Metrics bite, content rules


In a Fast Company article about Boing Boing (I haven’t read the whole article yet but this jumped out at me and I really need to write about this):

“It isn’t that Pescovitz doesn’t understand what the blog business has become; he just figures that however it works now is anathema to what’s made Boing Boingpopular in the first place. The editorial policy is just what it’s always been: The principals post whatever they want, whenever they feel like it. They don’t bother to copyedit in advance, let alone vet or discuss one another’s contributions. “

People who think like I do (only better, to be sure), and they make money from it. Now if only they wanted to bring me on as partner because they want content on fashion, reality TV and people who are wrong. What? That’s not going to happen?

I’m probably going to be more honest than I should right now…

I think things have changed for my blog here (internally here, not “out there”) and I’m not really sure that people get why I do this, or care about it right now (no violins folks…I’m just trying to think through priorities at work and in life). It’s no longer part of my job description and I have to admit that this makes me a little sad. Yeah, the whole metrics thing…it’s really hard to integrate my feelings on content with a metrics driven organization like staffing…<sigh>. It’s how it is. Not just here but almost everywhere. I’m not sure my writing here is relevant anymore.

I’ve been tossing this around in my brain for a while: since I’m blogging less about “careers at Microsoft” and I’m not getting the sanctioned vibe, do I take this offline? I mean, do I take this offline here and put it online elsewhere? Not the Microsoft-specific stuff, by my opinions on things, including career-related topics and dumb stuff other people do. If someone walked into my office right now and told me that I should be doing this for Microsoft, I wouldn’t be thinking about this. I’m just wondering if my legacy posts stand on their own (which is great), and I should take my opinions, and writing stuff from the heart, and make it “officially” a personal activity. I love writing, so I wouldn’t be going far.

And I am not trying to bait comments. It’s just that I am thinking that maybe I have some other priorities to focus on at work that don’t really have anything to do with the blog (which requires a little more care and feeding than I have been able to give it lately) so I may need to make this a personal activity. Don’t go away though. No final decisions have been made…I don’t want to be overly dramatic. I just want to be smart about what I am spending my time on at work and what hole this blog would fill for me personally if I made the change. This has been on my mind for a while…it may be time to get to a decision.

No sugar coating. No whining. Time to get real. Life is about decisions and after 6.5 years of /heatherleigh, this is one I need to make.

Comments (9)

  1. Scot Herrick (Cube Rules) says:

    1. If it is not in your job description, any time at work spent on this is taking you away from achieving the corporate goals the company is paying you to do. If a company wants something to stop — or takes it out of your job description — one needs to stop doing it and not continue on like you might get an award for your sacrifice.

    2. The other issue is if the blog is hosted by Microsoft (looks like it is), you really can't pop in all those personal stuff that is off corporate positioning (like the dead-on description of snow in Seattle…I, too, lived in Seattle for six years after growing up in the Midwest..and I am back in the Midwest…).

    My two cents is you export all the posts, move them over to your own site — and tell us where you moved your stuff to so we can continue to enjoy great, distinctive writing.

  2. HeatherLeigh says:

    OK, first off Scot, thanks for the compliment at the end. I needed to hear that 🙂

    Nobody actually told me to stop blogging. In fact, it was written into my commitments for a number of years. It just fell off the radar as a priority. And I am not looking for a reward. The upside for me has been knowing that I am doing the right thing for the company. The original intention was that this was an employment branding activity; that if people started to see "Microsoft employees" differently (for example, through honest, entertaining and sometimes relevant blogging), that the company would benefit. I still actually feel that. The fact that I love to write has been an added bonus for me on a personal level.

    Also, I can actually pop in that personal stuff…it's kind of the point. The benefit to Microsoft is by association. I know that very senior folks here have read my blog and they get it. So they are aware of what is going on here and what the benefit has been. I just don't know that it's important here anymore for whatever reason.  Microsoft is a different culture than other companies. This kind of thing is not frowned upon at all. If it was, I would have been told not to do this literally years ago. With this kind of blogging, you either get it or you don't. I suspect that maybe you work in a very conservative industry because this type of thing has been going on for years with very positive feedback from the industry. The personal stuff is what gets a lot of the attention because it's fresh and real and that is what companies are looking for.

