How Blogging Brings Dialogue to Corporate Communications [en]

[fr] Notes d'une conférence que je viens de donner à Zurich sur les blogs en entreprise.

As promised to the participants of this (Monday) evening’s event, here is my slideshow of the talk, notes, and links. *note: notes written up on the train on the way home, I hope the links aren’t too broken and that it makes sense; let me know in the comments if there is anything weird.*

Thanks to everyone for participating so well 🙂 Please feel free to add notes, comments, further questions, things you took away from the talk in the comments to this post.

*note: the beginning of the notes are roughly what I said; questions and answers are not included — there were lots; I gave an accelerated version of the second part of the presentation, as we had talked a lot, and actually, covered much of what was important anyway.*

For links related to corporate blogging, see those tagged [corporateblogging]( and [20070924]( for those linked to today’s talk. Click on the “related tags” on the right to explore further.

I’ve added slide numbers in brackets roughly when they appear. Not that the slides are that interesting, of course…

[1] [2] Blogging is a tool that brings dialogue, and the point of this talk is to see how that happens in a corporate context.

[3] Two main aims:

– understanding the “[bigger picture](” blogging is part of
– practical advice on introducing blogs into a business setting.

[4] As you’ve probably noticed, I’m not a Powerpoint wizard, so won’t be dazzling you with fancy slides and lots of buzzwords. I’d like to have something approaching a conversation with you. I’m obviously expected to do quite a lot of the talking (that’s what I was asked to come for!) — but you know lots of things I don’t, and you’ll have comments and questions. Please ask them as we go along… I’d rather go off-track from my presentation and be sure to address the things you’re wondering about. *note: and yeah, that’s exactly what happened! got so caught up in our conversation that I lost track of time!* This way of doing things, you’ll notice, is related to what blogging is about.

[5] First, I need to know a bit more about you. I know you’re communication executives and I’m told you’re already familiar with blogs — that’s a start, but I need more:

– who reads blogs?
– who has a blog? (personal, corporate, work-related?)
– who is blogging this talk? *(nobody — hopefully in 2 years from now, half the room)*
– who uses a feed-reader (NetNewsWire, BlogLines, Google Reader)
– who is in a company that uses corporate blogs?
– who has employees/clients who blog?
– who has read The Cluetrain Manifesto? Naked Conversations? (required reading!)
– who is in a company that is blogged about? do you know?

[6] Before we get to the meat (practical stuff), let’s clarify

– what is blogging?
– where does it fit in?

There’s a lot of confusion there.

Blogging is:

– a [tool](
– a culture
– from a business point of view, a strategy

Different [layers](

Blogs@Intel · Intel Corporation

[7] [Using just the “tool” layer]( often fails, because it’s just publishing “official communications” in a different wrapping. And official communications are boring — I hope I’m not breaking the news to anyone. Example of this: []( Not very exciting.

I think a lot of corporate blogging failures can be attributed to stopping at the “tool” aspect of blogging, and underestimating the cultural aspects.

Listening and Learning Through Blogging

[8] Example that gets the “culture” layer: [Listening and Learning Through Blogging on McDonalds’ CSR blog](

> I’ve just finished my second posting, and I’ve realized how much there is to learn about the blogosphere. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at other blogs, listening to what others are saying about what we’re doing, and picking up some suggestions along the way. ([McDonalds’ CSR blog](

From a business point of view, adopting blogging is a strategic decision, because it impacts the culture. It’s not just a shiny tool we can use to do the stuff we do usually, it’s linked to deeper changes.

[9] So we’re going to concentrate on the “culture, strategy” side of blogging, which is the first part of this presentation. So we’re going to have to backpedal, zoom out, and look at the big picture: [10] The Internet, The Cluetrain Manifesto.

**So, what’s [the Cluetrain]( about?** It started as an online rant, and grew into a book in 2000. It’s still valid today.

Basically, the Cluetrain says that [conversations are happening](, inside and outside your organization, and they can’t be stopped.

[11] People are tired of being talked at. They (inside: employees; outside: customers) are too busy having [12] real conversations with their friends, people they know and trust. Offline as well as online. They won’t listen to fabricated discourse (a lot of marketing). I know that when I receive my bank statements, I’m interested in how much I’ve spent, and the flyer giving details about my bank’s latest service goes straight to the bin. What about you?

[13] These conversations are everywhere. They’re talking about you — you the companies. A lot of our day-to-day conversation is about brands, consumer products, services… These conversations [14] can’t be controlled. Control is a big issue when it comes to corporate blogging.

Is communication something you control?
Are conversations something you can control?

[15] We know how important word-of-mouth is in marketing, and in the shaping of buying decisions we make. We listen to our friends (people we trust) way more than advertising.

Do great stuff. Care. Let people know. They’ll talk about you.

