This is another in a series of case studies from people I interviewed in 2005 about their blogging efforts. Now as we move to 2013, I find it interesting to look back at the early days of business blogging. I will only include cases from people who are still blogging now. These cases have not appeared on this blog before. This is the last one in the series and I will next post a master listing with links. David remains one of the best known bloggers so it is good to close with him.
David Weinberger taught philosophy at New Jersey's Stockton State College in the late '70s after obtaining a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Toronto. He also wrote humor, reviews and intellectual and academic articles, publishing in such places as The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, and Smithsonian. After moving into business in the 1980s, David joined Open Text in 1995 as VP of Strategic Marketing as he “saw an opportunity to help shape the way intranets are used.” In 1996 he helped Open Text go public and returned to consulting, writing and speaking.
In 1999, he co-authored the national best-seller, The Cluetrain Manifesto, with Doc Searls and Chris Locke which first offered the phrase ”markets as conversations” and looked how the internet has changed the way is conducted, making markets become smarter than most companies. When we spoke in 2005 David’s latest book was Small Pieces Loosely Joined. It looked at the effect of the Web on our most basic ideas and came out in 2002. During the 2004 presidential campaign, David was Senior Internet Advisor to the Howard Dean campaign, consulting on Internet policy.
David writes Joho the Blog with the tag line – “Let's just see how it goes.” JOHO stands for the Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization. He began blogging in the fall of 1999, just to see what the brouhaha was about. He stopped soon afterwards, started again in November 2001, and gave himself the Longest Time Between Posts award.
When we spoke in 2005 David was not sure what his objectives were. He is a writer, and blogs let him write not only in public but in conversation. David said he was “completely over-stimulated by blogs and the Web in general, which is a good thing...there are too many ideas floating around, too many things to write about, too many people to meet.”
As he continued to blog, David found that “the conversation is richer, more multifaceted. The relationships are deeper, which is generally what happens over time.” David’s biggest challenge came from his feeling that he was not good at strong disagreements and at choosing sides. “That's a good thing often, but sometimes where disagreements and sides are called for, it's a bad thing,” he said. This was an issue he was still working on at the time. David’s major source of content came from newspapers (online and off) and other bloggers. He benefited from reading other blogs by gaining ideas and relationships.
David had the following advice to have for others thinking about starting a blog.
- Try it out. What can it hurt?
- Write about what matters to you.
- The more links the merrier.
- Write quickly and hit the "post" button. It's liberating.
David was (and still is) clearly passionate about what he writes about and the ethics of blogging. In his humorous, but serious, JOHO Disclosure Statement he made it clear that no one was paying him or providing any others services, like shoveling the snow from his driveway or telling him he looked like he lost some weight to write the stuff in his blog. He closed with “All I can promise is that I will be honest with you and never write something I don't believe in because someone is paying me as part of a relationship you don't know about.”