November 10, 2002

My Work Blog?

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 09:38 PM