Conversational Blogging Archives

October 24, 2002

My Experiment

This is my second posting to my moveable type weblog. I'm going to cut and past from my Radio Userland site and see what happens with content. Have to get a few pages filling and a few posts to really see what is happening. This post was from yesterday... Just looked at the preview. It is not picking up the url links...

The following post reflects why I too think there are great possiblities for KM Blogs..

Making group-forming ridiculously easy.

Weblogs have a potential for group-forming like no other medium. However I'm convinced that much of it to this day remains untapped. I'd like to explain an idea that I have been bouncing around for a while. It might well be a reformulation of what others have said previously. I believe that implementing this properly would give a nice boost to the blogosphere's social aggregation capability.

Basically the goal is to push the threshold for group creation to an unprecedented low. I think Reed's Law should be refined to state:

The value of a group-forming network increases exponentially with the number of people in the network, and in inverse proportion to the effort required to start a group.

Here's a sample motivating scenario. Not long ago I wrote an item on professions in the blogosphere. The post caught the interest of other bloggers. A few replies came here and there. If you search diligently enough you'll find them, but it's not easy. Presumably, those who have taken part in the discussion would like to hear about it if the topic comes up again, but currently this will only happen by chance. This kind of situation is very common.

[Charles Nadeau: Knowledge management]

November 1, 2002

Conversation Living Web

Joi, thanks for sharing your comment on the living web (below)".

My feeling is it's "real-time", yet it's not a conversation without exchange. And yet here's an exchange that I persume will be logged. If the "living web" provides "simulated annealing" then we can use "chaos" to contol "chaos". On their own, weblogs (are we reaching hypergrowth yet?) are being linked and I imagine the more the merrier. Afterall a little bedlam can a be a good thing for crowds and data flow. The noise should simply add to the creativity and enable us all to learn faster.

So we do it to live new conversations. Seek out new voices and outside perspectives.... We aim to "live in" the conversation. We can by seeking new -- perhaps slightly controlled elements, that are different and outside our usual perspectives.

Reminds me that I must check on complexity metaphors around blogging. Probably, it's already been done. Yet for my blog to be part of a swarm... I'll need to connect it in new ways.

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web [ Blogging about Blogging ]
by Joichi Ito at November 01, 2002 10:35 PM
What do you think of the slogan, "Joi Ito's conversation with the living web"? I got the conversation part from The Cluetrain Manifesto and the living web part from 10 Tips to Writing the Living Web. People kept asking me what the difference was between a blog and a web site. I said it was different because I wasn't publishing, I was having a conversation. I didn't have "readers" I was part of a "living web". I have no idea if that gets the message across, but I sure like the sound of it.

Michael Lissack on simulated annealing: "Simulated annealing, for example, translates into ascribing a creative value to "noise" and seeking to make use of that value --in one example, by bringing outside perspectives into focus groups at critical moments when making decisions."

November 11, 2002

Collaborative Communities

Participating in online communities is not only growing easier, the results more positive. Kuro5hin is also more than a weblog. It's been around for awhile and yet today I ended up giving it much closer attention as I considered voting on an MLP posting on the Nickel Exchange, was asked for other help with editing, etc.

Various links took me to SCOOP and you learn quickly about the collaborative media application behind Kuro5hin and other communities.

My journey started today looking for methods improve my MT posting and reporting options. I've had in mind the opportunity for a MT based community. Clearly plausible yet not self-organizing. When one compares Smart Mobs with Kuro5hin it becomes clear how obvious this is. I will be looking at Scoop further. is a community of people who like to think. This is a site for people who want to discuss the world they live in. It's a site for people who are on the ground in the modern world, and who sometimes look around and wonder what they have wrought.

Scoop empowers participants to play a role in the newsmaking. This is not the only application however. My searching located Eric Hanson andShouldExist around ideas;as an idea exchange. Check out their description Eric's list also proved to me how sharing can close and create new links... Some we don't even know. While looking at his "people" section I found myself linked back to Seb's Open Resesearch. who has a great blog going on knowledge sharing, communities and innovation.

Note:" is a non-profit website, founded on the belief that individuals are more successful when we work together through open standards, modularity and decentralized control." His project list also includes others. Check it out.

Part of my interest in the first place was driven by the question posed to me. Should the NICKEL EXCHANGE story be posted? I'm going to watch over the next couple of days. We will be revisiting "Nickel Exchange" for I still believe the next frontier is in solving highly decentralised P2P transactions. Frankly... the nickel exchange looks premature, needs consumer friendly content, and a little more to give it legitimacy. I didn't yet try to see if it works.

Then today Movielink launched. This is the site offered by the movie moguls to provide downloadable movies to American broadband connections. Incredibly slow to appear, you would almost think the site is down. Obviously checking out my system for compatibility. I'm waiting for it to be cracked, then Kazaa movies etc might take on a whole new meaning.

Posted by henshall at 09:22 PM

January 10, 2003

FOAF Files

Guardian Unlimited | Online | Click to the clique Good overview by Ben Hammersley of emerging social networks.

Note to self. Must check out FOAF files.

Clipped straight from the Guardian.

"A new technology, however, is being developed that will allow you to stay away from such commercial operations as Friendster and Ryze. FOAF, or "friend of a friend", is a special computer language that can be used to describe ourselves, our work and our friends."

"You can create your own FOAF file using one of many online tools and then register it with any of the many growing FOAF online applications. These are growing in number and popularity, and despite the technical aspects being, well, technical, FOAF is simple enough for the bold to join in with the development."

"FOAF files are more technical, but luckily one of the FOAF community, Leigh Dodds, has built a great little application for building them. The FOAF-o-Matic comes in two flavours. The older JavaScript version, is good, but simple.

The newer version, is more complex but not entirely polished yet. Either version asks questions and produces a file you can then place online and register at other FOAF applications, such as Jim Ley's FOAFNaut at

April 21, 2003

Conversational Blogging

For a week I've had "Conversational Blogging" as a point I've wanted to make.  Has it really caught on?  Posted. WIP.....

First problem is how we define conversational blogging.  A nice article in the Guardian Secret of their success said:

The best blogs are written with conversation in mind, writes Steve Bowbrick I've noticed that good blogging is a kind of conversation. Not the literal, verbal conversation of a face-to-face encounter, but the give-and-take of an unconditional and open dialogue.

There's certainly a good degree of truth in it.  My question is for myself as well.  If Conversation Blogging is humming why do I see so few comments on mine or other blogs (except for the real noted ones)? What the reason for the reticence?  Why don't we comment more?  Are we reading them all though newsreaders? 

There have been some wonderful postings recently about blogging by Ton Ziljstra, Lilia Efimova.  So far I think I've seen none about the design and layout of the "Professional Blog". 

Have you really thought about the blog format that you are using today?  Most of us started blogging with standard templates.  So we follow the crowd.  Adding search functions, blogrolling, etc.  There is usually a few site links to a profile or contact details.  Most of these blogs also allow comments.  I don't see them getting many.  For the most part it doesn't go much further.  A quick link to the top 100 will give you a sense of the design practices (layouts) that are most common. 