[16] Blogging is about jumping in there, being part of the conversation. And this conversation is bigger than just blogging.

Not that easy, but [not that hard]( remember what it is to be human. To be passionate about something. To care. Bring that into the conversation.

So the important question becomes: how will this fit into my corporate culture — or not? Is it compatible?

[17] What [I mean]( by corporate blogging: blogging that has to do with corporations, businesses. Blogging beyond the tool (culture). Everything is possible.

– internal
– external
– one author
– multiple authors (group blog)
– very official
– unofficial
– employee blogs
– news outlet (with the danger of missing the “culture” and falling back into the “just tool” use)

[18] Some quick [examples]( of real “corporate” blogs. A lot of damage control in my examples — one thing blogs are good at.

– [Dell]( started out badly, listened, learned
– [McDonalds CSR blog](
– [English Cut]( “my tailor is rich” (haha) fairytale; blogging to demonstrate expertise and built credibility (and [drive your business through the roof](
– [Palm’s response to Engadget’s open letter]( a personal reply, and look at all the comments
– [Robert Scoble]( ex-Microsoft, hired for his blogging skills and reputation
– [Nee-Naw]( a LAS employee — impacts the image we have of the LAS
*note: this is where things started going fast*
– [Richard Pierre SA]( Swiss, also an “expert” blog (demonstrating expertise)
– [Rapleaf’s “we made mistakes”]( if you mess up, and talk about it, and say sorry, chances are many will forgive you
– [Domaine du Crest]( winemaker, Geneva; insight into vinyard life
– [Yahoo! official blog]: taking the heat in the comments
– [4500 Microsoft employee bloggers](
– [DreamHost, ongoing disaster]( being candid about what went wrong
– [Larry’s take on the Vista SR bug]( info straight from the horse’s mouth
– [Michel-Edouard Leclerc](, French CEO (see also [reaction in food poisoning crisis](

[19] Who should blog?

Corporations do not blog. Humans do, people. You can’t remove the person from the blog. Businesses with a “do the right thing” attitude. Enthusiasm needed! [20] Bad guys shouldn’t blog. Businesses who mistreat customers and employees shouldn’t either. Not if you’re dull or cheesy or very controlling. (See Naked Conversations, pp. 134-138.)

[21] [Why]( should one blog? Very important question.

– to communicate differently, humanise the company
– not just another channel to push the same tired message through.

Where does blogging fit in strategically? => who, what exactly…

See [possible objectives here]( Basically, anywhere there are people doing things. Except probably high-confidential security stuff.

[22] How?

You want to get blogs going for all the good reasons, but how does one

– start blogging [23]
– blog well? (ongoing work!)

[No real “one size fits all”.]( Many answers to this, depends on the situation/culture of the company in question.

Some general answers, however.

[24] Check out the [corporate blogging 101](, very precious stuff there.

enable blogging. Encourage employees to blog. Blogging is a grassroots phenomenon, but it needs support form the top. There are maybe people already blogging — find them, and use them to encourage more blogging.

[25] have a purpose (that important Why? question). Don’t blog to blog. Figure out what **current needs** can be adressed by blogging. You can start small:

– event?
– product?
– “news”?
– project?
– office life?
– expertise on one topic?

This is very context-dependant. Need to understand the context well to be able to choose/advise wisely.

Careful! If you’re using a blog to post the usual “official communications”, you’re missing something.

[26] **learn the culture**: this is the big bit. Listen to bloggers (online and offline, in-house and out). Get training (this is where it’s worthwhile to put your money, as you’ve saved on expensive software).

Before going to [India](/logbook/), I studied the culture, but it couldn’t prepare me totally for what I found when I went to live there. You need to go to a foreign culture to really “get” it. Blogging is a foreign culture.

Learning to blog well can take time. Not everyone is a natural. Ongoing effort!

[27][28] Remember, blogging is about **Me & You**, having a conversation.

– dialogue
– relationship
– people

[29] **Listen.** Read blogs. Read comments. Be open. Get a feed-reader.

[30] **Passion.** Believe. Be passionate. If you’re not interested, it’ll be boring.

[31] **Style.** HUGE subject. How to write on a blog. It’s difficult.

– write for the web
– use “I”
– use links, make your writing 2D instead of 1D
– informal
– short paragraphs
– simple, direct language
– no jargon or corpspeak
– tell a story, as if to a friend
– author name, but don’t sign posts like e-mail

[32] **Time.** Don’t kid yourself, it takes time. Commitment. Easily an hour a session, a few times a week. But it’s fun 🙂

If you try to remove any of these ingredients, I doubt your blog will be successful and survive.

