On human voice, non-tech bloggers and linking
Human voice, non-tech bloggers and linking may be not that connected for you, but they are for me: bits of thinking and feeling provoked by Heather's "Marketing at Microsoft" Blog :)
On human voice
For me Microsoft is a powerful example of corporate blogging: it destroyed "evil" image of the company that I had (yes, although being on Windows myself, I always had "open source spirit" guys around :).
Some time back I articulated it replying to Heather's question about business value of (her) blogging:
Your weblog is one of 3 I read from Microsoft people :) I like the tone and style and openess. It feels like being a friend of someone recruiting for Microsoft and listening to "stories from the field" over coffee. I don't know how good it is for finding better people for Microsoft, but definitely it helps to understand your role in the process. And I enjoy it. Think of customer satisfaction :))) I may be angry when Windows crashes, but I'm more able to accept it and wait for a better version when I see human faces of people in the company.
May be not very rational, but how much of our relations are rational anyway?
Heather in I hate that I am jealous of the tech bloggers...
I don't begrudge the technical bloggers here their community. I actually think it is really cool. I stopped by one of the parties at the MVP summit and it was really amazing to see how excited people were about getting together. It's just that I never felt like these were ďmy peopleĒ.
I realize that blogging took off in the tech space quickly. I just feel a little bit like the bumble-bee girl in the video trying to find my bumble-bee peeps. I'm very happy with the people I get to communicate with outside of Microsoft. Just wish there were some more of us on the business side in the company that could get together and share. The first round of drinks would be on me!
Unfortunately we (me at least :) don't know much about dynamics of blogging inside companies*. Outside you can always hope to find some strange people sharing your interests, but I could imagine that it could be lonely behind the firewall. I wonder if it's just a problem of growth or natural limitation for small companies or people with specific interests.
Finally, on linking. Heather asks when is it OK to solicit links? (links to your blog). I thought I'd share my experiences here...
There are two sides of it. First, about someone asking me to link to their weblog.
I'm probably bad: I don't do favours :) I find linking to someone because I was asked to totally strange... I know the value of welcoming for newcomers and the value for myself when I discover a new blog via someone's link, but still I find "just linking" strange... I usually link when something in a weblog resonates with my own thinking and provokes me to write. Then I link a lot :)
The second side is about asking others to link to you. I never did it... Partly because I started blogging for myself and wasn't caring much about incoming links and number of readers. Partly because I was lucky to start in a "good neighbourhood", quickly discovering people with similar interests, getting triggered, engaging into conversations, linking and getting linked back.
But I think that there is a trick here: it's not enough to write something interesting, it is important to link to others. Internet is about social visibility, so linking gives others a way to find you (and then it should be interesting enough :).
And - if you want to know about strategies that I'd call "aggressive on the edge of acceptance" ask Peter "Attention Whore" Caputa :) He will tell you about sending tips to other blogs, 'buy a link' experiment, Weblog Invasion Tour and I guess about many other ways he will invent soon :))
* I'm looking for cases of internal corporate blogging, so if you know a company ready to let me in for a study, let me know.