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Pushing the Envelope: The ECHO Project

(ARCHIVED IN: Related Miscellany )

When I first got into doing weblogs, I kept hearing about something called "RSS" as a way to read web log entries. I didn't get a full understanding of it until a few weeks ago when I got an RSS reader. I'll save a better definition for later, but having an RSS reader is a little like checking email, except what you are reading are posts on web sites that you've chosen to subscribe to. It keeps you from having to visit each site to read the recent messages. The messages are "pushed" to you via the reader.

Feeling pretty good about my recent discovery, I felt like I was using a new tool that could change the way I use weblogs and news-related sites- I was at the forefront.

Then I heard about the ECHO Project on Sam Ruby's wiki site and learned that RSS is 5 years old, it's not fit well to web logs and should be left behind for something newer and better. So much for my discovery.

I don't claim to understand what's happening under the hood, but the elite tool makers of the web log world appear to be assembling around "Project Echo" and working to take the concept of RSS to a new level.

They are out to define a new and standard way for weblogs to push their content to subscribers.

This is exciting and all, but what fascinates me is seeing the envelope being pushed so far. I'm not interested so much in the technology or the specification. What interests me is the willingness of competing weblog tool makers, already on the bleeding edge of social technology, to work together on a project like ECHO. They are (for the most part) working collaboratively and as a community, despite some conflict and politics.

Of course, I totally support the project myself. I think that something like RSS could be a mainstream technology soon and Project Echo is making steps in that direction by creating a standard.

Via: Corante on Blogging

Weblogs and High Rankings in Google

(ARCHIVED IN: Weblogs and Business )

I am constantly amazed by the power of weblogs in getting high Google search rankings. For example...

On my personal blog, I documented the process we went through to install crown moulding in our bedroom. It was only one post and it's not the focus of my site by any means. I titled the post "Crown Moulding Installation."

If you go to Google and search for "Crown Moulding Installation"- my post is the first result you see. This amazes me because there must be hundreds of sites out there that document how to install crown moulding from fully qualified professionals. Yet, my site, the site of a home improvement amateur is the first result.

The reason is rooted in how weblogs work with Google. Google likes sites that are updated often and linked-to by other web sites. Since both of these attributes are common with weblogs, weblog sites get a lot of "Google Juice"- meaning the power to get high rankings in Google searches.

The same is true with my friend Anthony, whose weblog post is the first result in Google when searching for a review of Apple's new i-Pod accessory, the i-Trip. Like me, he is just someone that decided to post their review of something cool on his weblog. He's not an official reviewer, but he has a weblog, so he has the power to get higher rankings than other sites.

Related Info:

MicroContent News: Google Loves Weblogs
MicroContent News: Google Bombs
Check your site's Google Juice at Technorati

Final note: Each site I've linked-to above is getting a little more Google Juice from this post- increasing their power to get higher rankings.


Howard Dean: Leveraging Weblog Technology

(ARCHIVED IN: Related Miscellany )

I will not delve into the politics of the upcoming 2004 election here, but I will say this: We are going to see weblogs and online discussion become a part of the process on a large scale and the candidate who leverages technology most effectively may reap the biggest rewards.

Howard Dean has an official weblog that is part of his DeanforAmerica.com website.

It's interesting to me to see a politician use a blog a part of his official website, right along with Pressroom, Biography, etc. He doesn't post there, but it's a group blog of his campaign.

Recent quote: "On Monday, I stood in Burlington, Vermont and said that my campaign-our campaign-was built on 'mouse pads, shoe leather, and hope.'"

Like I said about the DOD in the previous post, this kind of thing brings more legitimacy to the weblog as a tool in organizing and educating people around a subject or cause. Businesses take note, there is a better way to communicate your message- and it's not a press release.


Chatting in Iraq: The DOD and Online Chat

(ARCHIVED IN: Related Miscellany )

FCW.com: DOD chat use exploded in Iraq

The U.S. military, especially the Navy, relied heavily on chat rooms as a means of communication during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Although the technology performed admirably, it poses new challenges.

