At The Inquirer Martin Veitch has just announced that Microsoft has strengthened its PR blogging credentials with the hiring of media blogger Jon Udell. Martin's edited IT Week for long enough to know how Microsoft's PR operation works, and has made a comparison to the way the organisation hired journalists in the 90s to bolster its online offering.
Now, Udell is taking on the job title Evangelist at Microsoft. This is pretty much Robert Scoble's recently vacated position. Robert, in my eyes, made Microsoft more transparent an organisation and appealed deeply to the company's geek audience (and we are seeing him do similar things in different ways at PodTech's ScobleShow). I hope to see more of this style of open discussion and publishing from Jon. Sure we will.
I'm often described as a leading-edge alpha geek, and that's fair. I am, and probably always will be, a member of that club. But I'm also increasingly interested in reaching out to the mainstream of society... On Jan 15, after a month-long sabbatical, I'll become a Microsoft employee. My official title will be Evangelist, and I'll report to Jeff Sandquist. He's the leader of the team that creates Channel 9 and Channel 10, websites that feature blogs, videos, screencasts, and podcasts for Microsoft-oriented developers... [Like Robert Scoble] I'll continue to be a channel for alpha geeks. But I also want to become a channel for a whole lot of civilians in the mainstream. And above all, I want to build bridges between these two groups.
What's interesting is when you look this up on Scoble's blog you see that Scoble used to model himself on Udell back in the day, he says. You can read and listen to Jon's announcement here and here's the Techmeme discussion. Jon's new boss Jeff Sanquist tells us he's known for too long... and blogging daddy Rex Hammock says that Jon will be his favourite Microsoft blogger.
Nice hire Jeff.