Blogs are great. Yep. I love blogs. But there is only so much you can accomplish with one. I can share useful announcements from Microsoft. I can share my own thoughts, my half-baked opinions. And that’s cool.. if you don’t mind that it’s me who always starts the conversation.
But what if you have something to say?
Sure, you can add it to the comments on my blog. But in a blog, the blog author is the guy or gal who starts the topic and drives the conversation. You don’t start anything.
Forums, on the other hand – online discussion threads – take it to the next level. They allow you to start the conversation. (NNTP? Newsreaders? Anyone? People are still using Outlook Express and even Windows Mail now to still keep up with the newsgroups, right?) And Microsoft has the TechNet Community Forums (for IT Pros) and MSDN Community Forums (for Developers) built for just such a purpose. Let’s put a platform together that lets everyone be both the questioner and answerer.. and we’ll even encourage and reward people (Microsoft employees, MVPs, subject matter experts.. ANYONE) to contribute, answer questions, and facilitate discussions. Whatever you want to talk about (within the context of the particular forum area, of course).
One of the communities I’m keen on contributing to is the group of people known as IT Managers. These are you folks who are just one or two levels up the corporate ladder from “individual contributor”. You’ve been on the front lines, and your experience and expertise has propelled you into a position of authority and decision making; managing people and projects. You’ve made the sometimes painful transition into these roles that require you to be up-to-date and always looking for ways to build and support the business. You’re often in the un-enviable position of being between your team of IT personnel who are asking for more, and their management and the business leaders who are asking them to do more, but with much less. And oftentimes this is a lonely position to be in. Who else in your company understands the pressures you have coming at you from three different directions: your people, your bosses, and the technology industry always trying to sell you on the latest and greatest?
Are you** one of those people? Would you like to have a voice, or at least get connected with other people who are doing your kind of work?
“Yeah, Kevin. I want to drive the conversation. I have questions for Microsoft. I have questions for other people like me. How do I… ?”
Wait. Don’t ask your question here. Ask it in the IT Management Forum. I’ll see you there. (I happen to be one of the forum owners and moderators.)
**And if you’re not the IT Manager, then you probably know someone who is. Do them a favor and send them an e-mail linking them to this blog post.
For example – I started this discussion thread this morning about an idea we’re toying with on running some IT Manager Live Chats. Using LiveMeeting as the connection, we’ll have a panel of experts discussing a topic and taking questions from attendees. I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas, rants, etc.