I think this is good for the progression of social software into businesses. Like so many innovations before them, online communication tools may need to pass the military test in order for conservative businesses to see them as something they can really use. Perhaps the military’s successful implementation of these tools will spur business leaders to take a new look.

But, as the article relates, it wasn't 100% successful. The consolation is that it is new and relatively untested. I'd be willing to bet that it worked enough to figure out a way to make it work better in the future. Some of the problems in the article:

Sorber said coalition forces found that the simplest knowledge management tools, such as chat, worked best during the war, but they also have built-in limitations. These include:

* They are unable to effectively handle large amounts of information.
* They lack automation tools that can turn information into knowledge.
* The procedural controls delay the automation tools' capabilities.

Wired wrote a similar article that I commented on at leelefever.com.

A funny quote from that article:

"What's funny about using Microsoft Chat," he adds with a sly smile, "is that everybody has to choose an icon to represent themselves. Some of these guys haven't bothered, so the program assigns them one. We'll be in the middle of a battle and a bunch of field artillery colonels will come online in the form of these big-breasted blondes. We've got a few space aliens, too."

Via: Corante Many-to-Many

How Andy Bourland Fights the Power

(ARCHIVED IN: Weblogs and Business )

So you made millions in the Internet boom and you recently acquired two organizations doing great things with online communication. You wanted to make a formal announcement at the right time, but the story got scooped before you could stop it.

What do you do?

You start your own blog, like Andy Bourland did, so that you can tell your side of the story.

Cheers to Andy Bourland for being one of the first to invest in an organization using Weblogs and for stepping into the fray himself. It will be interesting to watch how he uses his blog as his new company evolves.

What is a Weblog?

(ARCHIVED IN: Technology in Plain English )

First my best definition: A weblog is similar to a diary or journal that is organized, managed and made available through a web site. Using a weblog, a person can post information to a web site on a regular basis and have their posts archived, searchable and categorized for easy reference.

Second, I've created an illustration that relates the value of weblogs...



Let’s pretend for a minute. Sit back and imagine writing in a journal on a regular basis wherever you go with pen and paper. Whenever you feel like it, you write down what interests you and where you saw it. Over time, your journal becomes a representation of you, your interests and where you go to find interesting things. With every entry, it grows and becomes more valuable.

Now, think about finding a large group of people that keep journals just like you.

  • What if you could exchange journals with these folks, at any time, quickly and easily?
  • What if others could make notes in your journal and you theirs?
  • What if the journals contained references to each other that allowed you to find even more people and relevant information?
  • What if informal groups of journal keepers found each other and worked together?
  • What if there were thousands of journals of all shapes and sizes that were available for you to browse?

  • Do you think that you could learn from the other folks through their journals?
  • Do you think you could get to know them better and respect their viewpoint through their journals?
  • Do you think you could find people with whom you have many things in common?
  • Would you feel like you were a part of something interesting and perhaps powerful?

Ok, back to the real world. The example above is my way of describing the value of weblogs and being part of the weblog community.


  • Instead of keeping a journal, webloggers accumulate their posts on a web site that is searchable and categorized for easy reference. The newest post is always at the top.
  • Instead of exchanging journals, webloggers visit each other’s web sites.
  • Instead of writing notes in each other’s journals, webloggers leave “comments” on each other’s posts.
  • Instead of journals referencing each other, weblogs contain clickable links to web sites and predominantly other weblogs.
  • Instead of being journal keepers, webloggers are part of an informal community that is growing very fast and organizing around special interests.

As you might imagine…


  • Weblogs enable people to find and learn from each other
  • Weblogs enable people to build relationships through common interests and points of view
  • Weblogs enable people to build a community of consistent readers around their weblog.
  • Weblogs provide a way for a person to easily publish their writing for everyone to see
  • Weblogs allow people to have a voice and power without an organization behind them

As an example, remember that this post is in a weblog. Consider the points above and notice the organization of the posts on this page, the comments section at the footer of each post and the overall layout of the site. You'll see that categories organize content on the right and I try to link to others as much as possible.

