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Giving Up Traditional Blogging

As the year closes I've been thinking about my bloging. I've been fairly consistent in my posting, although slightly down in number this year versus last. So it is time to consider where my blogging is going and where blogging itself may be headed.

I'm seeing signs that blogs are declining in usefulness and utility as they are pushed into activities they are not suited for.

I'm also ready to give up part of my blogging and move on and forward. There was a time I enjoyed forums, although I found I could never track back to my contributions. In retrospect that was one of the elements that got me blogging, However blogging is also an individual pursuit and repository. It's great for being part of a "tell-em" world, blast it out, maybe you will get noticed, maybe ignored. Don't get me wrong. Going Blogging was one of the most rewarding things I've done in the last few years. It has connected me with wonderful people all over the world. It's brokered many a new introduction. Still I'm planning on giving up my blog in the new year. I'm migrating away from being just a blogger.

Instead I plan on being a more collaborative contributor. Oh I want to own my own words, and I hope create and nurture new pages to life. However, they shouldn't stop there. For the most part a blog is a static repository while the world is a living organism. I want to breath life into change. Thus I need to open source my approach to writing, sharing, and becoming part of a broader collective intelligence. You simply can't do that with blogs. Oh you can share editing privaledges and blogs are excellent at top down hierarchical communications. So blogs are blasted out into the blogosphere and if you are lucky you are swamped with links and trackbacks. Then posts age and they are forgotten.

So where am I going:

To involve myself in platforms that enable a collective intelligence to be applied both from the core collective and by being so open that we can easily be perturbed by others entering the system. It may be too wishful to hope someone will correct my typos, however enabling an environment that is "Yes and!" where conversations can be built on is important to me. I took to blogging when I could see that participation in blogs and newsreaders would simply accelerate my learning. In the beginning I created a blogroll and so long ago often used to manually click back to other blog pages that I'd identified and wanted to read. Newreaders eliminated that need. As my Newreading list expanded I began managing it in new ways. Feedster became a savior, tracking "topics" and concurrently I tried to keep up a link blog --- however even that was too time consuming. Many pages I would have liked to note and save weren't blog ready and frankly putting them in my favorites file was like sticking them in a draw. Which brings me to "social bookmarking" - Furl, del.icio.us, Stumbleupon, etc. (I've generally played with these three and each are slightly different). In these solutions I have yet another way to filter and see what others are looking at. Wonderful for say sharing competitive intelligence. So what's happening? The social connections and the word connections in the data are simply becoming more important to me. Operating in MT doesn't enable me to offer up information like I'd like to.

I have a pretty good mind for links. Usually I have more links I can recall from memory than may be useful on occassion. (Although Jerry with his "brain" has a repository that goes way beyond what I can remember). Still the lessons above mean that I increasingly see individual blogs through filters and so for some that means I'm further away, and they may pop up from time to time. Thus I've continued to set my scanning for new horizons. It's my conclusion that - that is the problem. Blogs aren't adapting to this new reality. Blogs remain static in structure, they haven't evolved much. On a time basis we are getting smarter by enabling them to notify for new file types (eg podcasts) however that is just smart use of RSS and that I think is RSS evolving.

I'm not giving up on blogs. It's an infomation medium and format that won't go away, what needs to change is the way blogs are created and used. So long ago I wrote that I wanted a wikiblog and I know I am not alone in reflecting on it. At the time I thought it would be more useful, others could fix those typo's, although I was still coming at it from a blog format and approach. I was starting with the idea of blogging in mind. Rather the need was to go back to basics.

"It's all about work!" It's about accelerating collaboration and learning. Which tends to happen when heads rub together and where the approach is more collaborative to begin with. The platform and approach I'm exploring and working on now started as a wiki, although in my mind it is not a wiki. It dispenses with categories and yet fulfills taxonomy needs. I'm looking forward to explaining what's different and what's the same. I am giving up on traditional Blogging. it just doesn't suit my needs anymore.

I learned that the personal blog is not focussed enough. Had I set out to only blog about Skype I would have been much more successful. However, that alone would not be me. By contrast, many of the things I would like to blog about and read are collectively blogged by my friends, peers and others that I admire. I'd much rather be part of that and be able to search their work and where I might have contributed comments myself. (Note I can search my blogroll although I seldom do).

