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May 2003 Archives

May 1, 2003

MT Works Again.

Finally a rebuilt MT (with trackback) on a new server. More interestingly it already pinged old trackbacks.  I'm going to enjoy the new functionality and connectivity.  Should help with the conversational thrust and enable more effective discovery with fellow bloggers that because my system failed to ping were dead to me before. 

I'll forget boring you with all the little hiccups.  I've learned a lot from it.  I've picked up decent stats and the desire to try out a number of elements in the templates.

Let's hope that next week sees it all running again. It looks like the new sql database has renumbered all my old posts.  So my guess is I've left broken links everywhere.  Not sure how to fix that.  Probably too late. 

May 3, 2003

Peer Power Economy

A piece well worth reading in Escapable Logic .......on the cusp of a peer economy. P2P transactions may look like data-backed blogs; Maybe.  It's certainly worth thinking about the points burried in the rhetoric.   

  • A global market as intimate as blogging is a major disruptor. 
  • Publicity, and its dependent, politics. Publicity is literally openness. Openness trumps legality....
  • A single email may be enough openness to bring bankers down
  • When reputation data is too broadly distributed ....we'll have recaptured the User Interface enjoyed by generations of traders....,
  • relating to generations of customers, ....Like any relationship, it's a two way street.
  • Gradually we'll remember how to be great customers, embracing and extending seller's customization skills, relating through authentic conversations and coaxing each other into the peer economy.....

I believe the next few iterations of blogging tools, plugins etc will begin to turn the tide.  Feedback like in the Antiport meme may be the first to be activated. 

May 4, 2003

Communities and Discovery

I'm wondering if Conversational Blogging will merge into a new thread around the impact of using emerging blogging tools, for accelerating innovation, and trust across communities.  Check out Collective Intelligence and Community Inelligence

George Por blogs on: Knowledge <- Intelligence <- Wisdom writing about complexity and urgency is clearly seeing the tools take a new direction and the shift in values summing it up by closing: "Exploring and embodying together these questions is the highest adventure I can think of for the rest of my life's work."

In a separate posting on a related blog, Erik identifies three ways in a recent posting Value-Creation by Communities of Practice to introduce diversity in innovation communities

  • geographical diversity (e.g. The Asia Office with The European Office)
  • social diversity (e.g. bringing sales people into a business development community)
  • organizational diversity (e.g. bringng customers into the innovation community)

I think there is another that represents little danger for the organization with enormous upside. 

Consider "Remarkable People". They tend to look at the world through different lenses often spanning disciplines.  Sometimes the counter-intuitive question, the fresh perspectives from people not immersed in the culture and beliefs of the organization is often extremely enriching - leading to breakthroughs.

Conversations that develop around around critical uncertainties (certain/important - just do it / uncertain/unimportant - why contemplate it) at the intersection of importance and uncertainty, tend to be more interesting and lead to more new perspectives.  Don't you think?

More Pointers Conversational Blogs

I've enjoyed the comments received on Conversational Blogging and the follow-up. See Jonathan's post some excellent perspective.

Blogrolls are an awkward attempt at community-building.  Gluing blogs together with RSS/aggregation/trackback and TopicMaps is helping build the community features in, while allowing complete control of each individual blog.

Having just got my trackback working this seems to be a key element to me. A greater element of control with improved likelihood that my postings will be seen by others. It's also got a long way to go to get every blogger using it.  Control rests with the user. 

Should we favor blogs with trackback?  We're probably not there yet.  There is a great trackback section here on the MT site.   

Although TrackBack's most prevalent use thus far has been as a form of remote commenting, a more exciting use has been emerging: using TrackBack to aggregate content into topic-based repositories. This was actually the original intended use of TrackBack--the remote commenting grew out of a special case of a topic-based repository, the "topic" being a single weblog post.

 

May 5, 2003

Lifecast

I had a delightful session with Duncan Work, Jan Hauser and Mike Dillard just over a week ago.  The conversation opened easily on a subject that included a passion for money, religion, and politics suggesting it can turn online communities into virtual nations --complete with leaders, laws, and citizens. 

