Live Blogging from Blog University – Blogs vs. Discussion Boards

Today and tomorrow I will be live-blogging from the New Communications Forum “Blog University” in Napa, California. I am out in beautiful California — quite a nice break from cold gray Cleveland where we have a foot of snow.

Today I will have a series of posts, relating key insights raised by the many talented speakers.

At the moment I am listening to Neville Hobson, who blogs at NevOn, giving an introduction to corporate blogging. He’s doing a nice job leading an extremely interactive session, encouraging questions and input from the group — and getting it! (By the way, I asked and received his enthusiastic permission to “live blog.” Otherwise, I wouldn’t dream of banging the keyboard while a speaker is talking.)

One of the questions raised by a participant is “My company has had a discussion forum for several years now. What is the difference between a blog and a discussion forum?”

Neville takes the question on, and with input from participants notes:

  • The person who owns the blog can choose the topics that are discussed and direct the discussion, more so than on a message board.
  • You’ll find it easier to link to an individual topic or post on a blog, because each post has a “permalink.” Whereas, depending on the particular forum technology being used, it can be hard to link to a particular thread.
  • Forums tend to be heavily moderated by the owners, leading to a lack of perceived trust. Blogs on the other hand, tend to be high-trust animals.
  • Blogs can be more user-friendly for the reader, because they are written as conversations with the items appearing front and center on the site. Forums tend to require more drilling down to read them.

Interestingly, the Tinbasher blog was raised as a notable example of a company blog. That’s the second time this morning — Elizabeth Albrycht — one of the event organizers — also noted it in her opening remarks. Please let Paul Woodhouse know he’s famous! (See our PowerBlog Review of the Tinbasher.)

UPDATE JANUARY 31, 2005: From the Comments section comes a link to this paper about discussion boards and weblogs by James Farmer. Thank you, James!

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Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

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