One of the more frequent comments I hear and read about specialized subject matter blogging is the notion that somehow you’re giving away "wisdom" for free by publishing it on a public blog. I think that’s a short-sighted view and is trumped by the thousands of very high quality blogs on the Web where various subject matter experts maintain a free flow of commentary and analysis on their blogs. I am more of the view that there aren’t any new ideas, just new ways of understanding and applying ideas. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain from sharing ideas and collaborating online (one only needs to look at the open source software movement). Of course, if you find the formula for cold fusion or how to solve Dhaka traffic, by all means patent it and run laughing to the bank, you have my best wishes.
I just wanted to share a very short list of just some of the more specialized blogs that I track frequently in my newsreader and find quite a lot of valuable ideas for “free”. As follows in no particular order:
Seth Godin’s Blog – an excellent marketing blog from a subject expert, author, and entrepreneur; considered to be the world’s most popular marketing blog
Springwise – an excellent blog exposing and sharing new innovative business ideas
Freakonomics – authors of the best-selling book explore “the hidden side of everything” as a very interesting and thought-provoking ongoing coda to their book
Marginal Revolution – a blog on economics and economic theories in practice
The Consumerist – a blog focused on consumer advocacy and giving consumers a voice
Commodity Trader – perhaps not interesting to a wider audience, but a very interesting look at commodity trading and futures markets
Wal-Mart Watch - a watchdog blog that monitors the actions of Wal-Mart
TechCrunch – a blog that profiles and reviews new Internet companies and products
Micro Persuasion – a blog on how technology is revolutionizing media and marketing
Duct Tape Marketing – a marketing and branding blog
The Entrepreneurial Mind – blog on entrepreneurship maintained by the head of the Center for Entrepreneurship at
Small Business Trends – blog on the small business market
Church of the Customer – compelling blog on customer loyalty and creating “customer evangelists”
Brand Autopsy – blog on branding, marketing, and customer service
The Undercover Economist – Tim Harford’s blog on finding economics in everyday life (see also his excellent “Dear Economist” column in the FT where he answers reader’s personal questions using the latest economic theories in a humorous way.)
The World Bank’s Private Sector Development blog – news, resources, and ideas on how private enterprise can contribute to fighting poverty, maintained by the World Bank’s knowledge service
Innoblog – a good business-oriented blog, with focus on innovation and technology
The Long Tail– a blog around the book (and article) of the same name; written by the book author who is also editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine. Expounds on the concept of “the long tail” which is explained much better on the site, but basically proposes that the culture and the economy are evolving towards more and more narrowly-targeted goods and services aimed at an expanding array of niche markets.
Or you could see this list compiled by one blogger on the Top 100 business blogs. And here’s an article from BusinessWeek providing Six Tips for Corporate Bloggers, and another one on how blogs will change your business.
While everyone is jumping on the corporate blogging bandwagon in other parts of the world, I think it doesn’t always make sense (blogs maintained by CEOs, for example, are often tedious and boring). You can’t have a blog just for the sake of having one, or because everyone else has one (blogs aren’t lawyers or nuclear bombs, after all). Often these corporate blogs fizzle out after a few short months or weeks (for example, marketing blogs that are created around the launch of a specific consumer product). Keeping content fresh and compelling is always a challenge.
Technology companies generally do a good job of creating blogs that are if not useful (e.g., tech support, customer feedback), but also interesting and keep customers updated on the latest developments and give a window into interesting companies or project teams. Some good examples are The Official Google Blog, Inside Firefox (for the Firefox browser) and Opera Watch (for the Opera browser).
Where it makes perhaps more “natural” sense is in the media industry, particularly with more traditional media like newspapers and magazines. For example, The New York Times has a bunch of very interesting and thought provoking blogs, my favorites being Freakonomics, Think Again, Diner’s Journal, and The Lede. In fact, most major newspapers with an online presence now have their writers maintaining a blog. It’s a natural fit, and I would venture that most of the writers enjoy writing from a more personal and editorial point of view. It probably also helps the newspapers keep fresh content circulating on their sites, initiate dialogue with their readers, and helps encourage viral promotion of their content as other bloggers reference blog posts through Trackback and social bookmarking sites like Digg and Del.icio.us.
I think it would be interesting to have some of the editors and writers from, say, The Daily Star and New Age maintain blogs on their sites. I’d venture a guess that some of the writers already have personal blogs (please let us know in the comments if you’re aware of any). I know that bdnews24.com has started a blog, but I don’t see it being updated very regularly.
One particular topic I would love to see tracked or blogged in
Any ideas? (remember, they’re a dime a dozen and everywhere already).
More interestingly, any volunteers?