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if you’ve gotta blog…

April 13, 2006

How late in the game is too late? How long can you ignore the conversation going on around you before you choose to weigh in? I’ve no idea. We’re asking those questions internally, trying to sort out where we stand on the idea of supplementing all of our individual blogs with a company one.

I’ve made some assumptions about what we’d have to do, to get it right (in my opinion). Here they are:

Goals for a group blog:
Official no brainers: have a voice, promote the brand, show our work
1. Demonstrate how we think about problems
2. Re-assert our credibility on new and engaging topics
3. Convey our personality, not just our brand
4. Attract potential hires who love all of the above

Attributes for a group blog:
We’re open, innovative, funny, brash, passionate, and eager to solve problems. We’re eloquent, but we speak plainly, and you’ll certainly know our minds on a topic after you finish a post.

Focus for the group blog:
We care about user experience, and the building of user experiences. That means we talk to everyone about everything that relates to those two topics.

Audience for the group blog:
Practitioners, designers, developers, managers, VPs, users. Researchers and academics. Futurists. Freaks, geeks and assorted madmen. The young, the old, the bootstrapped and the VC-funded. MBAs, the self-taught, the professionally indifferent and the perpetually overwhelmed.

Guiding principle for contribution to a group blog:
If it’s good enough to reply to on a list (be it AIGA, FACE, SIG, whatever) it’s good enough to point to and comment on within the blog.

Comments: on or off?
Start with comments on, and acknowledge somewhere that we know we’ve painted a target on our chests. We’ll keep them on until their value is overwhelmed by the rude, the offtopic and the utterly inappropriate. In other words, it’s up to the users.

Blogroll: yes or no?
YES. We love our friends, and we love the brains of many people we haven’t had a chance to meet yet. We are informed, inspired, aggravated, outraged and absorbed with the shouts and murmurs we find on blogs across the net.

Tags/categories: yes or no?
We will employ some form of taxonomy/folksonomy to ensure that our one blog can be sliced and diced into as many appropriate feeds for as many audiences as we can reach. Only want to hear about events? Great. Never want to hear about another podcast? No problem. Extra mayo, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us.

Examples of good blogs:
When our blog grows up, I want it to be more like:
1. PVRBlog & TechCrunch (focused on topic, explosively popular, and considered absolute authority)
2. Off the Hoof & Marc’s Voice (absolutely accurate representation of the company’s/author’s personality)
3. Veen.com (human, compelling, an elevated peer – not a guru) & Peterme (long running, personal, passionate)
4. Frank Bruni’s Diner’s Journal (a peek behind the curtain, absorbing, addictive)

Sites I read (even love) that I don’t want our little blog grow up to be like:

The -ists blogs. Way too little focus, even if it is all local.
The Denton blogs. Compulsive blogging and the snark factor is way too high.
Pitchfork. We know you’re experts. We get it. But are you human beings?

Frequency – what commitment are we all making?
We are making a complete commitment. The whole company. We should recognize that we’ve made a mistake staying out of the conversation for so long. Hell, we should say so, first thing. The world doesn’t need us, obviously, but there’s been a lot going on that we feel like we missed an opportunity to comment on, and there’s been some amazing work done by friends of ours that should’ve gotten more attention. No more of that. From now on, you’ll be hearing from us.

Categories: blogging
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