[Best practices?](

[33] DO:

– eat your own dog-food
– trust your bloggers
– read other blogs
– be [part of the community](
– use a feed-reader
– link! even to competition, negative stuff
– be human
– learn the culture
– use an existing blogging tool
– discuss problems
– define what is really confidential
– give existing in-house bloggers a role (evangelists! learn from them!)
– tag, ping, use the “kit” and other social tools

[34] DON’T:

– try to control
– use a ghost-writer or outsource blogging
– “roll your own” tool
– ignore established blogging conventions, they’re there for a reason
– copy-paste print material in posts
– use corpspeak
– force people to blog
– write happy-clappy stuff
– write blog posts or comments as if they were e-mails (starting with Hi… and ending with a signature)
– be faceless (signing with the name of the company instead of the person)

[35] FUD: fear, uncertainty, doubt. Cf. Naked Conversations pp. 140-145 for discussion, really, it’s all there:

– negative comments
– confidential leaks
– loss of message control
– competitive disadvantage
– time-consuming
– employee misbehaviour
– ROI absent…

[36] ROI of blogging (google for “ROI blogging” — without quotes). Comes up often (need for quantitative measurement), but still very debated topic. Respected experts all over the map, from [“it doesn’t/can’t apply”]( to [“here is a way to calculate it”](


– hard returns
– soft returns

There is a return, it’s a worthwhile investment, say those who do it. How to measure it is another story. Sorry 🙁

[37] A closer look at some examples… [coComment]( [disclosure: ex-client]:

coComment blog -- Corporate Blogging Example

[38] Read the first sentence… what is wrong here? Not a human speaking. Don’t post press releases as blog posts. You might cite them, or link to them, or comment on them, but don’t stick them in there as posts. How does the reader think his “feedback” will be received when he’s being spoken at to start with?

coComment -- Corporate Blog Example 1

[39] Privacy concerns raised on other blogs. Good to address the issue and respond, instead of hiding! (it would just get worse… cf. Kryptonite). “Click here” looks bad, though, and hints that the medium (blogging) isn’t really understood.

coComment blog -- Corporate Blogging Example

[40] OMG. What is this doing here? Did somebody smoke something? First-time author on this blog — an introduction would have been more appropriate.

coComment blog -- Corporate Blogging Example

[41] Note that this is a multi-author blog, which is usually the case with an “official blog”, though often there will be one “main author” who carries it. Apology for painful upgrade, that’s good. E-mail-like signatures on each post, however, again point to incomplete understanding of the culture.

[Flickr]( great example (and great photosharing service too, sign up today).

Flickr Blog -- Corporate Blog Example

[43] Look at that outage notice. It’s fun! Really fun. And there are updates. Two of them. As a user/customer, I feel that they give a damn.

Flickr Blog -- Corporate Blogging Example

[44] Coverage of what’s going on in the community. Blogging is a lot about community, nurturing it.

Flickr: it's not just blogging

[45] Here, a forum post. It’s not just about blogging, remember the “bigger picture”? But same kind of attitude. How you engage with others in the community. Treat them as people and not like numbers. Look at how well this issue is documented, with links and all — and this is a “problem situation”. We’re not shoving the dirt under the carpet here.

[Moo]( *note: if you got a business card from me, this is where they come from!*

MOO | Blog -- Corporate Blogging Example

[46] So, this is a promotional posting (ad, marketing, oh my!) but look… it feels like she was e-mailing a friend, rings true.

Up for debate (bloggers will tell you “yes”): can you feel if somebody put his/her heart into a post?

[47] Closing notes:

Blogging is a strategy. Deep change in communications. Not pushing a message anymore, but

– conversations
– relationships
– trust
– people

The question to ask is:

Is my company/department/team ready for this?

Blogging is a grassroots phenomenon, so bottom-up (you can’t force people to be passionate about something and blog about it), but needs support from top-down. There are maybe already blogs in your company, and you might not know it!

Read The Cluetrain Manifesto and Naked Conversations to start. (I’m serious.)

Eat your dog food. If you’re going to introduce blogging in your company, you need to start blogging — before. Open a account and start writing about stuff you’re interested in. Use your blog as a [backup brain](, writing things as they occur to you. For you first, and for sharing with others in case it’s of interest to them.

Blogging is technically cheap, but culturally expensive.


Some extra stuff, off the top of my head (some from off-presentation discussion):

Blogging tools: [Wordpress](, Movable Type and Typepad ([SixApart](, Drupal.

Looking up stuff in blogs: use [Technorati]( or Google BlogSearch. Use Technorati Cosmos to see who linked to a given blog post.

The “Because Effect”: I make money *[because of](* my blog, not *with* my blog.

Discussion of trust and reputation in the blogosphere. Auto-regulating medium.

