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Jan23
Interview: Dave Coustan, Earthlink Corporate Blogger
I recently asked Dave Coustan, resident Earthlink corporate blog author, a few questions about his job. The conversation began as a seed when I recently posted about the new Earthlink blog, smartly titled "Earthling."  Jerry Grasso, the Earthlink director of corporate communications, quickly commented at that post and set up a question-and-answer exchange between me and Dave. (There's a lesson in there about the power of blogging.) Here's what Dave had to say:

Easton: How did you get your job as an Earthlink blogger?

Dave: I found the job posting on HotJobs. I was working as a writer/producer at HowStuffWorks.com at the time. I was looking for a new challenge as HowStuffWorks was starting to change directions. As I wrote in my initial Earthling blog entries, the EarthLink Blog Master job was eerily close to just what I was looking for, and in the city I already lived in. After some grueling interviews, I was selected and took the job.

Easton: Why did Earthlink decide to create the Earthling blog?

Dave: They wanted to expand what they had started with the Protection Blog, both in terms of scope and the level of interactivity it could provide. Without a dedicated blogger to gather and write stories, many employees had a hard time finding time for all of the work that goes along with blogging -- in addition to their regular jobs. This seems to be one of the hardest challenges companies face as they contemplate creating a blog presence. I was hired as much as a writer as a facilitator/researcher to help mine the company for interesting stories and ideas.

Easton: What has been the most demanding aspect of your blogging?

Dave: The most demanding aspect has definitely been finding time for it all. Because the blog's beat is really anything going on at EarthLink and in internet culture in general, the job demands a ton of reading, outreach, communication, research, etc. in addition to the writing, responding to comments, blog upkeep, and troubleshooting. It's exhilarating, though. It's a great challenge to juggle it all somehow.

Easton: And what's been the most rewarding part of blogging for Earthlink?

Dave: The most rewarding part has been the amount I get to learn every day by seeking clear ways to discuss difficult and confusing topics with a broad audience. And I've also appreciated all of the people I've had a chance to meet and work with along the way.

Easton: Why should people visit Earthling?

Dave: Because few industry blogs and even fewer company blogs speak Earthling.

Easton: Please share a successful experience you've had by way of your blog.

Dave: An EarthLink customer made a comment on one of the blog entries asking about whether or not we'd continue to support his device. This was information he had trouble finding through other channels. We got his question in front of the right resource, and got the specific information he was looking for out to him, all in a matter of hours.  I can't provide technical support or customer service for EarthLink customers. If I took on that challenge I'd have no time for the blog, and besides, we have entire departments whose sole job is to do just that. However, in the event that a unique question or problem comes my way, I'm pleased to be able to help find a solution. It's part of the responsibility of building a blog with human beings in mind.

---

I give personal thanks to Dave Coustan for taking the time to answer my questions about his corporate blogging for Earthlink at Earthling, and also to Jerry Grasso at Earthlink for setting this exchange up.  Hopefully we all can learn from Earthlink's efforts to provide a friendly, effective business blog for its customers and others who may be interested in its progress.

The floor is open for further dialogue below.  Feel free to add your questions or comments.

UPDATE - Jan. 25, 2006: As the first commenter below noted, I wrote "Jerry Coustan" instead of "Jerry Grasso" in the penultimate paragraph above.  My apologies.  Thanks for taking the time to suggest the correction.

3 Comments/Trackbacks




Your acknowledgment gets Jerry Grasso's name wrong. Normally I wouldn't notice/care but the typo accidentally makes it seem like Jerry and Dave are related.

Problem solved. Thanks!

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