One of my worst traits is an assumption that everyone is already up to speed on any given subject. I tend to think fast, learn fast, move on fast, and of course talk fast. For a long time I have watched Jeremiah Owyang and been impressed with his willingness to slow down a little bit, digest things, and help his community digest them. Particularly in an area such as social networking its easy to expect everyone to know what a tweet is, or a poke or whatever. But in the real world people like basic, unpatronising How To guides. Crossing the chasm requires explorers and orienteers, sure, but it also requires sherpas, pack horses, base stations and so on. We’re climbing a mountain here. I think Jeremiah does a mighty fine job of helping the market up that hill. Not everyone is an edge case. Not everybody read and started living the Cluetrain when it first written. [there I go again- some of you don't know what the hell the Cluetrain is].
Recently friend of RedMonk David Churbuck of Lenovo called out Owyang complaining that he was “stating the obvious”.
“let’s step up the analysis and look at the hard questions, not the thumbsuckers”
I think that’s somewhat unfair. I would say Owyang writes for the mainstream. I don’t know who David is talking to but the idea that everyone in the industry is now happy to say good things about their competitors just isn’t true. There is plenty of nasty, small-minded, short-sighted, thinking going on out there. David uses the phrase in the trenches- the truth is its still often war out there. For every few that get it, many do not.
Jeremiah responded in just the right way, offering Churbuck a guest post. This is definitely worth reading because it gets specific about the challenges of being a change agent, responding to customer complaints as a blogger, and potentially impacting company policy in the process. Definitely an excellent question for any business looking to open up a bit and use blogging to humanise customer services.
But I think both styles have an important role to play. Churbuck is an edge case. Owyang writes for the mainstream. They both do a great job. I suggest you follow both.