I’ve provided some related links below for your reference:

Other definitions:

David Winer
The Gaurdian
Powazek.com (discussion archived during 2000-2001)
LooselyCoupled.com
Rebecca Blood: History of Weblogs essay:
Gyfrod.com

Tools of the Trade:

Moveable Type
Blogger
Radio Userland

Popular Weblogs:

Instapundit Political/personal
WilWheaton.net Entertainment/personal
Where is Raed? Iraqi
BoingBoing.net Group News blog
Technorati Top 100 blogs Listing of most popular

And finally, my personal weblog is here.

New Category: Technology in Plain English

(ARCHIVED IN: Technology in Plain English & This Site )

This category is my attempt to provide alternatives to "geek-speak".

Like many industries, web technology certainly has its own language and technologists speak it fluently- I call it "geek-speak". However, unlike many industries, ordinary people are needing to understand what the technologists are talking about. Unfortunately, geek-speak leaves many of these folks feeling dumbfounded and feeling like a "dinosaur". I feel this way from time-to-time myself.

In my mind this is counter-productive. I love to see new technologies adopted by the non-technical and we can't expect for a technology to reach a tipping point unless the average Joe can explain it.

So, that is why I'm making this category a part of this site. I want to provide an ongoing resource for ordinary people to be able to understand what the technical world of the web takes for granted. I will do my best to describe technology in plain English.



More Momentum for Corporate Weblogs

(ARCHIVED IN: Weblogs and Business )

The New York Times recently published an article called "The Corporate Blog Is Catching On" (registration required). It profiles a number of executives that have blogs and believe in their utility. And, it doesn't contain real links, so I've included real links below for you...

I really believe that there is a place for weblogs in corporations, but it will take a while and some more positive examples before business leaders will agree to having a blog or let their employees create blogs under the corporate banner. The folks in the article are the some of the first to jump in- and they are mostly tech-related, as you might guess.

Here are links to executive blogs and quotes from the article :

Alan Meckler, CEO of JupiterMedia- Described his blog as "a diary of the ups and downs of trying to do something monumental."

James L. Horton, senior director at Robert Marston & Associates. Check out his paper in .pdf format: "PR and Blogging- How to Think About It"

Tim O'Reilly , president of O'Reilly & Associates. "...views blogging as a way for chief executives to do an end run around the company's public relations firms and "glossy brochures" and speak directly to customers and vendors."

Christopher Ireland , the chief executive of Cheskin "...vetoed a proposed newsletter this year as "too tired and overused" and instead created a space on the company Web site for employees' blogs." Also, Check out the prominent display of "weblogs" on the Cheskin home page.

John G. Palfrey , executive director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at the Harvard Law School. "Once you get to the point where lawyers review everything in a blog, it ain't a blog anymore"

Ray Ozzie, chief executive of Groove Networks Check out Groove's Corporate Blog policy.

It's good to see these folks coming out and saying that it works for them. It won't be long until more traditional businesses see that blogs give a corporate web site a real voice. It allows cutomers to see the real people behind the marketing.

My Intentions for This Weblog

(ARCHIVED IN: This Site )

I was inspired by a recent post at Plasticbag.org titled “My obligation to you”. It was a bit of a rant about how the site is his to do with what he pleases (apparently people have been telling him what to write). It inspired me think about how I intend to use this weblog...

This weblog is the voice of me as a professional. Being a professional, I have a niche and this weblog is related directly to that niche- it represents the thoughts, ideas and observations that make up what I know about my profession. I don’t claim to know it all and I will likely be wrong or misinformed from time-to-time. I am a person and I will make mistakes- I just hope that readers will help me learn when I am wrong or inconsistent.

