Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Bribed with Blogging

-->Ok, so after NULAX17 reflected about CGM being a media for WOM marketing much like TV, it got me thinking about this blog. Its clear that WOM is spread through blogs as people voice thier opinions, both praises and criticisms, about anything and everything you can think of. Just look at the power of WOM from the blog about the Kryptonite Lock that is easily hacked with a Bic pen. Blogs are a definite tool to spread WOM just like CGM.

Now here is the delimma, and I pose this for discussion...if WOM is most ethical when not forced upon people (and we've seen countless companies that have failed at WOM campaigns because of these sneaky tactics) then what does it say about blogs where people are forced to contribute? Now I'm not saying that as students in this WOM and Viral Marketing class that we've been told that we will fail the course if we dont participate in blogs, but we are expected to contribute a minimum about of posts and comments. I'm wondering how ethical this was....On one hand it is apart of an academic course and helps us as students to really feel the effects that blogging has, especially when it relates to spreading WOM. It is also a great source for "outsiders" of the class to see what we've been up to all semester. On the other hand, if WOM is not supposed to be forced, does this make it ok. And in a way, the WOM spread through this blog is amplified because we have incentives to participate.

My own personal opinion is that realizing and recognizing that this amplified WOM is taking place given the circumstance in which we are blogging makes it less unethical than if we were to keep secret about how this blog relates to our participation grades. Inherently, by keeping this blog transparent, and the terms in which we blog, we can save ourselves from being persecuted for unethical WOM....
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9 comments:

Sapphiregurl said...

I do agree with what you are saying, however I think that by having us participate through blogs is more of a way to help ourselves familiarize with this rising usage of blogs in the workplace as well as for personal needs/wants. I personally don't really like the idea of blogging because it is out there for whoever to see, at the same time I do realize that you should only put stuff on it that you want others to see, but since I often keep my thoughts and ideas to myself, I don't like them being out there for everyone to see, regardless of what the topic is. However, this is good practice for blogging that we may have to do one day in the office.

lsolomon said...

I agree with what you are saying completely. When making comments or trying to come up with a "good" blog, I wonder if I am writing things to really inform others or just to complete an assignment, and I'm afraid it's usually the latter. I think I can safely say that after this class I will not be blogging again, and it scares to me to think I have a certain amount of comments and blogs to post without having it affect my grade...just like this one.

somerso said...

But in terms of ethics with what we have learned in class, do you think its ethical in the WOM arena and Blogosphere to make us blog or is it ok because we as a class have been transparent about this from the first day of class (or first blog post)?

Jesols said...

I can see where you're coming from somerso, but I believe Dr. Carl set up this blog specifically so that 1)we ourselves can learn to blog, as well as see the effects of WOM happen right before our eyes and 2) as a way to show others how this class is being taught and the effectiveness of classes such as this one. I believe from day 1 Dr. Carl has been transparent with us as well as the blogosphere. He began this blog before our class even started and asked us to leave any feedback or comments, while he was still creating the class. While I may not agree to us having to have a certain number of posts/comments, I do see where he was coming from, and I believe this blog has taught each of us what WOM really can do.

somerso said...

I agree, I think this blog maintains its ethics because our contributions have been transparent from the beginning..thanks

Walter Carl said...

Outstanding post Stephanie! Here's a question I have for you and your peers... would you feel differently about being required to post your thoughts and ideas in a discussion board (such as in Blackboard) versus on a blog? Is it the fact that it's required that there might be an ethical concern, or is it the issue of a blog being more public than a (relatively) private discussion board?

somerso said...

Initially my post was geared toward the ethics of posting as a requirement for the class, not because of it being public. Throughout the semester we've been talking about blogs and discussion boards (see my previous blog post), but I think both have thier positives and negatives. Some of the classmates arent as familiar with blackboard or the discussion boards and this was an issue raised with the blogs. I was required to participate in discussion boards on blackboard for another class and it helped with the content of that particular course, but considering that most of the WOM and Viral Marketing class focuses on blogs, discussion boards seem less appropriate. For me, it was good to get out of my element and try something I previously had no experience with in using the blog. Plus we were able to really use and get first-hand experience in what we were learning, which we wouldnt if we were to participate in a discussion board instead. Hope that answers your questions...

kenw said...

A very thought-provoking post. I never really considered the fact that these posts aren't of our own free will, but now that it's been mentioned, it seems useful to address the question. I would have to agree that since these posts are required, there isn't the same feel of something organic that you find on other blogs (and perhaps this has already affected audience perceptions of this one). However, I would be a little leniant with Dr. Carl on this issue, as he is clearly trying to introduce into this fast-growing and increasingly influential medium.

Bek said...

Let me first start by saying really interesting post and comments about this issue. I had not thought of it at all really until it was mentioned in class toay actually as well as upon reading all of this. I find somerso's post very thought provoking and an interesting take on how REAL our contributions are to the blogosphere and WOM arenas. (Reminiscint of the consulting projects where we wrestled with how legitimate we were as a consulting team...) I would just like to say, however, that I am very glad that we were required to blog (even as I sit here before deadline trying to get my work in.) I realize I border on sounding cheesy, but if I had not been prompted to blog for a grade, I probably would not have ever done it. Unfortunately, I let the idea of all this intimidate me for much too long until now. But over the past couple of days when I really started reading, posting, and commenting, I have gained a fairly substantial and beneficial knowledge of the blogosphere and how it works. I find this a super helpful skill, especially when heading out into the work-force for my first co-op at the start of July. I can see where everyone is coming from with their comments, agreeing and devil's advocating alike. Really enjoyed reading this one.