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Microsoft is Serious About Blogging

Over the last few weeks I’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, I’ve heard quotes from employees saying “I’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 “Don’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.

     

     

  • It’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.