Taking ‘authenticity’ too far in the blogosphere?

For over a year I’ve enjoyed reading Robert Scoble‘s Microsoft blog and was certainly aware that his work there provided a public, trusted face to a previously (and arguably) untrustworthy and monopolistic company. No question he helped sway me a bit that Microsoft was, in fact, working hard at changing the culture of their organization.

He also co-wrote a blogging book which I’ve enjoyed and heartily recommended, Naked Conversations, so much so that I felt compelled to post a parody called Hot, Naked Geeks.

I find he’s a guy I’d undoubtedly instantly hit it off with and would certainly find alot of common ground. This is a man that has laid bare much of his thought processes, real-time thoughts about the death of his mother while living that experience, and many other aspects of his personal life so much so that it makes me think about how far one should go with authenticity and making yourself human via a blog. But this baring of the essence of himself makes me like and root for the guy while otherwise I might’ve turned him off after leaving Microsoft (now I’m curious as to how he capitalizes on his new opportunity…more below).

Since he’s so remarkably plugged in with numerous people at the epicenter of next generation internet (due to his connection with Microsoft), it seems as though having his level of access, being able to vett thoughts and ideas by experienced, accomplished and thought leading people, would provide him with an acceleration of confidence that would come through in his blog.

It doesn’t appear to be so sometimes and occasionally I sense hand-wringing and sheepish self-esteem musings…

…and it’s caused me to think about my own revelations on this blog and wonder: How far should *I* go with baring my soul to be authentic? Or is it bare anyway and you think that’s apparent and I’m clueless about it? Does it even matter what’s churning inside of me when I talk, say, about some Web 2.0 company?

Scoble left Microsoft a couple of months ago and immediately started a new blog at his new employer (he’s now in charge of new media development at PodTech). I’ve followed the founder, John Furrier, since the inception of PodTech and certainly see how Scoble has an incredible opportunity to mold and shape the future of this “internetwork” of media creation.

There have been several posts he’s done recently (like this one and in the comments) where Scoble seems to be really open to the fact that he’s doing it (interviewing), in an enterprise software space he’s not comfortable in (which he talks about here) and that he’s hacking through the underbrush in an area that’s been explored before (journalism/media) but in new and different ways (via the immediacy of blogging).

There are lessons here for all of us that blog.

  • Yes, authenticity is THE most important aspect.
  • Building trust with readers equally so.
  • Forging ahead in areas outside of our sphere of competencies is imperative.
  • Just doing it is what separates achievers from those that just think about it.
  • Having the cajones to strip to the waist publically to hawk your book even though a modeling contract with GQ would be highly unlikely is an interesting study in risk taking and tells me something about his willingness to take risks.

Virtually every one of the nearly 200 blogs I follow daily share one common attribute: they are written by thought leaders in some discipline — or with a unique point of view — that enable me to learn and grow. With Scoble, it feels like I’m watching him evolve into a wise, seasoned new media guy and this isn’t here yet…but will unfold over time and, since this is happening to me (and you) too, I find it enjoyable to read his stuff.

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  1. Robert Scoble on September 13, 2006 at 6:02 pm

    Thanks! That’s very kind. It’s fun discovering what’s next. I do struggle with some of these issues. Mostly because of my fear of being seen as an idiot. Once I get over my fear of that all else seems to fall in place anyway.

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Connecting the Dots Podcast

Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.