Posted July 14th, 2004 @ 02:11pm by Erik J. Barzeski
Steve Rubel wonders why there aren't more Apple bloggers. It's a fairly deep question, and one with which I am uniquely familiar having been almost fired for penning this post at 8:04am when the official announcement didn't come until 11am or so. Never mind that the store had been announced in Billboard, the LA Times, Wired, and other magazines and newspapers a week in advance.
For example, as several commenters have pointed out, it's a curious thing that David Hyatt can not only blog, but he can blog about unreleased, unannounced products, features, bug fixes, etc. He didn't blog about Safari's RSS capabilities, but he's talked quite openly about things he's fixed in Safari or WebCore/Kit. He's blogged about the underpinnings in unreleased (but announced) software (Dashboard), and he's done it all without unnecessarily endangering Apple's ability to innovate.
David is an exception to many rules, though. First, he possesses the acumen to know what he can talk about and what he cannot. I don't know that this is a common trait. Second, he comes from and continues to work in a very "open" environment - one in which changes are committed back to a repository for all to see, and so forth. Blogging may have been in his contract for all we know. And so on…
I respect Apple's right to insist on a rather mum blogging scene. I may not agree with it, as I did not agree that I'd really blown anything in my linked-to entry above, but I respect it. Not everyone knows what's "blog-safe" and what is not. Comparing Microsoft to Apple is a moot point, as Microsoft is well-known for pre-announcing things they've yet to even begin working on simply to scare off competitors (a part of their masterful FUDabilities), while Apple tends to go for the "kazaam, check this cool stuff out, it's shipping in a month" approach (even though the products don't usually ship until three months later). Blogging is an extension of that - MS employees can talk about something they're doing in Longhorn (2 or 3 years away?), but Apple probably won't talk about Tiger beyond what was said in the keynote at WWDC.
Apple doesn't discourage blogs. After all, employees have outside interests as well, be they photography, design, music, art, etc. I've got 20 Apple employee blogs in my subscription list of 130. Do they talk about work? Not too much. But will they talk about work if I ask them? Not too much, actually. Loose lips sink ships, and I respect that.
Calls for Apple to "open up to bloggers" are somewhat silly in many regards. I'd rather Ali Ozer spend his time fixing bugs, improving AppKit, and helping people on the cocoa-dev mailing list than writing about how good the food was in the Caffé Macs (why that place has two "f"s in it I may never know). Wouldn't you?