A few sketches I made while preparing this talk, but didn’t use:

Cluetrain 101 Sketch 1

Cluetrain 101 Sketch 2

Cluetrain 101 Sketch 3

[Open-sourcing the invitation copy.](

Good example of an “event blog”: [LIFT conference]( (and go to the conference, too, it’s a great event).

*promotional 😉 note: if you would like to have me come and give this talk (or another!) elsewhere, please don’t hesitate to [get in touch]( This is one of the things I do for a living.*

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Finally Getting Tumblr [en]

[fr] Un tumblelog, c'est un blog réduit à sa plus simple expression: des articles, des liens permanents, un fil RSS. Pas de commentaires, pas de gadgets, pas de tags, pas de catégories. Un bookmarklet permet de facilement choisir entre six sortes de billets prédéfinis (texte, citation, lien, photo, chat, vidéo) et devine même pour vous si vous le cliquez depuis une page web.

C'est un lieu idéal pour bloguer en passant, au fil des lectures. Noter une idée en vitesse. Mettre en valeur une photo ou une vidéo qu'on a appréciée. Prendre des notes sous forme de citation lorsque l'on lit.

I’ve had a [tumblelog]( since February of this year, but it’s taken me a long time to figure out where it fit into my online presence.

I first tried importing **everything** into it, but that was a mess. [Jaiku]( is better when it comes to lifestreaming, for the moment. (Wow, just checked, and [Suprglu’s still alive]( — head there if you want the “fuller” version of my lifestream… with the lag, though.)

Anyway. This is what I publish on it nowadays: comments from other blogs, screenshots, quotes, and passing thoughts.

Let’s take a closer look.

#### What on Earth is This Tumblelog Thing?

A [tumblelog]( is a blog stripped of all the non-essential stuff: no categories, no comments, no monthly archives, no fancy layouts, widgets. What is left? Posts, permalinks, RSS feeds… and a simple, no-nonsense layout.


Back in 2000 when I started blogging, the revolutionary thing about blogging tools (which at the time meant Blogger, there weren’t that many others) was that they **made it dead easy to publish** things online.

Tumblr has focused on that. Make it simple. Remove everything that gets in the way. Make the act of blogging so effortless that it can really [become a true backup brain](

It’s a place for passing thoughts, interesting links, a video here or there. No time lost for anything else than the act of posting. Whatever you do, don’t think before posting.

A tumblelog is really a “me first!” thing. Stuff for me, first. Maybe you’ll find it interesting too — but if you don’t, no heat.

#### What I’m Importing

Tumblr Feed Settings

At the beginning, as I said, I imported everything into my Tumblr. But then, I wanted to import my Tumblr into my lifestream on Jaiku, and I ended up with duplicate content.

I decided to remove all my imports from Tumblr except for comments — through [coComment]( Comments on other people’s blogs are an important part of my online activity, and they deserve to be “kept” somewhere. CoComment does that, of course, but not in a really comfortable way for readers (the RSS feed is fine, and included on my blog, but it’s only the last comments). Reminds me that I never wrote that post about the disastrous launch of the 2.0 version, btw. Oh, well.

So, my comments go in my Tumblr.

During my stay in San Francisco this summer, I was converted (quite easily) to [Skitch]( by [Mr. Messina](, and since then, my ( has seen the arrival of a great many screenshots. I feel like I finally have a camera to take photographs of my online life — as soon as I see something of note or bump into a problem, Skitch allows me [](effortlessly upload a screenshot).

These screenshots are a narrative of my online wanderings, and as such, deserve to be displayed in a timeline separate from my thousands of photographs.

In the Tumblr they go.

#### What I’m Posting

So far, I’ve found two really important uses to Tumblr: quotes and thoughts. The Tumblr bookmarklet is smart enough that it recognizes that I want to post a quote if I select some text on the page before clicking it:

Posting a Quote to Tumblr

This makes posting quotes dead easy. It’s suddenly made my online reading way more valuable: I’ve always read books taking notes on what I was reading, copying quotes so I had them handy in the future — and when a lot of my reading shifted online, I lost that. With Tumblr, I’ve found it again. (Finding the quotes will be trickier, I hope Google’s indexing of the Tumblr will be sufficient.)

The [Tumblr Dashboard]( has six pre-set types of posts: text, photo, quote, link, chat, video.

Tumblr Dashboard

These pre-set post types offer different formatting and posting forms.

I’ve started to use the text post type to jot down random thoughts that occur to me, or notes to myself. For example, I’ve spent quite a bit of today thinking about a talk I’m going to give tomorrow, and jotted down some thoughts like [this one](

As you can see, Tumblr allows me to link to an individual post.

A few times, I’ve also posted [snippets of chat/IM conversations](

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D'où vient cette idée de livre? [en]

[fr] An attempt to start book-writing. How I came to the field of teenagers and online culture, and what questions the book will try to address.

