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Book review: Naked Conversations

Naked Conversations Book ReviewNaked Conversations discusses the human implications of using blog technology. It is not a particularly technical book and it does not cover the technical aspects of setting up and writing a blog. Given the relative simplicity of blogging tools, such a manual is not required.

It is written by two self-confessed ‘blog champions’ so the tone is largely positive. The authors posted draft chapters on their own blog during the book’s development and incorporated the feedback they received. This has allowed them to present some dissenting voices, but they make it clear in the introduction that they are not presenting a fully objective study. I don’t feel this admission detracts from what the book sets out to achieve. The main strength of the book is the wealth of case studies which are very useful for IT professionals and business people interested in the practical application of this technology.

Given the subject matter, it comes as no surprise that the tone of the book is largely conversational and highly accessible. Naked Conversations takes the topics of The Cluetrain Manifesto (Christopher Locke et al) a step further in discussing the rise of technology in the context of the business applications of the internet. According to Scoble and Israel, blogging and other forms of social media are changing the relationship between organisations and their clients by stimulating a two-way conversation.

The book shows how organisations have capitalised on this conversation. It is divided into three sections. The first provides the context for the rise of blogging as a form of social media and an analysis of the business use of blogs today. The authors cite many practical examples including Scoble’s own experience at Microsoft but by the time I reached chapters six and seven (on the uses of blogs by consultants and publicists respectively) I felt the case studies were becoming repetitive. Chapter eight explores the impact of national culture on blogging and can be read as a wider analysis of how technology is affected by the culture of its users.

The second section is four chapters setting out examples of good and bad practice for corporate blogging, for decision makers and the employees selected to post. This section would provide an excellent starting point for any organisation looking to implement blogging policies or guidelines for employees.

The third and shortest section discusses future technology and sociological trends in this area including geo-tagging and video blogs.

What makes Naked Conversations a valuable contribution to this new field is the convincing way it relates the impact of blogging technology to the day-to-day lives of the people who use it. As such it is interesting reading for any IT professional working with end users.

  • This review has been accepted for publication in The Computer Journal.
  • Authors: Robert Scobel and Shel Israel
    ISBN: 0-471-74719-X
  • Read more at the Naked Conversations blog

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About Elizabeth Harrin

Elizabeth HarrinElizabeth Harrin FAPM is a professional project manager and award-winning blogger behind A Girl's Guide To Project Management. She's passionate about demystifying project management and making tools and techniques work in the real world. She's also the author of several books including the PMI bestseller, Collaboration Tools for Project Managers.
Elizabeth lives in the UK with her family. She uses her organisation and project management skills at home, and also to help other bloggers at Totally Organised Blogging.


  1. Anonymous says

    Like what you have to say. Your blog makes good since to me. Thank you, I could not have sead it better my self.

  2. Elizabeth says

    I’m glad you think it’s fair; it must have been hard having so much great material, and the repetition does reinforce the message.
    I’m not sure when this will appear in The Computer Journal but I’ve corrected the proof so maybe soon.

  3. shel israel says

    Thanks you for this very kind and accurate review of our book. We probably did go overboard on the case studies we included, but we just found it hard to choose which ones we should cut.


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