This seems to be the current "professional blogging" paradigm the design or layout emerging from a "personal publishing" paradigm. This seems in start contrast to blogs I've seen in Live Journal or Blurty where comments on a friends postings are numerous.  Similarly with youth their blogging space provides the capability to add additional comment, communication and guestbook features to a site. 

Examples are: 

Guestmap, SignMyGuestbook, Zonkboard (a blabber board). various Sitemeters, geo sites like Geobytes  and more playfully imood:  (keep in touch with others moods).

I'm really thinking we must look at the "professional blog" formats really demonstrated by the Radio / MT professionals that have taken it up versus the 18/24 year old who has a substantially richer feedback environment and are using them not just to "tell the world". They also have friends and profile components.

Similarly when we thing about Knowlege Innovation I think the concept of value and knowlege flows is very relevant, however, are blog-centric views limiting perspective? Blogs are only one item on the personal dashboard and current conversational instrumentation is too limited. If the publishing projects are part of a personal ecosystems repository then capture, feedback, related comments, conversations can be captured by even non-writers.

For example the CEO asks many questions, others blog answers into his blog.... the CEO is then comment centric, more conversational with perhaps only periodic briefings which are more likely to be performance, policy, people, planning related. Effectively making the organization more transparent. Categorizing the CEO blog eg project categories, promotional announcements etc, competitive activity... (not sure this is right!)

Why toy with this idea? Power people and knowledge people may be different. Both need conversational space. Do blogs focus too much on the object - the post and not enough on the broader environment. If it is the latter then "newsreaders" and feedback are actually more important.

April 23, 2003

Conversational Blogging II

Two interesting comments emerged on a recent "Conversational Blogging" post. Ton (it's here - obviously my new blog pinged (which this one doesn't) - how to fix? Next week) picked up on my design / layout query and Denham's comments below I'm reposting here and in comments to keep the thread.

"My experience is 'blog' dialog is weak by all accounts:

  • the record is fragmented not easy to follow or aggregated.
  • Bloggers tend to retreat to their enclaves and then reply. This is a very different form of reciprocity to dialog within the same 'container'.
  • Strong personal opinions do not encourage extended dialog - good questions are the key.
  • Most posts are message orientated rather than open exploration - this does not encourage 'conversation' and turn-taking

These strike me as all valid.  I've probably fallen at one time or another for all of these traps too.  Yet if I had not blogged I would'nt have had access to this conversation or point of view today. It's no substitute for face to face and finding real ways to collaborate. 

So Denham when I received your message (e-mail notification), I pushed reply and then considered:

  • Where should the reply go?
  • Assumed public?
  • Checked your wiki; should I respond there?
  • Where might further question best be posed?

This is where metalayer solves this conversational issue.  While looking at the wiki I also noted links to Nancy White, Americ Azevedo, and Carol Tucker all whom I know one way or another.  Two met via Ryze. Not sure any have "real" blogs.  Do check out Carol's PKM space.  So easy to get diverted!

Now for me none of these systems work really effectively. I started blogging because I felt it was important to get writing (See Mitch Radciffe Cogitating) and the focus would emerge.  I think it is. I'll add another category today (wasn't using them before effectively) for conversational blogging

From my perspective blogging's been a lot better than stradling many forums while not ever really finding a home. I also prefer newsfeeds to e-mail lists.  It's more efficient - IMHO.

  • Are there a majority of bloggers uncomfortable (perhaps untrained) in threaded discussions / container forums?
  • Are the time issues (blogging vs forums) such that the broader net cast for a blogger provides more perceived value than the "tight knit" group in the forum space? Is this related to networking vs learning or knowledge seeking?
  • While blogs may not "container" info very effectively it appears to me they project and push snippets very effectively. How can we encourage these dialogues / conversations automatically into better forums, so optimising discovery and accelerating learning?
  • Could trackback have helped us? No compatibility yet. 
  • Last for now.  Aren't blogs better than Wiki's for letting you know what is happening in realtime?  Are pages like Ryze better at sharing human profiles?  

Few aspects that have frustrated my blogging. 

  1. Lack of data to analyse. I'm fixing that by moving my server.  I've also been working all those new blogging tools that report on networks, connections etc.  Frankly I want to know who reads, who links, who I helped to ask a better question. 
  2. My layout, and the functionality that is there. I've only started working on it.  Will be asking around for help.  I'm still sorting trackbacks (working on my new server!),  I want a guestbook, will try moving my posts comments to forums. There is some neat Comment Leader boards etc that are beginning to appear.  Zonkboard and IM capabilities too. 
  3. Community.  I'd like to link co-create my blog as part of a small community where there is more reciprocity in it.  Perhaps it just requries the creation of an offering.

Back to quotes:

"I'm struck by low number of blog posts that have replies - and after something is offerred, not many bloggers take the trouble to reply so the emergent thread dies." 

Sometimes the threads die to the outside world.  Other times they are lost in a phone call.  What struck me was looking at Live Journal and Blurty pages recently.  Many had comments in double digits.  More like Asynchonous IM.  

When you throw a post out there it is nice to get something back.  A big thanks to all recent commenters!

Now I'm still not sure about the correct protocol for answering comments.  In the comments thread?  Somewhere else?  As the "blogging community" is amorphous, there aren't the "cues" that one finds in RYZE or in Live Journal. 

So what "values" would you promote to create a successful small blogging community? Is there an illustration already out there?

I'd also like to know what wiki one should try and why? 

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?

May 5, 2003


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!


"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 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

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

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.   

June 24, 2003

More Corporate Blogging

Allan Karl The Digital Tavern  picks up on corporate blogging following the weekend's weak NY Times article.   I hear an underlying cry for retaining  personality in posts through the synthesis rather than cumbersome  staging of the message.  His O'Reilly example reinforces why highly structured corporate blogging is going to destroy creativity and leave posts "flat". 

... corporations need to embrace weblog technologies, methodologies and find a way to create a synergistic relationship with PR, advertising, marketing and internal communications in an effort to leverage and extend the corporate brand while refining and enhancing the voice of the company. Even more, when these blogs can open up the dialog between company and customers, employees and suppliers/partners, then we'll start to see corporate blogs take off.

Let's look to decentralizing the experience.  I'm not sure thinking communications silos will work for corporate blogging.  Rather providing every employee with an RSS feed and enable Kuro5hin type reviews.  Then corporate bloggers build reputation (individually and collectively).  Both are important and reinforce the need for collaboration.  Important posts must not only be projected into the ether (without a corporate rating they are of no consequence) but accelerated around the organization.  Blogs work at the fringe and at the center. 

While the desire is there to take corporate blogging and doing it publically, building brands... I believe in focussing on small team internal blogs first behind firewalls.  Please keep it simple.  Corporates need to crawl first, and the independent blogging by the few will not define "Collective Blogging" or the organization.  Only then will corporate blogging really begin to evolve and embrace "Living the Brand". 

The perceived model for large organization is very different from a smaller private company with 25 to 125 employees.  (Large org  perceptionsmakes the reality harder.) Small operations will "Corporate Blog" first and their speed and stories will build brand equity far faster than the big guys can.  The key difference -- the little entrepreneurs can think dynamic brand communities.  They tell stories and easily adopt a conversational tone. 

