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Published on August 26, 2004 By joetheblow In Blogging

Blog's the word in big business
Last modified: July 23, 2004, 3:47 PM PDT
By Paul Festa
Staff Writer, CNET

BERKELEY, Calif.--Long heralded as a way for the masses to wrest the Internet back from corporate control, the Web log has emerged as the hottest new enterprise tool.

That's a key message emerging from BlogOn 2004, "The Business of Social Media," a two-day conference at the University of California's Haas School of Business here, where blog software providers, evangelists, engineers and others are exploring the disruptive and fertile landscape of online diaries both corporate and personal.

For many touting the blog's usefulness to the enterprise, Microsoft is Exhibit A.

"Microsoft is not thought of instantly when it comes to transparency and openness," acknowledged Lenn Pryor, Microsoft's director of platform evangelism. Blogging is "a way to scale our ability to communicate with customers in an open and honest way."

Microsoft and its legions of public relations employees and contractors are famous for their efforts to control the company's message. With the advent of the blog, however, Microsoft's corporate communications have become vastly more decentralized, Pryor said, with about 1,000 Microsoft employees maintaining largely unregulated Web logs.

Microsoft this spring launched a blog service for developers called "Channel 9," named for the audio channel that lets airline passengers listen in on communications between pilots and air traffic control.

Pryor compared a Microsoft customer's...

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