The Mil & Aero Blog
Thursday, December 20, 2007
  I'm learning something about you; yeah, I'm talking about you
Posted by John Keller

How shy you all are. I had no idea.

Obviously this is one of the perils of blogging in the business-to-business business -- you know, the business we're all in. Nobody likes to talk where they might be overheard ... no one except me, that is.

That's the way it feels, anyway.

I'm not going to talk about electronics, or electro-optics, or the military today. I'm going to talk about blogging. You all who aren't interested can get back to whatever else you're doing now, but for the rest of you who stay I really gotta put you on the hot seat. You're not talking to me, and I'm starting to feel very alone.

First of all, I know you're reading this blog. Yesterday -- not to brag, but to make a point -- The Mil & Aero Blog got 255 page views. For our community that's pretty good. Since we started our blog just last Nov. 27 we've had about 900 page views, and that number grows every day.

My problem, however, is nobody's commenting -- at least not on the blog. I write a blog about a new kind of electrical current, which in our community you might expect to generate some discussion. Nothing. I write a piece about tiny cryogenic coolers for on-board electronic components. This in an industry that's so obsessed about cooling that some say this issue is what could put Moore's Law to bed. Silence. On Pearl Harbor Day I wrote a personal reminiscence about the battleship USS Arizona and about a great piece I saw in the Wall Street Journal that talks about surviving artifacts from that ship that still exist out of the public view. Crickets.

I even got a nice e-mail note from the author of the Wall Street Journal story I cited, but I sure didn't get any comments on the blog. It's not just us, either. There are good blogs out there, and if ours is any indication, you out there are reading them with some enthusiasm.

Head over to the blog at Embedded Now, and read what Don Dingee and his colleagues are writing about. It's good stuff, but hardly anybody is commenting (except me; I am, in fact, jkellermae). I recommend the blog at VME Now, but go look. No comments. VME Now editor Chris Ciufo and his people have to be feeling very neglected. Aviation Week has an absolutely great blog called Ares: A Defense Technology Blog that I think you all would enjoy. Bill Sweetman can be pretty funny in print (he's not so bad in person, either) and he's worth a read. But look at the comments they're getting. Nada. And they deserve so much better.

You are shy guys and gals out there.

Maybe I've got something to learn that other bloggers in our community already know. Maybe, despite prodding, begging, and cajoling, you all just aren't the type to comment on blogs. If that's the case, I'll quit nagging you. But if you are the types to comment, then please get off your duffs, quit your lurking, and talk to me. I thought we were having a conversation here, after all. Let me know that I'm not in here all by myself.

Yes, it is a frustrating position to be a good blogger in a high tech world, but you have to remember that the audience you are talking to are not just shy, they are generally under mandate from their companies to not participate in blogging.

My particular frustration is on the PR side. There is less opportunity to get "ink" for clients now because the print world is contracting so rapidly. I've been pushing clients and potential clients to get into the blogging world, both as bloggers and commenters, to get their positions recognized. But the general response is "What's the ROI?" or "We're not ready to talk about that."

But that doesn't mean the blogging the journalists are doing are not valuable to the industry. You guys don't really have time to do the analysis and in depth reporting you once did. You don't have the time to sit down over coffee with reps from companies and build up relationships. But by throwing out these concepts on the blogs, you give us ideas about what you are interested in and how we can help you build stories.

For example, your cryogenic piece got me wondering about what was out there to keep onboard electronics cool. I discovered that there is the silicon-carbide semiconductor industry. It's been around for a couple of decades but is only coming close to being a profitable business model now.

The press generally has a better idea of what the market needs than do the marketeers in the tech industry. So if people like me can bring all three sides together (press, industry and market) than we can do alll do our job.

Keep it up, be patient. All will be as it should.
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