SNCR Keynote: Paul Gillin
Counter Themes In Blogging Success

Northeastern University And Backbone Media Blogging Success Study

It came a little out of the blue, but we launched the Northeastern University and Backbone Media Blogging Success Study today. The study features 20 corporate bloggers who were gracious enough to ask our questions about what made their blog a success. The blogs were self-selected for success; we asked the blogger if they believed their blog was a success.

I partnered with Dr. Walter Carl of Northeastern University on the project. His students helped with the task of interviewing all of the bloggers, and transcribing some of the interviews. I thoroughly enjoyed partnering with Walter. He is one of the most professional and well-organized people I have ever met. He and his class taught me a lot about interviewing and also asking thoughtful questions about corporate blogging. I hope we can collaborate in the future. We would just not have been able to gather all the data. And I hope this study's example is perhaps a model for other researchers in how to conduct such collaborations in the future.

For the research class, Dr. Carl had asked his students to record everything in the interview including pauses. This meant the student transcriptions were in some cases 15-19 pages long. This was one reason why I did not publish the whole case study. And with 20 companies a reader would have difficulty in finding anything if we had provided such comprehensive studies.

This project started in December of 2005, I was hoping to publish in September, but life, a baby and book slowed things down. Many thanks for your patience.

We hope the study will not just be a document to be read, but will also encourage conversation about each of the issues raised and the studies. I encourage you to make join the conversation. Jim Cahill of Emerson Process Management, one of the bloggers, writes about this on his post about the study launch. Rick Short also talks about the study on his Indium Corporation blog. And Debbie Weil was kind enough to mention the study while at the SNCR conference in Boston today.

This study is my last project with Backbone Media. Over the winter I hope to concentrate on finishing my book, and look for opportunities that make sense in 2007.