Interview with Robert Scoble

Ich bin seit jeher ein Geek, wenn es darum geht, neue Dinge kennen zu lernen – vor allem in der Technik. Über etwas schneller Bescheid zu wissen, gehört auch zu meinem Beruf. Die Blogosphäre eröffnete mir im Vorjahr ganz neue Möglichkeiten, weil sie weit schneller Nachrichten verbreitet, als dies bei traditionellen Medien der Fall ist.

Ich interessiere mich auch seit jeher für die Produkte von Microsoft. Und die wirklichen Microsoft-News bekomme ich mittlerweile weit schneller und umfassender von Robert Scoble’s Weblog als von den Leuten der Microsoft-PR. Scoble ist nicht nur ein Blogger der ersten Stunde, sondern einer der meist gelesen und meist verlinkten im Web. Darüber hinaus ist er – gemeinsam mit Shel Israel – Autor eines Buchs über Corporate Weblogs: Naked Conversations. Scoble wird manchmal auch „Chief Blogging Officer“ von Microsoft genannt – er ist der Motor von Channel 9, einem Videoblog über neue Produkte von Microsoft.

Demnächst mache ich eine größere Geschichte über die Blogosphäre. Was liegt da näher, als ein Interview mit ihm. In Print habe ich leider nur viel zu wenig Platz dafür. Andererseits will ich euch nicht so lange auf die Folter spannen. Hier das komplette Interview mit Robert vorab:

CC|Eric Rice

For how long have you been blogging and what’s so fascinating about it?
ROBERT SCOBLE: I’ve been blogging for more than five years now. I first started back when I used to plan conferences for a Silicon Valley magazine company. Two of my speakers told me we should do a session on blogging. Back then I could only find a few hundred blogs so I didn’t think it was that important but they convinced me to start one. Within a few days Dave Winer had linked to me, which brought 3,000 readers, and I got invited to Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak’s SuperBowl party and that got me hooked.

Why should any of our readers start to blog today or shouldn’t they?
SCOBLE: A good blog is passionate and authoritative. So, if you’re passionate about something it’s an excellent way to find people who are also passionate about the same topic. Why is this so? Because of search engines like Google, Windows Live, and Yahoo. Oh, and there are new blog search engines like Technorati which let people find you within minutes of you posting something.

In the German speaking area blogs have not really taken off. Why do you think there are much more bloggers in France than in Germany or Austria?

SCOBLE: My friends who are German say it’s probably because Germans tend to be more conservative, but I don’t really know. It might be because of how they are portrayed in the media.

Or might that because most people here think of blogs as exhibitionistic diaries?

SCOBLE: That could be it, yea. The mainstream media is very worried about blogs. They see bloggers as taking their jobs and also putting social pressure on them to get the story right. But, there are many kinds of blogs. Everything from executives at Boeing and Microsoft writing to children talking about their lives. That’s what I like about the medium. You can use blogs for a variety of purposes.

To what extend do you think blogs will once make newspapers obsolete? Podcasting Radio? And Videoblogs TV?

SCOBLE: That’s a difficult question. I don’t see them putting newspapers out of business. Newspapers are under attack for other reasons (their business models/advertising is being moved online). I think there will always be the need for news brands that people trust. Blogs are not edited before publishing so most people won’t trust them as much as the edited news that shows up in professional outlets.
That said, blogs have become a news outlet of their own. I regularly see stories reported on blogs weeks before I see those same stories in my local newspaper so there is something interesting happening here. Watch and you’ll find great tech news long before those stories will appear anywhere else. does the same thing for regular news and opinion.

And in 5 years?
SCOBLE: The number of blogs is still doubling about every six months so we’ll just see a lot more diversity of opinions.

PR and blogs: I do know the Microsoft pr-people in Austria very well. They are sometimes amazed what I know from reading blogs and watching channel 9. Don’t you think this could keep all the thunder from their product-announcements away?
SCOBLE: PR will need to massively change. My Channel 9 videos are getting 20 times the links of a standard press release. They also get more accurate information out to the world in a way that influentials and journalists like it. I try very hard to make sure I ask the same kinds of questions a journalist would ask if they came to Microsoft’s Headquarters and interviewed our employees. I work with PR professionals, though, to make sure I disclose things when they want them disclosed and not earlier.

When it comes to communicate with the masses, do you consider yourself as more influential than the pr-department?
SCOBLE: No, and they would find that idea funny. They still deal with the major news sources. Today the Chinese President is meeting with executives from Microsoft. That story is being reported all over the United States and the world and there’s not much I can do because I don’t have access, even though they are meeting about 200 yards from where I work.

So is blogging a good thing for every business? Isn’t there the danger of bringing secrets to the public too soon?
SCOBLE: There is that danger, yes. But we have very good information-sharing systems internally so all employees know when things are being disclosed.

Thanks for the Interview!