Yep, I bought it. Hugh, the witty creator of gapingvoid.com, has a commemorative coaster for Robert Scoble leaving:

http://www.cafepress.com/gapingvoid.61613406

Because I've been home sick with the "river crud" (when I can get the photos you will hear ALL about whitewater rafting with my rugged MSN co-workers), I have been reading the blogs to see the aftermath of this weekend's news.  

Doc Searls' post about companies being schwag was great.

"Have face will travel" by Nick Carr was perhaps the eeriest metaphor, with Dare Obasanjo's post about face transplants  being thoughtful and elegant followup. I will admit now that I am curious to see how Dare's blogging career goes once Scoble leaves - he is quite outspoken and just as Scoble came to the company positioned to talk about Longhorn/Vista, Dare is deep in the thick of the "Live" stuff.

However, as I've said to our internal bloggers email list, the power of corporate blogging is a power of the many. Scoble's media magnetism perhaps obscured all the good work that was going on among the 3,000+ bloggers this company has, but once he leaves, the light will shine on others.

Alex Barnett's post today made a great counter to a ZDNet news story that made me snicker quite a bit. "Microsoft abandons open source discussion " by Dana Blankenhorn was one of the stranger, least researched bits of journalism.... Scoble moving his blog happened quite some time ago. Jason Matusow blushed at his blog tardiness of late, but that's not reason to ignore CodePlex or any of the other stuff Alex tidily lists in his rebuttal. Jim Newkirk has hardly been twiddling his thumbs.

I think the ZDnet story though does bring home something about Scoble's function for the media (and having been a reporter once, I know the issue well). It is hard as a journalist to cultivate a "you are my source"  relationship with 3,000 bloggers, no matter how dedicated a reporter you are. If you don't live the technology, or even if you do, it's hard to boil down a lot of details from the aggregate into a news byte.

Scoble made it easy - he read everyone's blog every day, did a sort of managing editor roundup kind of function when he pointed out things of interest, as well as went out into the public eye and made contact with people who both loved and hated Microsoft. As a journalist, once you had Scoble in your rolodex, your task was made much simpler...you knew he was reading all of us and therefore maybe if you were pressed for time, you wouldn't have to. Scoble was personable, quotable, made the connections within the company for you and he was ubiquitous. The media needed a media magnet to make their lives a little easier and to explain this weird thing called blogging to them.

Now, alackaday, the news media will have to get more active about learning the REST of us. Who blogs for Vista, who blogs for Office, who blogs for Live in all its incarnations of services. I'm no longer the Microsoft Blog Queen, but I will say even in my old position it was hard to keep track of who was blogging for what topic, and frankly, our folks are intellectually feisty - they can blog all over the map if they want to. Technorati and Web search are your friends here. We await discovery! 

Live it vivid!!!