L’obstacle majeur pour l’accomplissement d’une tâche est souvent simplement de se mettre au travail. Il en va de même pour l’écriture. Il m’a fallu près d’un an pour commencer à écrire mon mémoire, et un peu plus d’un mois pour en achever la rédaction lorsque je m’y suis finalement mise. J’ai appris et compris, à cette occasion, qu’écrire n’importe quoi c’est déjà commencer. En particulier, raconter comment on est bloqué et ce dont on voudrait parler si on parvenait seulement à écrire, c’est déjà un excellent pas en avant.

Au milieu du mois d’octobre passé, j’ai réalisé que j’avais la matière nécessaire pour écrire ce fameux livre dont j’avais toujours dit que je l’écrirais un jour, mais que je n’avais aucune idée de quoi il parlerait et que dans tous les cas, je n’étais pas prête à me lancer dans une opération de cette envergure. Depuis, j’ai fait un plan, j’y ai beaucoup pensé, j’en ai beaucoup parlé, j’ai pris la décision ferme de l’écrire, et je l’ai annoncé [sur mon blog]( Mais je n’ai pas écrit une seule ligne.

Oh, c’est clair : début d’une vie professionnelle indépendante, les [mains qui font mal](/tms/), quarante-six mille autres projets… Plein de bonnes raisons objectives, mais surtout, il faut bien l’avouer, une bonne vieille trouille de me jeter à l’eau. Maintenant, [le Dragon est installé sur mon Mac](, je suis en Angleterre pendant deux semaines, et il n’y a donc aucune raison objective de ne pas commencer.

Donc, je commence. Et je commence par vous expliquer ce qui m’a mené à écrire ce livre, dans l’espoir que cela éclairera — et me permettra de clarifier — la problématique que je désire aborder et le traitement que j’en ferai.

Début 2004, suite à mon apparition à l’émission télévisée Mise au Point, on m’a demandé pour la première fois de venir faire une conférence dans une école. Il s’agissait de parler à une classe d’élèves et de leur expliquer ce qu’étaient les blogs, à quoi ils pouvaient servir et surtout, de les rendre attentifs au fait qu’il y a des limites à ce que l’on peut publier sur Internet. L’école en question s’était en effet retrouvée confrontée à quelques débordements de ce côté-là et à l’incompréhension des élèves (leurs protestations vigoureuses, même) lorsqu’il lui avait fallu intervenir.

Durant les mois qui précédaient, jeune enseignante, j’avais en effet découvert les élans blogueurs de mes élèves, et par extension, ceux de toute une population adolescente que j’avais largement ignorée jusque-là. J’avais commencé à m’y intéresser et j’avais déjà tiré quelques conclusions concernant les causes des incidents dont les médias se régalaient, et qui impliquaient des publications d’adolescents sur des blogs. Quelques problèmes de cette nature auxquels j’avais été directement confrontée avec mes élèves de l’époque m’avaient aussi donné une expérience personnelle de la situation.

Ma première [conférence en milieu scolaire]( a été extrêmement bien reçue. On m’a demandé d’en faire une deuxième, puis une troisième. D’autres établissements scolaires m’ont contactée. J’ai commencé à parler non seulement aux élèves, mais également aux enseignants et aux parents. Et les conférences, ça va dans les deux sens. Je viens pour donner quelque chose, mais en retour, il y a toujours des conversations, de nouvelles personnes à rencontrer, des histoires à entendre, bref, des choses à apprendre pour moi.

En parallèle, [les médias ont commencé à faire appel à moi]( régulièrement pour toutes sortes de sujets touchant aux blogs, mais principalement (au début en tout cas) dès qu’il s’agissait de blogs et d’adolescents. Prof et blogueuse assez en vue, c’était visiblement un mélange détonnant.

Au fil de mes contacts avec le monde des gens qui connaissent mal les blogs, j’ai pris conscience que beaucoup de choses qui pour moi relevaient du sens commun n’allaient en fait pas du tout de soi. J’ai réalisé que j’avais des choses à dire, et même des tas de choses à dire, et que ces choses étaient utiles à autrui. En fait, j’ai pris conscience que nous étions face à un problème à grande échelle, touchant une génération d’adolescents et de parents, ainsi que les éducateurs, et que j’étais en train d’y proposer des solutions. Les solutions que je proposais étaient bien modestes : il s’agissait simplement d’informer chacun selon ses besoins et préoccupations, de leur communiquer ce que je savais et j’avais compris de cette culture numérique, celle des blogs, du chat, de l’Internet vivant, et de l’impact que cette culture était en train d’avoir sur notre société.

Voilà donc de quoi je veux parler dans ce livre. Quel est ce problème exactement ? Que peut-on dire de ses causes ? Quelles sont les conséquences que nous voyons aujourd’hui ? Que peut-on faire, que doit-on faire pour y remédier ? Je vais essayer de répondre à ces questions dans les grandes lignes lors de mon prochain billet.

