Thursday, August 11, 2005

Risks of Blogging

There's a good interview with Sun's Tim Bray, Director of Web Technologies, and Simon Phipps, Chief Technology Evangelist (Love that title!). Tim says in response to a question about the risks of blogging:
Yes, there are potential risks. But at the moment, a year into this, I would say that we are seeing almost all reward and no downside, so whatever potential risks there are, none of them have come forth yet. As one of our smart legal staff pointed out when we were starting to work on the policies, if we had come to a lawyer 15 years ago and asked him what he thought about e-mails he would have been horrified at the idea!

Many in the computer industry have been using email for longer than that; when I joined Data General almost 20 years ago, CEO (Comprehensive Electronic Office--a minicomputer-based integrated email/word processing/calendaring package) was already an ingrained part of the culture. However, in my previous job in the oil drilling business, there was no email and every memo-which is to say pretty much all written communications--had to be signed off by the appropriate level of authority. So, I certainly agree with the sense of Tim's comments. There's been a lot of loosening up just about everywhere. The convenience of email is too great and it basically doesn't work if it has to always go through channels.

That said, a lot of these discussions take place in the context of the technology industry and the Coasts. This SF Chronicle article, for example, is generally very upbeat--but most of the cases that it discusses are in the Valley where companies are often looser than elsewhere. I'm not about to argue a "blogs are risky" meme, but counsel that the standards of the tech elite don't necessarily applky elsewhere.
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