Sarah’s Blog

My Very First Blog

Blogs Related to Profile Paper

Posted by saraht on April 17, 2007

For my profile paper, I wrote about my dad’s personal writing process.  He works for Nestle Purina, which makes a variety of dog and cat food, in St. Louis.  As an additional assignment for class, I was required to find three blogs where the person works in a related field.  After searching, I was not successful.  However, while I was reasearching, I came across numerous blogs that are talking about the pet food recall that is currently happening.  After discussing it with my teacher, I have decided to write about the pet food recall and how Purina is trying to communicate with its customers through the use of blogs.

The Nestle Purina company has posted a press release on several blogs, one called Dogster’s For the Love of Dogs ,where they commented on the recent recall of several brands of pet food.  They wanted to reassure their customers that the food they sold was safe and healty for pets.  By using blogs, they are able to reach thousands of concerned customers.  Using blogs is an effective way that Purina can talk with its customers and answer any questions during this time. 

Because so many people are writing posts about the pet food recall, it is vital that Purina keep an eye on the blogs and make sure they release as much information as possible so that rumors are not started.  I believe that because Purina’s press release was quickly posted on a blog, not too many rumors or bad things were said about the company.  Here are two other blogs I found that discuss the pet food recall: Pet Food Recall (a blog which provides information about the pet food recall) and Pet Sympathy (a blog which also provides info and people can share their stories)

Effective communication with customers is very important during a crisis, and I think that Purina has done a great job of keeping an open-line of communication with all of its customers during the recall.

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Write Up the Corporate Ladder: Part III

Posted by saraht on April 17, 2007

The third part of Write Up the Corporate Ladder discusses the importance of writing on the job.  The interviews discuss how writing is used in an industry as a whole, not just the writing process of individuals.  There were several ideas in this section that I found to be interesting.

In the interview with Mitch Bardwell, who works for Canon U.S.A.,INC., he discusses various business advantages that can come from employees who write well.  He mentions that when an employee writes well, they are representing the overall quality of employees hired by the company.  The company’s overall reputation will become more positive, as the company will be seen as one who hires educated and competent people.  He also discusses that the clients will feel more confident in conducting business with them.  I never even thought about how a simple thing, such as writing well, could have such an impact.  These ideas remind me to always double check my work because not only will I look educated, but my company as a whole will reap the benefits as well.

In several interviews, people discussed that they thought schools did not do an adequate job of teaching students how to write.  I disagree with that statement.  Throughout one’s education, you learn the basics of proper grammar and structure.  To become a good write, a person needs to practice.  I will be graduating from college this year, and I know that I have had a lot of opportunities to practice writing and receive feedback.  However, when I first start a career, I will need to adjust to how that particular company views “proper” writing.  Therefore, I believe that schools adequately prepare students to write properly.  It will just take time for a person to be out in the real world to adjust to professional writing.

Overall, I thought this section provided a variety of views, but the underlining fact is that writing is very important in the business world.  If you do not work on your own personal writing skills you will not only make yourself look bad, but could potential damage the reputation of the company you work for.

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Report Assignment

Posted by saraht on April 10, 2007

For my report assignment, I am planning on writing about the communication used at Nestle Purina.  To write my report, I will interview my dad again and conduct a new interview with my sister.  My dad is an exec and my sister has been working for Purina for about 2 years in the marketing department.  With both of their interviews, I will be able to have a better understanding of how communication is used from a broader perspective.  I will also have to try and find some articles or use the Internet to try and find additional information about how communication works within the company.  I think I will be able to learn a lot just from talking with my dad and my sister.  After this report, I should have a good understanding of how communication works within the company between employees within the same department and communication between the various departments.

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Write Up the Corporate Ladder Part II

Posted by saraht on April 5, 2007

After reading Part II of the book, Write Up the Corporate Ladder, two important ideas stuck out to me.  The first, is to always be aware of your audience.  The second idea that stuck out to me was a point made in one of the interviews that it is important to teach writing skills at a young age.

