Scoble: poster child for not blogging

Hey, I had a bad weekend, OK? I answer 10s of thousand of comments, most of the time I'm a nice guy with a thick skin and take all the crap that's thrown my way. Last week I had enough. I bit back. I made mistakes. I was wrong.

I was human.

But, Nicholas Carr used my few bad responses against all corporate bloggers. I guess he wants a PR machine to blog. A committee. A group of editors. People who will ensure that nothing wrong, or bad, or insane will ever get onto blogs.

Hey, I'm sorry for having a bad week. I've been getting a good dose of my own medicine this morning (read my "better jail than mail" post to see just how bad my words were taken across the blogosphere) but I guess Nicholas would rather not have humans interacting with customers. Guess what? Sometimes humans get mad. Sometimes they get angry. Sometimes they act insane. Sometimes they are wrong. Sometimes they make mistakes.

We aren't machines. Sorry, Nicholas, if you expect corporate bloggers to be machines that'll always smile and always take the crud that's out here without making mistakes then you'll be sorely disappointed. 

The blogosphere worked. I told me violently and quickly I was wrong.

I was. But that's no reason to throw the baby out with the bath water. 

Comments

  1. Your blog is one of the few things that affords me good will towards Microsoft as a company (the other being my trackball!)- and I’m likely someone that Microsoft would want to court.

  2. Your blog is one of the few things that affords me good will towards Microsoft as a company (the other being my trackball!)- and I’m likely someone that Microsoft would want to court.

  3. There’s nothing wrong with passionately arguing for something you believe in. Sometime though, you just need to know when to let it go.

    I’ve been married for a long time, so I’ve had a great deal of practice giving in and apologizing. :)

    But if you were having any kind of problem with your Google rank, I think you might have fixed it this weekend. And you’ve certainly kept Microsoft at the top of the news this weekend. After all, there is no such thing as bad publicity, and anybody who wasn’t aware of Vista is now.

    In the grand scheme of things this is just noise anyway. Tomorrow we’ll be worried about something else.

  4. There’s nothing wrong with passionately arguing for something you believe in. Sometime though, you just need to know when to let it go.

    I’ve been married for a long time, so I’ve had a great deal of practice giving in and apologizing. :)

    But if you were having any kind of problem with your Google rank, I think you might have fixed it this weekend. And you’ve certainly kept Microsoft at the top of the news this weekend. After all, there is no such thing as bad publicity, and anybody who wasn’t aware of Vista is now.

    In the grand scheme of things this is just noise anyway. Tomorrow we’ll be worried about something else.

  5. To be honest, Robert, I wonder why you allow comments. You get a constant stream of “you work for liars!” type posts that add nothing to the conversation. You end up spending too much time answering comments, when perhaps a little more time thinking through your own posts (and being with your family!) would be of far more benefit to you. A less-stressed Scoble means better posts, and better posts mean happier readers.

    As I’ve said a few times, to other people: a blog isn’t a “free speech” zone for everyone. It’s a “free speech” zone for the person who writes the blog. Everyone else can get their own blogs, if they want to comment. Tools like Technorati make it easy to follow the conversation, if that’s what you want to do.

    On the subject of Nick’s post, I think his advice isn’t that you should have “a PR machine” blogging – it’s that, unless they have a really compelling reason, corporations shouldn’t blog at all. I think he’s wrong in that, because I think that the blog format is a great way of getting information across in a less formal manner. In particular, I think that some of the Microsoft blogs, like the one for the Live Messenger team, get across some great info in a concise and simple way. But that level of communications empowerment for employees won’t work for everyone.

  6. To be honest, Robert, I wonder why you allow comments. You get a constant stream of “you work for liars!” type posts that add nothing to the conversation. You end up spending too much time answering comments, when perhaps a little more time thinking through your own posts (and being with your family!) would be of far more benefit to you. A less-stressed Scoble means better posts, and better posts mean happier readers.

    As I’ve said a few times, to other people: a blog isn’t a “free speech” zone for everyone. It’s a “free speech” zone for the person who writes the blog. Everyone else can get their own blogs, if they want to comment. Tools like Technorati make it easy to follow the conversation, if that’s what you want to do.

    On the subject of Nick’s post, I think his advice isn’t that you should have “a PR machine” blogging – it’s that, unless they have a really compelling reason, corporations shouldn’t blog at all. I think he’s wrong in that, because I think that the blog format is a great way of getting information across in a less formal manner. In particular, I think that some of the Microsoft blogs, like the one for the Live Messenger team, get across some great info in a concise and simple way. But that level of communications empowerment for employees won’t work for everyone.

  7. I have no idea what you’re talking about. I must have missed it. Anyway, the fact that your this is not PR approved pap makes it interesting reading.

    Some might say it’s like watching NASCAR for the crashes ;-)

  8. I have no idea what you’re talking about. I must have missed it. Anyway, the fact that your this is not PR approved pap makes it interesting reading.

    Some might say it’s like watching NASCAR for the crashes ;-)

  9. Here’s what I appreciate about you Robert. I’ve never heard Bill G say “Windows broke “I’m Sorry”. Same with Linus, and Steve Jobs. You however, are willing to say “I goofed, I’m Sorry”. We like that. I goof and I’m sorry. Keep up the good work.

