Microsoft Gets Blogging
Official: Microsoft Buys ME Lunch, Gives ME Private Tour! | Save the Intern Interesting article over at the blog “Save the Intern” from some guy named Ben about a recent run in the blogger had with Microsoft.
“So this is kind of crazy. I don’t know if you guys have been following the comments over on my post here but a couple people from Microsoft have contacted me because of this blog! Apparently they’ve been following my posts about my tech troubles at work and through their commenting have offered some helpful solutions. In particular like their free online training site which includes training videos. Pretty helpful stuff. I really didn’t expect Microsoft of all companies to reach out like that. I guess they figure it’d be good PR for them or something. But, what I REALLY didn’t expect was their offer to take my buddy Josh and I out to lunch and give us a private tour of their office in Irvine! Kinda badass right? Needless to say I’m pretty excited about it.”
I’m not sure when exactly or if it’s ever been an official sort of thing, but it seems like Microsoft of all of the companies that I’ve seen out there interacting with bloggers consistently gets it right. Part of me thinks that early on when Scoble was still at Microsoft that he worked with their PR firm to see the light early, but I’ve been continously amazed at how open, welcoming and responsive Microsoft is to bloggers.
My first real experience interacting with Microsoft was back when Scoble was still there and he’d arranged for a group of us to have dinner with Windows Chief Jim Allchin a few years back. Allchin was in town for a press briefing with all the mainstream media types and Scoble and Waggener Edstrom had arranged for the dinner to give bloggers the same kind of access.
Since that time I’ve interacted with Microsoft and various Microsoft employees, visited their campus and have regularly been kept abreast at what they are up to.
And I read random stories and blog posts like the one above where it just seems like some Microsoft employee is hanging out reading some blog at random and takes the initiative to interact very personally with a blogger. Sometimes big blogs, sometimes small blogs, but interaction in personal ways.
In addition to Microsoft employees interacting directly with bloggers, Microsoft of course has many employee bloggers out there talking about Microsoft and what they do there. This is smart.
On the other hand I look at a lot of the other technology companies that I’m familiar with. Apple, Google, Yahoo!, and rarely do I see this same level of interaction with bloggers. How many Apple employees do you know who blog? I personally can’t think of a single one right now. I’m sure that they are out there, but a company like Apple seems far less visible.
I think what Microsoft is doing by engaging bloggers is a good thing. From a PR perspective blogs are difficult animals and in some ways they are like herding cats, but the influence of blogs are here to stay. And frequently what starts out as some small blog post by some small blogger turns into some big viral internet thing promoted by the amplification systems like digg or reddit or stumbleupon and then the next thing you know the New York Times or CNN is quoting a blogger somewhere.
I don’t know if Microsoft’s blogger outreach efforts are part of some larger more deliberate and organized directed PR effort or if Microsoft employees are simply encouraged to interact where they see fit, but I do think it’s smart PR and I think a lot of other companies could benefit from more blogger interaction.
I do think some other tech companies are starting to get blogging and the whole social media space as well, just today I saw that Seagate had subscribed to my FriendFeed account (they also sponsored the Bloghaus at CES in Las Vegas which was a very cool thing to do) and Fred Johnson over at Adobe was very helpful in getting me early access to information about the most recent Lightroom upgrade. In fact I hope to visit Adobe’s San Jose office very soon at Fred’s invitation and will have more to blog about this in the future.