It is important for people to remember that they must be adaptable in their style of writing depending on who they are writing to and they are writing.  For example, if I am writing an email to my sister, the email will be extremely informal and have no official/formal formatting.  If I am writing an email to a potential employer, the email will be very formal, structured, and the context of the email will be grammatically correct and the spelling double checked.  Knowing your audience makes a huge difference in how you write and what you are saying.  I always start an email to my sister with “hey” or “hi”.  When writing a formal email, I always start with a formal salutation such as “Dear ….”.  Keeping your audience in mind will help you successful write any type of document.

The second idea I liked in the book was the point that teaching writing style and structe early is important.  Becoming a good writer takes a lot of practice.  If students are taught how to write early, then they will have many years to perfect their writing style and structure.  By the time these students graduate college, their writing will be professional and will help them become better business people.  To add to the fact that writing is important in careers, having proper writing skills is important in everyday life.  My mom is a stay at home mom, yet she must use her writing skills every day.  Her writing varies from the annual Christmas letter, thank you notes, a letter to school, emails to her friends, etc.  Therefore, developing proper writing skills at a young age will allow everyone to become better members of society when they are older.

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Profile Assignment Ideas

Posted by saraht on April 5, 2007

I think that before I decide who I want to interview, I will ask them a few pre questions so that I know I will have enough information to write the profile.  I am leaning towards writing about my dad.  He works for Nestle Purina and I know that he is always on his blackberry sending emails….all the time!  I also know that he puts together presentations and speeches for various events.  I am not sure if he ever writes formal reports, but I could always ask him.  As I am writing this, I am already seeing the formation of the various paragraphs for my profile: Emails (computer vs. blackberry), Presentations, Speeches, Formal Reports, etc.  I think that after I speak with him I might even have some more categories. I think it would be fun to learn a little more about what my dad does at work and I believe that I will have enough information to write a good profile on him. 

 

For emailing, I think I will ask him questions like this:

  – How long does it take you to write an email?

  – Are your emails formal or informal?

  – How long is your typical email?

  – How often do you check your emails, and how long does it take you to reply?

  – Is there a large difference between formal emails and informal emails that you send?

 

For writing speeches:

  – How far in advance to you begin to write your speech?

  – What is your general process for writing a speech?

After completing the interview, I hope to learn more about what my dad does and understand when it is ok to be informal at work and when you should be more formal in your writing at work. Also, I am curious to see how many different types of writing my dad does on a daily basis at his job.

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Chapters 13-15

Posted by saraht on March 23, 2007

Before I read Naked Conversations I had never thought much about blogs.  I thought of them as something people did to just keep an “online diary”; I didn’t even know that a lot of people even wrote blogs, let alone companies.  Eventhough the authors write about how blogging is everywhere now, nobody I know personally writes them or reads them.  I have a feeling that blogging is a growing trend, but only among a particular segment of the population…people who are more interested in the Internet in general.  In the book, the authors provide a lot of examples about companies who blog, but then again, I, nor anyone else I know, have ever read a blog by a business person…it’s just not something I get on the Internet to search for.

 Chapter 13 of the book really bothered me when I ready it.  In the opening paragraph it states “blogging has played an increasing role in providing fast, valuable, striking, and comforting information is times of crisis.”  The information posted on these blogs might be fast, but I don’t think I will ever be able to consider the information to be valuable, or credible for that matter.  Information on a blog is whatever that person decides to say.  They could have no idea what they are talking about, or they could be credible, but there is no way to tell the difference.  Therefore, if I am looking for any type of information during a crisis, I would read a newspaper or watch the news on tv.  Looking on the Internet at some random persons blog would be my last source for information.

 It’s possible that in the future blogs will become more popular.  At this time, however, I will keep this blog for my class, but come May, I don’t believe that I will ever post anything again….I’m just not that into the whole blogosphere thing.

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Be Yourself…Sort Of: Chapters 10-12

Posted by saraht on March 20, 2007

These three chapters of Naked Conversations concentrates on letting people know the “do’s” and “dont’s” of blogging.  I found these chapters more helpful then previous chapters of the book.  Earlier in the book, the authors provided way too many examples of how blogging has helped businesses and why it is so important.  Giving advice and tips of how to start a successful blog is much more important to the readers of this book.  We get the point that blogging is important, but how do we get good at it? 

