So I made my way here, to the MS building at 51st and Avenue of the Americas - the MS executive center, it seems to be called. Note to self: if I walk 17 blocks for one of these again, wear sneakers. Apparently, this thing is being webcast live. Sadly, the WiFi in here is secured, so I won't be posting this until well after the seminar ends. I met Scoble in person, which was nice - he comes off as a truly nice guy.
Lots of PR folks in the room, as well as lots of bloggers (no shock there; it's why I came). Lots of marketing folks too (gosh, that includes me!) - likely trying to get their heads around the idea of unmediated market communications. Good sized group of people just getting their toes wet in this areas, as well - I met Dave Platter of Publitas, who's just getting started introducing blogs to his clients. All in all, a diverse crowd.
Interesting introduction here - Scoble was asked about his political complaint against Steve Ballmer (for those living under a rock: the CEO of MS). See here for one of the various posts on this over at Scoble's blog. See, here's my problem with that theory of interaction. Forget that this is about politics - the bottom line on this is about publically airing dirty laundry. I have some experience with that - I used to rant all the time about the management at ParcPlace-Digitalk, both in public and in internal email. It never had any positive impact. Why is that? Because even if management ends up agreeing with you, you've put their backs to a wall and forced them onto the defensive. People almost never react positively to that. That's not to say that you should never take that tack - but, IMHO, you should never take that tack as a first approach. Even if you win the argument in question, you've created a bunch of enemies (not all of whom will go into public opposition against you). Over time, you'll find that your internal political influence drop as people start treating you as a bomb thrower.
Fascinating segue into the famous blog firings (like Mark Jen and the Delta flight attendant). Scoble's point is that you have to feel your way into the corporate culture before you "go wild". What he did was gather a personal network of supporters within MS before he started to push the envelope. He was just asked "wouldn't the price be too high to fire you (as opposed to the examples given)"? Good answer - Delta is still taking damage from that firing. What Scoble says he's doing (and I agree with this) is giving MS a human face, both with his blog and with Channel 9.
Now onto the Corporate Blogging Manifesto. The most important one is the first on the list: Tell the truth. Almost as important - get out in front of a story, whether it's good or bad. The point is, any big story will be written anyway, with you or without you. if you get your own words out there, you'll have a shot at having them be part of the conversation. One of the other points certainly resonates with me - have a thick skin. Anytime I post on dynamic typing, I get the same group of people bringing up the same set of complaints. If I didn't have a thick skin, I'd have given up by now :) Just as important - if you mess up, admit it and move on. People will spot mistakes and call you on it. The most dicey one - of you think you might be on delicate legal ground (such as: financials in a public company), talk to a lawyer before you post. Another area to be wary of is anything that might fall into patent law. Finally - if you are going to be blogging about your company/service/product - you better know the answers, or know how to get them fast.