  10. Here’s what I appreciate about you Robert. I’ve never heard Bill G say “Windows broke “I’m Sorry”. Same with Linus, and Steve Jobs. You however, are willing to say “I goofed, I’m Sorry”. We like that. I goof and I’m sorry. Keep up the good work.

  11. Hi Robert, Nice of you to humbly acknowledge your humanly flaws. I belive any normal person would have done the same (come out fighting). Lucky MS have you rooting for them.

    Cheers

  12. Hi Robert, Nice of you to humbly acknowledge your humanly flaws. I belive any normal person would have done the same (come out fighting). Lucky MS have you rooting for them.

    Cheers

  13. i am amazed at the energy and time you put into your blog – especially about your following the tons of comments and even answering them. in fact: i do never get the sensation of talking to a machine, robot, clean corporate agent. even though there is so much going on here i feel like: gee, this guy is really reading what i write.
    so: thanks for the lesson. hope i won’t get carried away once emotions are combined with stress. congrats on talking up and regretting.
    nicholas is right with his points 1 to 5, but no comments and lawyers will kill any blog. then corporations should rather stick to a plain website.

    http://www.bernetblog.ch/einzelansicht/archive/2006/march/article/scoble-zeigt-emotionen-carr-bringt-sieben-blogging-regeln/

  14. i am amazed at the energy and time you put into your blog – especially about your following the tons of comments and even answering them. in fact: i do never get the sensation of talking to a machine, robot, clean corporate agent. even though there is so much going on here i feel like: gee, this guy is really reading what i write.
    so: thanks for the lesson. hope i won’t get carried away once emotions are combined with stress. congrats on talking up and regretting.
    nicholas is right with his points 1 to 5, but no comments and lawyers will kill any blog. then corporations should rather stick to a plain website.

    http://www.bernetblog.ch/einzelansicht/archive/2006/march/article/scoble-zeigt-emotionen-carr-bringt-sieben-blogging-regeln/

  15. Acutally, I have been skeptical since you refused to comment on the Bill Gates and laptops for poor kids controversy, Robert. Seems that you have two methods of operation: evasion and histrionics. Now, the NYT article about Vista should be discussed. Which will it be?

  16. What? A Microsoft employee exhibits non-Borg-like emotions and gets angry and frustrated? Inconcievable! How dare you be human!

    Carr and some of the other folks responding to you are out of hand themselves. Your post on non-credible journalistic was spot-on, if perhaps a bit passionate. So what? Better to see sterile dreck based on too many anonymous sources?

    Ptooey, I say. Good on ya.

  17. Acutally, I have been skeptical since you refused to comment on the Bill Gates and laptops for poor kids controversy, Robert. Seems that you have two methods of operation: evasion and histrionics. Now, the NYT article about Vista should be discussed. Which will it be?

  18. What? A Microsoft employee exhibits non-Borg-like emotions and gets angry and frustrated? Inconcievable! How dare you be human!

    Carr and some of the other folks responding to you are out of hand themselves. Your post on non-credible journalistic was spot-on, if perhaps a bit passionate. So what? Better to see sterile dreck based on too many anonymous sources?

    Ptooey, I say. Good on ya.

  19. Hey Blogosphere,

    I think the Blogosphere needs to start padding there walls or sphere and we the public may have to start giving away straight jackets to all those bloggers who start going off the deep end. It is a crazy world we are living in now for many reasons and I think they need to hand out a baby straight jacket to every baby who is born so they can get used to the craziness they are getting themselves into at a very early age. Keep Scobelizing the world Scoble! I may not agree with everything you say but you have brought some good things to my life.

  20. Hey Blogosphere,

    I think the Blogosphere needs to start padding there walls or sphere and we the public may have to start giving away straight jackets to all those bloggers who start going off the deep end. It is a crazy world we are living in now for many reasons and I think they need to hand out a baby straight jacket to every baby who is born so they can get used to the craziness they are getting themselves into at a very early age. Keep Scobelizing the world Scoble! I may not agree with everything you say but you have brought some good things to my life.

  21. I guess he wants a PR machine to blog. A committee. A group of editors.

    To be fair, though, Nick Carr didn’t suggest any of these things. And he was nicely explicit about what he does recommend.

    People who will ensure that nothing wrong, or bad, or insane will ever get onto blogs.

    I suspect that Nick would plead guilty to this one. Most companies would agree that they don’t want wrong, bad, or insane things on their web sites.

    Whether wrong, bad, or insane things are an inevitability if you want to reap the benefits of blogging is another, perhaps more interesting, question. But I think that Nick’s general point that corporate blogging should have something to do with corporate goals — rather than some ideology regarding “markets as conversations” — is a fair one.

    Incidentally, I’m not just talking through my hat on this one. I’ve been the primary contributor to several corporate blogs. I believe in the benefits, but it’s definitely tricky business.

  22. I guess he wants a PR machine to blog. A committee. A group of editors.

    To be fair, though, Nick Carr didn’t suggest any of these things. And he was nicely explicit about what he does recommend.

    People who will ensure that nothing wrong, or bad, or insane will ever get onto blogs.

