Friday, January 19, 2007

Naked Conversations: A Review

Naked Conversations, by Shel Israel and Robert Scoble was not a good book. I wanted to like this book. I like blogging. I think businesses should open up to the idea of blogging. I'm interested in what's going on in business blogging. But this book didn't really add anything to the conversation. Instead it offers some examples of both good and bad business blogging and pretty much standard caveats about how to handle blogging.

Perhaps the reason I didn't like this book is because I am not its target audience. The audience seems to be business leaders, ceo's, pr and marketing people and mostly people who don't really understand what blogging is. Since I know what blogging is and how it's changed a lot of what I do, I obviously didn't need the information the book provides. So maybe someone who's clueless about blogging might get more out of it. However, I also didn't find the book very well written. First of all, it has two authors but it tries to have a single voice. In a book that's supposed to be about conversations, it's ironic that it has no sense of conversation. In trying to have a single voice, it has no voice. At the beginning of the book, the authors reference Cluetrain Manifesto, a book I thoroughly enjoyed. CM also has multiple authors. Rather than trying to mesh the voices together into something monolithic, each author gets a voice. I think NC would have benefited greatly from this approach. I want to hear Shel and Robert, not "The Author."

The best section of the book is the "Doing it Right" section. Here there's a list of ways to blog effectively. The suggestions offer here make sense but won't be new to anyone who's been blogging.

If you're in business and want to blog, rather than reading this book, I'd suggest just reading a bunch of blogs and getting a sense of blogging that way. If you want to understand the foundation upon which the idea of business blogging is built, read Cluetrain Manifesto instead. It's a better read and more effectively conveys the change that the Internet has had on business.

Most of the reviews at Amazon are positive, but here's one that echoes my own thoughts:

"This book falls in the category "airport literature", i.e. written for managers who like to be updated on topics and lingo."

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