Some might say that this is a foolish gambit. I've been a blogging regular for well over two years, and at the end of the "the year of the blog" I plan to migrate away. I will draw one comparison. I've been with Skype from the beginning, and it is only just now starting to be recognised. So I'm trusting my gut and moving forward. I've completed some interesting corporate blogging projects however have learned that for the most part as a work method it has not yet infected the heart and soul of the business. I believe that is structural as well as a lack of imagination on the parts of many managers.

So will you too find a new form of blogging next year? How will your blogging change? I'd be interested to know.


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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Giving Up Traditional Blogging:

» http://www.johnniemoore.com/blog/archives/000619.php from Johnnie Moore's Weblog
Stuart Henshall is Giving up Traditional Blogging.I'm seeing signs that blogs are declining in usefulness and utility as they are pushed into activities they are not suited for. I plan on being a more collaborative contributor. Oh I want to... [Read More]

» Blogging as therapy from The Obvious?
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» Blogs as Personal Presence Portal Revisited from Ton's Interdependent Thoughts
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» What is traditional blogging? from Eric Rice
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» Moving on from Conversations with Dina
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» End of "traditional" blogging? from View from the Isle by Larix Consulting

There's a discussion going around the blogsphere right now about Stuart Henshall giving up "traditional" blogging.  I think in many ... [Read More]

» Blogs: connection or just "loneliness lite" from Johnnie Moore's Weblog
Alan Singer in Australia highlights this quote from an article in The Age.What are television, email, chat rooms and blogs if not our lonely selves reaching out for comfort, approval, feedback and distracting noise? The lie of each is that... [Read More]

» The end of bloggin? Already? from noirExtreme

Stuart Henshall gives us an inspiring post to start the new year.

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» What are blogs, is there more? from Knowledge Jolt with Jack
Stuart Henshall has some interesting thoughts about how blogging is evolving for him.  Ton Zijlstra followed that with more good stuff on Personal Presence Portals revisited.  From Stuart's first post on Giving up Traditional Blogging:Instead... [Read More]

» Towards blogging co-operatives from Goiaba Knowledge Bridge
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» Blogs are not the only fruit from Headshift

Blogs may have been a word of the year for 2004, but a wider variety of social software tools and group structures will start to gain widespread adoption in 2005, which will present both challenges and opportunities for those of us who are implemen... [Read More]

» Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia from Ganesh Blog
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Comments (7)

Interesting post Stewart. While I understand what you are saying completely my own experience has if anything been the opposite. I have drifted away from blogs that have become too specialized and narrow and still find aggregators frustrating because they make me lazy about reading blog posts in context.

My most rewarding experiences of blogging have been getting to know clever and interesting people who broadly share my interests but who I would never have "got to know" otherwise. Group blogs like Corante and wiki based writing just don't do this for me. They lack voice and personality and become too businesslike.

As to blogs in business as you know we are probably more active than most. The reasons are many and complex and partly the "lack of imagination on the parts of many managers" that you describe. There is also something about personality not being encouraged in the fiction that is a business environment where everyone dons suits and adopts safe corporate language. My interest in work blogs will probably persist alongside other tools as it is the possibility to encourage voice in work environments that interests me.

Happy New Year BTW


Hi Stuart,

Interesting thoughts Stuart. I recognize your feeling that a blog can seem very static. When I reflect now on my blogging in the last months I find that I primarily use it when stuff is happening: when I am travelling, or visiting a conference or something. Then the *need* to blog is very tangible for me. However I also find that in between my blogging is slowly becoming less frequent. I can go two or even more weeks before posting. Not that I am not thinking etc. but it happens elsewhere as you note. In other peoples blogs, in my feedreader, in my personal wiki. I am bumping into the limitations on the interactivity of those tools.

Currently I am thinking of uncluttering my blog, make it more open, and yet at the same time include less structured data: my delicious feed, my changes-feed from my external wiki. The business platforms like LinkedIn and OpenBC. The filtered stuff from my (blogging)community. (Can we localize technorati? What's hot in 'my' blogsphere?) Context, context, context. Remember discussing blogs as personal presence portal? That is what I like to move towards to more. But don't really see yet how. Time to play and experiment!

I will follow your new route with interest. Hope you'll let us know how it works out, through your blog or otherwise!


Cyn:

I admire your shift in thinking, it's actually quite a brave move. My blogging remains as one of the more basic types, personal/creative but part a larger community, but I share your desire to make a change.