    I suspect that Nick would plead guilty to this one. Most companies would agree that they don’t want wrong, bad, or insane things on their web sites.

    Whether wrong, bad, or insane things are an inevitability if you want to reap the benefits of blogging is another, perhaps more interesting, question. But I think that Nick’s general point that corporate blogging should have something to do with corporate goals — rather than some ideology regarding “markets as conversations” — is a fair one.

    Incidentally, I’m not just talking through my hat on this one. I’ve been the primary contributor to several corporate blogs. I believe in the benefits, but it’s definitely tricky business.

  23. ars: no, but when you say you don’t want employees who occassionally post stuff you don’t like that means explicitly that you want some sort of control. That’s the only way you’re gonna guarantee that I never go nutty on you.

    And, if you give me an editor to ensure that I never go nutty (and EVERYONE goes nutty from time-to-time, at least if they are blogging honestly) then you’ll reduce any value from this blog.

    Why? You’ll slow me down. And, my nuttiness is what makes me different from a corporate press release.

    I guess he wants me to be a droll, corporate PR machine. Well, watch what you ask for! :-)

    I like what James Robertson said about this issue here: http://www.cincomsmalltalk.com/blog/blogView?showComments=true&entry=3320917430

  24. ars: no, but when you say you don’t want employees who occassionally post stuff you don’t like that means explicitly that you want some sort of control. That’s the only way you’re gonna guarantee that I never go nutty on you.

    And, if you give me an editor to ensure that I never go nutty (and EVERYONE goes nutty from time-to-time, at least if they are blogging honestly) then you’ll reduce any value from this blog.

    Why? You’ll slow me down. And, my nuttiness is what makes me different from a corporate press release.

    I guess he wants me to be a droll, corporate PR machine. Well, watch what you ask for! :-)

    I like what James Robertson said about this issue here: http://www.cincomsmalltalk.com/blog/blogView?showComments=true&entry=3320917430

  25. With great trepidation, I’m going to defend Nick Carr’s post here, as it parallels some of my own thoughts.

    I don’t think his main point is being engaged, which is, paraphrased: IT’S NOT WORTH IT.

    That is, the negatives of “nakedness” far outweight the positives. The line of argument that nakedness is authenticity, and authenticity is connection, is merely an assertion. It’s not automatically true. How do you know that people put-off and offended don’t outweight those attracted by the display? Maybe making enemies of journalists is far worse than friends on the A-list.

    Again, this argument IS NOT ADDRESSED by repeating that one is human, that humanness is good, etc. It’s a cost-benefit analysis, and must be considered at that level.

  26. With great trepidation, I’m going to defend Nick Carr’s post here, as it parallels some of my own thoughts.

    I don’t think his main point is being engaged, which is, paraphrased: IT’S NOT WORTH IT.

    That is, the negatives of “nakedness” far outweight the positives. The line of argument that nakedness is authenticity, and authenticity is connection, is merely an assertion. It’s not automatically true. How do you know that people put-off and offended don’t outweight those attracted by the display? Maybe making enemies of journalists is far worse than friends on the A-list.

    Again, this argument IS NOT ADDRESSED by repeating that one is human, that humanness is good, etc. It’s a cost-benefit analysis, and must be considered at that level.

  27. Seth: >Maybe making enemies of journalists is far worse than friends on the A-list.

    That’s the risk, isn’t it?

    But, at the same time, why shouldn’t we demand better journalism?

    You do realize that Raymond from Acer called me last night, no? You do realize that he felt used and that he feels he wasn’t quoted correctly.

    Why SHOULD we put up with this kind of journalism?

    Especially when the headline is so, so, so laughable that even Microsoft enemies are coming out against it?

  28. Seth: >Maybe making enemies of journalists is far worse than friends on the A-list.

    That’s the risk, isn’t it?

    But, at the same time, why shouldn’t we demand better journalism?

    You do realize that Raymond from Acer called me last night, no? You do realize that he felt used and that he feels he wasn’t quoted correctly.

    Why SHOULD we put up with this kind of journalism?

    Especially when the headline is so, so, so laughable that even Microsoft enemies are coming out against it?

  29. Seth: by the way, the corporate types here do lots of surveys and other measuring of quantifyable audiences.

    The minute that I stop providing value to Microsoft is the minute I’ll have to find another job. So far the value I’m providing Microsoft is greater than my salary.

  30. Seth: by the way, the corporate types here do lots of surveys and other measuring of quantifyable audiences.

    The minute that I stop providing value to Microsoft is the minute I’ll have to find another job. So far the value I’m providing Microsoft is greater than my salary.

  31. I strongly agree that better journalism is a laudable goal. However, the personal or corporate costs of demanding it can be infeasible (blogging was supposed to be cure, but it’s just given the world a layer of practitioners of all the sins of journalism without even the lip-service to public service and professionalism).

    It’s quite possible that Microsoft doesn’t care. It’s such a huge company that the blog world counts as noise. Or they could be making a mistake, it would hardly be the first time that a marketing fad led to bad results. There’s many projects which have gone on past the point where stopping them would in retrospect have been the better decision (no offense intended). For them, perhaps having their own lightning-rod is overall a good idea, but for most companies which aren’t so large, it would be a bad idea.

