Naked Conversations: A Review

Naked Conversations, by Shel Israel and Robert Scoble was not a good book. I wanted to like this book. I like blogging. I think businesses should open up to the idea of blogging. I’m interested in what’s going on in business blogging. But this book didn’t really add anything to the conversation. Instead it offers some examples of both good and bad business blogging and pretty much standard caveats about how to handle blogging.

Perhaps the reason I didn’t like this book is because I am not its target audience. The audience seems to be business leaders, ceo’s, pr and marketing people and mostly people who don’t really understand what blogging is. Since I know what blogging is and how it’s changed a lot of what I do, I obviously didn’t need the information the book provides. So maybe someone who’s clueless about blogging might get more out of it. However, I also didn’t find the book very well written. First of all, it has two authors but it tries to have a single voice. In a book that’s supposed to be about conversations, it’s ironic that it has no sense of conversation. In trying to have a single voice, it has no voice. At the beginning of the book, the authors reference Cluetrain Manifesto, a book I thoroughly enjoyed. CM also has multiple authors. Rather than trying to mesh the voices together into something monolithic, each author gets a voice. I think NC would have benefited greatly from this approach. I want to hear Shel and Robert, not “The Author.”

The best section of the book is the “Doing it Right” section. Here there’s a list of ways to blog effectively. The suggestions offer here make sense but won’t be new to anyone who’s been blogging.

If you’re in business and want to blog, rather than reading this book, I’d suggest just reading a bunch of blogs and getting a sense of blogging that way. If you want to understand the foundation upon which the idea of business blogging is built, read Cluetrain Manifesto instead. It’s a better read and more effectively conveys the change that the Internet has had on business.

Most of the reviews at Amazon are positive, but here’s one that echoes my own thoughts:

“This book falls in the category “airport literature”, i.e. written for managers who like to be updated on topics and lingo.”

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Blogging pseudonomously

PPB posted something interesting today about why she blogs under a pseudonym and other interesting blogging tidbits. There are times when I wish I had maintained my pseudonym. There are things I’d like to blog about but feel that I can’t because my blog is attached to my real name. It’s not that I want to say mean things about people or anything like that, but sometimes I’d like to be able to write about situations and get advice from the wise people of the blog world. I really enjoy reading other people’s teaching conundrums and institutional quandaries. They’re often similar to things I’ve experienced and it’s interesting and quite helpful to see how people have handled these issues. Sometimes I’ve had situations that have resolved successfully and I wish I could share that success. I wish, too, I could share my burdens at times. As PPB says, this is not a “pretend reality” for me. Sure, I have friends out here in the real world, but I value the opinion of my friends in the blog world too. It’d be hard to go underground now, but sometimes I wish I could.


The 2006 Weblog AwardsYay for the little things in life. I’m up for an award in the Best of the top 3501-5000 blogs. Go vote. I’m in 4th.

We have friends in other categories. Go vote for them too. Chuck in best of 5001-6750.

If Phantom doesn’t win Best Parenting Blog, there’s something wrong with the universe.

Don’t forget Pharyngula in Best Science Blog.

I’m sure there are others, but these are the ones I noticed.

Some Geek Moments

So I had a couple of geek moments today. The last and most astonishing, to me, was the sudden desire to have a phone/iPod combo. I was walking across campus to the car, listening to my iPod, Buddy Holly I think, when suddenly my cellphone rings. I yank my earbuds out, cursing because I almost step on them (I’m not very tall), then nearly dump out the contents of my purse trying to get to my phone (I really hate purses). So after talking to my husband, who just wants to tell me he’s going to the hardware and that the kids are at the neighbors and could I order the pizza, I think, damn wouldn’t it have been great if I just could have hit the “phone” button which would have paused the song, and voila, I’d be talking and then could go back to listening when I hang up? I tell my husband about this when I get home (he’s a geek, too) and he says, well duh, don’t you think they’ve come up with that already. And I’m thinking, where’s the marketing campaign? So, of course, I Google it, which brings up on two items. A concept photo for the iPod/phone combo and the n-gage which is an MP3 player and a phone, but the site is so flashy that I can’t tell if it would work in the way that I just described. I think it’s a cool idea anyway.

My other geek moment came when my boss walked in and I was blogging away and I had to confess I was a little addicted. (I love my job, though. I mean, I got paid for that blogging. 🙂 )Now this was work-related blogging. I’ve had a work blog on my server there for a while, but I’ve become increasingly obsessed with it. It’s even better than usenet and listservs–other forms I was once obsessed with and still use. I’m a bit of an information hound, I guess–or maybe it’s a communication hound because a lot of the blogs I read and enjoy don’t necessarily provide information; they are often discussions of key issues related to topics of interest to me. There’s just something nice about finding people who share my interests. I live in a big city, but aside from the people I work with, I don’t regularly run into people who are enthralled with all things technological as I am. In fact, many of the people I know are kind of horrified by it–they hate tv, for example. Some of them are simply frugal–technology costs money and they don’t rank it highly on their expenditure list. We do. I mean, we plan for computer replacement the way most people purchase homes and cars. We’re working on a second Tivo purchase–with better tv attached–as I write. I have other obsessions. You’ll find out about them later.