On Talking to the Media

Sat, Jun 18, 2005

Once in a while I get approached by a reporter (either local newspaper or national business magazine) to comment on some story.  I'm really not sure why they approach a B list blogger like me (how long since I last posted?) but it probably has something to do with the fact that I'm one of the only bloggers that went from Microsoft to Google.  If there is a story that involves Google and Microsoft, my name seems to come up.

My standard answer to any requests like this is that I can't comment.  Here is the mail I sent in response to a message last night:


As much as I would love to help you out on your story, it is probably best for me to not comment on stuff like this. I want to keep my discourse on Microsoft (especially compared to my current employer) as positive as possible. I'm afraid that any thing that I might say would come across as "Microsoft bashing." This isn't just the Google PR dept. talking either -- I really want to take the high road.

I'm sorry that I can't be of more help. Good luck with your story.


The funny part is that talking to the media has absolutely no upside for me. If I had something important to say, I would much rather post it here on my blog and let people link to it and forward it around if they find it interesting. 

Reasons to blog over talking to a reporter:

  1. My voice gets through unfiltered.  No matter how hard they try, I've seen reporters misinterpret what I and others have said again and again.  I'm sure most of them think that they are faithfully transmitting the meaning of the primary source, but they invariably change the meaning along the way -- in some small (or large) way.
  2. I want the link traffic.  Flow is the currency of the blogging world.  Talking to a reporter gets me no flow.  Even when they mention my blog (rarely) they almost never link to it.  It seems like they just don't get how the web works.
  3. Talking to a reporter could get me fired.  Google really doesn't want me talking to reporters.  Blogging is walking a fine line that requiring a healthy dose common sense; but talking to reporters is suicidal.  The problem again is that what the reporter writes isn't necessarily what you thought you were saying.
  4. No mountains out of mole hills. Writing something on your blog that people find interesting enough to link to and pass around is hard!  The real time web (new name for the blog-o-sphere) is a very hard filter.  While the media can produce its own buzz, it takes real work and something truly interesting to make an impact on the much more democratic medium that is the true internet.

So -- reporters -- feel free to send me email.  I'll happily respond in a polite way.  But don't count on getting any comments out of me that I'm not willing to share on my blog.  And I'd much rather put them on my blog in the first place.