Gates Says Blogs Are Good For Business

Blogging is entering the mainstream – Bill Gates thinks they’re a useful business tool, so expect one of your directors to pop up with the idea of corporate blogs at your next board meeting.

Blogs are online diaries, usually collections of links, thoughts and illustrations kept by one person who wants to share information about themselves or their enthusiasms. They can be purely personal, or a day-to-day update on a business project.

Gates says that blogs are a good way to share information, both inside and outside of organisations and have considerable advantages over older forms of communication such as email (email is old now?). Emails can miss out the right people or be too imposing, and websites are too passive. People forget to visit websites, and get frustrated when they make the effort to go there and the site hasn’t been updated.

The solution? A blog with an RSS feed. Real Simple Syndication is a feed that allows stories to be pushed to other sources like news readers and even other websites. This way, changes and new information come to the reader, not the other way round.

Over 700 MS employees keep project blogs, to share information and keep others up to date on projects they are working on.

Microsoft doesn’t have a blogging tool yet – but it can’t be long before one appears, tied in with MSN, Messenger and quite possibly FrontPage and MS Project.

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Simon Perry

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?