Rob Paterson and I were just talking about how there seems to be an energy out there in blogsphere leaning more toward 'doing' and less static. Whether it be personal or professional change, I think the next step in blogging evolution is inevitable.

Where that may take us all is up in the air.

Good luck to you.

Jon Husband:

Piucking up on Cyn's comment about "doing" versus "static".

That seems to have been a "pregnant" issue with no real birth yet. There have been calls to "do" more and just stop talking (so to speak) for quite a while now ... which brings us to what I think Stuart suggests is a central issue. Beyond just talking to each other and sharing interesting things, and yes making great connections, what is the purpose for online interaction ?... as Stuart notes ..."continuous collaboration".

So ... continuous collaboration, huh. One of the advantages and burdens of being a thought leader such as Stuart is that one goes through lots of stuff many others don't, early stuff that gets subsumed or built into whatever it is that evolves into the main way(s) of doing things. While Stuart is giving up blogging in 2005, and moving into a realm of continuous interactive collaboration using an extended set of tools and processes (defined by him), as 2005 starts many organizations and people who are also caught up in this interconnected, interlinked environment are just now becoming aware that there are some of these new tools and new possibilities.

My basic question, now that I've been rattling on, is ...

beyond blogging, or beyond the type(s) of interaction we've experienced that blogging has enabled and brought into the front of our awareness, how do we establish trust and credibility ?

... is some process like blogging a necessary condition, but not sufficient, for continuous collaboration ? Without blogging in some form or other, is it possible to avoid getting caught up in an all-consuming area, activity or focus ... just like so many executives and team members do in the (non-blogging) organiztional world ? and eventually suffer from the tendency to narrow things down.

When you close down this process of blogging, does it mean then that you've chosen your foci, and what's left is just the suitability of tools for communications and collaboration ...

... or is there something essential about blogging, some sociological component that makes it the type of activity that brings us closest to the ongoing dynamics of open-direction interactivity ? and so necessary for us to make a part of our "continuous collaboration"

Stuart, thank you; I found your article and Johhnie Moore's article and the associated comments/conversation to be very useful in helping to germinate the seeds that have been planted by my friend Tony Goodson over the course of this year.

I know what you mean Stuart.

There is a thera-peutic value in blogging your thoughts to a diary for furure re-linking and expansion - even plain old "shouting into the void".

To be really interactive and "constructive" - I think your "social bookmarking" in a shared context is a candidate step forward. I think your frustration with exclusively time-based-archiving and fixed categories, in your other thread, is the same issue - we need live taxonomies, we can add to shared knowledge bases.

I'm personaly looking at switching to Wiki's or similar, if the simple blogging tools cannot provide categories on the fly. You have to be able to edit schema and meta-data just as easily as instances and content. Re-organise data according to your current purpose. This isn't much different to having a normalised database with many views in traditional terms. The trick is to forget normalisation, and accept a simple "first categorisation" like good old time-stamping - all other taxonomic information being additive and fluid.

"Doing vs Static" is a good maxim. (One of my pet subjects is Robert Pirsig and "dynamic quality" - but I'll not bore you all here.)

(BTW Your filter blocks the r a p e in thera-peutic - typical of the context problem we're discussing.)

Hi,

This note is definitively interesting. Blogs are great because it is easy to use for many people. But many advanced users that have used wikis know there are limitations to what blogs can do.

Indeed wikiblogs are an interesting thing that needs to be worked on.

This is what I'm trying to do with XWiki by building a platform that will take blogging features as the entry point of a wiki and then allow to move to the Wiki and even more (structure handling and programming in the wiki).

There is still a lot to do, but here is an example of how it can look:

The XWiki.com blog as an entry point to the XWiki.com wiki: http://www.xwiki.com/xwiki/bin/view/Blog/WebHome

(note that XWiki.com is not a publicly editable wiki except for the documentation area, but it could be)

The XWiki.com blog is entirely built on XWiki features (objects in wiki document + programming).

Soon the default wiki that people can create on the XWiki.com hosting service will be a wikiblog.

Disclaimer: I'm the creator and maintainer of XWiki. This post might look like an advertisement of XWiki but this is not the intent, but only an invitation to look at how XWiki could be a way to do what you are talking about. Feel free to refactor/remove my post.

My Furl

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