    And it’s a false dichotomy to write as if the choice were silence vs. full drama. The issue is more whether the benefits of being uninhibited are worth their costs (and there have to be costs).

  32. I strongly agree that better journalism is a laudable goal. However, the personal or corporate costs of demanding it can be infeasible (blogging was supposed to be cure, but it’s just given the world a layer of practitioners of all the sins of journalism without even the lip-service to public service and professionalism).

    It’s quite possible that Microsoft doesn’t care. It’s such a huge company that the blog world counts as noise. Or they could be making a mistake, it would hardly be the first time that a marketing fad led to bad results. There’s many projects which have gone on past the point where stopping them would in retrospect have been the better decision (no offense intended). For them, perhaps having their own lightning-rod is overall a good idea, but for most companies which aren’t so large, it would be a bad idea.

    And it’s a false dichotomy to write as if the choice were silence vs. full drama. The issue is more whether the benefits of being uninhibited are worth their costs (and there have to be costs).

  33. Robert, even when you loose your temper, your postings are typically more interesting than anyone else’s in the blogosphere.

    Why?

    Because we get a sense when we read your blog that you, and perhaps you alone, invest almost 100% of yourself in the blogosphere.

    The Scobelizer is the place on the web where you actually get to see a real live human soul bared to the masses.

    Even when you behave in ways you later regret, people know that they have infinitely more to learn from watching your soul torment itself than they can glean from any mere mortal who reveals nothing more than their thoughts and ideas.

    Your emotional outbursts, no matter how “silly” they might seem, actually build trust, not because they validate the quality of your judgement, but because they consistently reinforce our confidence in your sincerity.

    In the end, nobody but a fool trusts someone just because they think that person is smart, or gets everything right, or knows a lot.

    They trust them because they believe that person is sincere when they make a commitment.

    What a blog can do, is put so much of a person’s life into the public eye, that they have “more to loose than their job” if they are anything but respectful of the opinions of their regular audience, in terms of their personal reputation.

    I know of no other blog that does this as much as yours does.

    Maybe we’ve been mesmerised into trusting you more than any human being in our online world.

    We don’t trust you to be right.

    In retrospect, even you don’t always do that.

    But we do trust you to be you.

    That’s our return on your investment in us.

  34. Robert, even when you loose your temper, your postings are typically more interesting than anyone else’s in the blogosphere.

    Why?

    Because we get a sense when we read your blog that you, and perhaps you alone, invest almost 100% of yourself in the blogosphere.

    The Scobelizer is the place on the web where you actually get to see a real live human soul bared to the masses.

    Even when you behave in ways you later regret, people know that they have infinitely more to learn from watching your soul torment itself than they can glean from any mere mortal who reveals nothing more than their thoughts and ideas.

    Your emotional outbursts, no matter how “silly” they might seem, actually build trust, not because they validate the quality of your judgement, but because they consistently reinforce our confidence in your sincerity.

    In the end, nobody but a fool trusts someone just because they think that person is smart, or gets everything right, or knows a lot.

    They trust them because they believe that person is sincere when they make a commitment.

    What a blog can do, is put so much of a person’s life into the public eye, that they have “more to loose than their job” if they are anything but respectful of the opinions of their regular audience, in terms of their personal reputation.

    I know of no other blog that does this as much as yours does.

    Maybe we’ve been mesmerised into trusting you more than any human being in our online world.

    We don’t trust you to be right.

    In retrospect, even you don’t always do that.

    But we do trust you to be you.

    That’s our return on your investment in us.

  35. “The minute that I stop providing value to Microsoft is the minute I’ll have to find another job. So far the value I’m providing Microsoft is greater than my salary.”

    And as you said somewhere else (upthread? another thread? someone else’s comment box?), blogging is not your “day job”. So which is it?

    “You do realize that Raymond from Acer called me last night, no? You do realize that he felt used and that he feels he wasn’t quoted correctly.”

    Not sure how that corresponds to this thread in particular. Maybe I am scrolling up and down the page too quickly. Assuming Seth came in “cold” to this thread (I have no idea if he did or not), I don’t know how he would know who called you.

    In short, this is largely about choices. You chose to “go nutty”. Just as I chose to comment here about the above. Is the internet better off in either case? I am not advocating or defending “bad journalism”, although in the bigger picture, what a writer in Australia thinks about Vista doesn’t mean a hill of beans next to say, Darfur. Or Iraq. It doesn’t. Unless people are going to start dying over the next MS operating system.

  36. “The minute that I stop providing value to Microsoft is the minute I’ll have to find another job. So far the value I’m providing Microsoft is greater than my salary.”

    And as you said somewhere else (upthread? another thread? someone else’s comment box?), blogging is not your “day job”. So which is it?

    “You do realize that Raymond from Acer called me last night, no? You do realize that he felt used and that he feels he wasn’t quoted correctly.”

    Not sure how that corresponds to this thread in particular. Maybe I am scrolling up and down the page too quickly. Assuming Seth came in “cold” to this thread (I have no idea if he did or not), I don’t know how he would know who called you.

