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January 27, 2011

There is a hot debate going on whether the corporate world should maintain blogs or market their products on Face book or both? It is important to know the type of service the company has to offer and knowing how best to market this product.

What is blog?

A blog is a type of website or part of a website. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic.

Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video.

Makerere University Library Staff have a blog maintained by Irene and Agnes. The only challenge is that staff rarely visit the blog and this demoralises the few who post on the blog. Agnes attended LATINA in 2009 and gained many skills thanks to sponsorship from University of Bergen and Oslo University College. When Agnes returned, she conducted a training of trainers (T.O.T) who in turn trained all the professional Library staff in new technologies including blogging.

The training was timely because it is the same year that Makerere University designed and implemented institutional blogs. During the training Irene introduced staff to blogging and all members of staff created personal blogs. They were encouraged to keep blogging but few if any actually blog. Surprisingly, these staff members visit and update their Face Book pages daily. So one wonders why is it easy for members of staff to visit Face Book than the Library blog?

Judging from the comments/feedback from visitors to our Library blog, they find it a useful tool for finding information in regard to our services. The Library blog speaks volumes of information about our services.  There are advantages associated with corporate blogs:

  • A blog is the best low-cost, interactive online marketing tool that you both own and control.
  • Blogs are interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments and even message each other via widgets on the blogs and it is this interactivity that distinguishes them from other static websites. A post once a week engages your customers and thus become successful in selling more products.
  • Content can be categorized at your blog, but not on a Face Book Page. This provides people with another easy option to find the information they are looking for.
  • Blog Posts Are More Easily Shared Than Face Book Updates.

If given two options; blogging and face booking, what is your preference and why?


Agnes, Fred, Irene and Monica


3 Comments leave one →
  1. larsegeland permalink
    January 28, 2011 12:51 pm

    Why should there be two options given? Blogging and/or the use of social medias as facebook is in my opinion two different things, which can be used for different purposes.

    I guess it is right what you say that the staff rarely visits blogs. That shows that this is mainly not a question about technology or technology platforms, but is is a question about how technology is being implemented.

    If a course is based on that the participants are leaving posts or comments on the blog, they will use the blog if the teachers will follow it up. In a world where we are overwhelmed by amounts of information, it is difficult to find time to read blogposts, if it is not important to you in your academic carreer or in your personal life.

    Most journal articles are not heavely used, either.

    I have a personal blog where I write different articles. It is not a lot of traffic at the blog, but it works for me as an archive for my articles. When I have written an articles I mosttly post it to Facebook, with a small sentence that refers to the content of the article, a link to the blogarticle – and of course a picture! The article often starts a discussion on facebook, where some of the participants have read the article, some not.

    There are in Norway only some very few blogs that are read by a high number of people! But as you write: Blog posts are mostly more lasting, easier to find than facebook updates. But facebook updates can make people aware of the blog!

  2. Philliam Adoma permalink
    January 28, 2011 2:15 pm

    “Blogging and face booking, what is your preference and why?”

    In my view to choose which one to use, one needs to fully understand the pros and cons of each of these options. In addition to what you people have come out with, when I researched I found out that:

    Is a frequently up-dated web-site consisting of dated entries arranged in a reverse chronological order so that the most recent appears first. In other words, it’s sort of web-based journal that a person, an institution or a professional body writes and updates.

    Characteristics of Blogs
    – Usually a single author, but sometimes can have multiple contributors.
    – Author posts, user comments.
    – Opinion Sharing.
    – One-to-many content.

    A blog has advantages when it comes to writing. Blog readers expect a more relaxed form of language, allowing authors to write in a much more casual tone than they would if they were writing an article. For most authors, this is much easier. It’s also acceptable to discuss topics or ideas that are not fully developed yet. The temporal nature of blogging makes it easier to write a brief introduction with a promise to deliver more later.

    The major disadvantage of a blog is that blog audiences tend to expect more frequent updates than article based audiences. Since this is an audience expectation issue, it can be managed. If your website is useful to your audience and maintains a regular schedule of posts, you can train your audience to only expect a new post whenever your schedule dictates. For this to work properly, your content will have to be compelling and you will have to stick to your schedule closely.

    A facebook is a social networking website where users can add people as friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. It’s a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them. Additionally, users can join networks organized by workplace, school, or college.
    A social network is a social structure made up of individuals (or organizations) called “nodes”, which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige.

    Key Elements of Facebook
    • Facebook appeals to people looking to reconnect with old friends and family members or find new friends online; the mashup of features like email, instant messaging, image and video sharing, etc. feels familiar,
    • Facebook is a social networking Portal; beckoning you not to leave but rather to stick around and communicate within the network. Most people use Facebook to connect to friends and family, using it to share thoughts, images, etc.

    Why People Love Facebook
    Facebook appeals to social animals and can be very addicting to people who have an insatiable appetite to stay connected with friends and make new acquaintances for email, chat, image and video sharing.

    Facebook addicts prefer the social portal model versus having to log into AIM, Yahoo Messenger, Gmail, Hotmail, Flickr, YouTube, MySpace, etc. Instead, Facebook gives them a single alternative to all these applications, with one login and interface to manage their online social interaction needs.

    Facebook Pros
    • Application mashup; find people; make connections, email, instant messaging, image/video sharing, etc.
    • Most people can quickly grasp the value of connecting with friends, family and established contacts.
    • More emphasis on deep connections with others vs. who has the most connections.
    • “True Friends” feature increases your transparency to selected connections; almost like having private and public profiles.
    • Huge, rapidly growing installed user base.
    • Inherit stickiness; third party applications, “gift giving” and personal data collection make Facebook a powerful advertising platform.

    Facebook Cons
    • More difficult to navigate and update.
    • Requires investment of time to realize sustained benefit.
    • Opt in model requires a user to allow others to connect.
    • Less immediate responses; unless you stay logged on continually
    • Overhead of mashup and “thick” applications could limit scalability, bloat cost structure.

    So the reason as to why library staff visit and update their face books daily is; not many staff have interest in writing about academic issues through blogs. But have ample time and issues which do not put strains on their brains unlike academics to share with friends on Facebook. This is the challenge we have to overcome. We have to continue to sensitize and encourage staff to know the benefits of being known world wide when our intellectual works are read and quoted by others who visit our blogs.

    Much as a blog seems to have an advantage over facebook in library perspective, it all depends on the activity or services. For example, a facebook can be used for carrying out current awareness service faster than a blog which as you have said staff visit occasionally.

    Lastly I thank you people for having come up with this question and I regret not been part of you when you wrote this article. However, next time I am of the view that if there are some blog posts to post to our LATINA Blog as they should be by Makerere team, let it be done individually so that we have a pool of ideas from individuals on our blog if we are to enrich our Blog.

    By Philliam Adoma

  3. Monica permalink
    January 31, 2011 6:36 am

    Thank you Larsegeland,

    You have mentioned a very important factor of using face book to connect to the blog. I find this a solution to people’s tendency of ignoring the staff blog which is frustrating. I think we should have a library face book account and then put links of our articles on the blog whenever we post any articles. Alternatively, we may also use our face book accounts for that. The team, what do you think about that?

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