通”、“传 播”,英文则常用“communication”;但事实上,企业应该和它的利益相关人(stakeholder)进行对话而非单向说服;而且,这种对话 还应该是平等的、双向的。著名危机公关学者Grunig教授在研究了大量案例后得出结论:对等双向传播模式(two-way symmetrical communication model)是组织在面对危机时使用的最恰当的处理方式。

           然而,这一点,并不是那么容易做到的。

  在组织和大众的交流中(这种交流包括广告、公关、直销等一系列所谓整合营销传播的手法),一端是虚拟的人——商业组织(组织并不是一个人,品牌 在大多数时候缺少人性的元素),另外一端则更含混:一群无法辨识的大众。所谓信息交流就是在这两端进行着,这是一个基本上可以被称为单向传播(从冷冰冰的 组织到面容模糊的大众)的流动。这种没有信任基础且又是单向的传播,势必造成沟通不畅:企业说企业的,大众做大众的。这种局面丝毫没有奇怪之处,《财富博 客》描写了这种令人尴尬的状况:

  “如今在我们生活的时代,越来越多的人开始对大公司产生不信任感。关于大公司渎职、滥用职权和掠夺行为的头条新闻层出不穷,而这仅仅是问题的一 部分。人们普遍认为,油滑的律师和处理账务的会计师们操纵着大公司,而这些人监管着逆来顺受、寄生虫一般的雇员大军,人们认为这些公司是没有灵魂的。总而 言之,我们在大公司里看不到人性的存在。”

  商业组织耗资巨大,试图让自己的信息更具说服力,它们大搞公关营销,奇招百出以传播信息,但却忽略了一样很重要的东西:当一句话从冷冰冰的机器人而不是一个人口中说出来的时候,所谓说服力,必定是要打折扣的。

  但大众难道不想知道商业组织的信息吗?也不尽然。特别是对于一些有影响力的知名企业,大众并非对它们的信息不屑一顾。更进一步来讲,如果是这些 企业的花边新闻,那么大众就更感兴趣了。由此看来,并不是大众不想知道,而是企业的信息传播方式亟待革新。在这场革新中,博客无疑是一个值得重视的新工 具。

  罗伯特说:“博客们纯粹互相对话,他们书写时会犯文法错误,讨论主题前后乱跳,经常中途打断别人的话去问问题、提建议、挑战对方的主张,但这些 对话可以建立信任感。博客的一位先驱戴夫·温纳(Dave·Winer,博客技术的领袖人物之一;作为PC软件业的先驱,是最早的博客之一,并最早提供博 客软件,为博客运动提供软件技术‘驱动力’。)称之为用真面貌对话,他也乐见偶然出现的错别字,因为那充分说明对话的真实性,证明你所阅读的内容未经过 滤,出于真实人物的手笔。”

  博客正在因为个人色彩的介入,慢慢发展成为强有力的公关工具。这种个人化的写作,让读者觉得更亲切、更可信。而较之于一般企业的官网论坛(BBS),它的信息发布以及与读者间的对话随意但不乏井然有序。博客,事实上已经帮助组织搭建了一个“对等双向传播模式”的平台。

  2007年7月,中国著名的房地产公司万科董事长王石的夫人被人发现购入将近5万股万科股票,随后万科便发布了一项利好消息。王石的夫人的此次 购买引发了公众的广泛质疑。9天之后,王石通过他的博客发布了题为《作为万科董事长,深表歉意》的日志,文中做了非常诚恳的解释和道歉。而在随后进行的调 查中,有将近七成的投资人接受了这一道歉,认为万科对这起危机公关处理得十分到位。最重要的是,此次事件之后,万科的股价并未受到太多的负面影响。

