Advice to Bill Gates, newbie Blogger

Advice to Bill Gates, newbie Blogger

There’s a story that Billg is thinking about publishing a Blog. Jay Rosen has some good advice for him:

June 28, 2004

Dear Mr. Gates:

Welcome to weblog writing. Since you are the person who least needs my advice, I am perhaps the best person to give you advice on the matter of what your weblog should be about, and how to do it reasonably well.

Instead of, “I need a blog myself,” start at: I need a self to blog with. You are less likely to go awry that way. Jeff Jarvis of Buzzmachine says: know my blog, know me. This condenses into five words his experience of meeting people who said: man, you’re exactly like your weblog. Jarvis thinks there is something common to successful weblogs in that experience, and I agree.

Dave Winer, who’s been doing this a while, calls it, “the voice of a person.” (A group weblog: the sound of six people.) Joi Ito says: my blog is like my house. People hang out there because they like the atmosphere. Of course, the author has to be comfortable in the house first.

It’s the person that comes through. That’s what these authors are saying. Self filtered through world.

This is good advice. I know lots of people who have started Blogs and then run into trouble because they cannot find an authentic ‘voice’. That’s probably why many Blogs by teenagers don’t work — because they’re still forming as people, they don’t know who they are, and that uncertainty makes them unable to communicate. Thinks… Gates is unlikely to have that difficulty though.