This weblog will be a resource for people that are interested in discovering, implementing and managing online communication tools. You won’t find a lot of information about my dog, a new restaurant in Seattle or rants about my personal life. This site is focused on my profession- it is my way of providing information for professionals like me. If you want to know about me personally, go to leelefever.com.

This weblog will be a networking resource for me and its readers. I want visitors to leave comments and send emails. I want discussions to occur regarding what I post. I want visitors to get to know one-another through these discussions.

This weblog will be written in the language of a lay person. I feel strongly that a key to my success is being able to relate technology and technical concepts to people that are not educated or well-versed in technology. I think that the language of technology is very much focused on technologists. My goal is to make communication technology easy to understand for people like my Mom.

This weblog will be a repository for my thoughts, opinions and knowledge. I will not hoard what I know and I will try to remain as unbiased as possible in what I write. Of course, I am motivated to promote my services and any reader of this site should be aware that one of my goals is to generate business for Common Craft.

Lastly, my overall and far-reaching goal with this weblog is to increase the understanding and acceptance of the Internet as a communication tool. There is a world of people and organizations that are looking for ways to use the Internet to work and communicate better and I want this site to help them see new opportunities.

Blurring the Line Between Weblogs and Discussion Forums

(ARCHIVED IN: Weblogs and Business )

Mark Carey at Web Dawn has set up his weblog to look like a bulletin board or discussion forum - with the entries organized into columns and rows with the number of comments displayed with each blog heading. This simple reformatting shapes the perspective of the reader and puts some of the focus on the discussion as opposed to the writing of the blogger.

Blogging Goal: Readership?

One of the first things that got my attention regarding weblogs was the potential for an individual to build an online community around their site and their writing. If they publish interesting and provocative entries in their blog- a community can eventually form around them.

This happens all the time in the world of Weblogs- they get a community of devoted readers who link to them who and come back regularly for more perspectives from the person behind the weblog. This is the goal of web logs, right? Readership?

I would think that every blogger wants to see more readers. The blogger gets satisfaction and validation that what they are writing is appealing to a community of people out there. The style of the normal weblog reflects this viewpoint- where the author's content is primary and the comments/trackbacks are secondary or auxiliary.

Alternative Goal: Discussion?

Now, check out the forum view at Web Dawn and think about what seems most important in this view. To me, viewing a blog in the style of a bulletin board shifts (some) of the focus from the author to the participants. The focus becomes a nearly-equal combination of the author's content and the subsequent replies.

These two alternatives illustrate a choice for bloggers depending on their goals for their blog- and I think it's evolutionary. Bloggers would not start a new blog with the forum view- it would be useless. But, if discussions began and became high quality and popular, a forum view might provide the blogger with another level of visitor participation that isn't possible with a normal blog view. Visitors would start to see the blog as a discussion forum where the participation of the visitors drives the value.

It's really interesting to me how co-opting the forum discussion style can affect perceptions of the goals and focus of the blog. I'll be interested to see if more bloggers start to use a forum style and if blogs start to morph into online communities in the future. Or, are the already online communities?



Tips for Writing Effective Community Announcements

(ARCHIVED IN: Online Community Building & Original Writings )

In my previous life as an online community manager, something I thought was a really important role for me was communicating regularly and clearly with the members through announcements. A community leader needs a voice and the announcements can be the best tool to get that voice to the members.

