Ah, spaces

So, now that I’m digging on Windows Live Writer it is really easy for me to bounce around several different blogs for posting. I would, however, need a good mechanism for monitoring comments (which is always the issue for me). For a while I’ve been considering slowly teasing apart the content on my uber blog to allow me to have a little more coherent theme.

Does this mean my space is now going to spring back to life? Only time will tell.

Turning lemons into lemonade

image

The web, the ultimate tool for the generation and dissemination of irony, hasn’t lost it’s touch.  A recent post by a Google employee intended to illustrate how advertising can be used for issue management created a bit of… you guessed it… an issue.  While I’m sure the movie was not a target but provided Lauren Turner with a great segue into a pertinent topic,  the blogstorm which resulted highlights an important point: when blogging on a corporate site… just how much can you say?

When we were ramping up to do the Windows Live Hotmail beta we knew that in addition to the private beta tester forum we wanted to have a public mechanism for putting out the good word about our new baby.  The Hotmail team blog was a “grassroots” effort, driven by the line-level employees and not by our PR department and, as a result, we needed to make it clear to the powers-that-be that we had our act together and weren’t going to post something which would prove embarrassing.  To smooth the way I wrote up a guide to communicating with the outside world which covered newsgroups, dealing with press calls and, of course, blogging. 

Personal blogs are just that, personal blogs.  Everyone puts the requisite disclaimer on their blog (“the opinions expressed here… blah blah blah”) but it’s pretty much accepted that unless you have a company logo emblazoned at the top of your page there is no other source for the drivel contained within.  There’s no need to set up regulations for your own blog.

If, however, you’re planning on starting a blog for your team, product or whatever you must set up some guidelines, there’s no way around it.  If your company already has a policy on blogging, start there, it will provide a great framework for your new rules.  There are also a ton of great blogging guidelines blog posts on the web.  In the fallout of the Google’s Sicko-gate Matt Cutts wrote a good Company Blogging 101 post with great tips for corporate bloggers.  The article well written and broken into easily digestible sections. If you blog on a site for your employer (or a site which is identified with a work project) I highly recommend you read Matt’s post and figure out how you can work the salient points into your own policy or mental framework.

So, back to my original question: how much can you say on a company-sponsored blog?  The answer: as much as you like… but you have to establish the bounds well in advance.  Corporate America is starting to realize the value of blogging as a tool for customer relations, PR, advertising and more but many companies are still quite shy when it comes to taking the plunge.  Creating a solid set of posting guidelines will keep your boss and PR firm happy (and keeping your team blog on the net will make your customers happy).

Link: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/company-blogging-101/

Blogging for the MTV generation

Web pages are complicated.  People want to share their life stories and pictures, but learning HTML is hard (ask Trina).  So the world of blogging was born. 

Blog software has made it very easy to set up and maintain your content, whether it be a running account of how all your cat’s hairballs look like past presidents, or something much, much less significant.  Blogs do, however, have the problem that they often get abandoned for great lengths of time (Dick’s blog comes to mind :D).

So, what’s today’s generation of zero-attention-span kids to do?  Sign up for twitter, of course.

Twitter is, Don MacAskill appropriately called it, a service for microblogging.  It’s optimized for very short, simple posts.  It will even prompt you periodically via SMS or IM to find out what you’re doing.  After a quick setup you can add your mobile phone number and Twitter will send you an SMS every 24 hours if you haven’t updated (a reply to the SMS will post right to your twitter log).  You can also add twitter as an IM buddy if you’re using the right service.

It’s a fascinating little toy, with all the needed components to make it entertaining for all of about a week (friends lists, ease of use and cool little widgets to add to your other web pages).  For me, however, the signal to noise ratio is way too high to be useful.  There is a public timeline which is sure to get crowded with legitimate and illegitimate spam (when I checked there were two posts within minutes from BBC sports) and switching to a private timeline will require a set of friends as exhibitionistic as yourself.

Still… entertaining enough to play with for a while… though I won’t be able to afford to have the SMS notifications turned on (the closest local text is the UK).

Migrating content from Blogger to dasBlog

I started my first blog back in 2002 on Blogger but switched to using dasBlog in late 2003 when I was wanting more control of my site.  I’ve wanted to migrate the content over from the old site for a long time but never could find a tool to do the heaving lifting… until today when I discovered Nick Schweitzer’s “Coding Monkey” site.  Nick has clear instructions as well as a GUI tool to help switch from Blogger to dasBlog.  The process was quick and painless and his instructions were straight-forward.  If you’ve been looking to import your old Blogger content into dasBlog but weren’t sure how, check out Nick’s instructions.


Importer UI






It’s more for me than anyone else… but if you want to find my old posts, you can just click on the “Old Blog” topic on the right.

Hello? Steve? Cancel the Joe Isuzu ad campaign.

CNN: the most trusted name in news?  Must be on the web, because television is loosing ground to the Internet as a trusted source for information.  From that I segue gracefully into… the Edelman trust barometer found Microsoft is the most trusted name in business.



The Edelman Trust Barometer found Microsoft Corporation the most trusted global company, followed by iconic companies in their home markets, including Toyota in Japan, Haier in China, Samsung in South Korea, and Petrobras in Brazil.


I think MS is a great place to work, and having the company get this type of recognition feels good (especially for someone who used to be a closet MS employee).  I realize that Edelman is a PR firm which counts MS as one of its biggest clients, but this was, after all, a survey.


While I led off with the fun part of the survey… for me this is the really interesting part:



In the U.S., trust in “a person like me” increased from 20% in 2003 to 68% today.


In other words, most people in the US find the average employee is a more trust-worthy spokesman than the CEO.  Any connection to the surge in blogging?  It’s pretty hard to preen cause from effect here but I, for one, am hugely thankful for the change in culture at Microsoft which made it possible for employees like me to feel comfortable blogging in relative freedom about our work.


I suppose that brings me back to the beginning… perhaps the trust in Microsoft will not be limited to a single survey or a fleeting one-year occurrence.  With any luck, as more people are able to get a glimpse of the people working at Microsoft and the pride they have in their work, the world will realize that for us it’s really about building cool software, not crushing your enemies and seeing them driven before you.  While our moniker of “the evil empire” is something I look on with amusement, it’s not a nickname I view with pride.





For a deeper dive on the topic of what can happen for company trust when the employees step out from behind the protective shadow of a company’s CEO and PR machine I recommend you check out Richard Edelman’s essay The Me2 Revolution on his blog.