The Meta Post: Effective Blogs from Successful Companies

Sometimes when writing for blogs like this, I find myself asking “How would X write this?” or “What would the readers want X to say?” It’s no secret that the information we post on the internet directly effects how people think and feel about us. Naturally this leads us to want to post the best information we can and do so in a way that makes us seem positive, intelligent, and rational.

Companies that use blogs to communicate face the same pressures, but we the added constraint of the business’s reputation and potential profitability being placed on the line. Knowing this, companies that blog have found a great way to balance a solid informal blog that also presents the company as being successful and a place their customers want to keep doing business with.

So let’s put two highly successful companies on the spot and observe what it is that they are posting on their blogs and how the readers react. We should also notice if there is a trend to blog posts and see what members of the company are posting.  Finally we should take note on the visual appearance of the blog and if it influences the reader’s interaction with the blog.

To start off, we’ll take a look at Facebook’s Official Blog, which can be found at   As of this posting, the front page of the Facebook blog is covered by posts announcing new features that are being implementing into Facebook and posts discussing some the impacts involved with usage of Facebook.  The blog also makes sure you can clearly see feedback from users about the blog, including a widget that shows the “Most Popular Stories” from the blog. The most popular post as of this posting is discussing additions to Facebook’s Timeline feature. This post has over 35,000 likes and almost 40,000 comments with over 1500 shares.

Facebook as a company is well represented by the various posts, with posts by development team to posts from the CEO. All in all, the Facebook blog leaves me with the impression of company that wants to proudly share its work with its members as well ensure the members continue to enjoy their experience.

Our second entrant is Google’s Official blog, which can be found at There is a huge contrast between this blog and Facebook’s. Notably is moving graphic that is found in the upper right side of the page, which responds to mouseovers. Also, we see a different tone than that of Facebook’s, in that this blog seems to be more focused on its content rather than its reception by readers. The posts vary in topic from information about Google products to stories about endeavors the company has taken part in.

Again, like Facebook, Google has varying departments that contribute to the blog, from engineers to corporate members. The impression I get from reading Google’s blog is that of a company that prides itself on the sharing of knowledge and educating its readers.

Hopefully through this all too brief post, I have shared just a bit of insight into how companies utilize blogs and the internet to promote themselves. Though I cannot speak for either company, I believe having these sources of information available to their customers is greatly helping their businesses succeed.

By Alex Colson, CNIT Major Purdue University

Non-verbal communication, the workplace, and you

Mehrabian and you

Albert Mehrabian conducted a series of very influential studies in the late 1960s. In these studies, he had participants attempt to guess the meaning of single words such as “dear,” “terrible,” and “maybe.” The participants had to decide whether they were favorable, neutral, or unfavorable. The first battery of tests showed the speaker, and the second covered up the speakers face. The study showed that being able to see the speaker’s face determined how well the listener was able to understand the message. Using the collected data from several studies, Albert Mehrabian was able to come up with a formula for verbal communication:

 7% Verbal (actual words) + 38% Vocal (tone) + 55% Facial Expression

 While the formula is a vast over simplification of human communication, it does highlight a very important point; communication with people is more than the words themselves. It is important to remember to utilize the whole message, not just the vocabulary to ensure we communicate both information and meaning. In this article, I will be talking about non-verbal communication in the workplace and give some suggestions on how to improve your own   non-verbal communication skills.


The non-verbal trench run

In the workplace, ensuring your message reaches your audience accurately is even more important, and also more difficult. Taking into account the mixed cultures, varying degrees of attention, and the rushed pace of activity, it is a wonder any communication happens at all. In fact, miscommunications occur all the time.

 When businesses talk about “miscommunication” it is more than just a misunderstanding of vocabulary. A simple “no” can ruin someone’s day by morphing into a “never” because the person saying no was rushing out the door to get to an important meeting. Everyone has had that boss that says “maybe” and it always meant “forever and always, no.” Or the boss who says “maybe” and it meant that if you bothered them enough, you could get a yes. This becomes a hazard when your boss is paraphrasing someone else’s words or is simply repeating his bosses’ words.

