Microsoft_imouttahere_bigCould it be?? Yes, I think we’re there. It’s the second wave of corporate blogging. Things are starting to shake out. It’s our first peek at the ugly underbelly…  Turns out our window into the new transparent Microsoft via 2,000 employee blogs gives us a view that isn’t all, shall we say, a bed of roses.

Read about Microsoft at middle age here in BusinessWeek’s Sept. 26, 2005 cover story. Read BW’s sidebar: A Rendezvous With Microsoft’s Deep Throat. Then dive straight into the source of the story: Mini-Microsoft, the blog by an anonymous Microsoft employee, aka Deep Throat. The blog is a great read and pretty much “tells all” about too many meetings, sagging morale, the slow schedule of new releases, etc. It also mocks CEO Steve Ballmer’s relentlessly upbeat, non-answers to BW.

Interestingly, the anonymous blogger insists that he loves his juggernaut employer and only wants to make it a “lean, mean, efficient customer pleasing profit making machine.”  But then Mini (he admits he’s a man; that’s the only identifying detail we get) agrees to meet with a BW reporter at a Starbucks in Seattle.

I’m finding this fascinating. And I’m not sure why. But I think it’s this:

Perhaps there really is a connection with Deep Throat. Mark Felt met with Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein for a reason. Not for the psychic reward of helping with a “big story.” But because he felt a moral responsibility to expose malfeasance at the highest levels of U.S. government. He wanted the story to get told… and for something to happen as a result. And of course it did.

Hmmm… so what happens next at MSFT? Maybe I’m drinking the Kool-Aid myself when it comes to the power of employee blogs. But surely one thing is bound to happen… more companies will be crafting Corporate Blogging Guidelines. Close to 70% of companies do NOT have guidelines, according to the recent white paper on employee blogging published by Edelman & Intelliseek.

Useful Link

Microsoft’s Midlife Crisis in Forbes