Taking Control of the Conversation

I was very happy to read on Brian Flood’s blog (dead link) the other day that David Maguire had started up a weblog. If you have ever had a chance to talk, listen or read anything David has been involved with, you know he does a very good job of getting everyone excited about ESRI and GIS in general. I hope he’ll use his blog to focus on what ESRI is doing and has been doing over the course of their existence. Perfect case in point is the latest craze with Google Maps and Google Earth. I pointed out last week to everyone that was excited about Gmaps Pedometer that there was an ArcWeb Services application that was 100 times better and just as free. Gjermund has done a great job with Sportsim and he was kind enough to point out some new features he is working on. But even bigger than that has been the notice that my blog entry has gotten in the blogsphere. C.A.R. Report among others noticed the post (dead link) and featured it in their post on Gmap Pedometer. Without my post, I’m sure it would have gone unnoticed by them. (though they do call me a Google Maps naysayer, but I think I’m more of a Gmap Realist)

I hope David that you’ll be able to do more of this (as well as all ESRI bloggers). Weblogs are a really easy way to educate people to your products and with RSS Aggregators, people get that information as soon as it is posted, not when an email or magazine shows up months down the road. If ESRI can take control of the conversation about GIS, more people will better understand what you are doing and you’ll improve your relationship with your users. Sure, people will still make statements like “ESRI Sucks” but if you can directly answer them (take a look at my post about reading the blogsphere) you’ll be able to most likely change their opinions or at least discount them (the search “ESRI Sucks” is of great benefit). Google is using weblogs to increase their exposure and as I said in my post about ESRI and their PR battle it is something you should look into too.

Lastly David, you should read this article by Bob Lutz (who writes on General Motor’s weblog Fast Lane) which does a great job of explaining why corporate blogging is important and hits on some themes that I outlined above. I think we are all really excited to see some more ESRI bloggers and all of them should take advantage (after you recover for the UC) of weblogs and bring the discussion to the blogsphere.

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