Here are some of things I've considered over the years when creating an announcement:

  • Assume the member is too busy to read your post- get their attention quickly. No "At XYZ, we care about your membership". People will tune out.
  • Let them know if anything is required of them or why they should read the announcement right up front.
  • No long paragraphs. Break ideas into chunks of 2-3 sentences.
  • Cut the crap. Write what you want to say and cut the unnecessary bull.
  • Don't be scared to use bold underline italics and font sizes. But- don't overdo it.
  • A great way to add emphasis is using asterisks. I *love* asterisks.
  • Be consistent with formatting, if you bold one title, make sure to bold them all if they serve the same purpose.
  • Use a horizontal rule to separate sections
  • Use links when you can. If you tell about something, try to link to it. I prefer to link directly to a specific page and not the homepage- though your Marketing dept. may not agree.
  • Use email links and look for ways to autofill the subject line. If I want people to email about something specific, I code it so that the subject line is filled in with what they want. Like this: Click here if you think I'm a huge nerd
  • Develop a consistent style or tone to your communication; address the members the same way, write in a consistent tone and format.
  • Perhaps most importantly, be yourself. You want the members to trust you and they'll trust a real person before they'll trust a company.

I think announcements are absolutely essential in managing an online community- it's the management's primary resource for communicating with members as a group. If you can connect with them and build their trust through posting usable announcements, you'll have folks that are ready to help you accomplish your goals.

Customer Communities: Negative Feedback can be Your Friend

(ARCHIVED IN: Online Community Building & Original Writings )

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On the ride home from work last Thursday, I was listening to NPR (National Public Radio) and the hosts shared messages they received from listeners regarding NPR’s recent Iraqi war coverage. I can’t remember the quotes, but the reviews were predominately negative. I remember words such as sickening, atrocious, disrespectful, disgusted and surprising.

These words read on the radio clicked with me that day. They set off a thought in my head related to online communities of customers and the role of negative feedback in customer community building. Here is what I thought…

There is a reason NPR reads these comments on the air on a regular basis. I know little about radio or broadcasting but I think there is something powerful occurring when negative comments are shared in this way. I felt a new respect for NPR’s forthright honesty and a connection with other listeners that I hadn’t felt before.

Negative Comments Provide Voice

These comments represent the voice of the listener. When I heard the comments on the radio, I knew the stories of which they were speaking and I felt the same when I heard them. I instantly felt connected to the other listeners, we experienced the same feelings; we shared the same perspective. By reading these comments on the air, NPR helped me feel like I was connected to their community of loyal and concerned listeners.

By inviting listeners to share their criticisms and then reading them on the air, NPR is saying “Here we are, warts and all. We will never please everyone, but we are listening and doing our best. To show you that we are aware of our listeners’ opinions, here is what people are saying…”

This gesture is nothing new to the media. Take a look at almost any magazine and you’ll see some sort of “cheers and jeers”. I believe this type of feedback-made-public is representative of an effective way that companies can benefit from online communities of their customers.

Perceptions on Customer Communities

It is a perception that online communities of customers can be risky because they may backfire and become a liability. Some of the common concerns may be: “What if they bash us in front of all the other customers?” “What if it turns into a complaint forum?” “How can we make sure it doesn’t turn negative and change perceptions of all our customers?”

I think this is true across many companies who consider building an online community and is a valid concern. The thought of bringing customers together and giving each customer the ability to be critical in public sounds like a recipe for disaster. In some cases, it certainly can be. However, I strongly believe that what companies instinctively want to avoid regarding customer communities can be their greatest asset.

The Hidden Asset

A couple of years ago, I was inspired by the irreverant web site and book The Cluetrain Manifesto- it helped me define my perspective on this subject. Here is what I think is a good, albeit casual response to the common fears regarding customer communities: “Look at it this way. Assume your customers are going to talk about you no matter what you do. When they talk, they are going to talk about what is wrong and what they don’t like about your company. You have a choice: you can let them continue talk using their own network and let the negativity multiply blindly, or you can sponsor a network, become a part of the discussion and show the customers what you’re doing to help.”
Overall, here is the crux of my point:


  • Negative comments may be a symptom of a problem that all customers experience

  • By allowing these comments to flow, you learn and help all customers feel that they are being heard

  • By giving them a common voice, they feel unified and connected to one another

  • By promoting and responding to these comments honestly, you can become a connected part of the network

  • As members of the same network, you can build trust and loyalty by demonstrating that you are aware of problems and working to change things for the better

  • If you can build trust and loyalty in your customer base, you’re on your way to being more successful



The alternative is to pretend that customers are all perfectly happy and spreading the good news wherever they go. This strategy is much less risky, less costly in the short term and much easier for the board to stomach. Plus, “that’s the way it’s always worked and we’ve done fine”- what Seth Godin would sardonically call a “winning strategy”. I would agree with Seth that today’s winning strategies can easily become tomorrow’s liabilities.

