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    Spotlight on UK Blogs - all postsI used to run a series here on Better Business Blogging called Spotlight on UK Blogs where I’d link to business focused blogs based in the UK which had caught my attention. The aim was to show a cross section of what people and businesses were writing about and how they approached the task of using blogs in their business activities. As a result, the posts contained a mix of Blogs displaying a range of topics and styles.

    I haven’t written one for a while but there has been such an upturn in the use of blogging for business over the past year that I feel a return for the series is long overdue and so will be starting again next weekend.



    As an intro, and because it is particularly relevant in the current economic climate that we all find ourselves, there’s one that I’d like to draw your attention to ahead of this. It’s also one that I have been following avidly over the last couple of months simply because of the sort of information it has been offering. The blog in question is Peston’s Picks written by the BBC’s economic editor, Robert Peston.

    So why do I think that this is a good example of a blog? I think because it goes back to the core elements of clear writing and pertinent topics, couple with excellent use of the immediacy of the web. Specifically, it offers to us as readers:

    • Authority: whether it’s direct reported information or informed opinion, you get the feeling from the blog that this where you need to go to get the low down on the subject at hand;

    • Instant access to news: when I’m looking for an up to date view on the latest situation in the financial markets or general economy then I know that I’m likley to find it here first;

    • Clean format: the short paragraphs and clean text doesn’t distract the reader away from the information being displayed, while the overall format gives a clear branding message while still making it clearly RP’s;

    • Encourages Debate: no matter whether it is because of the topics covered or the way that they are covered, the posts encourage comments and discussion, which then duly arrive!;

    • Informed opinion and trust: this comes clearly across as an expert writing about a subject area that knows intimately. As such it helps develop trust in both him and the information he provides;

    • Encourages further reading: the use of the sidebar encourages further reading of the blog and, just as importantly, makes it easy to do so.

    • Authentic voice – when I read the words I can hear Robert Peston delivering them. That adds to both the experience online and when we see him elsewhere

    Are these what we should be looking for in every blog? No, not necessarily. Every blog has a different goal and hopefully uses what a blog format and technology can offer to help achieve them. However, as I’ve often said before, it’s not the technology which makes a blog, it’s the content; and here, I feel that the content delivers on all counts, allowing the blog to then do its job too!

    BTW, if you have UK Business Blogs you’d like to recommend, then please drop me a line or leave a comment here. Thanks everyone!

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    BBC WorldWell it wasn’t a long interview by any means but I made my debut on television today when I appeared on the Business programme on BBC World and on BBC 24 which appears on the mainstream channels here in the UK.

    We talked briefly about the great strides that Business Blogging has taken, in the UK particularly over recent months with companies finally showing a greater understanding of the benefits it offers – we also looked at how to use blogging together with the other principal social media marketing tools. It’d be good to see a longer discussion on this important area but it was equally great to see it being addressed at all. This was initiated, I think, by the Blogging4Business conference which took place today in London.

    And why am I doubly pleased? Because the BBC found me through this blog using Search Engines followed up by online research – exactly the two areas where I had hoped that the blog would make me more visible. Yet more proof, were proof needed, of the areas that a blog can develop for an individual or company.

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    BBC and YouTubeIn any interesting move today, and I believe the first of its kind, the BBC has announced that it has made a deal with YouTube to distribute its content on three YouTube channels. You can find the full announcement on the BBC website.

    Unfortunately, this doesnt mean that they’ll be scrapping the TV license anytime soon, as it happens its only snippets rather than full programmes in fact, if anything, it really isnt aimed at a UK audience, as evidenced by the fact that one of the 3 channels will not even be available to UK residents!

    The original article terms the as “groundbreaking and controversial” – while I don’t know that it really goes that far, one thing is clear. When an organisation like the BBC decides to employ online and social networking methods to promote their broadcast content, then it is certainly significant and the likelihood is that others will follow. Its also shows a level of appreciation of the benefits of these different distribution media and, perhaps, a step towards greater mutual cooperation where appropriate in the future.

    This also comes hot on the heels of statements released earlier this year that YouTube was intending to share revenues with content providers. It seems that they haven’t wasted much time in putting that into practice in a large way – so let’s see if some of the other major players and smaller contributors follow suit.

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    I have been intrigued to read a couple of interviews over the past week with Tim Berners Lee, the father of the World Wide Web, and in particular his reported stance on blogging.

    In an interview with the BBC entitled Web Inventor fears for the future, Berners Lee was talking about setting up a web science research project to look at the possible implications at a social level of the web’s development. This was also reported in the Guardian Unlimited where the article had a subtitle of “blogging one of biggest perils, says innovator“.

    This has been widely reported around the blogosphere as you might imagine, particularly coming from someone as influential as Tim Berners Lee. As I read the pieces, I wondered why blogs were being singled out for particular blame, especially when I felt so encouraged by the self-regulating efforts I saw in operation after the Edelman / Walmart fake blog episode.

    I was therefore pleased to see this week on Berners Lee’s own blog, a post entitled Blogging is Great where he comments:

    In a recent interview with the Guardian, alas, my attempt to explain this was turned upside down into a “blogging is one of the biggest perils” message. Sigh. I think they took their lead from an unfortunate BBC article, which for some reason stressed concerns about the web rather than excitement, failure modes rather than opportunities.

    Feeling rather relieved at this, I looked back over the other articles and noticed that Bobbie Johnson, the author of The Guardian’s article, had rather ironically highlighted that “... he (Tim Berners-Lee) warns that ‘there is a great danger that it becomes a place where untruths start to spread more than truths, or it becomes a place which becomes increasingly unfair in some way’”. And who is to blame for that exactly?

    However, as TBL concludes in his own post:

    And, fortunately, we have blogs. We can publish what we actually think, even when misreported.

    Touch! And an appropriate way to sum it up in my opinion.

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