RSS Feed Full Posts

A couple of reminders recently to provide readers with what they really want.  RSS Feeds that contain the full post.  It's now done - isn't choice wonderful?  You can choose.  If you desire a full post rather than the excerpt, please change your subscription to:

Full Posts (XML) 

Why is it that MT's default setting is excerpts?

Makes me think about my own newreader.  I wish I could toggle between full and excerpts.  Even better scan quickly on excepts and then toggle to full posts.  Early on I tried AmphetaDesk and currently just use the Radio one.  Except I get posts that blow its formating from time to time.  Is there a newreader that can improve my experience?  Is there one I can install on my server? That is also easy to do?How does a group go collective newsreading?  A my, yours, ours subscription file? Are there tools mapping subscriptions in this format? 


June 26, 2003

BlogPaste Wisdom

I had to have a little fun with the title. Allan gets his wisdom teeth pulled for the sake of clarity - The Digital Tavern and then allows me to draw new parallels that suggest "see Corporate Blogging 3" is like pulling teeth. So I've finished on a more serious and practical note. 


Actually rather than thinking extraction alone we should think orthodontistry, more art for a smile than techniques to cure infection and disease.  Then there's the odd piece of bridgework required, perhaps a few implants and bingo even corporates will blog with pearly whites.  Then P&G or Colgate will produce some new fangled brightener while OralB puts some bent bristle brushes into action. That could confuse things unless the correct blogging technique is maintained.


Still most corporates will be required to lose their "wisdom" teeth. It's affecting their bite and they're leaving no room for growth.  The sooner blogging becomes daily the more rapidly plaque and gum disease will come under control --- not to mention the dreaded halitosis.  There's a stench when corporate communications fail to be transparent. They are not compelling when they lose their smile and character.  Yep we need engineering.  Full plates are not in vogue.  Toothy tattoos may be in.  Possibly every org needs new blogging hygienists and dental technicians.  Yet it's not only hygiene that blogpaste is working on.


Like the emerging PictureRolls, with faces, we want real smiles and real people when we dock with an organization. Blogging, like FaceRolls is more transparent.  Organizations that learn to blog well will do more good than evil.  Blogs will also engender more competition, and cooperation.  Those employees that fail to visit the bloggist when their colleagues begin their daily routine will find they get more than their teeth pulled long term. 


Really seriously Allan isn’t into dentistry and may be a little concerned about his remaining wisdoms.  I do sense something new in the making.  There’s an opportunity for an agency developing Collaborative Live Brand Communities. There’s a lot from Brand Marketing, Advertising, PR etc that could be merged.


From my days leading sales and marketing teams, “good news”, was part of improving both the batting average and raising the team bar.  Start with core groups from brand marketing, key accounts sales and customer service.  A blog a day could really keep the doctor away. 


It may be too late to add a serious angle to this post.  Yet I feel I’m challenging myself too.  I know if I was again running a sales marketing organization we would be blogging.  I’d start with some core categories.  These are top of mind. I'm sure in a group discussion and appropriate context we would come up with something better.  

  1. Daily Update (Everyone! How did you build the business today?). A minimum amount of structure. Give those sales guys camera phones and micro keypads. Make it real basic. They have done daily reports for years… this is a minor change. Help them bring their customers and channels into the business.  Marketers, help me build categories, stories elevator pitches.  If there isn’t a business building action /insight per day then the business is in trouble.  Etc.   (Improve the bite!)
  2. Team Brief (a weekly hierarchy driven piece to begin). I’ve written on Team Briefs before.  In the beginning they are top down. I do believe in the end they will be bottom up. If we aren’t encouraging / doing enough appreciating each other in 1 above then start here! Similarly over time weekly summaries will become easy. (Encourage the Smile)
  3. Key Projects (These have corporate wide impact – no more than 4). When they make corporate news daily something happens.  We are back to the boss only has to read it. I’d be looking for good posts, real action, and quality of thinking.  These are win-win blogs.  Their beauty also has to be more than skin deep.  (Enhance Visibility)
  4. Measures / Expectations:  Enable everyone to blog on “our blogging performance”.  I’d start this with names optional. (Routinize - Develop Blogpaste)
  5. Dashboard:  Enable all these pieces to be brought together.  And quickly sorted. Comments and trackbacks need to be very visible.   (Mouth the Results)

The ad agency, the PR co etc are involved from the beginning.  Get them writing some summaries.  Providing some points of view.  Give them access.  Let them comment on competitors, great campaigns, idea, etc.  Get them involved in the design discussion, the dashboard and messaging. At the moment this is all private – behind the firewall. They will begin pressing early on for going public.  Resist this temptation, it’s not worth it and bloggers don’t go public they emerge.  Similarly the agency will try to speak with one voice.  Don't allow it.  You need them from creative to media planner.... visibly impacting involved and sharing on your business.  Get their commitment to your blogging --- make it part of their contract. Blogging should not increase their charges to you! Still I'm yet to see the agency that says "blogging with you is synonomous with our business model.  Yet we are close.


If your agency won't go this way they will never take you Corporate Blogging!  So make the decision now.  Get a new agency!  Or hedge your bets short-term... find an agency thatwill take you blogging. I may just know the one.    


Frankly this is all much easier than pulling teeth!  




BlogPaste Wisdom

I had to have a little fun with the title. Allan gets his wisdom teeth pulled for the sake of clarity - The Digital Tavern and then allows me to draw new parallels that suggest "see Corporate Blogging 3" is like pulling teeth. So I've finished on a more serious and practical note. 


Actually rather than thinking extraction alone we should think orthodontistry, more art for a smile than techniques to cure infection and disease.  Then there's the odd piece of bridgework required, perhaps a few implants and bingo even corporates will blog with pearly whites.  Then P&G or Colgate will produce some new fangled brightener while OralB puts some bent bristle brushes into action. That could confuse things unless the correct blogging technique is maintained.


Still most corporates will be required to lose their "wisdom" teeth. It's affecting their bite and they're leaving no room for growth.  The sooner blogging becomes daily the more rapidly plaque and gum disease will come under control --- not to mention the dreaded halitosis.  There's a stench when corporate communications fail to be transparent. They are not compelling when they lose their smile and character.  Yep we need engineering.  Full plates are not in vogue.  Toothy tattoos may be in.  Possibly every org needs new blogging hygienists and dental technicians.  Yet it's not only hygiene that blogpaste is working on.


Like the emerging PictureRolls, with faces, we want real smiles and real people when we dock with an organization. Blogging, like FaceRolls is more transparent.  Organizations that learn to blog well will do more good than evil.  Blogs will also engender more competition, and cooperation.  Those employees that fail to visit the bloggist when their colleagues begin their daily routine will find they get more than their teeth pulled long term. 


Really seriously Allan isn’t into dentistry and may be a little concerned about his remaining wisdoms.  I do sense something new in the making.  There’s an opportunity for an agency developing Collaborative Live Brand Communities. There’s a lot from Brand Marketing, Advertising, PR etc that could be merged.