Mike Dillard co-authored the article for the World Future Society "The Approaching Age of Virtual Nations":  I'm not sure you can down load it there. (It's fun with nice comments and response.) It was the idea about metamediaries, and consumer power that really got us talking. 

In the article they introduce Lifecast a company that managed to assemble a community of 1.4 million affluent participants.  Their combined annual incomes totalled more that $240 billion, and their documented personal net worth of more that $1.28 trillion.  There's some great stats there. Members flew more that 32 billion milles annually.  Arguably it would range 23rd amongst all the worlds nations. 

What was interesting in Mike's story was this company was formed round the golf clubs and as a result there was an enormous increase in social bonding and information gathering. Lifecast which was set up around a living the club proposition in the end turned off the networking because it's customers the clubs found it was detrimental to doing business.  The members didn't need to turn up for meetings they simply exchanged it online. 

What did they do? (from the wayback machine)

In addition to building and maintaining private, interactive, club Web sites with all the benefits of club news, email and message boards, we give members access to a range of lifestyle-oriented content through LifeCast Features, a selection of Web channels designed specifically for club members and their families.

Club members get stock quotes and weather reports, and the latest news and features from the worlds of travel, sports, finance, and fashion. It's kind of an online magazine for the private club lifestyle, and it's available only to members of LifeCast affiliate clubs.

What couldn't they do.  They couldn't enable or help people to connect between clubs.  That's where there remains a healthy business opportunity and one that requires an appropriate trust engine. 

While writing this I see Britt's been busy on a mass lux meme.   
Escapable Logic Another way of possibly confirming the potential. 

Jazz-Blogging

Abe Burmeister recently comments:  "I think the key is to look at the blog *as a path towards a better designed conversation space*, not as the conversation space itself. I just don't see conversation flourishing to its full potential in the highly owned and branded environment of the blog."

To which I agree! He draws the metaphor of the blog as a home a home for thoughts, invites, the occasional dinner party etc. And yes for the replacement for the personal page. Well I'd sort of like to go out tonight!

Ton Zijlstra writes on the Tipping Point. He also looking for a meme to seed. Let me suggest "Blog Coops" or "Blogops" or perhaps as you will see below "Jazz-Blogging" 

It also reminded me of a  Dave Winer post i saw today contrasting a Barlow point of view with "These are utilitarian things, they simply facilitate a higher level of communication." Maybe but we have to be "collectively involved" and engaged for them to really matter. 

From my perspective most blogging today seems highly personal, the number of public community or cooperative blogs very limited. Of those personal blogs I see two kinds.  First the blog done for primarily for intellectual interest, and second the blog that is part of an economic engine. While I see examples where coding solutions and new memes spread rapidly what clients want when it comes to thought-leaders is a safe place to engage.  So blogs aren't just thinking tools or communicating tools, they are also learning tools.  It just how we apply them and how we create access.  For them to really work some new business models must emerge around them. 

Earlier today I posted on Lifecast.  One of its secrets was the "club", the limited role the safe environment.  So if we want a trusted blogging engine we should assemble a few pieces and test it.    

Here's some quick notes of what I'd like to work towards trying out. 

  • Personal blogs (perhaps a category eg Collective Intelligence).  Each contributor posts two or three times per week. 
  • Fed to a private aggregated community blog I think the max number is about 15.  A subscription - invite only community of approximately 150. 
  • Defined by some key themes.  This extended think tank harnesses the nature of the jazz club.  Clearly the group plays in real-time.
  • Members can comment and become private blogger too if they desire although it won't be necessary.  There's also a message area and capability to share profiles round the group. 
  • It has a profile component too. The social capital exchanged is probably as important as the intellectual stimulation and the technology participation. 
  • Individual blogger still get the benefit of promoting their external self. Blogging externally they can enables new meme and connection to be fed into the blogop (for blog cooperative)

What are the benefits.  Safe access to thought leaders.  Top executives daily news feed, are part of conversation.  The conversation will connect and introduce them to others.  Their views and the views of others stays within the community.  We will meet as a community 3 or 4 times in the year.  There will be a core underlying research program. 

