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Like many people that have spent time in my feed reader I first learned about Shel Isreal when Robert Scoble introduced him to the blogosphere. After reading Shels weblog for a bit I decided it was not for me and unsubscribed. When Shel and Robert kicked off the Red Couch project which subsequently became the book Naked Conversations I tuned back into Shel and followed their project with interest. The book has been one I have recommended to a number of people since publication as it serves as a good introduction to weblogs.

Over the last week a number of the same people have contacted me to chat about Shel’s open letter to Nick Carr questioning its ‘do as I say not as I do’ undertones and Robert’s post ‘trying to hold bloggers to 5 rules of what is a weblog’. While Shel chose to play the Rosie O Grady card Robert issued a mea culpa card. Based on Shel’s Les Blogs performance and his open letter to Nick he is not someone I would now recommend to people. Which is really a shame given the role Naked Conversations is playing in getting both internal and external conversations going.

To me all of the above incidients are classic examples of Doc Searls snowball that what currently exists is more akin to a speakers corner than a commons. Weblogs are taking hold behind the firewall within organisations as todays Peoples Daily piece on Ryoji Chubachi mentions. There is much to learn as the transition from speakers corner to commons takes place. The closing lines of this post from Jeff Sandquist, Roberts old boss at Microsoft, seems a rather appropriate note to end on for now. More to follow …

The funny thing is that when Robert worked for me we had these disagreements all the time. I think that’s a good thing and what a sad world it would be if we all agreed, all the time. Now that Robert has left Microsoft some of our discussions will happen out in the open.



  1. Sorry you feel that way. Bloggers are encouraged to show their humanity and I just showed some of mine. I hope at some point in the future you decide it’s okay to recommend me again.

  2. Hi Shel, thanks for dropping by. My personal interpretation was that both events had less to do with showing your humanity and more to do with impressing Mena in the first instance and Mike in the second. Something you needed to be called on. We are both very privileged to be living at such a special time. While Robert chose to speak with people you chose to speak at people. That to me has less to do with humanity and more to do with egology. With great privilege comes great responsibility Shel. Something I personally felt you needed to be reminded.

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