From my days leading sales and marketing teams, “good news”, was part of improving both the batting average and raising the team bar.  Start with core groups from brand marketing, key accounts sales and customer service.  A blog a day could really keep the doctor away. 


It may be too late to add a serious angle to this post.  Yet I feel I’m challenging myself too.  I know if I was again running a sales marketing organization we would be blogging.  I’d start with some core categories.  These are top of mind. I'm sure in a group discussion and appropriate context we would come up with something better.  

  1. Daily Update (Everyone! How did you build the business today?). A minimum amount of structure. Give those sales guys camera phones and micro keypads. Make it real basic. They have done daily reports for years… this is a minor change. Help them bring their customers and channels into the business.  Marketers, help me build categories, stories elevator pitches.  If there isn’t a business building action /insight per day then the business is in trouble.  Etc.   (Improve the bite!)
  2. Team Brief (a weekly hierarchy driven piece to begin). I’ve written on Team Briefs before.  In the beginning they are top down. I do believe in the end they will be bottom up. If we aren’t encouraging / doing enough appreciating each other in 1 above then start here! Similarly over time weekly summaries will become easy. (Encourage the Smile)
  3. Key Projects (These have corporate wide impact – no more than 4). When they make corporate news daily something happens.  We are back to the boss only has to read it. I’d be looking for good posts, real action, and quality of thinking.  These are win-win blogs.  Their beauty also has to be more than skin deep.  (Enhance Visibility)
  4. Measures / Expectations:  Enable everyone to blog on “our blogging performance”.  I’d start this with names optional. (Routinize - Develop Blogpaste)
  5. Dashboard:  Enable all these pieces to be brought together.  And quickly sorted. Comments and trackbacks need to be very visible.   (Mouth the Results)

The ad agency, the PR co etc are involved from the beginning.  Get them writing some summaries.  Providing some points of view.  Give them access.  Let them comment on competitors, great campaigns, idea, etc.  Get them involved in the design discussion, the dashboard and messaging. At the moment this is all private – behind the firewall. They will begin pressing early on for going public.  Resist this temptation, it’s not worth it and bloggers don’t go public they emerge.  Similarly the agency will try to speak with one voice.  Don't allow it.  You need them from creative to media planner.... visibly impacting involved and sharing on your business.  Get their commitment to your blogging --- make it part of their contract. Blogging should not increase their charges to you! Still I'm yet to see the agency that says "blogging with you is synonomous with our business model.  Yet we are close.


If your agency won't go this way they will never take you Corporate Blogging!  So make the decision now.  Get a new agency!  Or hedge your bets short-term... find an agency thatwill take you blogging. I may just know the one.    


Frankly this is all much easier than pulling teeth!  




July 3, 2003

More Forums & Blogs

I feel there's a ready interest in making blogs more conversational.  So I find it particularly frustrating when contributing to different forums and then finding myself exhausted and too tired to sum it up for my blog.  At that point I feel like I'm suffering all this information is being posted to separate places - different communities and my retrieval is difficult. 

Mark Carey created an interesting slant on his new blog Web Dawn which contains more than one posting on Blogs vs Forums.  He created a forum view after a threaded discussion.  I quickly experimented with it here.  After reading it and flicking around I've found my self rereading my "Conversational Blogging" Category. The comments from Abe, Marc, Roger and more  on Mark's post here are insightful.

I believe that blogs are not forums and forums should not be blogs, however clearly connecting them up creates additional value. Blogs from time to time do take on the attribute of forums.  There are an interesting set of posting at the Knowledge Board and Dave Pollard recently posted his thoughts on the Communications and Media Forms.  What I like about Dave's post is in this thought:

"I see the weblog becoming a ubiquitous communication medium, a proxy for every individual, where everything you want to know about that individual (which they have given you permission to see) can be called up. The effect of that will be to eliminate many communications whose purpose is simply to get information. The blog will be the main vehicle by which we educate, inform and explain"...

This is another good slant on blogging lifestreams and I agree that integrated voice - video chat is a killer app.  What I think I'm missing in these descriptions is how inbound communications will be handled.  Will blogs also become RSS / newsreader feed centric?  If so I need to be getting updates on the comments that are placed on the blogs I read.  Good posts that I'm interested in in my newsreader should also enable me to track comments and trackbacks to them.  At the moment I don't know how to get this easily....

Then finally as a note to Mark Carey's comments:  MT has a plug-in that can be adapted to work with simple comments called Collate.  However, I've not worked how to provide separate labels for trackbacks and comments yet.  I have experimented with it as part of a personal dashboard.

July 8, 2003

Team Blogging

From the New York Times another article on blogging (signs of improvement?) on Blogs in the Workplace.  The real impact will be on creating smarter teams. Some snips:

"People are going to the blogs every day as a source for news," Mr. Jarvis said. But, he added, "I am disappointed in the tool," because the hoped-for exchange of ideas among departments has not spontaneously developed. "You need specific goals," Mr. Jarvis said. Typically, though, such experiments are not expensive to mount. 

Indeed it is not the tools it is how you learn to use them. Establishing the correct learning agenda and context is key.  I remember bringing in Laptops to the salesforce many years ago.  Each one at the time was worth 20% of the salespersons annual salary (very high tax country) and the economic justification was hard.  From my perspective the real payout came in intangibles.  My salesforce learning new tools, image - leading the pack, new interest in presenting data and crunching numbers, and answering my queries at night.  Was still hard to put a value on P-Spend savings or better shelf management and thus share gains.  Still in those days they learnt to use the tools on their time, and longer hours began. Now too many of them are slaves to the system.   

So this time the upgrade expense is not in the equipment and software, the expense will be in finding the right individuals to help facilitate the change. Like Mr. Tang below.... people want to work smarter not longer.  He gets it!

When I want to know something I check the Web log," Mr. Tang said. "It saves me the trouble of e-mailing people or yelling across the room to get a status update." 

Mr Tang is in an IM centric company, hardly typical yet apparently using blogs to get control of his time. 

Corporate Blogging is only just the beginning, the companies that understand the power of a "continuous team briefing process" and enable the grass roots to fuel the exchange will be the organizations that begin learning faster.  It's time to RSSify your org.  The result will be moving work off e-mails and back into community work. My bet is intelligent solutions will quickly emerge just as other examples in the article are showing. 

Of note these new tools are being brought in from the fringe. What makes this really exciting is the potential to create entirely new operating systems.  We already know the hardware is a commodity and the software is cheap or open source.  Corporate Blogging is just the edge of a revolution that will harness the collective intelligence of organizations in new ways. It's time to start thinking about the right people to have on board. 

Hmmm.... check you buddy list.....start your web cam, will your next employee be a blogger?  How long must they have blogged to be considered?  That reminds me of another post I never made on S-Blogs... search-blogs.  Blogs set up by individuals in the job search process.  Perhaps it is time to pull that one out too. 


July 10, 2003

Comments Debate

The Venomites are speaking up.  Electric Venom:Blogs Without Comments "And so the debate continues whether a blog needs comments or it's just a website, or whether TrackBack is sufficient."

My recent EV comment: So comments are like sowing seeds... May the Venomites rise up and be heard... front page. Way to go! Makes tripping rather than RSS reading much more fun. Alway enjoy my visits.