The tools are right there in front of us.  Who has examples of where it is being done already? Always On doesn't cut it as an example. 

Why will they buy?  The same reason the brand manager wants a 24/7 focus group at their fingertip.  Here's the chance to run some ideas, lines of inquiry, test uncertainties, in real-time...... beta testing.  Nothing like having 150 experts at your fingertips.  More importantly the trust and reciprocity that is established means everyone benefits.

Similarly, for key contributors -- their efforts will be sponsored!

Summary: 

"Jazz-Blogging" as a possible meme for colective collaborative intelligent blogging.  What clients want when it comes to thought-leaders is a safe place to engage.  My individual blogs are not safe or maybe too public.  We need to create safe access environments. Probably as part of a collaborative blogging environment. Perhaps then it more like an extended dinner party in the Hamptons.

 

May 7, 2003

Exchanging Trust

There's an interesting discussion around trust fueled by Pierre's blog and Mr G's follow-up on the Global Trust Exchange. It began with a question "What for?".  Somehow I think some posts are at cross purposes, when everyone could really be eating cake. 

It's not surprising.  Trust is not a simple word to define. Trust is situational, it is also mine.  Do I trade trust? And what's a trust exchange? If we are not sure of motives -- when trust's involved we are even more likely to jump to conclusions.

In a trust vein we looked at adding friends on Ryze.  "Will you be my friend?" and concluded we stopped asking questions like that long ago.  We've learnt that trust has many different faces.  In one instance I may ask you to be a referree on a job.  However, it's still possible that while I trust you with that reference, I may not trust you to cut down a tree.  Similarly I may be happy to refer you but conditions may be attached.

The problem here is in the name GTX not the concept. What's needed are illustrations.  In GTX connections between parties are defined by layers of permission and access.  These are friend to friend and not generic.  The brilliance in Net Deva is in the definitions and ultimately the simple way in which it makes connections, referrals and introductions. while paying attention to affinities and the type of relationship you have. 

Consider Pierre, Joi, William and Mr G.  Pierre asks Joi to be a financial reference and provides "Nickel Exchange details" plus general contact information etc by providing access to a rich profile format on GTX.  Joi is pleased to be a referee and accepts putting the minimum amount of information relating to himself into the system. He adds no further contacts, but over time others contact him, linking their business cards.  Similarly Pierre secures other referees.  For he's learnt that there are connections between us that hold hidden value. 

Example at a networking event or a conference when meeting someone new we cross-reference on books, people, places, and names possible connections pop up.  These are ones we sense might be worth sharing a little of our social capital on and making an introduction.

Now William is in the GTX and is looking for a connection and introduction to the Nickel Exchange. Without GTX it may take forever to find someone who knows his work and may provide an introduction.  With GTX he keys in his request and gets a list back of possible connections.  He's pleased to see Joi is on his list.  Now there are many levels, dependent on all the relationships that each have with each other.  If William is merely an aquaintance of Joi's the next exchange will be very different from finding out one of his partners (Joi possibly) knows Pierre. 

Now imagine you have a plumber come to your home.  On completing the job he asks if you might be a local reference for him - valid for a year. You are pleased with his work.  You say yes.  Now a neighbor is looking for a plumber (of course you don't know this).  Rather than waiting to ask friends they key into GTX, and find there are three people they are connected to via their daughters school class.  Three of them have the same plumber listed by name.  A fourth has a connection to a plumber but the name is not visible.  One parent you know very well.  Rather than calling them you call the plumber direct..... For the plumber has given access to his business details (super yellow page listing) though his trusted business referrals.  It's quite possible that the same plumber doesn't enable the same visibility via his church group.  Although members of his church group may be someone the neighbor could connect with who knows of a plumber. 

The trust issue is more I fear more of context here.  The examples are possible.  It's been done and there's an initial prototype. I've viewed Net Deva and want to see it rolled out.  It deserves further funding.  Ultimately a trust exchange may emerge.   