  罗伯特作为一个基层员工开设博客,最终成为微软重要的非官方发言人,这只是一个例子。相对于美式文化而言,中国民众,有时候更愿意相信“负责 人”所说的话。鉴于这种文化的不同,建议中国更多的企业领导人开设“CEO博客”。然而,不管怎样,正如三次艾美奖得主,美国查普曼大学的休伊特教授所 说:“如果你是一位领导,你就应该开博;如果可能的话,每天都应该更新博客;如果条件不允许,也应该利用大多数时间写博客。”

  那么,究竟如何架设和运作一个商业博客来充当有效的对话渠道?如何利用博客获取最大的财富价值呢?请翻开《财富博客》这本书,相信您会找到此中的玄机。(NEW MARKETING原载 )


A Blog Revolution? Get a Grip

Andrea Mohin/The New York Times

Nick Denton, foreground, of Gawker Media, is taken aback by the hype about blogs. His editors include, from left, Joel Johnson of Gizmodo; Gina Trapani, Lifehacker; Jessica Coen, Gawker; and Lockhart Steele.


By TOM ZELLER Jr.
Published: May 8, 2005

DON'T ask Nick Denton, publisher of Gawker Media and its growing list of popular Web logs, about his empire. "People come up to me as if it's witty and say, 'How is the empire going?' " Mr. Denton said, "which is pretty pathetic."

Skip to next paragraph
Daniel Nardicio

John d'Addario, the editor of Fleshbot.

Carl T. Powers for The New York Times

Ana Marie Cox, the voice of Wonkette.

Kristen Stancik

Mark Lisanti of Defamer, the West Coast's Gawker.

Don't ask him about his business plan, either. He says he never had one. The only reason he formed the company, he said, was to make his network of blogs - which includes Gawker, the flagship chronicle of Manhattan news and gossip; Fleshbot, the thinking person's diary of smut; and about 10 other titles - more attractive to advertisers.

"It doesn't help with readers," he said. "It's actually a disadvantage, because it looks corporate."

At a time when media conferences like "Les Blogs" in Paris two weeks ago debate the potential of the form, and when BusinessWeek declares, as it did on its May 2 cover, that "Blogs Will Change Your Business," Mr. Denton is withering in his contempt. A blog, he says, is much better at tearing things down - people, careers, brands - than it is at building them up. As for the blog revolution, Mr. Denton put it this way: "Give me a break."

"The hype comes from unemployed or partially employed marketing professionals and people who never made it as journalists wanting to believe," he said. "They want to believe there's going to be this new revolution and their lives are going to be changed."

For all of the stiff-arming and disdain that Mr. Denton brings to the discussion of this nonrevolution, however, there is no question that he and his team are trying to turn the online diarist's form - ephemeral, fast-paced and scathingly opinionated - into a viable, if not lucrative, enterprise. Big advertisers like Audi, Nike and General Electric have all vied for eyeballs on Gawker's blogs, which Mr. Denton describes as sexy, irreverent, a tad elitist and unabashedly coastal.

He says that there is no magic behind Gawker Media, his three-year-old venture based in New York. To his mind, it is built around a basic publishing model. But like it or not in the overheated atmosphere of blog-o-mania, Mr. Denton, 38, remains one of the most watched entrepreneurs in the business.

If his reluctance to be interviewed is theater, it is deft theater. A British expatriate and former Financial Times reporter, Mr. Denton is tall, slim, and salt-and-pepper handsome, with the slightly embarrassed air of someone who invested in the dot-com boom and came out unscathed. (He made millions in two previous ventures - including a company called Moreover Technologies, an online news aggregator that presaged the twitchy, check-this-out linking that now make blogs de rigueur reading for desk jockeys worldwide.)


STRIDING toward the unadorned third-floor TriBeCa loft that is the closest thing to a Gawker nerve center, Mr. Denton reiterated, in a polite, sometimes halting staccato that often fades into a string of inaudible syllables, that he would not discuss money. He declined to say if Gawker was profitable, or how much he paid Gawker's dozen or so bloggers - editors, as the company calls them.