So really--- are comments just part of an intimacy gradient? Are trackbacks... just new fences? Territorial boundaries? Perhaps we take it all too seriously. Set fire to the fields or quench the flames.

Comments and trackbacks are important to me.  I don't mind admitting that I don't like blogs that don't have comments. It does tell me something about the who or them behind it.  But here's a request.  At least it may work for the MT crowd that makes all the trackback noise anyways. 

Enable other MT blogs so that when I leave a comment on their blog... it is automatically e-mailed to my blog when I check the right comment box and thus posted (title comment on VK's xxx entry) and saved in a category "comments on other blogs" with sub-categories by blog.  Then I can go commenting and feel I'm adding broader value at the same time.  It would generate more thoughtful comments, and enable me to share both more personally and broadly at the same time. It would also keep a record for me of comments I've made on other blogs.  Something sadly lacking today. 

While we should be happy to give away -- our comments --- those with failing memories might like a record.  Makes it easier to find later. It also makes it easier to make later referrals.  "Ah we connected on that!" See... 

Plus hitting a trackback right now will make it even easier to see how Kate's blog is working! 

July 17, 2003

KM Stretch

Another brilliant post in the SEVEN SURVIVAL TIPS FOR KNOWLEDGE MANAGERS Kept me up tonight for a few last thoughts.  I really liked it.  levers.gif

Dave describes three new, looser methods to standardize how things get done, shown on the chart. 

I'd like to add a fourth.  Stretch and Learning: Every organization today must be able to to stretch to new futures, and perceive alternate environments in which their decisions may play out.  This requires the capability to embrace uncertainty, complexity, and an element of chaos.  So doing creates the intuition, the creative space where new solutions are found. 

Dave then adds "What does this mean for the struggling, once-hyped discipline of 'knowledge management'? Here's a 7-point strategy for knowledge managers ...."

  1. Focus knowledge and learning systems on 'know-who', not 'know-how'
  2. Introduce new social network enablement software and weblogs to capture the 'know-who'. 
  3. Keep only selected, highly-filtered knowledge in your central repositories. 
  4. Don't overlook the value of plain-old 'data'
  5. The bibliography may be more valuable than the document itself.
  6. Don't wait for people to look for it, send it out, using 'killer' channels.
  7. Create an internal market for your offerings by giving valuable stuff away.

For my final two cents of the night.  My favorites are numbers one and two and five.  In this area more attention must be placed on helping to design personal dashboards.  When connectivity is embedded at the fingertips or at the click of a mouse then richer conversations will evolve.  When we have great dialogues we have great organizations.  Lets not forget the soft skills the CKO needs as organizations seek personalized knowledge in a way that also creates real deep community brands.  When we can all live this way... then we will have organizations that compell people to operate around stategy number 7.  I think it's called the common good!

September 2, 2003

Changing Face of Blogs

I've been struggling to get going with blogging since returning from Europe.  Many of my thoughts just prior to going away had an increasingly Corporate Blogging thrust from thinking about teams to also how the news is collected. 

So it was nice to see this timely reminder from Rob Patterson to use blogging to change our world.  He says: " it's not about making the corporation better..." he writes about human voices, conversations, discovery.  From his previous day post I'll add in community and learning...

And that is exactly why we need to stretch the perceptions and understanding of individuals in organizations. I still believe early organizational bloggers will have power.  They also need to explore how they will share with their colleagues - some who will be threatened.  They may emerge as experts as they talk with a voice that can influence internally and perhaps externally. They accelerate their learning and provide new opportunities to share organizational success --- and good strategy comes from great conversations. Similarly smart blogging strategies will simplify and streamline their communication channels.  So, blogging can and will improve institutional learning. 

This is exactly why Rob's desire for an eBay market for knowledge will also impact.  Just like the wreckless claims that all large organizations should start organising "Bringing Silicon Valley Inside" like venture firms, blogging may well stimulate new knowledge communities and in that may have a more lasting impact on instituitions.  Knowledge in such a format is inherently cooperative.  Thus the ownership structures may change providing the fuel for revolutionizing the corporate institutions. 

Rob: "For me the big challenge is how can we create a safe community where we can learn from each other?" 

As an individual being part of a blogging community is something I desire.  In the life before blogging I had many colleagues almost none of which currently blog.  While I've not asked them much... few have ever asked me about my blogging.  It why it is so enlightening and enriching to make contact with other bloggers who see the potential. The free flowing implicit connections are not institutionalized and yet my desire remains for more explicit connections that force me to "raise the bar".  I feel there is a merry dance in there.  Few blogger that I really know or correspond with have been blogging longer than two years.  We are thus a mass of loose ties... weakly joined. The potential for collective action is enormous.

So perhaps the challenge is to link or cross syndicate blogs - perhaps for time periods possibly for lifetimes.  The contracts can be explicit... We maintain the individual augmented by their thought networks.  I'm not blogging alone... and yet I'd like to be blogging as part of a more collaborative group. I need more input - perhaps that is just me. However, blogging in a groups still fits with my belief that all of us is better than anyone of us. 

Back to the CEO --- exploring the possiblities of blogging will open up the flow of information in organizations.  Increased flow makes everything more transparent. The hierarchies approach to organizations rather than wirearchy means a lack of transparency, creating powerlessness and leaves CEO's listening too often to too few voices. If the organizational environment could even begin to approach the blogging stream of thought (See Mitch & John R example re making "connections") then the emphasis will move one tick closer to "learning faster".  I

I'm sure there is a percentage point where people get a bigger kick out of what they are doing when they are learning more.  Those that are blessed with the 20%+ of time type number will almost automatically put confidence and leadership back into an organization.  The CEO that fails to explore blogging will fail to harness the changing social nature of work.   

September 16, 2003

Denham Welcome to the Blogosphere

I arrived at Stanford tonight for the Vlab event on "Social Networking is There Really a Business Model?" Traffic was light, so I had a little time to take some notes from my newsreader. So I began reading Denham Grey's new blog.

Knowledge-at-Work started this week. It's a unique opportunity to get in at a ground zero and grow as his blog develops. My first thought was how lucky I am. He'll tickle my newsreader a few times a week, and is always going to make me think. It's a more public "persistent conversation" that he is engaging in and I welcome it. I'm in a soundbite world. I will have something more tangible to trackback to. There is a good chance his blog will open his other knowledge spaces to me. With my own links I may indeed learn to use it better and perhaps gift a little in return. I'm still interested in Jazz-Blogging

His last post "On asking hard questions" was the one that forced me to take the time to study all his posts (5) to date. While I'm for hard questions I really prefer "better" questions, however that is just semantics. My net takeaway is that these questions are very systemic, and thus leave room for another set of questions that include, intuition, beliefs, and readiness for change. The best questions in the world won't help the organization that's in denial. While the philosophy that seeks better questions and runs with the accelerator down simply learns to be smarter faster.

A previous post provides interesting dataon the changing KM Discussions Link to KMBloggers for a sample of Denham's KMwiki!

A knowledge space is where we gather to: share awareness, conduct productive inquiries, reflect upon persistent conversations and capture our thinking together.

