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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

June 29, 2007 at 11:20 AM

Another take on Microsoft bloggers

I didn’t like the headline I put on yesterday’s blog entry about Microsoft bloggers.

If you read the whole entry, you may be left with the impression that at least one of those bloggers writes some interesting stuff. That was my intent but it may have been too subtle, or overwhelmed by the snarky headline.

Here’s what I think about blogs written by Microsoft employees.

If you’re looking for breaking news and real dirt on the company, look somewhere else.

But if you’re looking for technical information, Microsoft perspectives on technology trends and a better understanding of the people who make up the company, they can be great.

I agree with Penny Arcade’s Jerry Holkins that you have to be skeptical about the source and question how much the blogs are influenced directly or indirectly by the Microsoft politburo.

On the other hand, Microsoft should get credit for loosening up and giving employees latitude to blog on and off the clock. It employs lots of smart people with interesting ideas that would never be shared with the world if they had to be channeled through the traditional PR machine.

Despite hits like Holkins’ blog entry, it seems to be a clever move to allow the blogging. It engages and humanizes the company and it tells employees that the company trusts them to be responsible.

The blogs also create opportunities for the general public to influence the company and potentially the design of products they’ll end up using by communicating directly and publicly with employees. How many big companies make it easy to discuss products with the people building them?

You can say their message is diluted by association with Microsoft, but I think it’s refreshing to know exactly where those bloggers are coming from.

I get tired of trying to figure out the alliances and business relationships of high-profile tech bloggers. Are they influenced by their own circle of cursed megaliths? You can’t always tell, so you have to be skeptical with all of them.

I’m not clarifying yesterday’s post because I was influenced by anyone or biased for or against the company. Nobody said anything to me about it, other than the voices in my head that are always debating the lameness of what I’ve written.

For reference, here’s a small sample of blogs emanating from Redmond that I think are informative and/or fun:

Doug’s World

Charlie Owen

Don Dodge on the Next Big Thing

Fimoculous, by Rex Sorgatz

John Lam on Software

Kim Cameron’s Identity Weblog

Jason Matusow’s Blog

Charles Fitzgerald’s Platformnomics

The Microsoft open source lab’s Port 25

Adam Barr’s Proudly Serving My Corporate Masters

Sean Alexander’s Addicted to Digital Media

Somasegar’s WebLog

Windows Vista Team Blog

Comments | Topics: Microsoft

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