BBS: Betsy Aoki, Lawrence Liu and Josh Ledgard

The final session of the day. (Fingers, don’t fail me now!) And the crowd is thinning out. Only about half as many people as there were in the room this morning.

Microsoft and Social Media: Lessons Learned from MSDN Community Blogs and Channel 9. OK. Like most of the rest of the world, I use Microsoft software every day. (I’ve even drafted this introduction using Microsoft Live Writer at 30,000 feet on the flight from Toronto to Seattle.) They are everywhere.

And I just couldn’t resist a session in which Microsoft’s social media types – Betsy Aoki, Lawrence Liu and Josh Ledgard – talked about how they started their blogging initiatives at Msft and the lessons they learned from their experience.

Josh Ledgard said that the doors have been opened to enable customers to file bugs on Visual Studio. This has led to a better relationship with the community and to product improvements as the bugs have been dealt with.

Lawrence Liu said that a community has been established for SharePoint, maintaing contact with customers after the marketing campaign has concluded. For example, the Microsoft team drew on input from the community to produce enhanced documentation with screen shots, something which Microsoft doesn’t normally include in their documentation.

Lawrence Liu reflected on the difference between buzz and engagement. It’s possible to generate a lot of buzz, but more difficult to translate that into genuine engagement.

Betsy Aoki pointed out that the amount of blogging around Microsoft products by people who find bugs and suggest fixes and work arounds enables the company to focus their attention to other issues not fixed by the community.

Lawrence Liu indicated that he is hoping to poll community input on topics that should be covered in screencasts for SharePoint.

The panelists offered much more information that I haven’t captured. Sorry, guys, it’s been a long day and my batteries just ran down. Not it’s back to the hotel to recharge and prepare for day two.

See you tomorrow!