A large part of the focus in my KmWiki has been to collect links and thoughts on tools, practices and design for collaborative spaces for knowledge work. The Wiki page serves as a summary and pointer to that work. The central theme has been to explore virtual spaces, affordances, rituals and tools that support social knowledge creation and innovation rather than storage, access, organization and retrieval of information. Some people feel I take the social aspects too far!

There is something enticing, exciting and alluring about knowledge spaces. In one very real sense, such spaces, when they exhibit effective social affordances, offer a glimpse of the future - collaborative innovation, continuous learning, profitable practice and strongly supported development.

It's time to work on syndicating the KM Blogs in some way together.

September 17, 2003

Skype? or LivePerson

When words return it makes blogging a lot more satisfying. When I receive a call from a new Skype user who clicks on my blog and introduces himself as the organizer of last nights event you know answering created more value than ever losing him to a profile link on your site. I hope he doesn't mind my sharing... he was using MP3 headphones as the speaker (see Skype help) and it worked just fine. Some people will go to extraordinary lengths to check out new technology. I'm sympathetic with his interest.

And no it's not the only call I've had today. I began to think... wouldn't it be nice to have a LiveBlogger behind every blog. I saw Don Parks post --- too late his Skype link was gone. Would have liked his input. So all this connecting had me reflecting on LivePerson a business that I visited a few years ago. So I checked up on their claims for small businesses. Thought they may give me a hint as to the value of reaching a "LiveBlogger". Here's their pitch. :

Sell “instantly”by chatting with your customers.
Offer them special deals, up-sell, cross-sell…

Easily assist multiple customers simultaneously, save money over phone calls.

Give them the service they deserve from a real person.

While there they offered me a LiveChat with Camilla. I don't know if they are all Camilla's there or if this was a unique individual. Here's a snatch"

Camilla: This chat service is text and image based
you: ok
Camilla: We don't support voice over IP as of yet
you: right thanks - are you planning too?
Camilla: Are you familiar with our services and features?
you: i checked the listing
Camilla: Yes, voice is still in development

Camilla: Can you please tell me a bit about your business and Web site?
you: no can't --- for a client - doing a little investigating - thought this might provide an avenue but I'm not sure
Camilla: If you'd like to see a list of features available in the LivePerson Pro package click here. (clicked)
Camilla: Since voice is what you're looking for
you: yep thanks
Camilla: or is it something else?
you: no voice facility --- at exceptionally low cost -- it is a global audience
Camilla: Well, voice isn't a part of what we currently offer
you: I understand
Camilla: and aside for a few cases there's not much demand for it either
you: why is that? is it cost?
Camilla: When voice is introduced , it takes off the edge a chat has over telephone converstaions
you: interesting please explain
Camilla: Like the ability to handle multiple simultaneous chats
you: how many are you handling now?
Camilla: for instance
Camilla: 4
Camilla: features like the "histroy" are also disabled
Camilla: when doing "voice" chats
you: makes sense
Camilla: The History Function feature allows all of your operators to access the Chat and Navigation history of any repeat visitor to your website, at a click of a button. While your operators are chatting, they can see what other questions that visitor has asked in the past, and see where they have visited on your site......

Camilla: Another great feature commonly used in text chats
Camilla: is the canned response feature

My takeaway, SkyperBloggerPhone makes me more accessible, accelerates conversations, bridges gaps the poorly or quickly written word can't cover at no cost to me other than my time. Better personal linkages mean more referrals, and ulitmately better blogging from me.

Now as Ken noted. I just need an audible "Speak to my blog feature" that automatically forwards to my e-mail when I'm away and plays on opening. So who's going to offer me a voice message facility to go with this?

Well that sums it up. Should LivePerson hustle on their VoIP solution? What's the impact of the Skype model on their business, and how it is structured? Only time will tell.

November 21, 2003

Blog or E-mail "Status Reports"

Is e-mail and managing-up the missing links in activating the corporate blog? It's nice to see excitement in posts. Weblogs as Status Reports 2.0 hits a chord. I've advocated Team Briefs for some time, using language that perhaps was too attuned to "down under" (NZ / Australia) and so "Status Reports" just hit a note with me and both Roland and Jim. Blogs are also not easy to introduce. Their comments only briefly linked here are better read on their blogs. They also stimulated another line of inquiry.

Weblogs as status reports - It can work but the barrier is cultural not technological. (SOURCE:Rands In Repose: Status Reports 2.0 via McGee's Musings)- We've tried over the last 2 years to replace status reports with blogs at a e-commerce company I do consulting for. Success has been mixed. Even though most of the people are engineering staff (i.e. technical people who should have no problem with the 'geekiness' of today's blogging tools), getting them to document in real time what they do has been more difficult than I anticipated. Roland Tanglao

Jim adds:

Status reporting should become more about discovering and understanding the implications in those variations. [McGee's Musings]

There's a hurdle to getting to Roland's more transparent state and solving Jim's creative incentive to write stuff down. Taking the organization forward needs a dedicated blogger to begin with. That blogger must understand categories and the capabilities it creates to repurpose information. So when the new corporate blogger becomes all excited and tries to encourage others to blog he starts showing them the technology. Then the potential co- bloggers go to a new web page (they write almost everything in e-mail now) and are asked to make a post. All of a sudden it becomes hard, they know it is the web, it becomes more transparent (gee everyone will see this) and they feel more vunerable. In addition we probably start asking for html etc. This is a big step. At this point they don't want to learn a new tool. However being pointed to a new "information look-up point" - blog - is much easier to handle.

I'm sure many bloggers have multiple methods to post to their blogs. I certainly do. So why the tendency to introduce potential new bloggers to weblogs via the blogging tool interface? Let's be realistic. If the format is set up, they are an author on a team or project blog then why introduce them before they are ready. As the manager you need content. You need to make the capture simple, it has to repurpose work that is already done. It also has to be understood that this "blog" is internal vs external.

How might this solution track?
Consider introducing your co-bloggers to blogging via e-mail. Give them the or equivalent address. Redirect all status reports or what you are trying to capture to the blog e-mail. What's missing here is any capability to add categories. However now a project manager can do that easily converting the posts from drafts to publish status. The new participant can see the updates in the "blog" via the url. In fact confirmations could be posted back to them. Dependent on the blog... either subscribe your new bloggers or alternatively add NewsGator so their RSS feeds become active. It won't be until you are swamped with posts or editing issues that the team needs to become more active and responsible.

Now we get multiple participants with the blogging manager / owner assigning categories and coaching on posts. In this process there is never anything to stop the new blogger from going direct to the authoring tool. In fact now's the time to start the second blog in parallel that reports on the implementation, enables questions and answers. This is simply a place for learning about blogging. As it is an internal blog, combine it with other easy to navigate features and enable a quick log-in from the home page.

What's different in this strategy? These initial blogs are more likely to be informative rather than linking blogs. Blogs involved in research and for gathering ideas and spreading memes are more likely to come later or be specific to a particular department. I'd not advocate the above for a research department, however using e-mail to move my reps from e-mail to blogs might well make sense. Similarly with marketing and HR.

