Abstract: Although weblogs are being promoted as a potentially valuable business tool in the trade press and mass-market business literature, informal surveys suggest that only a small number of companies are actually using weblogs. Reliable academic studies about the use of weblogs in business have yet to appear. This study aims to contribute to filling this research gap by investigating the attitudes and experiences of small business bloggers using weblogs as a marketing and communications tool. Qualitative interviews were carried out with fifteen small business bloggers representing a wide range of business activities. The results indicate that weblogs are being used for many different purposes and that the bloggers believe them to be an effective marketing tool. However, this perception is based more on the bloggers' trust in the benefits of the medium than on any measurable ROI (return on investment). Moreover, there is little evidence that dialogue is taking place with customers, although the literature tends to advance this dialogue as one of the main advantages of using weblogs. More research needs to be done to determine who is reading company weblogs and what their effect on consumer behaviour is.
Degree: Master of Arts in Communication, Culture and Technology, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Abstract: This project examines through ethnographic interviews how bloggers interact with their audience, and focuses on points of conflict over meaning and expectations in blog display and interaction.
Abstract: This study explores the patterns of blogging, blogging motivations, and the roles of motivations as well as demographics as predictors for blogging behaviors. Six aspects of blogging behaviors are examined: 1) how bloggers cover topics in writing; 2) how bloggers manage feedbacks from readers; 3) how bloggers use hyperlinks; 4) how bloggers present themselves; 5) how bloggers expect readership; 6) how bloggers use design elements. Seven motivations for blogging emerge in this research: self-documentation, improving writing, self-expression, medium appeal, information, passing time, and socialization. Except for passing time, all the other six motivations were highly approved by bloggers. Most of those motivations are moderately correlated. Overall, certain motivations are found to be related with specific usage of blogs. Self-documentation is a predictor of feedback management, self-presentation, and readership expectation. Improving writing motivation works as a predictor for self-presentation and readership expectation. Self-expression predicts self-presentation, readership expectation, and design elements use. Medium appeal motivation predicts self-presentation. Information motivation predicts feedback management, use of hyperlinks, self-presentation, readership expectation, and design elements. Passing time motivation predicts self-presentation, design elements, and readership expectation. Socialization motivation predicts use of hyperlinks, self-presentation, and readership expectation. Gender differences were located in many aspects of blogging. Men claim higher approval of information motivation while women endorse self-documentation, self-expression, and passing time more. Other than gender, age also plays a role in motivating people to blog. Motivations as self-documentation, self-expression, and passing time have a negative relationship with age. Educational level was found no connection with specific blogging motivations.
Abstract: Standard & Poor's Ratings Group, the world's leading bond rating agency, serves the world's capital markets by assigning ratings that describe the credit quality of a wide range of debt and debt-like securities. S&P ratings help investors in deter¬mining the ability of a debt issuer to repay principal and interest according to the terms of the securities to which the ratings are assigned. Since the mid-1970s, S&P has assigned these ratings through a rating committee process. A committee of analysts with exper¬tise in the type of debt and the industry of the issuer meets and discusses financial, operating, and competitive issues relevant to the particular debt issue, and votes on the rating to be assigned. Increasingly, this process--like the world's capital markets--has become globalized, with S&P analysts around the world participating in these meetings via telephone with their colleagues from New York, S&P's headquarters city. Collaborative computer technology would offer S&P analysts the ability to conduct bond rating meetings "in cyberspace;" i.e., in an asynchronous mode that would not require analysts to be physically present at a specific time and/or place to partici¬pate in the rating discussion. To determine the feasibility of implementing such an approach, the present study examined the research to te into the effectiveness of computer-mediated group decision support applications, and a research instrument was designed and administered to a stratified random sample of 149 S&P bond analysts to ascertain their attitudes toward the use of computers in the rating process. Eighty-three analysts responded to the survey, a 56% response rate. This report summarizes the findings of the research, and offers some recommendations for ap¬proaches that could be taken to enhance analysts' familiarity with comput¬ers and group decision support systems so that they may become more comfortable with a future implementation of such systems at S&P.
