Over the last few weeks Iâ€™ve been working with the folks at Microsoft, like Bill Reid, Korby Parnell and Jonathan Grudin, to learn more about blogging at Microsoft for a related project at the company. Here are some of my broad observations:
- Microsoft is serious about blogging. They have support from the very top and the biggest reason for the support is the increasing value of transparency and putting a human face on Microsoft. See this video of Steve Ballmer.
- The demand comes from individuals. More than a couple of times, Iâ€™ve heard quotes from employees saying â€œIâ€™m tired of Microsoft being called an evil empireâ€??. Employees see blogging as a way to show Microsoft is a different and more human company.
- External blogs outnumber internal blogs 3-1, which is vastly different than other large companies that are blogging like Sun, IBM and Intel. Why? See point #2 above.
- Blogging at Microsoft is very hands off. The biggest policy is â€œDonâ€™t be Stupidâ€?? and the PR and Legal teams have adopted a very open and supportive approach to blogging.
- There are people within the company like Betsy Aoki and Korby Parnell who are driving the blog strategy and working every day to educate and inspire people to understand blogging.
- Two Microsoft blogs that represent the most popular forms of blogging are the personal bloggers, like Raymond Chen and the Team blogs like the IE Team Blog. A number of teams are looking to follow in the footsteps of the IE team.
- Microsoft Research has been studying blogs and how and why they are used within the company. See Lilia's posts about her internship at Microsoft Research.
- Itâ€™s working. The company is seeing the blogs play a positive role in public relations and communications with the market at large. This is adding to the executive support.
- There are very few, or perhaps zero fake bloggers or blogs.
- You can see for yourself. The majority of external Microsoft blogs are found at MSDN and TechNet
Despite what some may think about Microsoft, I see the blogs as a demonstration that the company is trying to change. Blogging is becoming a part of the way they do business and if you ask me, they are doing it the right way through organic growth and openness.