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Death Threats in the Blogosphere [en]

[fr] Kathy Sierra, blogueuse réputée, fait l'objet de menaces de mort (et d'autres menaces à caractères sexuel) laissées sur son blog et sur un ou deux autres blogs gérés par d'autres personnalités connues de la blogosphère anglo-saxonne.

A bout, elle a annulé ses conférences prévues aujourd'hui à ETech et est enfermée chez elle. Une enquête de police est en cours.

[Kathy Sierra]( is somebody whose blog posts I never miss, because they’re always really really good material, and very though-provoking. I was about to head to bed when I saw a new one of her pop up in Google Reader. Just a quick nice read before I go to bed, I thought.

[Not so.](

In her latest post, Kathy Sierra [reports that she has been receiving increasingly disturbing threats]( (death threats, and of sexual nature), to the point that she has cancelled her appearance at ETech and has locked herself up at home.

Many, many years ago, during my first year of discovering the internet, I received an e-mail containing quite graphicly described rape threats. I received two e-mails in total. The e-mails were anonymous, but it seemed clear from the wording that the person sending them knew at least something about who I was. They were for me, not a random send.

I started suspecting all my online friends, wondering which one of them was the nasty e-mail sender. I wasn’t too worried as I had been very secretive about my name and exact location at the time, but still — it was *not a nice feeling at all*. A few days, later, through an abuse complaint to Hotmail and a little sleuthing on my part, I managed to find out who it was. I played dead, nothing else happened, I left it at that and life went on, with no particularly averse consequences for me.

In this case, the threats Kathy has been getting have been left in the comments of her blog, or even published on other blogs managed by known names in the blogosphere.

> For the last four weeks, I’ve been getting death threat comments on this blog. But that’s not what pushed me over the edge. What finally did it was some disturbing threats of violence and sex posted on two other blogs… blogs authored and/or owned by a group that includes prominent bloggers. People you’ve probably heard of.

Kathy, being her smart self, perfectly understands how threats like those she received do their damage.

> Most of all, I now fully understand the impact of death threats. It really doesn’t make much difference whether the person intends to act on the threat… it’s the threat itself that inflicts the damage. It’s the threat that makes you question whether that “anonymous” person is as disturbed as their comments and pictures suggest.

> It’s the threat that causes fear.

> It’s the threat that leads you to a psychiatrist and tranquilizers just so you can sleep without repeating the endless loop of your death by:

> * throat slitting
> * hanging
> * suffocation
> and don’t forget the sexual part…

> I have cancelled all speaking engagements.

> I am afraid to leave my yard.

> I will never feel the same. I will never be the same.

Unfortunately, understanding how it works is not helping her alleviate the damaging effects of those horrible threats.

Was all this intentional? Was this somebody (or a group-effect) taking “play” too far without realising they had crossed a line into (a) illegal and (b) really damaging behaviour?

I don’t know the people involved here — neither directly, nor really indirectly. I’m not sure who sides with who, who hates or despises who, or what the history is. Reading Kathy’s post gives some ideas, but no real answers. I sincerely hope the person/people behind this are found out. What’s going on here is utterly unacceptable.

And Kathy, hang in there. We want to see you back amongst us.

Selected posts on the topic (updated as comes):

