Steve Richards claims that I compared my blog to Robert Scoble's, that he knows Robert Scoble, that Robert Scoble was a friend of his...and that Ed, you are no Robert Scoble:

Ed I don't see any of these characteristics in your blog,  for me your focus is on debunking Microsoft marketing, and I readily admit that you have some valid points to make there,  I no [sic] for sure that most people would prefer you and your peers to blog about your great products and processes, to encourage a whole host of passionate developers, users and consultants working with your technologies to share their passion and expertise.
Let's be clear -- In my posting from Monday, I didn't say that I'm blogging like Robert Scoble.  I said that, like Scoble, one of the audiences I reach is my peers and colleagues within my company.  Scoble seems to agree with me as to this value in his posting yesterday:
Ed Brill, of IBM, notes that corporate blogs are often best used to talk to internal audiences. I totally agree. There's something about putting an idea in public that gets it considered a lot more strongly than just writing an email to a contained group of people.
Anyway, Steve is one of a few people who have been vocal in telling me in the last few weeks that I'm spending too much time attacking/defending vis-a-vis Microsoft, and not enough time touting the great and wonderful stuff going on with Notes and Lotus.  I actually agree.  I don't like to have to spend all this time on defense.  I would like to be telling more good stories about stuff going on with Notes today and plans for the future.  But:
  • As noted elsewhere, defense is a necessary play on this playing field today.  For far too long, IBM/Lotus took the sucker punches and dirty tactics without so much as a peep.  The weblog offers a way to reach hundreds of customers, simultaneously and unfiltered, to clear up issues and concerns.  I've learned that this is working quite well -- at one customer, a recent blog posting completely ended discussion/question about the future Notes roadmap.  That's payback for me, so I'll keep doing it.
  • I could do more to challenge IBM and Lotus, positively and professionally, in this blog.  Part of why I asked the other day for IBM readers to identify themselves is so that we all can do this -- commentors as well as me as author.  I hope that seeing that there are dozens of key IBM contributors reading this site is inspiring more people to participate in discussions (with valid names and e-mail addresses) here in the future.
  • I do intend to broaden some of the topics I write about.  I've had some personal focus challenges in the last few weeks.  In the next few, I really do want to start to think about how to write about collaboration more broadly.
One very important point I need to respond to from Steve's blog posting -- I do actually blog on my own time.  Well, it's hard to tell what "my own time" is, really, with a job that spans the globe and where I work from home.  But blogging is not mentioned anywhere in my IBM job description or performance evaluation -- it's a means to an end, in part, in terms of having a clear and open channel to reach my customers. But it's not my job.  My job is to make Notes sell -- and for me, the blog is a tool that helps with this.

There's another question floating around this week that's related to Steve's posting.  Steve says "Robert truly evangelized new technologies, ways of working and cultural change not just within Microsoft but across the industry".  I don't sit in a chair where I can do this for IBM.  I do, at times, get jazzed about some of the incredible innovation coming out of our development and research teams.  And I will write about it.  But I can't be a catalyst for JSR942 and XML-SOAPDISHbis.  That's just not my expertise.  

I also can't be the source for answers to unconfirmed rumors about IBM.  There was a blog post this week about marketing changes going on within Lotus.  I've been asked by a couple of customers for official comment about Volker's blog entry.  I can't do that.  It's not that I don't want to share news and information about what's going on inside Lotus -- it's that I can't do that when it's IBM confidential information.  The new marketing VP isn't confidential, but I didn't think it was really all that relevant to my readers (though I'm happy to have yet another talented one-timeLoti back in the fold).  The rest?  What can I say?  Nothing.  It's not appropriate.  Am I reading?  Of course.  Am I discussing internally?  Often.  And that's one of the benefits of blogging and having a great network as a result of it -- I get to channel "finger on the pulse" feedback that the organization wouldn't necessarily get otherwise.  It's sometimes a one-way channel, and it's always going to be that way.  While Volker is a great friend and excellent journalist, it doesn't please me to see postings like his.  I don't want IBMers to leak information to outside sources, especially because the information is often inaccurate or incomplete.  Even linking to Volker's blog is probably not a smart move -- it could be perceived as encouraging to other colleagues to leak other rumors or half-baked/incomplete information (which is, he says politically, neither confirmation nor denial about anything that Volker wrote!).

So Steve, I'm not trying to be Robert Scoble.  I am trying to learn from Scoble and other "corporate bloggers" what I can do to be a better communicator and a better blogger.  My technorati top 5000 (ish) ranking and hit counts (on some days, not far off from Scoble's!) seem to say that things are good, but of course they can be better.  Constructive criticism is always appreciated.

(PS: Steve, your comments system is incredibly burdensome.  I know I need to upgrade and be able to trackback, but I don't have the energy to create yet another username/password on some system somewhere just to tell you that this posting is here).

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