Thoughts on Dave’s talk today

Finally, my driving-home impressions of Dave’s talk today:

  1. It was interesting seeing how tightly tuned the Microsoft crowd was to issues of blogging platforms (e.g. SharePoint vs. LiveJournal vs. other platforms) and less to the social impact of blogging, both inside the organization and on society as a whole, which seemed to me to be rather more along the lines of Dave’s point. At one point with all the SharePoint questions, I wondered if the product team had been on the “to” line of the invitation.
  2. Really interesting message about blogging both positive and negative messages about your organization (in the context of the Channel Dean incident).
  3. Dave’s point about the 2004 election is right on. There’s a sense among a lot of people, even folks who aren’t normally political, that this is our chance to take hold of the reins of this country again and bring it back away from paranoia and extremism and back to the values that we were created in. And a lot of the empowerment stems from learning in the blogosphere that we aren’t alone. Of course it doesn’t end in the blogosphere. People have to get out and vote.
  4. Which brings me to my next observation: I think that we still haven’t hashed out the difference between the blogosphere’s role in affecting “influentials” (whether in the technical or political world) and effecting real change. It’s hard to get a bunch of engineers via weblogs and wikis to agree on adopting technological formats; harder still to convince someone to vote for a candidate on the web, particularly when they don’t necessarily read your weblog. (Remember, I have many readers; 20, in fact (or 21, as I just got contacted by another today!).)
  5. But if Dave Winer reads your blog and tells five hundred or a thousand people? Or Glenn Reynolds? And some of those people are law professors, or media folks, or ministers, or what have you, and they tell 10 others…
  6. One thing is for sure: this model of the blogosphere as people talking to influencers and invisible channels of influence sure puts my thoughts about measuring the reach of the blogosphere in perspective, which is to say in the circular file. Technorati and its peer tools can tell you what bloggers are talking about, but not about whether their readers are paying attention and doing anything about it.
  7. Interesting thoughts from Dave about Microsoft publishing the worst people have to say about it on the PressPass site. Must remember to suggest that to the editor. Seriously, though, it’s not out of the realm of the feasible to suggest that Duncan Mackenzie’s Visual Basic blog (which appears on the MSDN Visual Basic dev center) might discuss some of the issues that VB 6 developers are having migrating to .NET head on.
  8. Dave says that knowledge sharing via weblogs at Harvard is going slowly. Should that have been a surprise? Maybe not. I think the biggest takeaway from the speech today was that change is hard, particularly in organizations.