'BusinessWeek' revises leading blog guide

Although BusinessWeek is mostly known for its business coverage, a popular article -"Beyond Blogs: Social Media Will Change Your Business," an updated version of a 2005 report - makes the publication a place readers can turn to for information about the use of blogging as a tool.

Although BusinessWeek is mostly known for its business coverage, a popular article -"Beyond Blogs: Social Media Will Change Your Business," an updated version of a 2005 report - makes the publication a place readers can turn to for information about the use of blogging as a tool.

Three years after the publication of "Blogs Will Change Your Business," by Stephen Baker and Heather Green, the authors decided to update the piece to include more information about social networks and the changing value of blogs.

"We used the 2005 story to introduce our blog, and the article was important for a month, or three or four months maybe, but the blog was going to carry the work of adapting and showing the changing conversation," Baker says.

After realizing the story was still getting a large amount of traffic, Baker wanted to re-write it. "While we're still proud of it, it was out of date," he says. "So it made sense to polish it up."

The revised article ran in the June 2 print issue, and on BusinessWeek.com. It mainly differs from 2005 story by including more information about social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, which were not widely used in 2005.

Another reason for the update was a change in attitude about a bursting blog and social media bubble. With investors putting billions, such as the $1.65 billion invested in YouTube, into social media sites, bubbles are formed, Baker says. But even if the bubble does burst, the new article explained, people will still use online media, and social media will continue to influence business.

Baker says that, if it were up to him, he would periodically update the article, which would help keep BusinessWeek a leading source of business blogging and social networking information.

"If we develop a franchise in analyzing business, blogs, social networks, and where they all connect and collide, then that's something that's worth having and building up," he says. "I'd think we'd do more than just [another] article in three years."

Rachel Sklar, Huffington Post media editor and author of the "Eat the Press" column, said that BusinessWeek led the charge in with the article in 2005 by not only writing about blogs, but also introducing them as a way to improve business.

"This was the first [article] that I recall [treating] blogs seriously and saying, 'This is here to stay and it's changing things,'" she says. "And [it] also put [its] money where [its] mouth is - [it] launched [nearly] 12 blogs in a few months."

Steve Rubel, Edelman Digital SVP and director of insights, was cited in both versions of the BusinessWeek article for his use of blogs and social networks for business.

"Obviously, if there ever was an article that required updating, it was that one," Rubel says. "What made it notable was that they didn't just update it online; they updated it in print, with the same level of importance."

Rubel says that while other publications may update their work, it should only be on certain topics. Often, it's too time consuming for reporters to revisit topics that have not undergone dramatic changes, he says.

"I don't think they're going to [update] everything," he says. "[Reporters will] choose things that are topical, in the news, and of interest to their readers. This piece certainly warranted that because it was not something that was a static topic."

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