A blog by any other name would smell just as...well, nevermind

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Within SAS, we have a strong blogging community made up of SAS employees. Those of us who read or contribute to the blog content on the internal SAS web got a special "shout out" from Fortune magazine, within its coverage of SAS as the top workplace in the USA.

The print version of the magazine includes a sidebar titled, "An Army of Bloggers, 600 Strong", which discusses the SAS intranet with its cafe menus and work-life announcements, and especially the bloggers. Here's an excerpt:

More than 600 employees have their own internal blogs. They're typically used to talk shop. Chris Hemedinger writes the "Smells Like a Log" blog, which covers, among other things, unusual uses for the SAS programming language. One post discusses how SAS helped Kogi State University study "the effect of nut storage, nut size, and nut-soaking on nut-sprouting."

I'm accustomed to people thinking that I have a funny-sounding name, but I've never felt so conscious about the name of my internal-only SAS blog. Now that the blog title has appeared in a national publication, I feel like I've got some explaining to do.

I began keeping my internal SAS blog over 5 years ago. Blogs were definitely not a new thing, but it was still in an era when some people called them "weblogs". So it's a log, but on the web. Where does the smell come in?

I'm a software developer (okay, a manager who sometimes poses as a coder). Several years ago I wrote a code routine to examine the contents of a text file and determine whether it contained log output from a SAS program. What did I call the routine? SmellsLikeALog(). (It returns True or False, depending on whether the text file contained the markers for SAS log output.)

My colleagues thought that was a funny name, because (as any 4th grader will tell you) "smells like a log" has some hilarious connotations that have nothing to do with programming.

When I founded my internal blog and had to assign a title, "Smells like a log" was the first (and only) thing that came to mind. Blogs were a bit new at SAS, and I didn't think the title was going to have much significance. Who knew?

Now that I've told the story behind the title, I'm not convinced that the explanation will really boost my personal brand. But it's the truth, and I know that if you don't tell the truth to the media, the bloggers will ferret you out, expose you, and you'll wind up smelling...well...less than rosy.

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Chris Hemedinger

Senior Manager, SAS Online Communities

+Chris Hemedinger is the manager of SAS Online Communities. Since 1993, Chris has worked for SAS as an author, a software developer, an R&D manager and a consultant. Inexplicably, Chris is still coasting on the limited fame he earned as an author of SAS For Dummies.  He also hosts the SAS Tech Talk webcasts each year from SAS Global Forum, connecting viewers with smart people from SAS R&D and the impressive work that they do.

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