– [Way Way Over the Edge]( by Tim Bray
– [What is Wrong with Internet People? (or: Kathy Sierra vs. the Internet Creeps)]( (and also [The Downside of Having a Web Presence (or: Kathy Sierra vs. the Anonymous Web Thugs)]( by Joey deVilla
– [Death Threats Against Bloggers](!9592F3DEF41537A3!3314.entry) by Maryam Scoble
– [This is Unacceptable]( by Michael Arrington
– [Thank you Kathy Sierra, and Best Wishes!]( by Sean Osteen
– [Taking the Week Off]( by Robert Scoble (how much of this is a knee-jerk reaction? I personally don’t think it’s a good idea) **Update: check out [How Awful](**
– [Kathy Sierra Death Threats]( by Stowe Boyd (with some insider info)
– [Kathy Sierra Getting Death Threats, Internet Reaches New Low]( by Josh Bancroft
– [Patriarchy exists and we’re kicking its ass]( by Liz Henry
– [Disappointed]( by Shelley Powers (**context here!** *Yes, Shelley, some of us would really like more of this context thing…*)
– [Creating Passionate Users: Death threats against bloggers are NOT]( by John P. Daigle
– [Blogger Gets Death Threats]( by Frederic (comment on blogohysteria, the [blogmob I’m just noticing now](
– [Misogyny and anonymity]( by Seth Godin
– [Death and rape threats are criminal]( by Kevin Marks (more background information here)
– [Mere Anarchy]( by Frank Paynter (background on unclebob and meankids from one who set them up)
– “Joey” comments on Kathy’s blog: [one](, [two](, [three](, [four](, [five](; does this shed light on some horrible misunderstanding, or are they just [lies]( See also [Brent’s response to the first comment](
– [Safe havens for hate speech are irresponsible]( by danah boyd
– [It’s Awful. Yes.]( by MJ (about harassment)
– [re Kathy Sierra’s allegations](, by Chris Locke (his side of the story)
– [Mind Killer]( by Baldur
– [Memo to Kathy Sierra and Chris Locke: Shut Up]( by Jerry Bowles
– [Women as targets of violence online]( by Stephanie Quilao
– [The threats of death and sexual assualt]( by Eric Rice
– [The Unsinkable Kathy Sierra]( by Tara Hunt who has first-hand information
– [In defense of Chris Locke]( by Nick Denton (a bit ironic IMHO as the first VW post contributed to putting Locke’s role forward)
– [Was Kathy Sierra’s Life Threatened?]( by Lewis Green
– [Anonymity, Interpellation, Truth, Ignorance, and the Stakes]( by AKMA
– [Are Scoble & Sierra Wrong To Stop Blogging?]( by Piers Fawkes
– [A message to the techblogging elite]( by Michelle Malkin
– [Getting past the bottom of What Went Wrong]( by Doc Searls
– [I had Death Threats in High School]( by Chris Pirillo
– [Alan Herrell on The Meankids Mess]( by Stowe Boyd (Alan Herrell reports being victim of identity theft)
– [Kathy Sierra interview in MacWorld](
– [The Sierra Saga Part 1: Dissecting the Creation of the Kathy Sierra Blog Storm]( and [The Sierra Saga Part 2: Big Bad Bob and the Lull Before the Kathy Sierra Blog Storm]( by Jim Turner (good account of the facts so far, exact as far as I can say)
– [Intention, pain and webs]( by Tom Matrullo (background info on by a contributor)
– actually, [head off to Google Blogsearch]( or [Technorati]( for the latest.

**Update:** a little information about the [background to meankids and unclebob]( can be found on the blog linked to in this comment (look through the February archive too).

**Update, 28 March 2007:** please read my second post on this topic too — [Disturbed About Reactions to Kathy Sierra’s Post](

**Update, 30 March 2007:** for various reasons, I need to take a little distance from this whole sad affair (reasons like: not letting issues that do not concern me directly eat me up — and don’t make me say what I haven’t said with this, thanks). If I do bump into interesting links, I’ll keep adding them here, but please don’t expect this to be a complete list. It never was intended to. And it’s going to get spottier.

– (
– [Kathy Sierra—When Blogs Attack]( — with a poll
– [Not looking for sympathy or anything]( by Dave Winer: Everyone played a role in this, the people who stopped blogging, the people who threatened their friends, the people who called it a gang rape, and yes indeed, the mean kids. But they’ve paid enough. It’s time to welcome them back into the blogging world, and in a few weeks, ask them to reflect on what they learned. These are all intelligent and creative people, who have acted badly. But they didn’t deserve what they got.
– [In the Matter of Kathy Sierra]( by Ronni Bennett
– [It’s all about Control]( by Shelley Powers
– [I Own my Own Words, indeed]( by Tara Hunt (apology re [here](
– [Kathy Sierra, Meet Chris Locke. This is CNN.]( by Joey deVilla (Monday 6-9 Eastern)
– [Just a Few Words]( by Jeneane Sessum
– [Coordinated Statements on the Recent Events]( by Kathy Sierra and Chris Locke: Kathy Sierra and I (Chris Locke) agreed to publish these statements in advance of the story which will appear tomorrow (Monday 2 April 2007) on CNN, sometime between 6 and 9am on “CNN American Morning.” As used in the somewhat Victorian title slug, above, “coordinated” is meant to signal our joint effort to get this stuff online, not that we co-wrote the material you see here, or had any hand in prompting or editing each other’s words. We hope something new comes through in these statements, and that they will perhaps suggest more creative ways of approaching the kind of debate that has been generated around “the recent events” they relate to.

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Couverture presse: contente! [fr]

[en] Two press appearances I'm really happy about. One is a radio interview about the usefulness of blogs in a corporate environment. The other is a half-page article covering the talk I gave about the internet to parents of teenagers in Porrentruy.