 Possible applications. 

  • An enterprise wants to intiate a socially innovative client service and business development strategy
  • An enterprise wants to lower the cost of human capital acqusition, finding new recruits though their network of employees, suppliers and key customers.
  • A jobseeker wants to build a network of trusted referrals which will help get a new job and bring more value when newly employed
  • A small company links to a multide of professional free agents, their access to talent just went up exponetially.   
  • An individual wants to find someone who lived in Holland in 1983.
  • A non-profit wants to raise money. They want to direct their volunteers to target specific organizational accounts.  Who best to reach out and approach? What groups could be put together? 
  • that's enough for now

The real issues for "this trusted rich profile exchange" is in securing the numbers, ensuring and controlling access, security from spam and simply managing expectations.  In my view there's an organizational / enterprise model and a public model.  Usability must be kept simple.

So has the Global Trust Exchange just been miss-interpreted? Is it the language or the concept? We all exchange information all the time for value creation. See the applications.  The real question is what's the value of your missed opportunities? Can you afford not to experiment in this space.  If you are a large enterprise, a professional networking community or non-profit foundation, Net Deva is a nugget that may reframe how you do business. 

 

May 8, 2003

Individually Social Software?

A Wonderful article "Smarter, Simpler, Social".  provides a great introduction to social software.

A few perspective sentences that really grabbed me.  

  •  " Enterprise software itself is grounded in out-dated "process thinking".....
  • free online social applications are achieving usage levels and a depth of user engagement that enterprise software purchasers can only dream about....”
  •  the popular model of the value chain is also an engineering concept, derived from expanding the process view to the business as a whole. …
  •   closed networks amplifies predispositions….
  •  Maintain a healthy level of connections between people so that when and where they need to they can connect effectively with others….

The authors also make a nice point about emergent metadata.---- goes beyond syndication toward synchronization.  ….. Manage personal knowledge according to their own individual perspectives.  This all after starting the piece noting busineses face a crisis

It's the individual area I think I'd like to learn more about.  Maybe it is just a suspicion, but smarter, simpler, social seems to miss out an individual element.  Perhaps it is self evident.  Smarter simpler software at the individual level then enables new opportunities to emerge.  Just like mass customization I suspect the individual has a larger role to play. I’d add the individual is also the customer.

Personal knowledge spaces are very real-time. Expanding real-time PKS will enable more innovation though better connectivity.  Some time back I blogged a short piece PKnF – Personal Knowledge networking Friends.  

One paradigm that is missing is the amount of duplication we are all going to be able to have.  The collaborative – collective personal info assets will outweigh the business info assets.  When that’s true, organizations have to compete on their design, sociability, and adaptive capability.  Wealth then is in the creative friction, the touch points between individuals.

A parallel piece --- one that is completely counter-intuitive to most is www.xpertweb.com and what Brit and Flemming are doing.  It’s a new form of knowledge contracting.  It’s time is nearing.  Add to that the capability to hold the library of congress on our key chain, the question may be how we make it much more useful?  

May 9, 2003

Linked-In :

Like many I had a couple of invites to LinkedIn over the last few days.  So my curiosity came into play.  I'm getting a little jaded now.  Ryze, Ecademy, Friendster (there's a financial connection / similarlity) etc.  This post today will force me separately to do an update on Ryze.  There's the plenty of natural speculation out there on how it will grow and do. 

LinkedIn leaves me a little cold from the get go. Utimately, this site will fail not on short-term interest or due to power laws.  It simply doesn't doesn't deal with the gradiations of trust and the number of different connections that are required. 

It seems simple enough profile yourself.  Give lots of industry and CV detail.  The thing is the connections that are suggested in many case don't need all this information to be revealed until the parties are prepared to play. I still believe Ecrush is something to learn from. There's someone out there that's interested in your skills - you both know X do you want an introduction? A lot more privacy and control with this example. 

I notice that Joi has some 232 connections today. What does it mean? What sort of introduction does one get? When the search returns the one with the most connections is that the best link for me?

