Updated: 11/3/2005; 8:48:20 PM.


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  Wednesday, October 12, 2005

  Studying weblogs at Microsoft: blogging as a person or as an employee

[I have one of those days where I don't do things I supposed to do, but do all other useful things instead :)]

Kevin Schofield (MSR) writes on choices related to blogging as a person or as an employee (re: blogging Bill Gate's college tour):

This blog is my personal thing. It's written on my Tablet PC. I paid for the hosting service out of my own pocket. Microsoft has no control over it, and they have never told me what to write on it. Every word is mine and mine alone (except for the quoted parts :-). Regardless of whether you agree with what I say, it's still an honest reflection of what I think about a wide variety of things. So one of the first questions I struggled with was: where do I blog about the college tour? Because this is the first time I will officially be blogging as a Microsoft employee.

So you may ask, does that matter? I certainly asked that. It turns out, at least for me, it matters a great deal. The company asked me to blog about a Microsoft activity, from my perspective as a Microsoft employee taking part in it and observing. To be clear, the company hasn't told me what kind of tone to take, what kinds of things to write about, etc. They've given me no editorial guidance at all, which I appreciate, and I take that to mean that they like the way that I write honestly about things and want me to do just that. On the other had, there are real practical limits that are known and apparent. [...]

Via post by Alfred Thompson, which is a discussion of something else (interesting as well) - fragmentation between blogs...

  Good research...

While doing other things I'm in the middle of post-AOIR thinking on research methodologies, ethics and researcher's responsibilities. I have to do all those other things, but I'm pretty sure that this thinking will surface in writing, sooner or later.

But so far just a quote from Annette Markham (Ethics as method: A case for reflexivity (.pdf)):

Good qualitative research, online or off,
is not difficult to find or access,
it is difficult to formalize.

Good research, online or off,
is hard work.

Good research comes from the heart.

  On the role of theory

Quite often in my PhD process I have complicated discussions about the role of theory in my research. Today, looking through my Flickr photos I realised that one of them could serve as a good example.

Men people watchingA year ago I probably wouldn't notice it or wouldn't make a photo - it's just a city scene during a lunch break. So, what happened between now and then?

I read some theory :)

Being driven by my personal interests in architecture and fascination with cities as well as sensing emergent parallels between city life and social processes in online spaces, I went through reading "Life between buildings" by Jan Gehl and City: Rediscovering the Center by William H. White (see Edges and Individual in a public space: learning from weblogs and cities for some background).

Those two books are full with observations of people sitting on the curb and discussions on why, how and where it happens as well as implications for the design of public places in cities.

Now, equipped with knowledge I took from those books I look at things differently, I notice things that I wouldn't notice before and I know what questions to ask...

More on: city methodology PhD 

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© Copyright 2002-2005 Lilia Efimova.

This weblog is my learning diary. Sometimes I write about things related to my work, but the views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

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