Là, franchement, chapeau bas à [Jean-Olivier Pain]( (RSR1) et Sébastien Fasnacht (LQJ). Je suis absolument ravie [des résultats]( de la [fameuse (double) capsule]( et de la [couverture (une bonne demi-page si je vois juste!)]( de ma [conférence pour parents d’adolescents]( à [Porrentruy]( Bon, ça fait beaucoup trop de liens, ça. Ne vous prenez pas le chou et allez voir ailleurs:

– [Blogs et entreprises I & II]( à écouter directement sur le blog de M. Pain.
– [Bien connaître internet pour mieux fixer des limites aux adolescents]( de Sébastien Fasnacht sur le site du Quotidien Jurassien.

Ça me fait très, très plaisir. Si en règle générale mes [contacts avec les journalistes](/about/presse/) sont tout à fait plaisants, il est rare que je sois carrément épatée par le résultat final, comme ici!

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Demain, Capsule de Pain [fr]

[en] On the radio early tomorrow morning. And the day after. Not live, thank goodness.

Un mot rapide pour vous dire que je serai dans [la Capsule de Pain]( (RSR1) demain et après-demain matin (c’est tôt, vers 7h25 il paraît — nul souci cependant, nous avons enregistré ça il y a quelque temps déjà). Sujet: blogs, entreprises…

**Addendum:** vous pouvez écouter tout ça sur [le blog de M. Pain lui-même](

Aussi, pendant qu’on y est, Femina du week-end prochain. Ah, et la Tribune de Genève de jeudi passé (quelqu’un l’a?), et le Quotidien Jurassien de mercredi dernier, et de vendredi (?). Et RougeFM/RadioLac je sais plus quand. Et… je dois en oublier.

Un peu le déluge de journalistes ces temps, de nouveau. Va falloir remettre la page [Presse](/about/presse) à jour.

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Creative Commons and Ads on Blogs [en]

[fr] L'utilisation de contenu Creative Commons comportant une licence permettant uniquement une réutilisation non-commerciale des oeuvres n'est pas autorisée si le site a du contenu publicitaire. Logique, mais j'ai bien peur de ne pas avoir fait assez attention à ça jusqu'ici...

[Creative Commons]( and the limit between personal and commercial use came up in the conversation in the LIFT panel moderated by Philippe Mottaz.

Over the last months, I’ve had this question nagging at me in the background: if you put ads on your blog, are you allowed to use NC Creative Commons content or not? I kind of suspected the answer would be “no”, but kind of preferred not knowing for sure. A little chat with [Stowe]( just lifted my last doubts ([LIFT]( is good at lifting stuff).

Now: “ouch, have I made my clients aware of this or not? have I led them to mistakenly believe the answer was ‘yes’?” Need to check on that. And also take a closer look at third-party CC content I might have included on this blog…

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Rédaction d'infos pour [en]

Mon travail de rédaction pour [le thème internet de](, un site d’information et de prévention destiné aux adolescents, avance plutôt bien.

[L’association CIAO]( m’avait contactée il y a déjà bien longtemps, mais entre un job d’enseignante à quasi-plein temps à l’époque, des rechutes de [TMS](/tms/), et les débuts un peu sur les chapeaux de roue de [ma vie de consultante indépendante](, le rédaction a vraiment commencé au compte-gouttes. Mais là, depuis quelque temps, on a trouvé un rythme de croisière à coups d’après-midis dans leurs bureaux et de nombreux litres de thé de menthe assaisonnés de quelques gâteaux et chocolats.

Si vous avez un moment — et surtout si vous connaissez les adolescents de près ou de loin — votre avis sur ce qui est déjà en ligne m’intéresse grandement. Est-ce que ça vous paraît adapté, pertinent, adéquat?

Le thème est loin d’être complet. Seront mis en ligne prochainement des chapitres tournant plus autour de la “sécurité informatique”: virus, phishing, spam. Le reste attend d’être rédigé…

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Interview Online at BloggerView [en]

[fr] Hugo m'a interviewée par e-mail et a publié le résultat sur son blog.

[Hugo]( interviewed me by e-mail last week (or was it the week before?) I wrote up some answers during the jetlag time I had in Portland, so I really hope they make sense and I won’t be biting my fingers when I re-read the interview.

Head over to [lisbonlab]( to [read the interview online](

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"Learning Blogs": GWNG Meeting Presentation [en]

[fr] Présentation donnée vendredi passé au GWNG à UNAIDS.

Here are the slides I used as a backbone to my presentation of blogs as educational tools during the Global Net Manager Networking Group last Friday at UNAIDS. You can download them in three formats. As specified on the presentation, they are licensed [CC by-nc-nd](

– [20061215-gwng-learning-blogs.odp](/files/20061215-gwng-learning-blogs.odp) (OpenOffice Impress)
– [20061215-gwng-learning-blogs.pdf](/files/20061215-gwng-learning-blogs.pdf) (PDF)
– [20061215-gwng-learning-blogs.ppt](/files/20061215-gwng-learning-blogs.ppt) (Microsoft Powerpoint)

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