According to the Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, a blog is "a type of web site where entries are made (such as a journal or diary), displayed in reverse chronological order." Blogs have traditionally been the domain of the amateur journalist and the high tech crowd, but in the last year or two they have become more popular as a legitimate business tool.
With the blogosphere (the collective term encompassing all blogs) now numbering more than 50 million and growing at around 75,000 a day, blogging is an unstoppable trend. There are now hundreds of thousands of companies across America with their own blogs - everyone from Fortune 500 corporations to small one-person companies. Some blogs are updated several times a day, although most business blogs are updated far less often than that. You can read most blogs chronologically starting with the newest entry first, which is always at the top of the page. Most entries are assigned to a specific category, so you can easily view just entries in a category that interests you.
I think all companies can benefit from having their own blog, but this column is not about evangelizing blogs. It is about increasing your knowledge by reading the blogs that are out there. There is so much great information being written - business management, marketing, technology and even some blogs directly relevant to the label industry. I am going to start by mentioning a couple blogs about blogs so you can get to learn more about this medium, and I will also feature a blog that focuses on RFID.
BlogWrite for CEOs Blog (www.blogwriteforceos.com)
This blog is written by Debbie Weil, a writer and consultant about blogging. She focuses on executives who blog at large companies and she has probably the longest list anywhere of these executives along with links to their blogs. She has recently written a book called The Corporate Blogging Book; you can download the first chapter for free from her blog. If you want to see many examples of how other executives are using blogs in their businesses, this is the blog you need to read.
The Original Blogging Evangelist (www.andywibbels.com)
Andy Wibbels writes this award winning blog in a casual and easy going style. Andy's focus is on small business blogging and his blog is a great resource to learn what blogging is really all about. He has also written a book titled Blog Wild! A Guide to Small Business Blogging that is a practical read on how a blog can help your business. I used this book extensively when I was setting up the blog for my business. If you want to read a blog that has more of a small business focus, this is one of the best out there.
The RFID Weblog (www.rfid-weblog.com)
Now we start our exploration of web logs that are directly relevant to the label industry. The RFID Weblog is ancient as far as blogs go - it has been going since February 2004. It is part of the Creative Weblogging group of blogs, around 70 of them, all of which are designed to be revenue generating, but that is a topic for another time. Anita Campbell started the RFID Weblog and she has posted more than 500 articles in the last two and a half years.
The mission of the RFID Weblog is to "provide a balanced view of RFID technology with a focus on business uses." To achieve this goal the blog covers a large range of topics. The two most popular categories of entries are RFID Basics and Implementation of RFID. One category of particular interest to the label industry is item level tagging. There was a fascinating post in July about the growth of item level tagging, which is expected to grow to 200 million tags in 2006. The day I wrote this article there was a post about the security issues with RFID passports.
Like most blogs, you can subscribe to receive regular updates. You can use what is called a News Reader, but if you don't know what that is, you can just enter your email address to receive the new posts by email. I will talk about News Readers and how you can gather all your favorite blogs together in the one place in an upcoming column. In the meantime, if you have a favorite blog that you would like to see featured in the future, send me an e-mail. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org.