Some rambling objections and queries:

First it's captured my most personal e-mail address - I didn't get a choice.  Of course it's how my friends and key business contacts find me, but LinkIn has no rights to know me or start a relationship this way.  And now they are dumping invite responses in this e-mail stream.  Yes I've fixed it with a new primary address. 

Now I'm in - I should be spending time credentialling myself.  Where are the models, I only have one friend (at this point) I skip the details, they just wanted one industry (doesn't fit me) and want to know who's here.  When you are new it's hard to learn from others in this system.  Search see some resumes. Will take more time if I'm to be active in here. There is no immediate kick or gratification.  No Ryze like guestbook goodwill. 

It's not very transparent behind the scenes.  There's no photo's, I'm becoming hesitant to send out any invites.  The only people I can think to invite are those I've been experimenting with.  They'll understand I'm on the loose again.  I invite a couple.

Now today there are plenty of great comments on Joi's site.  It does bother me what's happening behind the scenes.  See Kevin Marks. Look at Marc Cantor's comments too.  

What I've not seen are the following questions

  • How do I link out (get out) of LinkedIn? It simply doesn't allow me to share my information with my contacts in an effective fashion.  For example I might be willing to share Scenario Proposals with key contacts or those I've worked with or for.  I might not want to do it for everyone.  
  • This is another "invite" focused site.  Make connections it screams. This may be backwards.  Should you invite or ask for a referal or reference.  Had the instruction been set up this way my network building would already have been significantly different.  The language used is important.  LinkedIn uses "Connections".  Some connections are transitory others are permanent. Connections are different to contacts which we placeholder and categorise differently. 
  • Can I change my relationship with my connections? If my perceptions of my contacts change dropping them means they aren't referring me any longer.  How do I change the relationship?  At the moment you can't although you can withdraw an invite. Because it is declarative with no middle ground, we'd have the childish problem Ryze raised at one time but in reverse.  "So you don't want to be my friend (connection) anymore?" 

It's encouraging that investments are continuing in this space.  This one doesn't bring much pleasure or instant gratification to the user.  Still if someone contacts me it might be a real surprise.  My impression may change.  At the moment I'm doing slightly better than the average on connections (4vs3). I expect nothing. 

Summary:

LinkedIn provides an interesting preview for the future of referrals.  It fails to engender joy or excitement, in fact many will be hesitant to use it.  Connections terminology is not consistent with trust and the leader board search that ranks on connections isn't helping things.  It's too closed for my liking.  I know of something better. 

History of Social Software

Howard in Smart Mobs - on Social Software.  Great links. 

"note that when a particular group of people uses social software for long enough -- whether it is synchronous or asynchronous, deskbound or mobile, text or graphical -- they establish individual and group social relationships that are different in kind from the more fleeting relationships that emerge from task-oriented group formation"

Something new is happening, truly, in terms of the kinds of software available, and the scale of use. But in many ways, this something new would not be happening if many people over many years had not coded, experimented, socialized, observed, and debated the social relationships and group formation enabled by computer-mediated and Internet-enabled communication media.

 

Trust requires transparency

To find Jim McGees post on Trust Security and OD after writing on LinkedIn today seemed appropriate particularly as LinkedIn is a closed system. 

"Humans gain trust by interacting and "getting to know" people. Transparent technologies that make it easy to see what people and companies are up to (in a sense the opposite of firewalls) are what help me trust. I like Reagan's saying: "trust, but verify". It implies that trust requires means for openness, not firewalls and secretiveness." SATN.org: David Reed,

Somehow I think bloggers are opening up perhaps just so we can get to know someone and make some new connections.  Having a degree of broken or incomplete connections is probably ok.  That's exploratory.  We also desire collaboration, that's in smaller groups. 

