It occurs to me that some (many?) of my co-workers may have recently read my previous entry about URL standards. I know this because a lot of people at work have told me, in one way or another, that they read my blog. And it often amuses me that other Yahoo employees learn about what's going on at Yahoo (often trivial things, but still) by reading my blog.

(Well, there aren't that many people have who have done that. But a lot more than I ever expected, which was zero.)

So why not just setup an internal Yahoo-only blog for myself? On the surface, that makes good sense. A couple well-meaning Yahoos (yes, we sometimes refer to each other as Yahoos) have even suggested it recently. But I don't think it'd be effective.

I don't blog because I have to. I blog because I want to. I've been doing it for a long time, as is evidenced by my old journal. Back then I didn't know my journal was a weblog and that people made a habit of reading and syndicating each others'. I had heard of RSS but didn't really think it applied to "personal" content like that. The only reason I started that (I think) is because I always read Alan Cox's diary and thought it was a good idea.

I didn't start a "real" blog until Jon Udell suggested it earlier this year. It was quite amusing. I don't remember the exact series of events, but it went something like this. Adam Goodman (publisher of Linux Magazine) called me up (as he often does) and said, "Hey, home come you don't have a weblog?" I responded, "Huh? What's a weblog?" and he decided to conference Jon in to explain what I've been missing.

Well, anyway, I've probably got the story all wrong. But that's not the point.

The only real change is that I now know I have an audience and can interact them in the ways that bloggers do. I've "met" a lot of interesting people this way. We've all learned from each other and make each other laugh. I doubt I'll ever meet more than a handful of them in person.

My blogging isn't required. It isn't work sanctioned. I say what I want to say when I want to say it. I enjoy it.

What would be the motivation for me to blog at work? The audience is quite limited. That means the "network effect" of blogging would be almost non-existent. We already have a ton of internal mailing lists. I'm on many of them an contribute frequently. The lists are all archived and easily searched. Most folks at work (the engineers at least) know who I am already or at least know my name. Why? Either from my e-mail or the MySQL talks I give.

So what would the internal-only weblog buy me? I'm always impressed by the discussion and insight that comes out of my weblog today. None of it comes from Yahoo employees. I'd be throwing all that away and gaining what?.

As near as I can figure, the only advantage is that I'd be able to write about our "trade secrets" and other stuff that is best not exposed to the public. That's it.

Posted by jzawodn at November 10, 2002 09:38 PM

Reader Comments
# kasia said:

The day I'm required or even expected to write an entry will be the day I quit.

on November 10, 2002 10:41 PM
# Dan Isaacs said:

I've given this some thought as well. We have a lot of groups doing cool stuff, but the interaction is minimal. A blog or slash-code setup would be a great way for people to share internal information.

Not sure if I shouldn't just go ahead an do it, or plant a few seeds and let it get back to me.

on November 11, 2002 05:52 AM
# havoc said:

kasia, that's an interesting reaction. As a shooter, I'd love to get paid to shoot. As a photographer, I'd love to get paid for taking pictures. Those are my hobbies. I enjoy them. I'd think that getting paid to do what I love would be the perfect job.

You, evidenced by your personal weblog, are a communicator, but you say that you'd stop doing what you love if you got paid to do it -- if it became part of your job description.

I loved being an engineer -- at least the problem solving side of being an engineer. What I hated was the complete and total lack of communication. Since I quit that job to work for myself, communication has become one of my hobbies, my passion. In the process, I have created the RealizationEngine ( It's specifically designed as a group communication tool that helps break down the barriers for groups and organizations. What surprises me most is the resistance people have toward communication. People won't even try using this tool. They'd rather wrestle with e-mail and e-mail lists than even try something new. They will be prolific on e-mail lists, but refuse to participate in a RE-driven community. They'll keep a private web log, but not participate in an RE.

on November 11, 2002 06:00 AM
# kasia said:

I enjoy writing my weblog as a form of self-expression. Being paid to do so brings forth many problems I don't have to deal with now. Self censorship is just one. Right now if I don't feel like writing.. I don't.. if I was paid to do so, I'd probably feel obligated and hence produce crap.

I already get paid to do something I enjoy -- writing code -- writing words is just a hobby.

on November 11, 2002 06:07 AM
# brandt said:

doesn't Groove have blogging capabilities in its latest version? i seem to remember Ray Ozzie writing as much in his blog. unfortunately i can't see a good use for it in the's monological and as jeremy says, it seems like something you wouldn't want to be forced to do...but then again, i couldn't see a good business use for IM in the workplace either and it took a Sametime demo to show me how i was wrong there...

just my 2 cents.

on November 11, 2002 07:29 AM
# Dan Isaacs said:

While I thinkit is a good idea to have one, I DON"T think it's a good idea for me to be the (or even one of the) primary writers. I'm thinking more of a MetaFilter type of blog, where many people would be contributing, and discussions would happen when people felt like discussing.

I see it as a internal PR thing. I get to hear about what some of our science groups are doing maybe 6 times a year. And I'm just blown away by how cool it is EVERY time. I'd like to be able to keep abreast of things, projects, notworthy accomplishments.

We have a simialr, but less elegant and less functional, arrangement where these things get posted on the front page of the iWeb (intranet). But there is no facility for broad community based discussion.

Even when these things go around internal email lists, the Really Smart Guys in DNA Research may not be privy to what the Really Smart Guys in toxicogenomics are doing. It's difficult to create synergies and other silly buzzwords without a common medium on which to distribute and communicate.

thre is value here. It is not value that a single person would be able to provide. Must be a community tool.

on November 11, 2002 07:42 AM
# Jeff Boulter said:

Here are some people that think that internal weblogs are a good idea.

I'm in no way in favor of making weblogs required, but if weblogs can create a forum for people to communicate more, then let 'em have it.

It's not a hard thing to set up. Plus, you can set up weblogs around different things than just a person, like a project or a team.

on November 12, 2002 08:12 PM
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