Like NPR reading negative comments on the air, companies have an opportunity to view negative comments in online communities as a new chance to connect and serve customers. Just like the connection I felt to other listeners when negative feedback was voiced on the radio, customers feel connected when they realize they are not alone and someone is speaking for them.

If customers choose to be critical, their comments should not be hidden or diverted, they should be shared because they may represent a silent majority that is looking for a voice. By giving customers a voice and responding to them in a community, companies can build a valuable and irreplaceable foundation of trust and open communication. Using this foundation, customers can become more enabled to help companies make real improvements that make a real difference.

Leaving Yahoo! Groups: Switching Online Community Platforms

(ARCHIVED IN: Online Community Building & Original Writings )

(This entry was originally posted on my personal site at leelefever.com on March 3, 2003)


I believe there are a number of list owners on Yahoo! Groups who are looking to move their groups to another platform. This article provides some thoughts and considerations on how this transition can occur successfully.


Disclaimer: I do not work for Web Crossing or sell their products.

 

Choosing a Platform

One of your first goals should be to look at what your members like about Yahoo! Groups. Then, you can emulate the things they like and get rid of the bad stuff. Emulating what they like and keeping things very simple in the beginning will help them see value quickly. Then, over time, you can roll out all the cool stuff that a real platform provides.

You might be surprised that there aren’t many vendors out there saying "Hey! We can substitute for Yahoo! Groups and do a lot more!"You’d think there would be a great market for people who had grown to loath the advertising and one-size-fits-all orientation of Yahoo! Groups.

You might look at vendors like Prospero, PeopleLink, Communispace, etc. They have really impressive platforms- but you are the only one who knows what you can afford and what fits your needs. I have had an excellent experience with Web Crossing in moving from Yahoo! Groups.

Below are some examples of features you might consider in moving away from Yahoo! Groups.


  • Email Integration- Digest and Individual email capability (perhaps the most important factor)
  • Full integration with your web site's look and feel
  • Full content ownership
  • Attachment Support
  • Polling
  • Choice of discussion organization
  • Member profiles with pictures
  • Who’s Online? functionality
  • Customizability- The ability to change all the copy on the site, all the buttons, everything.
  • Affordability

Keeping the members happy(top)

You might already know that switching online community platforms can be treacherous- it can easily kill culture and disillusion members. It changes the “place” of the community, the very foundation. For a smooth transition, you need to figure out how to make the process almost seamless for the members.

Spend time watching and listening to the members- you need to define what is important to them and ensure that those things make the transition and even improve on what they already use.

One of those factors may be email. Many Yahoo! Groups operate on email predominately- like a listserv. To keep this functionality going may be your biggest obstacle. Remember to check into how many members are on Individual Emails, Digest, or Web Only. In the transition, you may be forced to pick a single delivery method as the default- so it should match what most users prefer.

What to keep, what to remove? (top)

Before you start to set expectations with the members, you’ll need to figure out how the web site would be organized, what options the members will have, etc. For most vendors out there, this may become an exercise in elimination. Many platforms come with an overwhelming assortment of options and you’ll need to concern yourself with not overwhelming the members on day one.

Your focus should be on the new site behaving much like the tools your members use on Yahoo! You can start with a very simple and usable system and build in cool features once the members have gotten used to the site.

You want to avoid overwhelming the members with options and tools. Simple simple simple, easy easy easy.