Jim uses a chart reproduced below created by Bob Keidel of whom I'm not familiar and writes:

Typically we tend to think only in terms of the tradeoff between control and autonomy. His, richer, model introduces a third point of cooperation and suggests that organization design problems can be treated as looking for a spot somewhere inside the triangle instead of somewhere along one of its edges. The trend has been northward towards more recognition of cooperation and, hopefully, away from stale debates about control or autonomy

I'd gone off triangles..... and would like to see the tittles changed to reflect the knowledge organization.  Replace Control, Cooperation and Autonomy with Leadership, Learning and Leverage and we may conclude that innovation and communities of practice go together.  They work when there's the context and discipline to ask better questions.  Which for me is a balance and mixing it up between leadership and frontline understanding - leverage!

 

May 11, 2003

Blogroll Philosophies

Is the recent change to blogrolls disruptive?  Are new category capabilities worth the small $10 fee? Is such a simple change a disruptive innovation?

A wonderful post dealing with blogging philosopies and links can be found here at Electric Venom:Blogging Thoughts and Philosophies.  Nice descriptions for iso-blogging, extra-blogging, and intra-blogging.

Made me wonder some more about the recent premium service offered by blogrolling.  I rapidly caught on when I saw more readable blogrolls broken into 5 or 6 per group.  So I upgraded and now have a list that only displays the last 24 posts in most recent order.  My blogroll remains much larger.  However, I've yet to see a day where they all update.

While that was an easy change.  I'm now confronted with what to use the other rolls for.  That requires categories, or redefined relationships.  Then I've got the problem that managing my blogroll doesn't manage my newsreader subsciptions.  So I'm yet to figure out what to do with the functionality.  As far as I know I still can't find out via blogrolls who links to me.  Maybe this is a little time saver for something that is fairly static. 

Can Blogrolls please make reciprocal linking easy!  Can you tie it to my newreader? Plus a few example on how to use the extra functionality might be helpful.   

Correction:  I can make recip rolls.  I'll execute it soon.  Thanks Kate for pointing it out.  Was clearly too late.  Apologies  Jason at Blogrolling. 

May 12, 2003

Living Networks

I met with Ross Dawson today he was in SF for a book launch and I was about to fly out for Paris. Ross kindly gave me a copy of his latest book “Living Networks” which then became my flight reading material. Our conversations included the speed of developments, blogging, collaborative filters, P2P updates and trust. Trust really will be a key to seeing Living Networks emerge.

I’d have to recommend this book to anyone whose enterprise is yet to think deeply about network strategies in a world of pervasive global connectivity. It impressed me for its currency. So many books are out of date by months when published. If you want an update on everything all in one place this is a good investment. Ross’s examples are up to date, global in perspective and consistently woven throughout the book. It’s an easy read, much more strategic than theoretical or observational a book clearly targeted a the professional manager. An excellent synthesis and encouraging read. Thanks Ross.

May 13, 2003

French Connection

To arrive in France is always an experience. This time was no different, just the experience was a little unexpected. Most flights from London to Paris were cancelled. Turned out the whole country was on strike. Well almost. The whole government sector, so no public transportation, no trains, not buses, just the odd taxi. Made my trip out to Fontainebleau a little more challenging and expensive than it might otherwise have been. As always these things work out… we made it to the destination just a few hours later than expected.

A separate anecdote for the small world. When the snacks were served by BA the traveler next to me said to the Stewardess, “I’ll have a wine – must support the home country.” I thought this a little strange --- while flying to France he clearly wasn’t French. Looking at the label I saw it was a New Zealand wine and so naturally made a comment. Turns out he worked for the NZ Treasury and was attending a World Bank Conference in Paris. As we talked --- scenarios emerged --- and he asked if I knew a colleague of his who had taken a scenario course in SF and returned raving about it. Turned out it was a program Jay Ogilvy and I had run. Yep it’s a small world and just another benefit and reminder for reaching out.

May 20, 2003

Wisdom Quotes

"Wisdom begins with wonder." - Socrates It's an appropriate quote for today.  It concludes an exciting week in France where I found myself wondering and thinking of knowledge and wisdom.  I found myself looking up a few wisdom and wonder quotes as a result.

