UX Magazine

Defining and Informing the Complex Field of User Experience (UX)
Article No. 6 December 10, 2005

Keynote: The Death Of Blogs for Business

Good morning everyone and thank you for coming today.

Today is a big day in the evolution of blogs as a communication tool for every business in the world. Ironically, today I am here to announce the death of Blogs. (Pause for gasp.)

It’s the word “Blog” that has become the problem. It has got to go. Basically, as a word, well, it sucks. (Pause for gasp.) It has caused CEO’s and business owners to avoid embracing the medium by a clear majority. Too early in the life of the word “Blog” it became synonymous with people writing about the consistency of their morning oatmeal. Later, big media pushed it into the news as a place where people voice their political rants.

What’s worse, “I have a blog. Do you blog?” has become the conversational equivalent of “I went to Harvard, where did you go?” If we want all businesses to truly embrace the power of this important evolution of marketing and market interaction, we need to give it a name that allows businesses to easily embrace it.

From here forward, blogs will now be called (dramatic pause, scan the audience with your eyes to pull their attention in) ... living websites.

Now, I’ll bet you are thinking “I didn’t know my web site was dead”. Well, it is. I am sorry. Take a day, mourn, and then you must move on. Your web site would want this for you.

It didn’t really promote your purpose, it didn’t let people in on your passion, it didn’t make them want to come back and see what else your company had to say and it didn’t allow you to continually tell the ever changing story that is your business. Now, that sounds dead to me. Dead doesn’t sell well.

If your business is alive then why would your web site not be the same?

The question every business owner, entrepreneur, CEO, etc… has to ask themselves is now a simple one. Do I want a web site that is alive or one that is dead? That is much easier to answer.

Now the conversation is simple: “My web site is alive, is yours?” Their answer, “Hmmm, I am not sure. But alive sounds much better to me than dead. How do I make my web site alive?”

Much better and far more exciting.

So, in summation, I say to all of you (pound podium for emphasis) go back to your place of business with a new mission: let your website live!

Thank you.


User Profile

Howard Mann is the founder of Brickyard Partners, a business strategy agency based in Portland, OR. Prior to founding Brickyard Partners in 2001, Mann owned a premier international logistics company with over 140 Million in revenue, six U.S. offices and a global network of over 40 agents worldwide.

As that business came under severe pressure from the previous economic downturn and industry consolidation, Howard lead the company out from those treacherous times by returning to the basics that make every business great and completing 6 acquisitions that re-imagined the business so it was highly attractive to buyers. Finding that “secret sauce” did not come easily but has fueled his purpose to help other business leaders to never have to go through what he endured. 

Through real world experience and those hard times in the “trenches” of business he has learned that it is not following the latest fad, copying competitors or adding complexity that makes a business truly great. His pragmatic approach and knowing what it feels like to sit in the CEO/Owner chair is what makes his work so different and effective.

In addition to his strategy, marketing and communications work, Mann coaches a select group of entrepreneurs, CEO's and business owners. His highly focused workshops and keynotes help executive teams take aggressive action to unlock the true potential of their organizations and build remarkable businesses that endure. In good times and bad. Online and off.

Howard is a sought after speaker both in the U.S. and around the world. He writes frequently on his blog about the importance of the basics and reconnecting to the passion that too often gets lost as businesses mature.

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HrQy6T Excellent article, I will take note. Many thanks for the story!

w8SC2W Excellent article, I will take note. Many thanks for the story!

If people are naive enough to not embrace something due to a word, then those same naive people wouldn’t understand blogs.

Proclaiming the death of Blogs and the rise of “living” websites is a bit of a feudal argument. Living websites would confuse people further. “living websites” could be ultimately construde as dynamic web applications that fetch/retrieve data through a digital community. Examples include Flickr, Yahoo, Technorati, etc. Dynamic web applications by nature are “living” websites.

Thanks for the article though, when you mentioned “livable websites” it got me pondering about Artificial Intelligence and the future of the web, interesting…:)

James: You’re right about the naivity of people not embracing things due to the name, and yes, they probably would not understand blogs. The problem is who is not embracing blogs.

As Howard mentions in the article, it is often CEOs and business owners that steer away from blogs because of the name. Sometimes a name can be very important in swaying the people who matter.

Buzzwords in general are associated with some specific meaning and this meaning is not always the actual intention.

Howard: Interesting article, thank you.

When I was a kid, karate was a relatively popular sport for many Americans, but, somehow, a turn-off for many others. I was one of those who wasn’t much interested in karate; I didn’t even bother to watch movies that were reputed to feature karate in them. Sometime during the ‘80s, it seems as though one heard less and less about karate, and more and more about another martial arts sport called kick-boxing. Now kick-boxing was exciting, and fascinating, and they were even making movies featuring it. What I did not realize, until over a decade later, was that kick-boxing and karate were the same sport. So, sometimes a label can be very significant, and the fact that one doesn’t like something because of its label doesn’t necessarily mean one wouldn’t understand the concept so labeled. Personally, I have no trouble with the word “blog,” and I find “living Web site” a bit cumbersome; but, hey, maybe it would work. In any event, I think the author of the essay realizes that the word “blog” isn’t going to die; at least not overnight. The idea is for Web content managers and Web site designers to avoid the term when pitching their ideas for a dynamic site to those whose opinions count.