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Naked Conversations explores the human consequences of blogging technology. It is not a technical book, and does not cover all aspects of creating and maintaining a blog. This is because blogging tools are so simple that a manual is unnecessary.
It was written by two self-confessed blog champions, so the tone is generally positive. During the book’s development, the authors posted draft chapters to their blog and took the feedback. They were able to share some opinions, but the introduction clearly states that they are not offering a complete study.
This admission does not detract from the goals of the book. The book’s main strength is its wealth of case studies, which are extremely useful for IT professionals as well as business people who are interested in the practical application.
It is not surprising that the book’s tone is conversational and easily understood given the subject matter. Naked Conversations expands on the topics of The Cluetrain Manifesto (Christopher Locke et. al.) by discussing the rise in technology within the context of business applications of the internet. Scoble and Israel believe that blogging and other forms social media are changing the relationships between organisations and clients by encouraging a two-way dialogue.
This book shows how organizations have taken advantage of this conversation. It is divided into three parts. The first section provides background information about blogging as a social media platform and an analysis of business blogs. Although Scoble’s personal experience at Microsoft is cited by the authors, I felt that the case studies were becoming too repetitive by the time I reached chapters 6 and 7, which focus on the use of blogs by consultants and publicists.
Chapter eight examines the influence of national culture on blogging. It can also be read as a larger analysis of how technology is affected and influenced by the culture of its users.
The second section consists of four chapters that provide examples of good and poor corporate blogging practices for decision makers as well as employees who are selected to blog. This section is a great starting point for any company looking to implement guidelines or policies for blogging.
The third, and shortest section, discusses future technology trends and sociological trends in this field including geo-tagging or video blogs.
Naked Conversations is a valuable contribution in this new field because it convincingly relates the impact blogging technology to the daily lives of those who use it. It is a fascinating read for IT professionals who work with end users.
This review has been accepted by The Computer Journal for publication.
Authors: Robert Scobel, Shel IsraelISBN 0-471-74719X
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