Last week, I started to write about blogging goals for 2007.  The first goal is to find ways to improve my information consumption.  Some useful comments there, though I probably wasn't clear enough in how I stated this goal.   I wanted both tools (which are well-covered in that discussion) as well as suggestions for content sources (as in bloggers, publications, etc.).  Didn't get as much of that, especially for content sources outside of the "Domino blogging community".  So, still open to suggestion there.

My second goal for the year is to make this blog -- and me as an individual -- more approachable.  Sometime in the last few months, I became acutely aware that, for a variety of reasons, many of the "lurkers" who read do not feel comfortable participating in the discussion here.  I also started to get more and more e-mails of the variety of "sorry to trouble you" or "I'm sure you get a lot of e-mail so I don't expect a response" or "I hope it's OK that I wrote you about this".  Further, I saw some comments that criticized my online persona as arrogant or detached.

I've participated in online community around Lotus Notes for 10+ years.  While I don't spend as much time in the daily forums as I used to, this interactivity has always played a critical role in my success.  "Talking" with all of you every day means I get a much broader perspective on the marketplace, clearly beneficial.  My third goal is around how to make the content here more beneficial for you as readers/participants, so we'll get to that later in the week as well.

As there are clearly many more voices who could participate in discussion here, I'm looking for ways to turn could into would/will.  

To start , let me state what to me might have been obvious, but as a case in point actually isn't -- I read every comment on the blog and every e-mail I receive, and endeavor to respond to both within 24 hours.  I answer 90% of the e-mail questions I receive, and follow-up comment on most blog entries.  I used to have a page where I published my AOL instant messenger ID (edbrill), and usually on Skype these days as well (also edbrill).  So if you are looking for some information from me, I should be able to help.  The only questions I routinely decline to follow up on are feature/function/technical or support kinds of inquiries.  I send most of those to the forums on developerWorks: Lotus.  

Many of my peers/colleagues inside of IBM read the blog regularly and respond, too.  When you comment here, it's not just going to me, there's a broader audience.  Discussions here have had a very real impact within IBM -- whether I had anything to do with it or not.

I hear that this is actually a disincentive to participate.  Some are concerned that if they say anything here, it will reflect on them amongst their coworkers or peers.  Some say their employers have policies against participating in blogs for these kinds of reasons.  I believe these kinds of policies will fade over time, as blogging becomes even more mainstream (it seems like half the content on some trade publication websites is now written in blog format)

OK, so another issue, and a harder one for me to overcome, is that (as most of you know) I'm a passionate competitor, and have a strong sense of competing fairly.  This comes across at times as self-righteous or defensive at times.  I get flamed for criticizing Microsoft but then I get e-mails and comments saying that my competitive postings have been useful in day-to-day situations.  Other postings are seen as whiny.  To try to change the way this reads, I've started to take some things offline rather than "blog first, ask questions later".  I'll still blog about competitive topics, but try to do so with a little bit less emotion and just stick to the facts.  Remember that provable lying is still a fact...

The last change I'm already working on is the content I'm posting. At some point last year, it was pointed out to me that I tended to be overly "happy talk"-oriented.  True enough, part of my objective with this blog is to share good news about Notes&Domino, amplifying sales, marketing, and development.  But that objective can be accomplished while also balancing with general day-to-day discussion, challenges, issues, and a little fun.

So since the point of this goal is to get more of your input and involvement....what else can I do?

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