He fired up a Marlboro Light and, hustling across Canal Street, chattered obliquely about overhead (minimal in the blogging business), libel (always a concern) and Fred Durst.

In March, Mr. Durst, the Limp Bizkit front man, sued Gawker, among other sites, for linking to a sex video in which he appeared.

"Honestly, though, we don't know why you're so mad at us," Gawker's editor, Jessica Coen, sneered in a March 4 entry. "The situation is really rather simple. Someone sent us a link to a video of your penis, we went into shock, and we shared it with the world for about two hours. Then we wept, found God, took a hot bath, and removed the video from our site."

Mr. Durst eventually dropped the suit.

A grueling climb led to the quiet, whitewashed loft space where a few Gawker Media hands - including Lockhart Steele, the company's managing editor, and Gina Trapani, the editor of one of the company's newest blogs, Lifehacker - were plucking away at laptops. (Gawker shares the space with another blogger, Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan of Apartment Therapy.)

Mr. Steele, who joined the company in February, is the den mother for Gawker's far-flung collection of bloggers and is in near constant communication with them throughout the day via Instant Messenger. About half of the editors live in New York. The rest are distributed around the country. In California, Mark Lisanti edits Defamer, the Los Angeles counterpart to Gawker, and in Colorado, Brian D. Crecente edits one of the newer sites, Kotaku, dedicated to video games. In New Orleans, John d'Addario edits Fleshbot, while Ana Marie Cox covers political gossip from Washington on Wonkette.

Each editor is under contract to post 12 times a day for a flat fee, Mr. Steele said. (Gawker has two editors and now posts 24 times a day.) It is best to have eight posts up before noon, if possible, to keep readers coming back, he said.

The editors scan the Web for the best tidbits. Readers, and apparently even published authors, send in tips. When a Gawker site highlights articles from, say, The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times, it is likely, both Mr. Steele and Mr. Denton said, that the article's author sent an e-mail message to Gawker pointing out its existence. (This reporter's naiveté about this process was met with gentle laughter.)

Site traffic is a particular obsession. Gawker draws just over a million unique visitors a month; Fleshbot, the most popular site, lures nearly twice that number, and Gizmodo, a site dedicated to gadgets, roughly 1.5 million. All editors can earn bonuses if they manage to generate spikes in traffic - say, with a link to the latest Paris Hilton crisis or Fred Durst's anatomy.

Ms. Trapani's hour-by-hour traffic statistics serve as the desktop image on her computer. "It's extremely fast paced," she said. "It's a lot of output. Some days it's overwhelming without a doubt. Other days it goes really smoothly if I get some good reader tips and there's something great going on."

Like Mr. Denton, she was careful not to discuss specifics of Gawker's business, including how much its editors are paid. But a published interview with Mr. Steele earlier this year provides some insight. Bloggers are paid a set rate of $2,500 a month, he told a digital journalism class at New York University taught by Patrick Phillips, the editor and founder of I Want Media, a Web site focusing on media news.

When asked in the class if the company was in the black, his response was straightforward. "It is profitable," Mr. Steele said. "We're very small, have no overhead, no office space. Everybody works from home. And you heard what we pay our writers. Nick founded Gawker very specifically with the idea of starting a whole bunch of blogs in very niche topic areas, hire freelance writers to write each of them, hopefully draw a lot of eyeballs and then sell advertising around it. He had the idea that no one site would probably ever make a fortune. But if you have 10 sites each making $75,000 a year, then, O.K., maybe it's not like Condé Nast money, but it's a nice little business."

Mr. Denton chafed at the mention of Mr. Steele's interview. He said it was misreported and was supposed to be off the record. Mr. Phillips said that no such arrangement existed, and that the posted interview was an exact transcript from a recording of the session.

Whatever the circumstances, for those quivering about the revolutionary potential of blog publishing, or wondering what makes ventures like Gawker tick, there couldn't have been a plainer explanation.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/08/business/yourmoney/08blog.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&pagewanted=all



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