Eric Mack alerted me to the Scobleizer's take on Barb Darrow's "old fart" article from yesterday.  In his blog, Scoble wonders aloud

how many bloggers does IBM have? They have six times more employees
Well, first off, I would assert it is quality over quantity :)  There are tons of IBMers who blog.  Are they aggregated in one spot?  No.  But some of the best known blogs on the planet are written by IBMers.  Sam Ruby.  Mark Pilgrim.  But wait there's more.  IBM developerWorks recently launched a blogs section, and you can find Grady Booch and several others blogging there.  Oh, and of course, there's my weblog on, which launched seventeen months ago, where the readers are helping shape the future of that blog.  And this site.  And dozens if not hundreds of other personal sites.  A few are listed in my blogroll "colleagues" section, but that's just a small snapshot.  I know 20 more that I occasionally surf or read via RSS.  And those are just the ones in English.
And those are just the public blogs.  What IBM does uniquely is offer every IBM employee a blogspace within our Intranet's "On demand workplace".  I've personally chosen not to blog there -- two is enough (so far) -- but there are, hmm, exactly 624 active weblogs on that intranet site at this moment ("active" weblogs have two or more entries -- nice that they are excluding "hello world" blogs from the count).  So if an IBMer wants to, as Scoble says blogs can, "tell the execs what they are doing wrong", there are ways to do so -- executives like Steve Mills and Donn Atkins maintain blogs or other blog-like interactive spots on the IBM Intranet, too.
To say "IBM has six times more employees" as if that is some yardstick of how active IBMers should be in the blogging community is somewhat misleading, too.  Everyone has something to say, of course, but some areas of IBM technology are more bloggable than others.  With no offense to my colleagues, I don't imagine much synergy between blogging and the IBMers who maintain the (insert favorite "maintenance mode" technology here).  Hardware-related blogging hasn't exactly been commonplace.  IBM Global Financing probably doesn't have too much to contribute to the blog world.
We are running a better organization because of our blogging; this is not some unique Microsoft phenomena.  Aside: Scoble also says that there are "over 600+ webloggers here at Microsoft".  How many of those "Microsoft bloggers" are really regular bloggers?  If Eric Rudder leads by example, then I wouldn't be too quick to assert that number as indicative of the importance of blogs at MS.
Do the IBMers who are blogging get attention internally for blogging?  Absolutely.  The three executives up the ladder from me all know about both of my weblogs and read at least one of them.  Blogging, RSS, wikis (IBM intranet has a Wiki site too) are becoming mainstream technology topics in internal discussions.  Heck, we started the in the first place because we recognized the power of a less-formal way for Lotus marketing to be able to communicate to the market -- something that press releases and new web pages can't do.  Both my weblogs are read by large numbers of IBMers -- as diverse as VPs to lawyers to sales engineers to, well, I don't even know, I suspect!  I've received speaking invitations as a result; I get involved in customer situations because of my blogs.  It's been inspiring and rewarding to blog, and I would do it whether I was one of 10 or one of 1000 IBMers blogging today.

Post a Comment