    In short, this is largely about choices. You chose to “go nutty”. Just as I chose to comment here about the above. Is the internet better off in either case? I am not advocating or defending “bad journalism”, although in the bigger picture, what a writer in Australia thinks about Vista doesn’t mean a hill of beans next to say, Darfur. Or Iraq. It doesn’t. Unless people are going to start dying over the next MS operating system.

  37. Robert, your model of engaging in conversation is not scalable. It’s going to get worse for you, I predict. I see burnout ultimately, as the realization that you cannot maintain a quality conversation with thousands of people (all talking to you at the same time) kicks in.

    As a user, I don’t have time to read even 100+ comments for a single blog post. It all becomes noise, and the conversation is lost. Too bad, really.

  38. Robert, your model of engaging in conversation is not scalable. It’s going to get worse for you, I predict. I see burnout ultimately, as the realization that you cannot maintain a quality conversation with thousands of people (all talking to you at the same time) kicks in.

    As a user, I don’t have time to read even 100+ comments for a single blog post. It all becomes noise, and the conversation is lost. Too bad, really.

  39. Ethan: Microsoft gets a lot of value out of what I do, both on my day job (Channel 9) as well as my evening job (blogging).

    Yeah, sometimes I assume my readers have read all my comments. Sorry about that.

  40. Ethan: Microsoft gets a lot of value out of what I do, both on my day job (Channel 9) as well as my evening job (blogging).

    Yeah, sometimes I assume my readers have read all my comments. Sorry about that.

  41. >The issue is more whether the benefits of being uninhibited are worth their costs (and there have to be costs).

    Well, I look at GapingVoid. He uses adult “non corporate” language all the time. His writing and linking has doubled the sales of a winery and a suit maker.

    I look at my friend, Buzz Bruggeman. One link from me brought 400 downloads. One huge four-star review in USA Today brought about 30 (on front of the business section).

    So, blogging is very far along the road of proving it has real, tangible, economic benefits.

    It has some costs, too, yes. And we’re navigating that road too. One thing. Everyone can comment here. So, if I’m costing an OEM money, or I’m pissing off some CTO, they can comment here and everyone, including my boss, who reads all my stuff (and his boss, and his boss, and his boss, and his boss, and his boss, and his boss) reads my stuff too.

    Believe me, if I start pissing off too many people I’m outta there. Gone.

  42. >The issue is more whether the benefits of being uninhibited are worth their costs (and there have to be costs).

    Well, I look at GapingVoid. He uses adult “non corporate” language all the time. His writing and linking has doubled the sales of a winery and a suit maker.

    I look at my friend, Buzz Bruggeman. One link from me brought 400 downloads. One huge four-star review in USA Today brought about 30 (on front of the business section).

    So, blogging is very far along the road of proving it has real, tangible, economic benefits.

    It has some costs, too, yes. And we’re navigating that road too. One thing. Everyone can comment here. So, if I’m costing an OEM money, or I’m pissing off some CTO, they can comment here and everyone, including my boss, who reads all my stuff (and his boss, and his boss, and his boss, and his boss, and his boss, and his boss) reads my stuff too.

    Believe me, if I start pissing off too many people I’m outta there. Gone.

  43. I think Mr. Carr was trying to convey the ideas of responsibility and accountability.

    What if a blogger at a smaller company has a bad day and angrily blogs something that financially damages the company.

    Should all the investors and employees at the company say, oh I guess he just had a bad day, we don’t mind the losses that come along with that.

    Blogging often leads towards speaking off the top off your head and sometimes in anger and that can be damaging to a company. I’m sure that’s obvious to you, so I’m not exactly sure what you complaint against Mr Carr’s piece is?

  44. I think Mr. Carr was trying to convey the ideas of responsibility and accountability.

    What if a blogger at a smaller company has a bad day and angrily blogs something that financially damages the company.

    Should all the investors and employees at the company say, oh I guess he just had a bad day, we don’t mind the losses that come along with that.

    Blogging often leads towards speaking off the top off your head and sometimes in anger and that can be damaging to a company. I’m sure that’s obvious to you, so I’m not exactly sure what you complaint against Mr Carr’s piece is?

  45. Mike:

    >What if a blogger at a smaller company has a bad day and angrily blogs something that financially damages the company.

    What if a receptionist at a smaller company has a bad day? What if an engineer has a bad day? What if a CEO has a bad day?

    I’ve seen employees make decisions that cause millions of dollars in losses.

    Those are the risks of being in business.

    Most businesses go out of business. Why? Cause we’re human and not perfect.

    To expect everyone to be a machine is just not right.

    Let the first one of you who has never made a business mistake throw the first stone! :-)

  46. Mike:

    >What if a blogger at a smaller company has a bad day and angrily blogs something that financially damages the company.

    What if a receptionist at a smaller company has a bad day? What if an engineer has a bad day? What if a CEO has a bad day?

    I’ve seen employees make decisions that cause millions of dollars in losses.

    Those are the risks of being in business.

    Most businesses go out of business. Why? Cause we’re human and not perfect.

    To expect everyone to be a machine is just not right.