  • One learns by doing a thing; for though you think you know it, you have no certainty until you try. Sophocles
  • Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life. Immanuel Kant
  • Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplificationMartin Fischer:
  • An idealist believes the short run doesn't count. A cynic believes the long run doesn't matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run. Sydney J. Harris:  
  • These days people seek knowledge, not wisdom. Knowledge is of the past, wisdom is of the futureVernon Cooper:  
  • The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery Anais Nin:

May 23, 2003

France

 Just sharing two pictures from France.  The first a shot of Chateau Fontainebleau - magnificent - grand and simply a little too large for me.  Clearly upkeep is a problem. 

And here's George who lives in walking distance to CF and his desk. May seem like a simple insight for all those graphic designers with multi-screens -- made me just envious.  It was also a useful insight.  Working on multi-documents, conversations etc. Just made me realize how useful an expanded dashboard would be.  Two screens / maybe three.  Now I know some will say screen within a screen, yet that's not good enough.  It's simply too small on the majority of screen. 

Think Screens.  For those thinking about reinventing their business and making a statement about how the tools will be used it's time to up the number of screens on a desk.   There's an old story from years ago about Jan Karlson who headed SAS airlines who put a monitor on his desk to keep track of ontime arrivals.  Unlikely that a new "dashboard" statement have would have quite the same power, yet it may start some new conversations for the CKO's. 

So.  Are two monitor screens better than one? What are the benefits? Most of us never really get the chance. If your an innovator in an organization should you consider two screens?   

May 24, 2003

Collective Blogging

One of the outcomes of my trip to France was a renewed desire to build a more collaborative and collective blogging space.  Thus that's what I've been doing for the last week.  More will be forthcoming.  However, it's worth sharing some observations now. 

My objective is to setup a new public site (new business) that embraces emerging conversational tools while trying to create it around a blogging framework.  I've recently observed the impact that trackbacks and visibility have.  They create a form of social credit and strengthen bonds of mutual interest. 

Similarly, I've yet to see a company that blogs product releases in a way that gets comments and trackbacks.  They may well be there but certainly not with the big guys. Are not Trackback like word of mouth marketing?  When you create a release you immediately find your suppliers blogging it with trackbacks and putting their slant on it. 

As we are currently working with 5 team members we thought we'd continue with MT despite it's scalablilty and taxonomy shortcomings (well aware of Drupal / Scoop which have been blogged here earlier.) Using MT to create a public site has taken me on a new journey.  By developing and harnessing the power of categories I can see a lot more can be done with "Category Driven Blogs" and corresponding RSS feeds. 

It's also allowing the creation of new pages.  The first opportunity is to create pages that pull from select categories.  Eg About Us, Product Updates, Press Releases, etc. Of course authored by now becomes relevant.  Last five extracts keeping a profile up to date with no work what so ever. 

One thing I'm missing and would like to have.  Is the ability to easily sort comment and trackbacks received by author.  So far it seems there's no easy MT solution.  I've recently experimented with MTCollate which enables postings, comments trackbacks etc to be organized in a timeline.  Some additional functionality around this would make for an intersting dashboard design.   See MT-Plugins

May 26, 2003

Trackback Wiki

Collaborative Roadmap

Like most things it turns out Blikis' and BlogWiki's are not new, in fact a few pioneering spirits have been working on this meme for some time. In my last post I mentioned my desire to explore wiki/MT connections.   

See BlogTweaks which should be written as a WikiWord is Chris Dents integration of Purple numbers and his MT blog.  It's not clear to me yet if this has progressed to an MT plug-in. 

Collaboration Roadmap (WebSeitzWiki) Bob Seitz says he's interested in making groups more effective at both thinking and doing.  "Collective Intelligence" is the paradigm I think he's looking for.  I particularly like his "Universal Inbox".  The word "dashboard" is particularly appropriate. 

Martin Fowler's Bliki says "I wanted something that was a cross between a wiki and a blog - which Ward Cunningham immediately dubbed a bliki. Like a blog, it allows me to post short thoughts when I have them. Like a wiki it will build up a body of cross-linked pieces that I hope will still be interesting in a year's time." This later thought could be very powerful in a collaborative blogging environment.

