E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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Blogging on Business

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

A few days ago I was reading the interesting interview that took place over at the Inner Circle Program for Information Technology Leaders on the topic of Blogging in Business where both Tim Bray and Simon Phipps were interviewed and I just couldn’t help making a couple of comments on what I thought about the actual interview itself. So here we go with them:

Regarding the question about what a weblog is, in principle, I would agree with their definition, except that I think they are missing one important factor: a time stamp for each of those weblog entries. That time stamp is what gives weblogs continuity and a specific flow and what differentiates them from other collaborative spaces like Wikis, for instance, where that time stamp is not that obvious, if not non-existent altogether.

Throughout the interview there were also some really nice gems that I wanted to share over here. I enjoyed them thoroughly and clearly they show what business weblogging is all about. Like this quote from Tim Bray:

“A successful blogger is not necessarily one who has tens of thousands of readers; there are lots of successful bloggers who only have a hundred readers. What’s important is that they are the right readers.

or later on this other quote by him as well:

As Simon said, what matters is whether you have the right readers, because if there is a community of interest that’s really sharing and interacting, that’s where your value comes.

Yes, I think this is spot on and why I got started myself with weblogging in the first place with my Intranet weblog, and now my external weblog. When I decided to go ahead with it I was not looking to have an audience in the thousands with hundreds of comments per weblog post and a whole bunch of other spam comments to deal with. I rather preferred to start slowly and then build up from there. So this is why as you can see there are a number of people who come and read from my weblog on a daily basis and although they may not be too many I still value each of them for dropping by because it clearly shows that some times it is actually much more rewarding to have a faithful audience than just one that comes and goes depending on the hype of the moment.

I hope that over time things will continue to develop in the same way and although the audience may grow a bit I am still fully committed to it as I was at the beginning and planning to continue that way. Why? Probably because without you I wouldn’t have been here in the first place, so I may just go ahead and appreciate what I have and leave for other folks to hunt for those huge readership numbers.

Regarding this other quote from Simon Phipps:

“Probably the most important thing for an enterprise is to create a policy”

I just couldn’t have agreed more with it and why I am really glad that IBM has got its own weblogging policy and guidelines, so that IBMers all over the place have got some good overview of what they can expect from weblogging and how they could engage with the Blogosphere, whether it is the Internet Blogosphere or the Intranet one.

Here is another interesting quote from Tim and that got me thinking for a little while on the subject:

“I worry a little bit since I think that there are some people who are coming under pretty severe pressure from their management and peers to blog. And I don’t think you should do it unless you want to do it.

Yes ! These comments are really spot on ! And why I think that a huge number of webloggers do give up after a few months of starting their weblogs because they just cannot keep up. They may have set up really high expectations and through time they become rather cumbersome to fulfil. This is why it is really important that whenever someone decides to start and maintain their own weblog that they set up some expectations, not only for themselves about what they would want to achieve with their weblog, but also setting some expectations for the readers out there so that both parties, weblogger and his / her readers, are happy with how the weblog is developing and coming through.

Once those expectations are set up there are greater chances of success than ever before and, even better, there is an understanding between the weblogger and his / her audience. So say, for instance, if I have set the expectation of creating a weblog post, or two, a day then my readers would know that every day they can read something on a particular topic that interests me, and as such we have got a mutual understanding when new content will be made available but to a pace that suits both me and you folks. And setting up that expectation, in my opinion, will be key for the success to any kind of weblog, whether it is a business or a personal weblog.

And, finally, one other quote from Simon Phipps:

You trust them to do it in front of the customers every day, you trust them to do it in front of the media, you trust them to do it in meetings. And you know you can trust them to do it on the Internet, too.

Yes ! Yes ! Yes ! That is what weblogging is all about. It is all about caring how you treat your relationships with your colleagues, your clients, your friends, and whoever else is reading off your weblog. And pretty much the same way you treat people in different media the same should apply to weblogging. In the end, it is all about common sense and trying to make the most out of the weblogging experience, not only for yourself but also for those out there reading your different posts.

Overall, I was pleased to see both Tim and Simon sharing their views as well on what weblogging should be like for any kind of business. Well done !

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