So, I thought I'd use this post as an opportunity for a bit of self-reflection.
Maybe a few thoughts on what I and others are doing with this new form of communication.
In itself, this is an interesting topic -- at least to me! And if you're reading this, it's probably interesting to you as well ...
I started writing on behalf of EMC last October. I didn't know what to expect.
Representing EMC but still writing from a personal perspective isn't hard for me. I have an inordinate amount of EMC DNA in me, and I have no problem sharing it simply because I believe in it.
Since then, I've gotten an amazing amount of personal feedback, mostly good.
I think I'm widely read, albeit in narrow circles. I'm up to about 1,000 page hits a day, for what it's worth. I see my stuff all over the place, either directly or indirectly.
Lots of EMCers are reading me -- of course, that's good. And I know I'm regularly viewed by many of EMC's competitors. That's good too, but in a different way.
But the best part is customer interaction. I think I've built a virtual relationship with perhaps thousands of EMC customers, and that's cool. When I meet readers in person for the first time, it's almost like we can pick up the discussion where we left off.
And, on a personal level, there's nothing like frequent writing to clarify your own thinking.
For people who think about things way too much (like I do) there's a certain cathartic quality that just can't be beat.
For Every Force There Is A Counterforce ...
Physics is full of symmetry. So are things like blogging.
When I and a few others at EMC started blogging in earnest, the landscape had some distinct components, at least as I saw it.
There were a few EMC competitors in the storage biz blogging away. Dave Hitz at NetApp, Hu over at HDS, maybe someone at HP, and so on.
There were a few industry curmudgeons sharing their rather unique viewpoint. It was entertaining, to be sure, in much the same way The National Enquirer is entertaining.
And there were a few earnest people who actually used these technologies and had something intelligent, insightful and informative to say about this stuff: Anil, the boys over at Ruptured Monkey, Chris and a few others. We need more of these people, I think.
Some people welcomed the new EMC bloggers to the party. Others were not so accommodating.
We noticed the tone in some of the corporate blogs changed a bit. And I think there were a few people who might have felt threatened by this new chorus of voices from EMC, and didn't react so favorably.
It's a conspiracy. It's part of an evil plot. And so on ...
Storagezilla calls them the tin-foil hat brigade. He has a very legitimate bone to pick with certain people.
Many of us at EMC have a lot to say, and we want to say it. We work at EMC because we believe in what the company is doing. We're proud of it. And, since we all work at EMC, we tend to be interested in the same sorts of things, like any community.
Nobody tells us what to say, or how to say it. Nobody reviews our work in advance. The company trusts us to conduct ourselves in a professional manner, which we strive to do. And that's about it, folks.
And we're trying to encourage more bright, passionate people at EMC to do more of this. Because we've got a lot of them -- many more than you might think. One of the reasons I have so much to write about is that I get to build on their thoughts and present them here.
And I can only scratch the surface here in this blog. It's some of the most intellectually stimulating dialogue I've had in my career -- ever.
Blogging Is Like A Party, Sort Of ...
When you go to a party, there are always some interesting people you'd like to converse with. And often, you'll find a few people you'd rather not chat up.
And occasionally, there's someone being really obnoxious that you'd wish would just leave. You're shocked someone would actually behave that way in public, but there it is.
Unfortunately, there's little you can do about the latter situation at a real-world party other than put up with it, or walk away.
The party analogy breaks down in the blogging world -- you're free to comment publicly on other's behavior at the party.
And, lord knows, people do.
Feedback is Good
Social media (blogs, wikis, forums, etc.) are completely new tools, and with them, comes completely new behavior in how to use them.
I remember a long time ago when email was rolled out across EMC. There was a short, one-hour training class about how to compose and send emails, which was followed by many years of wildly inappropriate behavior about how to use the tool effectively.
I don't think everyone has figured it out this whole appropriate-use-of-email thing, even to this day. And we've just started a similar journey with social media tools, including blogs.
So feedback -- in any form -- has to be an inevitable part of the process as people learn to conduct interaction and conversation using new tools. There's phone etiquette. Email etiquette -- sort of. And, shortly, I hope we'll see blog/forum/wiki etiquette.
The Good With The Not-So-Good
I am, at heart, a capitalist. Free-market principles (usually) have a way of promoting the good, and weeding out the bad. The marketplace tells you when you're doing good, and when you're not.
Taking this thought to the blogosphere, people will vote with their RSS readers. If people find you informative, or entertaining, or a little bit of both, they'll read you, and you'll be rewarded one way or another.
If you find outrageous behavior entertaining, you'll be an avid reader, and you'll encourage more of the same. And the same principle works in reverse.
So I've taken the symbolic step of simply not getting feeds from several people I don't want to encourage until they improve their behavior at the party. You might want to consider the same.
So, The Journey Continues
An interesting discussion has broken out on the interaction with corporate entities and the blogosphere. Barry over at The Storage Anarchist has laid down some pretty strong opinions (which I happen to agree with, because I think he's right) that others have disagreed with.
But you need to chime in as well -- it's your blogosphere, not ours.