    Let the first one of you who has never made a business mistake throw the first stone! :-)

  47. Nick Carr always hits homers. But I’d wish he’d take his own advice, and instead of blogging, kick out a few more books. :)

  48. Nick Carr always hits homers. But I’d wish he’d take his own advice, and instead of blogging, kick out a few more books. :)

  49. One of the big fallacies of blog evangelism is what I call the “lottery argument”. If, say, 10% of the attempts worked well, and 90% of the attempts failed miserably, there would still be a large absolute number of gains to point to, to say “Look, look, that person played the games, and won a nice prize” – even if, overall, the odds were horrible.

    There is very little which is unalloyed positive – that’s a quack-medicine pitch.

    Ethan: Fairly cold – I was vaguely aware of the “60%” issued, but came here today after reading Nick Carr’s post.

  50. One of the big fallacies of blog evangelism is what I call the “lottery argument”. If, say, 10% of the attempts worked well, and 90% of the attempts failed miserably, there would still be a large absolute number of gains to point to, to say “Look, look, that person played the games, and won a nice prize” – even if, overall, the odds were horrible.

    There is very little which is unalloyed positive – that’s a quack-medicine pitch.

    Ethan: Fairly cold – I was vaguely aware of the “60%” issued, but came here today after reading Nick Carr’s post.

  51. Robert

    There is a big difference between making a mistake and making a mistake and broadcasting it to the world.

    And with blogging, it is the act of blogging itself that can lead to the mistake through the need to express our opinion and blow off some steam.

    Words have consequences which is why the wisest of people think about and measure their words (I obviously don’t include myself in this category by the fact that I am currently commenting).

    Robert, blogging is great and I love the fact that I feel that I have a relationship with you and others through our correspondance here and in emails.

    But a corporation with it’s many stakeholders needs to be a little more responsible and blogging is not the most responsible means of communication. Personal yes, but responsible, often not. That’s how I read Mr. Carr and it seems like sensible advice to me.

  52. Robert

    There is a big difference between making a mistake and making a mistake and broadcasting it to the world.

    And with blogging, it is the act of blogging itself that can lead to the mistake through the need to express our opinion and blow off some steam.

    Words have consequences which is why the wisest of people think about and measure their words (I obviously don’t include myself in this category by the fact that I am currently commenting).

    Robert, blogging is great and I love the fact that I feel that I have a relationship with you and others through our correspondance here and in emails.

    But a corporation with it’s many stakeholders needs to be a little more responsible and blogging is not the most responsible means of communication. Personal yes, but responsible, often not. That’s how I read Mr. Carr and it seems like sensible advice to me.

  53. The point, as Robert aluded to in his comments above is that everyone at a company could cost their company millions. The receptionist who is rude, the janitor who washes a floor and makes you go a different way, the wife of the CEO who is snobbish at a community play, etc. There is too many people who are trying to create beauracratic rules that everyone should live by. Nick’s post about blogging rules should have started with his last point “call in the lawyers”, since no one would ever be able to blog. Of course, that would mean that Nick couldn’t fill the rest of his entry to make it beefier. Too many companies are worried about images that they don’t really have. These same companies should engage in blogging, imperfect as it is, since it provides openness. In Nick’s world he would prefer that negative comments not be shared, but I submit that those very comments actually help companies more than hurt. If companies or products are inefficient or for that matter stink, then how better to get free feedback than in a blog comment? This is no different than forums, which have existed forever, just in a different format. Eradicate the middle-layers of “protect your a$$” and use this as a way to innovate.

    Remember, we are a forgiving world, when a person admits they’re wrong. We don’t easily forgive hypocrisy though and for those who are stone-throwers today might find themselves in front of a firing squad in the future. Let the stone thrower beware.

  54. The point, as Robert aluded to in his comments above is that everyone at a company could cost their company millions. The receptionist who is rude, the janitor who washes a floor and makes you go a different way, the wife of the CEO who is snobbish at a community play, etc. There is too many people who are trying to create beauracratic rules that everyone should live by. Nick’s post about blogging rules should have started with his last point “call in the lawyers”, since no one would ever be able to blog. Of course, that would mean that Nick couldn’t fill the rest of his entry to make it beefier. Too many companies are worried about images that they don’t really have. These same companies should engage in blogging, imperfect as it is, since it provides openness. In Nick’s world he would prefer that negative comments not be shared, but I submit that those very comments actually help companies more than hurt. If companies or products are inefficient or for that matter stink, then how better to get free feedback than in a blog comment? This is no different than forums, which have existed forever, just in a different format. Eradicate the middle-layers of “protect your a$$” and use this as a way to innovate.

    Remember, we are a forgiving world, when a person admits they’re wrong. We don’t easily forgive hypocrisy though and for those who are stone-throwers today might find themselves in front of a firing squad in the future. Let the stone thrower beware.

  55. “The point, as Robert aluded to in his comments above is that everyone at a company could cost their company millions.”

    Although technically that statement is true, it is not accurate. The receptionist is an order of magnitude less likely to cause damage to the company then others with more prominent roles, which is why companies often buy Director and Officer’s Liability Insurance and not Receptionists Insurance. (Can blogger’s insurance be far behind?)

    I think Robert’s pointer to Ms Hunt highlights that corporate blogging has landed firmly as a PR and Marketing function, just another means of communication with a little more latitude on the rules, but there are rules, even if they’re unwritten as yet.

