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Cyber Anthropology: Why Blogs Matter

By: Michelle Krell Kydd
Posted: June 19, 2008, from the July 2008 issue of P&F magazine.

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  • From P&F Magazine
  • July 2008 issue, pg. 38—2 pages
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Blogging is as much a technological phenomenon as a social one. People are driven by the desire to connect to something authentic when they read and run blogs. The virtual medium for these communications smashes limits of space and time. This is what causes so much confusion for marketers, many of whom do not have “real time” to read blogs in their respective verticals, let alone run a blog.

I realized that blogging was more than a cultural phenomenon when chef Bill Yosses and I created the "Scentuality" event for The James Beard Foundation and New York University. I e-mailed Victoria Frolova, editor of Bois de Jasmin (boisdejasmin.typepad.com), so she could share the details of the event with her readers. Two days after she posted the information, we were completely booked and had a waiting list of more than 40 people. This occurred before Yosses was recruited as executive pastry chef at the White House. After the event, I agreed to contribute a few articles to Bois de Jasmin. A few months later I decided to start my own blog, Glass Petal Smoke (glasspetalsmoke.blogspot.com).** I was hooked before I started because writing is like breathing to me; if I don't write I don't feel alive.

The experience of reading blogs made me extremely curious regarding their social power. The more I read, the more apparent it became that blogs were fulfilling the consumer's need for authentic dialogue in the fragrance vertical. Perfumers were being worshipped like rock stars and the contents of their potions had readers and bloggers revealing intimate details of their lives. As a professional, the only time I experience these kinds of revelations are in well-run focus groups or in dialogues with industry colleagues. This was the tipping point for me.

Other topics discussed: Cyber anthropology, Maintaining authenticity, Keeping in touch

This is only an excerpt of the full article that appeared in P&F Magazine, but you can purchase the full-text version.