    I guess my thoughts in the post were around enthusiasm and prioritization. You can't really *make* someone blog. I feel very good about what I have done here. I have had a number of people tell me that I am the reason they joined Microsoft (I'm not editorializing here…those are the words that were used).

    Anyway, this blog is owned by Microsoft and I think it's time that maybe I let myself cut loose a little bit elsewhere (like I have said before, you get a toned down version of me here…it's still me but there's more of me that I leave off here because I do have at least a little sense). Because MSFT owns the blog, there will be no exporting. I can point back to it from another blog though and I feel comfortable with that.   But yeah, I enjoy the writing and I think it would actually be even better if I could feel like I didn't have to feel some corporate responsibility around it; like I could blog as "Heather" versus "Heather at Microsoft". Like I said, all the good stuff I have written over the years is still here…search engines can still pick it up…so it's all good.

    An important part of doing something well is to know when to say when. And I guess that is what I am saying.

    I'll come back here within the next few weeks and let you guys know where you can find me blogging.

    (Thanks for the comments, Scot, even though I disagree with a lot of it…appreciate the response!)

  3. Neal says:

    Heather – this one is a no brainer – just go doooo eeeet! You can always keep this blog here and contribute to it once in awhile. You have an awesome point-of-view and going into different and new topics will only make the next one better. Last time I commented was awhile back and you were about to run a race – this has all of the pre-race-start-butterflies-in-your-stomach of starting something new feeling. I offer some suggestions for a name – of course – feel free to hack away at them – just having fun :):

    thegermfreesponge.com – a little wordy but has some merit

    imisschicagoweather.com – well, this is pretty weak, i doubt you actually miss chicago weather – but something around using the weather related theme might be fun

    apprenticenomore.com – hmmm, best I could do in 5 minutes on that one

    Anyway – set it on up – let me know when you do – i'll be there –

  4. HeatherLeigh says:

    Insearchofagermfreesponge dot com! I should go through some old posts to find something.

    Now to decide where to blog. I tried to do the whole GoDaddy thing and have to admit that I found it VERY confusing (I know…how did I get hired by a tech company?).

    I think I will use this blog to push out career related articles still. Low commitment but still offers some value. But off I go to find my place to blog my personal stuff.

    Thanks for the encouragement, Neal!

  5. Patrick says:

    Heather, I've been reading your blog for several years now, and I have something to confess.  I totally skim over your recruitment stuff, I like reading your personal (and sometimes funny) views on everything.

    So I guess, I would hope you channel your excellent creative writing skills towards this new blog.

  6. Mike says:

    If you need to take it somewhere else, then WordPress works well.  I use it for tech blogging (cyberherbalist.wordpress.com), and it works very well.  My personal blog is on my own hosting, and uses dasBlog.  But whatever you do, don't stop blogging!  Aside from whatever enjoyment *you* get out of it, I myself have enjoyed your thoughts and opinions (even when I disagree with you) for years, and my life would be measurably disenriched as a result of your no longer blogging.

  7. rjdudley says:

    FWIW, I'll read you here or follow wherever.  You're real and I've appreciated that from the start.  You and scottgu are the only two MS blogs I follow individually (everyone else is in the main feed).

    Wherever you host, use WordPress.  Could be a Live Spaces, could be wordpress.com, or your own site as I do.  Just use WordPress.

  8. larryh boston says:

    Hey Heather I just happened on to this Blog and found it engaging.

    Have you read Daniel Pink's "Drive" about employee motivation 3.0? It sounds like you're a study from his book. Pink's claim is that motivation 2.0 was all about carrots and sticks. 3.0 is about employee engagement, autonomy and creativity. Those of us allowed to operate in these modes will be highly accountable to our employers so you shouldn't worry.

    For me, you put a personal face on the MS brand which I'll think about the next time my pc crashes. 🙂

  9. HeatherLeigh says:

    Haha! No I haven't read that but I will add it to my list. I read "A Whole New Mind" so I am a fan of Pink's. Thanks for the recommendation!

    I frequently feel like the baby that was raised by lions. I know there's something different but I can't tell how much it matters. Maybe that book will help me explore!