    And the bottom line of corporate blogging as a PR and Marketing function is to make money for the company, certainly no crime there.

    But if the liabilities outweigh the assets that blogging brings, any responsible company should and will put the brakes, or at least the harnesses on it. That’s another point Mr Carr is clearly making and it seems to make sense to me.

  56. “The point, as Robert aluded to in his comments above is that everyone at a company could cost their company millions.”

    Although technically that statement is true, it is not accurate. The receptionist is an order of magnitude less likely to cause damage to the company then others with more prominent roles, which is why companies often buy Director and Officer’s Liability Insurance and not Receptionists Insurance. (Can blogger’s insurance be far behind?)

    I think Robert’s pointer to Ms Hunt highlights that corporate blogging has landed firmly as a PR and Marketing function, just another means of communication with a little more latitude on the rules, but there are rules, even if they’re unwritten as yet.

    And the bottom line of corporate blogging as a PR and Marketing function is to make money for the company, certainly no crime there.

    But if the liabilities outweigh the assets that blogging brings, any responsible company should and will put the brakes, or at least the harnesses on it. That’s another point Mr Carr is clearly making and it seems to make sense to me.

  57. [...] Okay okay, calm down, kids. We can work this all out. RoSco, like the rest of us, is human and clearly has moments that inspire the need to get some aggression out. Instead of pissing off one’s readers, why don’t we set up a weekly scrimage for bloggers to to it out on each… in 3D? [...]

  58. Fun comment thread going on over here: http://jeffnolan.com/wp/2006/03/27/scoble-poster-child-for-not-blogging/

    Nick Carr just said “Jeff, I have nothing against shrillness and antagonism in general. As with any rhetorical gambit, they can be used well or not-so-well. I was writing about corporate blogging. It’s there that I think shrillness and antagonism are probably best avoided. Nick”

    Ahh, so if you are an independent it’s perfectly OK to act insane and say insane things. But not if you’re a corporate employee.

    Heheh. Well, I’d add to that, not if you’re not willing to take the consequences. Which include getting jumped on by other bloggers.

  59. Fun comment thread going on over here: http://jeffnolan.com/wp/2006/03/27/scoble-poster-child-for-not-blogging/

    Nick Carr just said “Jeff, I have nothing against shrillness and antagonism in general. As with any rhetorical gambit, they can be used well or not-so-well. I was writing about corporate blogging. It’s there that I think shrillness and antagonism are probably best avoided. Nick”

    Ahh, so if you are an independent it’s perfectly OK to act insane and say insane things. But not if you’re a corporate employee.

    Heheh. Well, I’d add to that, not if you’re not willing to take the consequences. Which include getting jumped on by other bloggers.

  60. Thanks for the apology Robert but it’s not really necessary. You are doing the world a favor by reminding people of what a hack publication The Register is. You are right to feel morally outraged that anyone at all takes them seriously, this should be the natural human response.

    Andrew Orlowski is a sloppy hack journalist at best, and a liar who fabricates emails at worst. Of course we won’t know because his publication doesn’t feel it’s necessary to clarify where they get emails that are disputed.

    While I’m pretty vocal about the shortcomings of The Register as a totally worthless excuse for journalism there are many others who know this but don’t write it. Bravo for speaking up for the truth. Even with their reputation as dubious as it is there are still those who somehow see The Register as legit. I mostly refer to this as a rookie blogger mistake. I can see where this would infuriate you and I’d thank you for continuing to remind people why not to take them seriously.

    Let’s put Carr on the other end of it with The Register and see how he feels about it then.

    Keep up the good work. You do more good for the reputation of Microsoft by being human than not. It’s human to feel outrage over publications like The Register.

  61. Thanks for the apology Robert but it’s not really necessary. You are doing the world a favor by reminding people of what a hack publication The Register is. You are right to feel morally outraged that anyone at all takes them seriously, this should be the natural human response.

    Andrew Orlowski is a sloppy hack journalist at best, and a liar who fabricates emails at worst. Of course we won’t know because his publication doesn’t feel it’s necessary to clarify where they get emails that are disputed.

    While I’m pretty vocal about the shortcomings of The Register as a totally worthless excuse for journalism there are many others who know this but don’t write it. Bravo for speaking up for the truth. Even with their reputation as dubious as it is there are still those who somehow see The Register as legit. I mostly refer to this as a rookie blogger mistake. I can see where this would infuriate you and I’d thank you for continuing to remind people why not to take them seriously.

    Let’s put Carr on the other end of it with The Register and see how he feels about it then.

    Keep up the good work. You do more good for the reputation of Microsoft by being human than not. It’s human to feel outrage over publications like The Register.

  62. Sure, “shrillness and antagonism” can work well if you’re an entertainer, or a political hack, or looking to carve out a niche as a rhetorical bomb-thrower. There are some narrow roles where that is part of the job. But, overall, especially in a corporate context, those tactics seem to be something that will hurt rather than help.

    That’s a perfectly reasonable argument.

