Vamshidhar Kommineni

December 31, 2006

The appropriateness of posting certain content on a blog

Filed under: Miscellany — Vamshi @ 11:57 am

Dare has an interesting post entitled "The Year the blog died" about the tradeoffs and decisions you have to face when you chose to speak your mind about both personal issues and work related stuff. I’ve only been writing on this blog for a few months  and about 50 posts, but I’ve already run into some of the same issues internally (thankfully nobody reads the blog, so I haven’t had to face any external criticism). Granted, I’ll probably never face the same pressure Dare faces in his personal postings (he’s the son of Olesegun Obasanjo, the current President of Nigeria), nor in his professional posts (having no readership helps in that regard :), but this spurred me to talk about some of the guidelines I apply (or should apply) for myself with the blog:

  • The blog is primarily a personal one rather than a Microsoft focused one (hence not hosted on msdn)
  • Certain personal issues that I might regret making public are best left unsaid. This is a bit of a tight rope act since I have no idea ahead of time what’s harmful (I might think something isn’t harmful, but my extended family might disagree)
  • Personally or professionally, don’t use the blog for venting. That is best left to a group of close friends rather than a public forum which might be taken out of context much later
  • Don’t be too harshly critical of people or products unless it will actually lead to constructive change. This is an issue I have outside the blog as well. I speak the truth somewhat bluntly at times and it tends to put people off. If it isn’t going to change anything, I have nothing to gain by burning a bridge
  • I will blog about technology and Microsoft since they are big parts of my life, but have to do so with some discretion
  • Specifically for Microsoft (or any other company that I might work at), surface glaring product issues to the internal feedback forum or my internal corpnet blog, where things might get attended to. I certainly know certain groups at Microsoft are pretty badly broken, but at the same time, it does the groups and individuals that do care about their product and respond a disservice not to give them the opportunity to fix their issues.
  • Write the blog for myself rather than an audience, but at the same time keep intensely personal topics inside my head or in a private journal

It’s a tough act in many ways, especially if you’re trying to maintain your integrity and always be honest. As the quote Dare attributes to Jeff Simmermon says:

"Writing under family-friendly corporate constraints is a necessary but curious clusterfuck in the best conditions. Sometimes it’s like reaching deep within your soul and pulling out a basket of kittens, then quietly drowning it in a river."


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