The good, the bad, and the ugly

Why do we blog, and why do we read blogs, and what does what we read and write say about who we are, what we think, and how we act? Robin at Storagemojo (great blog) talks about the nuances of corporate blogging, and shows some stuff from IBM on the policies of blogging, as well as some stuff from an informal EMC blogger.

This is interesting, and as Robin points out, the IBM policy has a particularly valuable set of guidelines. Leave it to IBM to think something through, carefully, and reasonably.

I bring this up as we have seen and experienced a wide spectrum of blogs and personalities behind them. And I agree that the bloggers personality that comes through is often reflective of their attitudes at work, and of their employer in general.

Me? I am enthusiastic (almost hopelessly so) about topics in high performance computing, storage, and related. I am also a hard-nosed pragmatist, in that I don’t want to waste my time with things that don’t make sense. I like to speak/hear from people with differing ideas/thoughts/views, as it helps me understand a more complete picture. Unlike most companies, we don’t have a NIH attitude (I have a long post/essay I am mentally composing on this, and will post it eventually). We see something better than what we are doing, we are going to use the better thing. Why waste time re-inventing what others have done a good job of? Likewise, being a pragmatist, and focusing upon business cases, and not corporate egos, we won’t waste time attacking markets/hills with products that do not offer a compelling advantage over current practice. Part of being pragmatic is being skeptical of dubious claims. Another part of being pragmatic is recognizing good opportunities. This is in part why I have been so critical of marketing strategies and so enamored of accelerator platforms/tools.

But, as my wife [ed: wife, wife, … no typing in the morning before coffee] likes to say, its not about me …

This is about corporate responsibility. At the right hand side of the blog page is a link that describes me, and links to my company site. This isn’t a corporate blog. It is me (and hopefully many others) having conversational threads on topics of interest. This is why blogging is so interesting, it opens up new vistas to communicate with wider audiences. It is searchable (try that with a podcast). It is archivable.

Its that last part that is interesting. It is archivable. Likely on the wayback machine. You go ask it for snapshots of a site, and you might see something from a long while ago.

If google cache is the internets’ short term memory, the wayback machine is the long term archive.

If an item never survives google cache due to rapid changes, well, that is good, it won’t likely show up in the wayback machine. The metaverse has effectively “forgotten” that content.

Unfortunately, this is not likely to be the case, especially when bloggers go postal, or whatever the blog equivalent of this is.

We have had a blogger try some fisking, try other rather unfortunate actions with regards to me and my writings. So much so in one instance, that I apologized to a person on their behalf, for comments they (purposely) mis-attributed to me. Their more recent fisking is at best a sad commentary. I took the time to eviscerate one of their arguments, and will finish the other off when I have time to post that analysis. It takes time and energy to write something reasonably good.

In a mailing list, someone who had borrowed a JackRabbit, purportedly for testing (turns out this wasn’t the case, it was more to justify their purchase of a competitive solution), made some comments I took issue with (and heck, our analysis of their methodology, tests, and interpretation also seems to have caused them grief). I won’t rehash it, other than to say that I stand by what I wrote, and have no issues defending my critique. As the critique was respectful, pointing out flaws, and attacking neither the person, the institution, nor the competition. It simply pointed out flaws in the testing, the analysis, etc. This critique goes to what benchmarking and testing really mean, and whether or not you are measuring what you think you are measuring.

All this said IBM points out that such postings will survive a long, long time. Just like they do to mailing lists. And usenet. And elsewhere.

Information, postings, IRC logs, … are not ephermal. Consider them inscribed in stone, somewhere. They are searchable, archivable, and available for future potential collaborators, customers, and competitors to see. They say something about you. About your company.

Some folks might not like what I say, and disagree with it. Thats fine. Its how they disagree that matters.

Note that, for example, the Microsoft folks are respectful, and open to listening.

This is nice. It is good to talk to them. I don’t agree with all they say or do, but they are still good people to talk to.

Just some thoughts while enjoying the last day of a well deserved but all too short vacation on the northern coast of the US.

There are good blogs, bad blogs, and ugly blogs. Same is true with bloggers. Storagemojo is definitely in the good blog category. I don’t always agree with everything I read there, but it is well thought out and reasoned. And always respectful when discussed.

Thats what IBM wants its people to do, respect its readers.

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