 It is entirely possible to miss one meaning and catch another. What if you have a coworker who is going through a nasty divorce, and you ask how a non-related customer account is proceeding? If they are near tears and say, “I am having some difficulty,” it would be easy to assume that account is spiraling down the drain whereas your coworker could be simply having some problems getting a quote from a vendor. Also, as humans, we tend to believe every part of communication with another is entirely about ourselves. If your coworker seems to be dodging your questions and looking to get out of the conversation as quickly as possible, you may assume that they have something to hide when in fact, the person just needs to use the bathroom and you caught them on the way.

How to make it work for you

So what does the average person do with all this non-verbal communication information? First, it is important to note most of this information is out of your control. In fact, body language is a very important indicator for many investigators because the subject simply cannot control all of their non-verbal ques. But don’t worry; you do not need to be some sort of super sleuth to make the most of your communication skills.

Start by unifying your message. When communicating with someone, especially in the workplace, focus your attention, thoughts, and presence on the message. Ensure you are not thinking about lunch options when detailing a financial merger with a coworker. By unifying your message, other events going on around you, either externally or internally, will have less of a chance to contaminate your message. Also, you will be giving more respect to others simply by being more focused.

You can also use the knowledge of non-verbal communication to refine your message. Start gauging your audience and know whether or not they care about what you are saying. If speaking to your boss and you find that they seem distracted or bored with your report, change gears, offer a quick verbal summary, and then offer to send details in an email. Not only will you have a thankful boss, but also you will have a second chance to convey important information that he or she can read when they are more focused.

When on the receiving end of verbal communication, try and get the same information from multiple sources, especially if the person is attempting to persuade you to do something. It is easy to get distracted by the other parts of the sender’s message when trying to make a decision.

Mehabrian’s legacy

Mehabrian’s study has left us with the knowledge that a good deal of our communication comes from non-verbal channels and has a weighty role in determining if both the information and meaning reaches our intended targets. In the workplace, accurate and precise communication is extremely important in order to succeed. Individuals must focus on their non-verbal communication to unify and focus their meaning to prevent miscommunicating. While the formula Mehabrian came up with may be controversial, the importance for your messages beyond the words themselves is not.

By R. Sean O’Leary, Computer Science major, Purdue College of Technology

The Talk of The L’s: Leno vs. Letterman

Have watched a person present information and afterwards your reaction is “wow that was good.”  Many people fear public speaking but not these two big timers. Jay Leno and David Letterman are two of the most famous late night talk show hosts.  These two characters have many things in common and different in their presentation styles.

First of all they have very similar presentation Styles. Both Leno and Letterman start their shows with a monologue introduction. Both of them also like to use short video clips as visual aids and to get the audience more into their show.  Leno and Letterman like to base their show on humorous material or they will make the material humorous.  Both of the hosts also use items that the audience can relate to so all their material is relative.   After their monologue introductions they both like to have special guests to interview.  Both Leno and Letterman sit behind a desk while their guests sit on a couch or piece of furniture.  Their interviews with their guests are also very similar to each other’s by the fact that they both make the interview into a comedy skit. Like one another they are very enthusiastic while presenting not only through volume but also through hand gestures.

On the other hand there are a few things that differentiate Jay Leno and David Letterman.   One main way they differentiate is through their delivery of information.  Jay Leno likes to go further in depth with every topic and lets the subject marinate.  On the other hand, Letterman likes to only say a few keywords about a subject before moving on to the next one. Leno also uses more jokes composed from words rather than Letterman’s funny short video clips.

Although they are much more similar than they are different, there are some characteristic differences to distinguish between the two.  Through watching both of their shows I was able to compare and contrast the two talk show hosts.  It was not easy to see the differences between the two because their shows were almost like déjà vu.  These two main talk show host faces are definitely not scared of talking in front of the public.  So the next time you find yourself in a situation where you have to give a public speech, just think to yourself. What would Leno and Letterman do?

By Colton Reed, Exercise Science Major-IUPUC