Here's more on Todd:
* How long have you been blogging?
Since July 2005.
* How did you first hear about blogs?
I don't remember when I first read about blogs per se, but I do remember attending and speaking at SXSW Interactive in March 2000 (right before the bubble burst!) and having the opportunity to hear from some of the "Cluetrain Manifesto" gang (one of whom Christopher Locke, was a former IBMer), and thought to myself, "Hmmm," there's something to this whole "markets as conversation" thing. Once I started seeing and reading the first prominent blogs appearing in 2003-2004 (recognizing there were others like Dave Winer who had been around much earlier than that), I realized how right they'd been.
* Why did you decide to start blogging?
Having developed the IBM e-business site when IBM first broke its e-business advertising campaign back in October 1997, and as blogging began to enter more and more Web marketers' consciousness inside IBM, I realized that there was an enormous opportunity to break through the Big Blue wall and speak straight to folks outside the IBM firewall.
It also occurred to me that I was built to blog. I love to write, I'm passionate about the Internet and technology and IBM, and I thought there could be a real opportunity to merge those two loves by creating a blog. Well, ironically, it just so happened that the team running the e-business site in mid-2005 that I had helped start years before was on the look out for a blogger, and so I threw my name in the hat and was selected. It was like coming home. Now all I had to do was just figure out what to say!
* What process, if any, did you work through from a corporate perspective?
After I was selected, I basically was given free reign in terms of topics and voice.
While I was very concerned from the outset that our corporate communications or PR teams, or even our marketing team, might intervene when there was a controversial story or egg in our face or whatever, if anything, it's been quite the opposite. On a few occasions, I've actually gone to our corporate communications team on offense to make them aware of a breaking story and/or to seek their advice and counsel. That may seem to some to be counter to the blogging ethos, but the difference being I'm reaching out to them and it's nice to know I have benefit of their expertise there when I need it.
Otherwise, I simply tried to follow the spirit, if not the letter, of IBM's blogging guidelines, making sure not to go into things like financials, confidential information, etc in my postings., and using just plain common sense. But, I also try to have a little fun with it as well.
* What would you change with 20/20 hindsight?
Honestly, I don't know that I'd change much of anything except that I'd make blogging more of my job, not less. I wouldn't say I'd make it 100%, because part of my value as a blogger comes from my experience as an interactive marketing strategist and practitioner. However, I would love the opportunity to spend even MORE time writing about all the cool stuff going on both at IBM and in the industry at large. There's just so much to keep up with.
What I wouldn't is coming at this with my offbeat sense of humor. It was important for me from the outset to be able to poke fun both at IBM, IBMers, and Web culture in general, and to try and have an above average sense of humor in my blog. Because that's something's that's always struck me as missing from the corporate face of IBM. If I was going to do one thing to try and help change that face, for my money a sense of humor was key. Hopefully I've succeeded, even if just a little.
I do want people out there to know that we at IBM, despite all evidence to the contrary, are not Borgs. Well, not most of us. And those of us who are, and I'm not going to comment about myself in particular, are still being held up in IBM Research due to some intellectual property right issues. Because it's not clear if we as Borgs are owned by IBM, or if we own ourselves. Hopefully that will get worked out in legal soon.
* What three blogs have you gained the most insight from in the past month?
Richard McManus' Read/WriteWeb (All Things Web 2.0)
Steve Rubel's "Micropersuasion" (All Things Interactive Marketing Communications and PR)
Gord Hotchkiss' "Out of My Gord" (All Things Search)
[If you're a client-side marketer and would like to be profiled - even if you're not in the top 20 - send in your story! See this post for details.]