Over at my old work blog, the Microsoft.com Community Kitchen, John Eddy has posted about his job as Newsgroup Administrator for Microsoft. In the process, he conveys a little bit of emerging philosophy about software support:
I believe in the newsgroups. I believe that NNTP is a good solution for technical support. I do not believe it is the only one. I believe there are places for IM, chat/IRC, mailing lists and good old phone support, and yes, even blogs and wikis. Heck, I really think MUDs and MUSHes could be utilized too (yes, I still mud in this day and age) and would make a great forum for online conferences, in this day and age when physical attendance at conferences seems to be down.
When I interned at Microsoft in 2001, helping to work on the first iteration of executing Microsoft’s online community strategy, we called this “finding where the party is and making sure we were there with the beer.” In other words, it’s most helpful to our users if we can engage where they already are.