  63. Sure, “shrillness and antagonism” can work well if you’re an entertainer, or a political hack, or looking to carve out a niche as a rhetorical bomb-thrower. There are some narrow roles where that is part of the job. But, overall, especially in a corporate context, those tactics seem to be something that will hurt rather than help.

    That’s a perfectly reasonable argument.

  64. @26. How is that measured? Surely not in the performance of the stock price or shareholder value. Because if it is….

    (Then again, apparently Ballmer’s value is not measured in how MS’s bottom line does, either.)

  65. @26. How is that measured? Surely not in the performance of the stock price or shareholder value. Because if it is….

    (Then again, apparently Ballmer’s value is not measured in how MS’s bottom line does, either.)

  66. [...] I am still trying to convince her to read Scoble, because some of his less rant driven posts are the length that she is looking for. He also talks about a lot of things related to her work, but I can’t seem to get her into using bloglines or anything. On the topic of Scoble, I hope he has recovered from this weekend, because I could feel the anger in his posts. The arguments got very heated and I was glad to see his posts start get back to normal today. The great thing about the blogosphere is how quickly these things die down. With the vast amount of information on the internet, most stories have an almost unnoticeable half life. [...]

  67. Scoble, I thought David Richards should apologize for spreading false rumours.

    Well, is Microsoft planning legal action against SmartHouse ? Atleast they can have the “infamous” 60% story removed.

    Amit Agarwal

  68. Scoble, I thought David Richards should apologize for spreading false rumours.

    Well, is Microsoft planning legal action against SmartHouse ? Atleast they can have the “infamous” 60% story removed.

    Amit Agarwal

  69. met: he and I had a nice conversation. You won’t find me talking about what he said. If he wants to blog about it, I’ll link to him. But, he told me enough to know that he wasn’t well reported on.

  70. met: he and I had a nice conversation. You won’t find me talking about what he said. If he wants to blog about it, I’ll link to him. But, he told me enough to know that he wasn’t well reported on.

  71. Robert Scoble: POster child for good corporate blogging

    Robert Scoble is responding to some of the heat for his blog Scoble: Poster child for not blogging. In the blog world Robert Scoble is an ‘A-List player and one of the most respected and well read bloggers in the world. He literally wrote the book on …

  72. Robert, I recall a long while back you suggested bloggers shouldn’t blog if they were not in a good frame of mind. Well, I don’t know if you’re in a good frame of mind or not, but it appears so. Carr said your posts have become “increasingly shrill and antagonistic of late.” Have they?

    Recently, I’ve slowed down my blogging to expend emotional and mental energy on other pursuits. But that break caused me to come back refreshed and re-energized. I’m wondering if you wouldn’t benefit from a similar blogging holiday.

    I know, I know, I’m not your priest or anything, but you are someone I admire. You said it yourself, you are human. People like me have put you on a pedestal and expected you to stay there. Every once in a while it’s healthy to step down.

  73. Robert, I recall a long while back you suggested bloggers shouldn’t blog if they were not in a good frame of mind. Well, I don’t know if you’re in a good frame of mind or not, but it appears so. Carr said your posts have become “increasingly shrill and antagonistic of late.” Have they?

    Recently, I’ve slowed down my blogging to expend emotional and mental energy on other pursuits. But that break caused me to come back refreshed and re-energized. I’m wondering if you wouldn’t benefit from a similar blogging holiday.

    I know, I know, I’m not your priest or anything, but you are someone I admire. You said it yourself, you are human. People like me have put you on a pedestal and expected you to stay there. Every once in a while it’s healthy to step down.

  74. [...] Anyway, this episode of the melodrama ended with Scoble saying he was “out of line.” He also said he was human. People like me have put Scoble up on a pedestal and expected him to stay there. Robert has generally always been diplomatic in his responses. In my opinion, it’s uncharacteristic of him to react so harshly. Maybe he could use a break from blogging. I know it sure helped me. Maybe he just needs us to cut him one. [...]

  75. Those who have earned posts as gatekeepers and critics of this new medium, the blog, have grown arrogant and are professionally disingenuous. Scoble is doing a credible job and obviously has put his heart into his on-going remarks.. Readers can see through most corporate, sterile, buzz-word rich propaganda. Give me a break! Readers of this blog are seeking real opinions and chat about the IT revolution.

  76. Those who have earned posts as gatekeepers and critics of this new medium, the blog, have grown arrogant and are professionally disingenuous. Scoble is doing a credible job and obviously has put his heart into his on-going remarks.. Readers can see through most corporate, sterile, buzz-word rich propaganda. Give me a break! Readers of this blog are seeking real opinions and chat about the IT revolution.

  77. [...] Hey, to his credit, Scoble acknowledged his snarkiness, but too bad all of this wasn’t isolated to a single week where a bad week could truly be the excuse. Hey, I had a bad weekend, OK? I answer 10s of thousand of comments, most of the time I’m a nice guy with a thick skin and take all the crap that’s thrown my way. Last week I had enough. I bit back. I made mistakes. I was wrong. [...]

  78. 37Signals Lost the Signal (for a Moment)

    Signal vs. Noise is all noise today, as the good 37Signal folks decided to make fun of their customers, posting  their email inquiries they disliked.  “Useless, absurd, appalled, infuriating”  are words from actual customer emai…