My rule remains that you need the square root of the number of people in the company to really change the culture. Once those up the chain find it is easier, quicker and smarter to access the blog for information you've won. So this brings me back to the old set of questions around you as a manager. As a manager what is your first responsibility? No.... it is not... Your first responsibility is to manage yourself. Now you have that straight, what is your next responsibility? No... it is not!. Now you must manage your peers! So you are being a pretty good manager, your time is controlled, your peers are happy..... Now what must you do? Manage your boss!!! For those that operate in this way will find their reports are already managing them.

So for my two cents. One of the things we are missing in internal BLOG implementations, is the idea of managing up! We talk about it and see it as a grass roots phenomena. It's why you will really need so few to change the work pattern. When a blog helps you personally manage better, flows more effective information from your department into buckets (categories) that are consistent with what your peers want then you are on the way to winning the blog vs e-mail challenge.

Using e-mail to initiate blogs starts with tools that people are already comfortable with. Appointing a manager (or two or three) that manage the initial flow helps to build categories and the "managing up" dashboards that blogging pages easily adapt to. Adding subscriptions and RSS keeps people in the loop and yet begins the recategorization process. You copy the blog not CC the world.

To close I've mentioned before that I'd like to be able to post more easily from Outlook to my MT blog. Even better if it was supported with a plug-in that would enable choice of which blog and the category. When asked today about an upcoming virtual conference, I thought it would be nice to enable all registered attendees to immediately be able to post session comments via e-mail to the blog. Perhaps not so simple. However did wonder if anyone is doing this?

December 1, 2003

Reference Links - Blogging and Social Software

I began updating a list of references on Blogging and Social Networks last week. As I prepared to post this I begin to realize what I've left out. It started as a list supporting "Jazz in the Blogosphere". It was also meant to provide a range... from introductory to more topical posts. From newspapers and magazines to personal blogs. Additional references would be welcome!

Time stopped me adding further to the list, and where does a list start and stop. However it makes me realize the need to invest time in developing appropriate "posting categories". Similarly some posts are more worthy of retrieval than others. As I looked back on some of these posts, it also is a shame that trackback is not enabled for so many of them. I'm not going to suggest that a list will bring them back to "current" however trackbacks on older posts are just another way of communicating their continued value and validity.

Marcia Stepanek. “John Patrick on Weblogs” CIO Insight November 25, 2003 Leading visionary talks about the future.,3048,a=113189,00.asp

David Duval "An Introduction to Weblogs” Personal Blog October 31, 2003 Provides useful definitions and history on weblogs.

George Siemens. "The Art of Blogging – Part 2" December 6, 2002. See also Part One: Overview, Definitions, Uses, and Implications December 1, 2002.

John Foley. “Are You Blogging Yet?” July 22, 2002 InfoWorld. Discusses the value of using weblogs in the enterprise.

Katherine Goodwin “B-Blogs Cause a Stir” Febuary 5, 2003 ClickZ. Captures growing interest in B-Blogs or business blogs and K-logs.

Dave Pollard. Blogs in Business: “The Weblog as as Filing Cabinet” Personal Blog March 3, 2003

Michael Angeles. “Making Sense of Weblogs in the Intranet” Lucent September 26 2003. A presentation trying to make sense of why people are using them and their use in Knowledge Management

Meg Hourihan. “Using Blogs in Business” John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition August 8, 2002 This link to chapter 8.

Neil McIntosh. “Why Blogs Could Be Bad For Business” Guardian September 29,2003 Using weblogs in a business setting.,12449,1052072,00.html

Jim McGee. “If the only tool you have is a hammer….” Personal Blog. June 16, 2003 Blogs will be the predominant KMW = application.

David Duval An “Introduction to Weblogs, Part Two: Syndication” Personal Blog November 2, 2003 Detailed introduction to Syndication, RSS and the complementary aspect newsreaders play to blogs.

David Weinberger. “The 99cent KM solution”. KM World. September 2002

Sandra Guy. “Weblog has Served Business Function for Chicago Firm” July 16, 2003 How one company is using weblogs as a business tool.

Rick Bruner. “Business Weblogs – The Big List” Marketeing Wonk July 18,2003 A list but only a list of business weblogs. They take all forms.

John Baggaley “Blogging as a Course Management Tool” July 2003 Benefits of Weblogging for education.

Mary Harrsch. RSS: The Next Killer App For Education July 2003 Applications of RSS for Educators. Realizing the potential of RSS and blogging.

Groove Networks “Employee Guideline for Personal Website and Weblogs” Groove’s answer to the corporate – personal trade-off.

Dennis Mahoney. “How to Write a Better Weblog” Personal Blog February 22, 2002

Robin Athey. “Collaborative Knowledge Networks: Driving Workforce Performance Through Web-enabled Communities” Deloitte

Steve Lundin. The fall of PR and the rise of Community Centric Communications:

Stuart Henshall “Blog or E-Mail “Status Reports” Personal Blog November 21, 2003 Click through to “ Status Report” and Team Brief. (Had to put at least one link in!)

Tom Coates “ Discussion and Citation in the Blogosphere” Personal Blog May 25, 2003 Can weblogs garner better discussion than discussion boards?

Lee Bryant. “Smarter Simpler Social” Headshift April 18, 2003 An introduction to online social software methodology.

Jan Hauser+ . The Augmented Social Network” LinkTank May 15, 2003

Clay Shirky. Social Software and the Next Big Phase of the Internet GBN Print February 2003 It’s time to tune in to the Internet again!

Stowe Boyd “Are You Ready for Social Software?” Darwin May 2003 Social software supports the desire of individuals to be pulled into groups to achieve goals. And it's coming your way.

Leslie Walker. “Social Network Websites Growing Rapidly, But Where Is The Money?” Wahington Post, November 17, 2003 Will the emerging social networking sites like Friendster ever make money. New Business Networking sites too.

Ross Mayfield. “Social Software Reader” Personal Blog Novemeber 24, 2003 Some links from above and others on Social Software and Social Networking.

Denham Grey. "About Wiki" Personal Wiki. Are there dates for wiki's?

I'm sure there are many more.

From Conversational Blogging to Jazz Communities

Nowhere is it more apparent to me than in the KM field that "Conversational Blogging" is still looking for some solutions. It also left we with questions the last time I was exploring it . I know the IT guys have done the collaborative dance, played jazz and scored more than ideas that began with weblog posts. Look carefully and you can see the collaborative exchanges taking place. However this isn't limited to blogs. Blogs are just one part of an accelerative learning program that is primarily focused on people.

A Little Background.
Ton Ziljstra made a post on "Making Actionable Sense" + follow-up. It began (I think by) Lilia Effimova "loose ends", Dina Mehta, John Moore (improv) and Gary M whose excellent post spurred me to start writing or trying to share something. That's when it usually get complex.

  • Where to start?
  • What to link to?
  • Hmm... What is my point of view?
  • If I start with a ramble... can I finish succinctly?

