Genii Weblog

Business (and pseudo-business) blogs

Mon 7 Jun 2004, 09:56 AM

by Ben Langhinrichs
There has a been a minor brouhaha going on between Ed Brill's "personal" blog and various others, including Volker Weber's thread on  The essence of the issue is captured by Volker's comment:
Ed Brill has two blogs. One is private, one is hosted by IBM prominently linked from the Lotus home page. I would argue that the private blog is not private and the IBM blog is not a blog. I will not try to define what blog is, I just don't perceive it as one.
Interesting perspective, but I think Volker is being a bit judgemental and a bit silly, even if he is right.  Of course, Ed's blog isn't entirely personal, but who would expect that?  Everybody carries an agenda into their blogs, and Ed's is at least fairly transparent.  The general idea of a "business blog" is usually to put a human face on a business, and Ed does that well.   The "blog" doesn't work quite as well, because it is too closely connected to the "faceless corporation" to have a very human face.

I like Ed's personal blog.  I think the blog is better in concept than reality, and won't miss it terribly if it goes away, but I fully expect and hope that Ed will continue to be positive about Notes/Domino and other IBm offerings on his blogs.  I go there expecting it, and am pleased to get as much perspective from a business source as Ed can reveal given the pseudo-personal slant.

Copyright 2004 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

167.1. Christopher Byrne
(06/07/2004 10:20 AM)

This is not to pass judgement, but I had commented on one of Ed's threads earlier about this topic (cannot rememeber the exact thread now). Perception IS reality and Ed is recognized out there in the IT world as an IBM/Lotus Champion. While I would expect nothing less than the IBM blessed Blog (and Ed has said that believe it or not, there is no editorial review as to what he posts there) to be Rah-Rah Pro IBM/Lotus, he risks crossing a very, very thin gray line when he posts business related topics on his personal blog. Like it or not, no matter what the medium, what he says and writes in a public forum is viewed by others, whether rightly or wrongly, as the official IBM Position/viewpoint.

167.2. Ben Poole
(06/08/2004 02:04 AM)

Like it or not, no matter what the medium, what he says and writes in a public forum is viewed by others, whether rightly or wrongly, as the official IBM Position/viewpoint.

Very true - but is that so bad? I rather like the fact that Ed goes for MS on occasion, taking issue with some of the FUD they spread. As an IBM customer, it doesn't bother me that Ed chooses to be quite "aggressive" on occasion. It means he's passionate about what he does and the products he is marketing.

167.3. Christopher Byrne
(06/08/2004 07:19 AM)

Bad is in the eye of the beholder. I too like the fact that Ed has the 'gumption' (I would rather use another word that goes with 'Brass' here, but that would be politically incorrect) to speak his mind the way he does and in a way that would never be permitted on the IBM Site/Blog.

The danger here is two-fold:

1. a personal risk that he takes that Big Blue will not censure or do worse to him for expressing his views without a clear disclaimer on his blog (though perception might also blind people to the disclaimer).

2. a risk that IBM does not do a "good-enough" job in minitoring its employee's in expressing views ina public forum not 'sanctioned' by IBM.

My favorite example of perception being king was when I started with the USEPA as a contracting officer way back in '93. At the time, there was an IT Support Contract run amok that had gotten the attention of the Politicians. On this first day, I was taken to Congressional hearings on the contract to hear professional procurement officials being battered and abused for alleged abuses under the contract. The only problem was that the alleged abuses were all perfectly legal ly and administratively correct under the rules and laws promulgated by the esteemed politicians. Did that matter? Nope, as many good people lost their career future over it.

Many years later when I went to work for Lotus, I was adminished by one of our architects that we should not post in the Discussion Fora with any indication that we were affiliated with IBM, so that people would not 'perceive' or 'believe' that what we posted was the official IBM response/position.

It all comes down to a personal risk assessment and if Ed has made his decisions based on this. more power to him!

167.4. Ben Langhinrichs
(06/08/2004 07:30 AM)

I certainly like how Ed handles it, and like the way he takes on MS and others. I was interested to hear his reasoning that the "personal" blog also allows him to control copyright more.