Get social or Why don’t all developers blog?

Just cleaned out a lot of junk from my NetNewsWire feeds that I didn’t read and now I want to replace it with things I think I will read. One of the things I like to keep tabs on is development for products that I use. I have a group just for those companies whose products have made my life a little more easy or a little more enjoyable.

Since yesterday I’ve been peering into my Applications folder, looking through my System Preferences and glancing across my menu bar for third party products I’m using and then have been looking through their websites for blogs. Less than half have blogs and fewer than that are even available on Twitter or other social networking sites.

In my teens and early 20s I was in love with advertising. I wanted to be that Darrin Stephens guy sitting in the cool office thinking up that great ad campaign in a split second. I read tons of advertising and marketing books including one that still stays with me today: Ogilvy on Advertising.

In that book David Ogilvy repeats one of his most profound statements:

“You can never bore someone into doing business with you!”

That’s how I feel about the products I use. I want to know more about them, to learn something new, even if it’s just a quick little snippet about how a feature can work better for me.
One of my goals this month is to finally read through the BBEdit User Manual found under the Help menu. It’s more than 400 pages, which literally makes it a book to pore through but I’ll enjoy reading it because I’ll learn so much more about a product that I’m just barely utilizing to its full potential.

However, it would be more digestible and more engaging if I were reading a feed that told a story about one of the features or heard from one of the developers about how he’s improving a feature. My attention span is short and… what was I saying? Oh yeah… I like things in smaller chunks. Not Twitter size chunks but blog-size chunks. I have to remember to go pick up a book again but by the time I’m finished reading a blog post I know I’ve learned something specific.

So, who are the offenders without blogs? Or rather, who are the folks I’d like to see blog about their products? These are just a few:

BareBones Software: If ever a company needed a blog it’s the BareBones folks. They make amazing and useful products that are rich in features.

illumenX: The developer of my favorite blog authoring tool Ecto doesn’t even have a blog of its own!

SmithMicro: If ever a company needed a blog to keep me engaged with its product, it’s SmithMicro, current developers of Stuffit Deluxe. I haven’t upgraded lately and see no reason to do so anytime soon.

Panic: The makers of Transmit and Unison. Panic offers more products than these and tons of plugins. Unfortunately, the Panic folks also seem to think everyone knows what their products do judging by the lack of product descriptions on their website.

Growl: I’ve only recently taken the Growl plunge and I’m wanting to learn more. This application screams for a blog because of its huge collaborative effort and interface with other applications. The website is thorough but more must be bubbling under the surface.
Who are some of the developers that I follow publishing blogs about their products?

Microsoft: Natch. Most large companies don’t seem to do a very good job with their blogs. They’re all promotional. MacBU folks take turns posting about various products in their suite and the content is far from self-serving.

SmileOnMyMac: The makers of TextExpander and other products share experiences as well as product tips and information.

Shirt Pocket: This isn’t a very active blog but has had activity in the past few months. I’d like to see more about my favorite disk duper. Dave, I mean you!

Quicken: I’m not a financial genius but this blog doesn’t require me to be one. It’s also not Mac specific but the content is finance related, which is why I use Quicken in the first place.

Iconfactory: The makers of Twitteriffic don’t really have a blog, instead their home page is really their blog. All of their products are just very well done.

The first sale has been made. I already use these products. Advertising, public relations and word of mouth were well invested in getting me to choose them. But the next sale will be made by those who keep me invested and interested. Those who carry on a dialog with me via blogs, Twitter or other means stand a great chance of having me as an ongoing customer.

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