Educating Members (top)

Once we have a strong idea of how the new system would work, consider designing communication that will alert and educate your members prior to the transition. Be clear about what will happen, what will change and what, if anything, is required of them. Then, try to transition them without them having to *do* anything. If you can, design it where the average member would be receiving emails from Yahoo! on one day and from the new community the next. Seamless transition.

In conclusion (top)

Overall, I think clear and usable communication is the key. Members need to understand what is happening, why and how. They need to trust you. Then, the site has to easy to understand for the new member. The core functionality has to be simple to use- hard to question. Also, the site must be nimble- listen hard to members and make changes for their benefit. Look at things through a member’s eyes.

Lastly, assume that things will change- you may lose important members and your culture may change. By changing platforms, you are building for the future. Expect some pain the beginning and be prepared to explain the reasoning behind the change and why, over time, it will be good for everyone.

~Lee

How to Succeed as a Blogger

(ARCHIVED IN: Weblogs and Business )

I met Howard from Howard's Musings last week at the Seattle Weblogger's Meetup. He's been blogging since 1999 and has some funny and interesting things to say about becoming a blogger and what it takes to succeed. Check out this entry.

Below are Howard's points on "What it takes to Succeed as a Blogger"


  • Write well
  • Be early
  • Be smart, funny, and opinionated
  • Make friends with other bloggers, preferably A-list bloggers
  • Violently disagree with A-list bloggers
  • Be consistent, surprising, and at least somewhat extreme in your views
  • Update frequently
  • Leave comments on other sites that link to your site
  • Be a link whore
  • Have an RSS Feed

Remember also how people operate. They're going to hit your site either through a link from another site or through a search engine. This is going to point them directly to your entry. If they're half-interested after reading through your post, they'll click on the name of your blog at the top to see what you're talking about now. Here's where that consistency thing helps immensely. If you're focused, you'll have a post that's similar (and more timely, if they're coming from Google) to what they've just read. Now you'll have them hooked.

I think these are good points to keep in mind, for me particularly, as this is one of the first posts of this site and generating traffic is pretty high on the list of priorities. Thanks Howard.

Welcome to Common Craft.

(ARCHIVED IN: This Site )

Welcome to the Common Craft website. Content will be coming soon. Until then read my last post from LeeLefever.com

Business Blogs without Blogging
Pop Technology
Dave Pollard's artilce here helped me get my arms around one way that blog publishing could be integrated into a normal business process. But, as Christopher Key put it in the comments of the post :

"...most of the local business people wouldn't have the slightest idea of what you're talking about."

Oh so true. This is the biggest problem with so many of these ideas and concepts- they don't easily resonate with the people who will eventually need to pay for them. For the average Joe manager out there, it is too new, or too geeky, or too technical or too experiemental.

That's why I like Dave's idea of the process of publishing blogs being imbedded into normal work patterns. He outlines a way for workers to do what they do normally- but have the ability to make the information archived for everyone else to search, see and use. It's creating blogs without blogging.

Here's how I would explain one of Dave's ideas regarding a way businesses can use web logs for knowledge management:

In many businesses, people are sending electronic information back and forth and creating information for their own use. Some in email text, some in files, some saved on their computer or network.

Access is limited- the information goes to the intended recipient(s) and stays with them- no one else necessarily has access to the information in an organized fashion.

In Dave's analysis, the person sending/saving the information could be given a choice when they hit "send" or "save" and that choice would be whether or not that information should be open for everyone to see.

If they choose "yes" the information would automatically become a web page that is stored and organized with everyone else's information in an organization-wide database/portal. The database would categorize and rank the information according to how the organization uses the information. This basically makes the information available for everyone in the organization to search and access easily.

The key to me is that the worker would not consciously have to create and maintain a web log. Their weblog is just a collection of what they have been working on lately. I think it could create a knowledge base that is built around what everyone is doing anyway- the worker doesn't really have to *do* anything but choose to share.

Of course- now all we need is affordable and stabe technology to get it all done.

Via: Many-to-Many