Abstract: This thesis describes a linguistic investigation of individual differences in online personal diaries, or ‘blogs.’ There is substantial evidence of gender differences in language (Lakoff, 1975), and to a lesser extent linguistic projection of personality (Pennebaker & King, 1999). Recent work has investigated these latter differences in the area of computer-mediated communication (CMC), specifically e-mail (Gill, 2004). This thesis employs a number of analytic techniques, both top-down (dictionary-based) and bottom-up (data-driven), in order to explore personality and gender differences in the language of blogs. A corpus was constructed by asking authors to submit a month of text and complete a sociobiographic questionnaire. The corpus consists of over 400,000 words and five-factor personality data (Buchanan, 2001) for 71 subjects. [...] The study concludes by confirming that both gender and personality are projected by language in blogs; furthermore, approaches which take the context of language features into account can be used to detect more variation than those which do not.
Degree: Master of Arts, Communication, University of Akron
Abstract: Everett M. Rogers' diffusion of innovations theory was used as a framework to study 116 chapter members of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) in a Midwestern state. A web-based survey and paper-based survey were both used to collect the self-reporting data. According to Rogers (1986), "Diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over a period of time among members of a social system" (p. 117). Public relations practitioners are the members of the social system that were studied. Rogers defined an innovation as, "an idea, practice, or object that is perceived to be new by an individual or other unit of adoption" (p. 117). Diffusion research centers on the conditions which increase or decrease the likelihood that a new idea, product or practice will be adopted by members of a given culture. A literature review of diffusion of innovation showed no research applying Rogers' theory to public relations. It is hoped that this thesis research will to add to the body of knowledge about diffusion of innovation in public relations by helping to identify the perceived innovation attributes, influences, obstacles and relative advantage of innovations by public relations practitioners. This could assist public relations agencies in weighing the pros and cons of future decisions and strategies for implementing innovations.
Abstract: This work will examine how Blogs have impacted business and communication, how some Blogs create revenue, how some companies are using Blogs, how Blogs greatly boost the spread of information, how Blogs add richness to the media landscape, how Blogs work in the Long Tail, how some companies are tracking the Blogosphere and what the future of Blogging may be. I carried out quantitative research by twice sending out a survey via email to 750 Bloggers who are ranked by Technorati. A total 174 Bloggers filled out the survey.
Degree: Master of Computing, UNITEC Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand
Abstract: The objective of this report is to identify functional requirements that contribute to the level of acceptance and use of weblog services. Therefore it employs a qualitative-quantitative research approach. Based on literature and interviews, the report identifies and ranks functional requirements for weblog services from a user’s perspective. 29 of these requirements are considered to be the most significant ones. They are categorised according to the content creation process on weblogs using the categories "Community", "Content Creation", "Content Management", "Content Interaction", "Content Rendering", and "Security". The resulting criteria catalogue makes it possible to evaluate a sample of 77 weblog services in English and German languages regarding the features they implement. The result of the analysis shows that implementation levels vary widely among the different services and functional features. As one of the key results, it becomes obvious that the most popular services implement more features than their less popular competitors. Thus, the features offered by a weblog service seem to have an impact on its acceptance. Interesting is that weblog services in German on average implement more features than services in English language. The younger technological basis might be the reason for these differences.
Degree: Master of Science in Communication, Twente University, The Netherlands
Abstract: This research investigates what form of communication is made possible through the weblog and what its uses are for the future. Taking Habermas’ theory, it will be investigated whether blogs offer a platform for what he calls the ‘ideal speech situation’. Conditions for the ideal speech situation are that everyone has equal access to the communication, that there are no power differences between the participants and that the participants act truthfully towards each other. To answer the question whether weblogs can satisfy these conditions, the framework of communication capacities of Van Dijk (1999) will be used and extended with two concepts. Based on these communication capacities it can be concluded that weblogs do offer a platform for the ideal speech situation. Future use of weblogs lie in the three formal world perspectives Habermas distinguishes: self-expression (subjective), sharing knowledge (objective) and social criticism (inter-subjective). From these three domains networks will emerge from people with shared interests, who will reinforce social interaction by using the weblog as a communication hub, a fixed marker on the internet where multiple communication channels for dialogue will be offered.