When Toby Richards sat down to chat with IT Business Edge blogger Ann All, the subject was the role of online communities in Microsoft’s support strategy. Asked how Microsoft manages online communities, Toby explained, that’s not the goal:

It’s unrealistic to think that, with the explosion of social media and the Web, we could ever control or even want to control the conversation. One of the ways we reach out to external communities is by awarding thought leaders and experts out in the field…the Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals. Those 4,200 people are spread across the globe in 90 countries and coincidentally in about 90 different technical areas. Some of them have their own communities, and a lot of them participate as experts in our communities as moderators.

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