I just read Rick Segal‘s post The Anatomy of Noise (link originally both from Scoble’s blog and Winer’s blog). This whole thread starts with Amit Malhotra quoting Steve Ballmer as saying RSS isn’t the end all and be all (it’s actually not). It escalates with Dave Winer saying:
Ballmer, Ballmer, Ballmer, just when I was beginning to think that Microsoft possibly saw the benefit in working with the rest of the world, he sprays a thick coat of FUD on RSS.
Too simple? Feh.
Scoble responds in his normal jovial way. At this point, I figured things were pretty much over. It wasn’t that interesting to begin with. It only really got interesting with Rick Segal’s post. I first want to point out a fallacy with Rick’s logic. Rick says:
1. Somebody writes something they heard from CEO. Not verified yet.
2. Still unverified, employee comments and cranks it up a notch. That’s strictly my opinion of Scoble’s comments regarding what Ballmer knew, who he talked, and the witty ‘come on channel 9’ invite. You have to read it and be your own judge of his style.
This is missing an important key step. Dave Winer, who’s well read, pointed everyone to Amit’s post (I believe he got it via Steve Rubel, who’s also well read, to give credit where credit’s due). At this point, there’s no controlling the conversation. People like me, who aren’t incredibly well read (I’m much more watched than read), could link to this and add the same commentary as Dave Winer and not receive close to the same reaction. At this point, Scoble has to respond, or everyone’s going to be having a conversation about Microsoft without anyone from Microsoft being involved at all. In the zero day PR world of the blogosphere, if you’re not out there responding, you’re much more likely to take a huge hit than if you can help be part of the conversation, especially if you’ve got someone like Robert Scoble out there writing for you.
And finally, I’d like to point out that this conversation, which I had been following, was largely uninteresting up until this point. The only reason it even reached the point where Robert Scoble was interested was because of Dave Winer’s personal attachment to anyone’s comments where someone might insinuate that RSS isn’t the greatest thing since sliced bread. In my opinion, Ballmer misses the simplicity point of RSS, but I think he responds the same way any CEO should, with moderation. Rick could have chosen a dozen other interesting conversations from Robert in the last month alone to choose, but I think he chose this one because of his obvious attachment to Dave Winer. His analysis throughout the entire article is tempered by obvious admiration for Dave, and I think attempting to pass off defending your friend as an objective analysis of the dangers of “Corporate Blogging” and transparency is shameful. I’m obviously defending Robert here, but I’m at least being honest about my intentions.
Also, in my defense, if you made it this far, I just read all of Scoble’s post (I originally clicked on the link to Rick’s post and started my response) and I see he said a lot of what I’ve said here. It’s 4 AM, my points are valid, and I don’t feel like rewriting. Sorry if it seems as if I’m just toeing the Scoble line, but I actually did write this stuff without reading his first.