Blogs vs. message boards

I’m sitting in Neville Hobson’s “Blogging 101” session at the New Communications Forum in Napa, California. The question arose (as it so often does): What distinguishes a blog from a message board? Much has been written about the distinction, and you identify many different characteristics (including the friendly web interface). But from where I sit, the key difference is control. On a message board, anybody can initiate a topic. Only the owner of the blog can open a subject for discussion.

Consider Bob Lutz, the vice chairman of General Motors who has undertaken a blog focusing on product. On a message board, any visitor could start a… Read More »

Labor jumps into the blogosphere

Organized labor has always been Net-savvy, taking early advantage of e-mail and the World Wide Web. I recall around 1995 when Charles Pizzo, who specializes in labor-oriented communications, presented a session at a conference in which he displayed some online tactics that revealed a level of sophistication that outpaced the businesses for which their members worked.

It’s a matter of perspective when wondering whether unions have been slow to jump into blogging. On the one hand, I’ve been expecting to see union blogs for a while now. After all, corporations have blogs and it’s not like labor to follow business in leveraging a new… Read More »

Does the public need to be guarded against us?

Public perception of the public relations profession is so bad that some individuals feel compelled to keep an eye on us and report on what they find. That’s the gist of an article published today in UK’s The Guardian, featuring an interview with David Miller, professor of sociology at the University of Strathclyde. Miller got start-up funding for a Web site called SpinWatch, designed to do for UK citizens what PRWatch does for folks in the US: guard them against “the manipulations of the PR industry.”

“Spin techniques are much more extensive than is generally realised, encompassing media management, lobbying, corporate social…

Read More »

Blogs penetrate academia

From BBC News comes an item about the infiltration of blogs into academic life:

“Blogs are giving departments, staff and students the freedom and informality of tone impossible in scholarly journals or even the student newspaper. Blogging lecturers say the technology provides them with easy online web access to students and improves communication outside of the classroom.”

Should we hold our breaths for an IABC or PRSA podcast?

I’m getting used to heaving deep sighs these days. I heaved one earlier today when I read that the American Association of Petroleum Geologists launched a podcast for its members. According to the association’s Gerald Buckley (as reported by Steve Rubel), “All not-for-profit associations are facing a common problem—retention of aging member and student members.” Buckley added that using the podcast format is a way to “serve the entire spectrum in ways they appreciate.”

You can define a podcast a number of ways, but at its heart it is a communication channel. Whether you’re listening to Buckley dish up headlines and announcements about… Read More »

The Hobson & Holtz Report - Podcast #4: January 24, 2005

Welcome to our weekly podcast, a 57:25-minute conversation recorded live via Skype from Concord, California, USA, and Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Download the file here (MP3, 24.9MB), or sign up for the RSS feed to get it and future shows automatically. (For this, you’ll need ipodder, software that lets you subscribe to receive podcasts automatically and sync them to your digital player.)

In this week’s show:


  • 00:24 Neville on what this show’s about

Short Takes:

  • 02:20 Comments and mail we’ve received about the show
  • 06:45 My Blog: Margot Wallstr??m, Commissioner for Communications at the European Commission
  • 10:40 Randy’s Journal:… Read More »

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