From there I caught a link to SnipSnap  some free and easy to install Weblog and Wiki Software written in Java. I was ready to download that too and try it.  Except the install instructions were on the cryptic side. I wasn't really sure I'd get it to work on my server in just a few minutes.   

Are blogs and wiki's converging?  Are bliki's the future?  There's merits in following this scenario and keeping more than a watching eye. 

May 27, 2003

Ryze Changes

I've been meaning to write an update on RYZE for sometime.  It featured earlier this year in may pages here and the RYZE homepage has just gone though another iteration.  I had hoped for so much more.  I still believe RYZE has a real opportunity, however, once you lose people or their interest it becomes hard to get them back. 

Dina Mehta  sums up on some of RYZE's latest changes and pulls from a repository of research we orginally did in one of the forums.  She says:

"I had issues with the earlier one too .. but this one's no better. I don't like the look-feel for one, its messy and uninviting. The content gives me mixed signals too! I like the FOAF addition...

It's a good summary and a welcome reminder to come back and summarize my experience todate.  Like Dina I dropped my gold membership and so did a number of buddies at the same time. In fact today was my first visit back in almost three weeks.  That's suggest a problem with the format.  Frankly adding birthdays isn't going to make it more compelling.  Then maybe the audience has changed.

It is a nice reminder to check back with my friends there and write a more detailed follow-up

Blogs and Forums

Tom Coates article "Discussion and Citation in the Blogsphere" is a must read for anyone thinking about the impact of blogging on threaded discusssions.  Great diagrams and analysis. 

What made this post particularly relevant for me it I'm trapped between a set of forums and an online blog discussion.  Not to mention e-mail, IM and Wiki's.  I've been on a mission, both personal and with colleagues to create a more collaborative roadmap for ourselves, while innovatively using many of the lightweight tools that are emerging.  None of us are programmers --- our use and roles is helping to define and prototype how we use them and move future forward while overcoming distance and lack of resources. 

As a group trying to come together to form a new proposition I'm sure we are not alone.  It's an iterative conversational process. However, few would be experimenting concurrently with so many tools.  When conversations get split between e-mails, blogs, forums, IM, wiki's it becomes apparent that improved methods to thread them all together is required. 

For the brainstorming and general freeflowing conversations we've been using a private blog.  We've been stumbling when it comes to forums.  The discussion seems to be whether blog are up to the challenge (note there are differing degrees of forum / blog / other experience in this group):

  • Beat the Forum's structure from the home page though the 4-level nested hieracthy - category, forum, topic, reply (each of which can be referenced with its own URL).   and...
  • Quick Representation - whether there's topic with new content since last visit, the number of topics and posts, date and author of the last post.  and 
  • Access Rights by forums and groups of users

I tend to find forums very hierarchial in their structure and format.  How does one rewrite a business development proposition in a forum?  It's not easy.  In a wiki I'd make additions and the diff key would highlight the amendments for others. Paste is simplified.  Notations are made directly.  With two people problems of version control are easily handled.  When three or more become involved then it becomes more difficult. 

Perhaps that why I'm trying out some of the WikiBlog tools that are emerging.  If someone has one for me I'd be happy to use it and report!  Need a collective set of testers?

After blogging for sometime being able the reach a piece of my personal content that also links to others is a valuable "connectivity" tool easily shared and for both parties creates an intermingling that couldn't have happened otherwise.  On the collective level I'm wondering if the reverse is not true.  If blogs were feeding a wiki and vice versa then the collective repository would become much more valuable overtime.  Similarly, edits and revisions could contain quite a history.  

Of course this post could have been a category 4 summary if Tom and I both both had Purple Numbers .  I could provide a summary linking to each diagram without pasting them in and knowing relevance was retained.  (Now would that create a mess for Google?).  Similarly my comments could be more descrete. Instead go and read it for yourself.   

About May 2003

This page contains all entries posted to Unbound Spiral in May 2003. They are listed from oldest to newest.

April 2003 is the previous archive.

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