I think the most important point the authors make is that to have a successful blog that people like is to just be yourself.  They said they gave this book the title of Naked Conversations because of their “beleif that authenticity is the core value that makes blogging such a new and different way for businesses to communicate.”  Blogs should be informal and truthful.  A blog should represent who that person is.  I loved how they numbered off their top 11 tips of how to start and keep a successful blog:

  1. Importance of your blog name
  2. Read a lot of blogs before you start
  3. Keep it simple. Keep it focused
  4. Demonstrate passion
  5. Show your authority
  6. Add comments
  7. Be accessible
  8. Tell a story
  9. Be linky
  10. Get out into the real world
  11. Use your referrer log

I think it would be really challenging for marketers to start a blog that followed these tips.  If a blog is about a business, I think it would be hard to keep a blog personal and not professional.  Of course that person will be biased about their company and will always be trying to provide a positive image of the company to the people reading the blog.  If they start telling the public what they really think about certain people at their company or in the industy, they could get in serious trouble or even fired….a term coined getting “dooced.”

 The term “dooced” was coined when Heather B. Armstrong was fired from her job for blogging about co-workers.  The cause for her firing is completly condratictory with what a blog is supossed to be about…letting people express themeselves and be personal with the readers of the blog.  However, when Heather was honest about what she was feeling, she got fired.  If companies want more and more of their employees to blog, then they should face the consequences.  If Heather had been writing about how great Yahoo was at the people who worked there were, she would have been getting praised.  But because she had negative feelings at the time, she was fired.  It’s almost like the companies are placing restrictions on what their employees are allowed to write about….therefore censoring the blogs, which is not in the “guidelines” of what a blog should be. 

Because companies are so worried about their reputations, I don’t think that business blogs will ever be 100% origional.  If I knew in the back of my mind that my boss and other employees would be reading my blog, I would never write exactly what I was thinking…especially if I was thinking something negative.  I would rather censor my blog and only write good things then write about exactly what I was thinking about get fired.  Blogging about what I really think is not worth getting fired over.

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Fact or Fiction? Chapters 4-6

Posted by saraht on March 13, 2007

I have been reading a book called Naked Coversations, which is about why it’s important for businesses to blog.   The authors have been writing about how a blog should express the individual and that the person writing the blog should be passionate about what they are writing about.  However, the few random blogs that I have checked out seem to be about nothing.  Some people just write about their everyday lives, and others will provide a one-liner and provide a link to another persons blog…it doesn’t seem that the writing is passionate writing.  Another portion of the book also bothered me.  They talk about executives who blog several times  a day, yet at the same time they said it is important to check, and re-check, your facts before posting information.  I don’t really think that those executives are checking any facts if they are posting things on their blogs several times a day.  To me, blogs are just personal opinions and should not be taken as factual information.  One person in the book said that they use blogs as a source of information rather than google.  I just find that very strange.  I don’t think I would ever be able to accept information on a blog seriously.  Anybody can blog and “sound” like they know what they are talking about, but there is no guarantee.  Also, if I was searhing on google and someones personal blog came up on the list, I would never use that when I was researching something.  If that particular person tends to post on their blog frequently, their blog will show up as a link on google….it has nothing to do if that person is credible or not.  Overall, I think blogs are interesting to read, but I don’t take them serious or as a source of credible information.

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Giving a Good Presentation

Posted by saraht on March 8, 2007

Here are a few tips on how to give a presentation with out putting everyone to sleep:

– Don’t make a speech…put on a show

– Try creating a picture in the audience’s mind instead of just speaking with them about what you know

The more strikingly visual your presentation is, the more people will remember

– Think outside of the box…find new ways of presenting the information so it is new and interesting

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Today in the Blogging World…

Posted by saraht on March 6, 2007

1. A man by the name of Joel posts various links and activities readers can participate in. His main point for having the blog is so that people will “Remember to Have Fun”. Some of the activites include naming 50 states in 10 minutes and proving a link for a program to convert any picture to look like a polaroid picture. His blog has a lot of fun things to look at and activities to participate in.

2. I was reading a blog by a man named Roy who lives in South Africa and I couldn’t stop reading it. Eventhough the blog is about his daily life, I found it fascinating! He is an aspiring artist and actor who is not shy about sharing everything going on in his life. I only read a few posts (they are quite long) but it felt like I had jumped into the middle of a really good book.

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