According to Hugh Hewitt, author of BLOG, every organization, fortune 500 company, entrepreneur, book publisher and sports fan should leap into the blogosphere. That is if they hope to be successful and expand their reach to consumers. He believes that there are many benefits to be derived from joining the conversation.

Hewitt argued that it is important for organizations to “establish a defense” and be prepared for a blog swarm. A blog swarm is what happens when negative news regarding an organization, or one of it’s agents, spreads across the blogosphere. Having a plan in place to deal with this sort of situation is crucial because of the growing influence of bloggers. Hewitt explained that CBS’ is one organization that has suffered devastation from a blog swarm by not being prepared and “its viewership crashed in the aftermath of Rathergate.” Hewitt argued that a comprehensive blog swarm plan should contain three elements:

  1. Chain of Command. This basically outlines who is in charge if a disaster situation occurs;
  2. An organization policy on
  3. Transparency. When a blog swarm hits, the organization should offer as much information as possible and avoid being defensive.

Blogging is essential to building buzz about you, your product and/or your organization. Hewitt argued that by using blogs to place advertisements, organizations can ensure that their product is targeted to a specific audience. Further, blog ads tend to be inexpensive. Organizations can also start their own blogs and build their credibility as an authority in a specific area while drawing attention to their company. Hewitt argued that it’s never too late to start a blog and join the conversation. Further, individuals should not feel intimidated by the technology aspect of the blogosphere. Blogging tools have made maintenance simple for those who may be technologically challenged. The important part is to get started!

This book was well written and an interesting read. The chapters “establishing a defense” and “getting started: the technology” were particularly insightful because he listed elements important to building a defense against blog swarms and on having a successful blog. His use of analogy to explain how an organization’s preparedness plan to deal with blog swarms is as important as having a natural disaster preparedness plan was very effective. He argued, “the earthquake may never happen. The hurricane may never arrive. But if either does, you will be glad you built a code.”

Many of the arguments Hewitt made in this book are consistent with the arguments Scoble and Israel made in Naked Conversations. For example, the authors of both books would argue that transparency is essential for corporations who blog, especially in a crisis situation. This element is important because openness helps the corporation build credibility. In addition, all would be in agreement that a successful blogger should, “have a memorable name, read a bunch of blogs before getting started, keep it simple and focused, post often, link freely, and be generous in praise and attribution.”