    Just looking at the names above and I know many more who are equally interested in emergent blogging - collaboration spaces the key element comes back to a business model. For talking is not action. Action implies that there is enough learning and knowledge to believe that "blogging can pay" for the independent blogger. So far the deliverables for independents are mostly intangible, hard to monetize, with no depth of collective identity. That's not to suggest that no value has been created, just that independently without more structured collaboration there is little chance of it all coming together until someone waves the magic dollar sign.

    From Conversational Blogging to Jazz Communities
    Our Challenge is to link blogs in a way that retains independent thought while creating a jazz community. A blog based info accelerator helps us engage with information, conferences, CoP's in a different way. We can being to face up to the 365/7/24/60/60 world. Our connections help us do it. They are skill that are worth passing along and providing to others.

    Let's consider creating an environment for "paid" membership with a BAND of people that enables them to become better connected, build new relationships and stay on the leading edge of learning even when they simply don't have the time. Blogging is a natural for the "listening post", the early warning radar, and for scanning upstream. I've been able to identify for some time an emergent blogging community that could do this in the KM area. Sales and Marketing topics are less clear, while in the last few weeks I've finally found some additional "futures" blogs.

    A possible solution for enabling an environment in which we can work together is to show "members" or "sponsors" how they can learn faster than traditional companies. It's not the resource rich / big dollar learning journeys of the past, the huge number of conferences, or "guru" answers, it's more pragmatic, more personal and directed at helping executive ask smarter questions. It's also more open space in nature.

    P2P music experiences revealed how communities of customers can learn faster than traditional companies. So as a leader you want to remain ahead of the competition. You know the surprises come from the fringe, and edge of the network. The deep answers seldom come from inside the organization and almost never from where you are today. It's not what's on your agenda that will kill you. It's what's not!

    This type of community is like a great jazz club. Infectious, Ingenious, Interactive, and Integrative, playing in an information rich world that demands elegance, simplicity, transparency and clear notes on the solutions employed. We accept in joining that 'all of us' are better than any one of us in creating new sources of value. Band members would be here to collectively harness our intelligence, collaborate and have some serious fun while doing it.

    This means that no one can grab it, no one person can put their arms around and everyone must nurture it. That makes it Chaordic. You can empathize with us, and appreciate the collective intelligence within. It's collaborative, emergent, with enough structure to encourage self organization but not enough to signal a fixed agenda, or the next topic. We know where we are starting but not where it might lead us. It's about connecting, It is about flows. It is about curiosity. Ultimately it is about better questions and learning faster. Our tools will be conversations and dialogues. …. We begin with a small group, and begin building on it with a global perspective.

    It takes Paying Partners.
    The question here is not the technology, or even the team, it is the willing partners we need to make the above a reality. Who is that audience that wants to harness a network that is proving it 'learns faster" and helps creat better understanding around issues of uncertainty, ambiguity, and complexity.

    This will take a team that has taken the time to understand the needs of the audience and their participation style. It doesn't necessarily require blogs. Although I believe that blogs are a criteria for membership. (Blog for a year... then come and talk to us!) In fact the telephone, the odd live meeting and even e-mail could be engaged. The real challenge is to create the introductions, context and encounters for useful conversations to take place. That means a variety of people. It also requires a network. Blogs help the transparency around that. It might just make it easier to find out where "we" collectively are not looking.

    Who Would We Be?
    At the core is a band that believes they can "connect", "synthesize" and harness the "flow" better than the traditional organizations and structures. In common english that is "learn". I for one know it is possible. In the short term a groups like these are potential insurance policies. What's the cost of a wrong decision when it can cost you millions. The experience you might have once gone to a conference for, or hired in an expert to talk for a day, now is on call, when you want it adapting to your needs and curiosity. If you are a company what is it worth to have this collective thought engine available? I've also posted on Innovation Panels. I believe a bloggers panel around KM would be a great place to start.

    I think this blog community would also become very comment centric. As it is a private members club we will need some numbers to really get it going. In fact it will have to have both public and private aspects. Even the members... can get up and jazz blog, nothing is stopping them. I expect that may just take some time. However other "sharing" mechanisms will be built in and I'd not the more they are integrated with current work patterns the greater the chance of success.

    The core team of band members will make the introductions and provide context for useful conversations and encounters with leading thinkers in a variety of fields. For time compressed people this is the conference and the breaks... year round at your fingertips.

    Input Please!
    Be great to have a a set of core members that are KM leaders in their respective organizations. "Building Jazz Communities"

    It's time to make the Elevator pitch! Comments? Suggestions? Let me know if you are interested in playing.

  • December 3, 2003

    Actionable Sense

    There is a little trepidation when a troupe starts exploring whether it can really collaborate and how it can make money. I was serious about both conversational blogging and jazz communities. I reread and reread new posts from overnight, spent time Skyping with Ton and Dina and then resorting to the phone with Ross Mayfield. In the meantime I've sent out yet more messages spoke to Gary this morning and it continues.

    Ross Mayfield made the emerging Actionable Sense Troupe a very generous offer yesterday to aid in community building by offering a SocialText workspace get things started. Having read many thoughtful posts I'm going to start inviting those in that have said they want to participate later today. We will be starting with a blank sheet and that will presents some challenges. I think we all understand the difficulty and the desire not to waste effort. Time is money..

    We need to articulate a process, but it has to be a process that scratches some itch sufficiently that someone will give us their itch to scratch, and thus I think we should begin our sweep-out radar project pitch by identifying who it is we need to ask who might have such an itch and back that offer with a budget and a deadline, Gary

    My own thinking on this at the moment is that the money will come from the consulting work that is generated by the community, not from access to the community itself. John

    The business model is the direct concern, and as Gary says needs to be underpinned by an identifiable need and itch to make it stick. Ton

    Currently I think very much along the lines John, does where hiring one independent actually means hiring the community and thus money will flow from the individual consulting jobs to the community. In recent e-mail conversations with Lilia Efimova and Martin Roell I formulated it that it would be like having part-time colleagues, i.e. on certain topics with certain clients, the community gelling around specific themes and points in time. Ton

    We all make decisions (often subconsciously) about what to blog and what not to blog. For many people (myself included) the most potent area of such decisions is around our relationship to our employer (or clients for the self-employed) Julian

    Where to begin?
    Let's take this discussion into the SocialText workspace. Let's build our thoughts together rather than independently. I jotted down the following based on the comments above. However, realize it is better all stared in the Workspace.

  • The first is formalizing the reference points in a little more detail. These are the strong and weaker ties we carry within the blogosphere. (We have others, however I'm limiting my definition for now to other bloggers I know personally - have ties to etc.). My reference begins with "MAKING ACTIONABLE SENSE OF BLOGGING". It provides a useful preliminary context from my perspective. Independently we can sell leveraging our bloggiing networks however independents seldom manage to achieve the same dollars that the "structured organization" manages for providing less.

  • The second opportunity is to go beyond the listing stage and actually collaborate on resources that enable the collaborators to increase dollars. For Example, separately I'd bet many in this group have both selling materials and presentation components for a "One Day Course on Blogging". Similarly presentations to industry groups etc. Together collaboratively we can create better materials and save time. That provides an edge that many of us currently don't have. The customer pays for results. Large investments in development are hard to recoup individually. Each individual will customize with their own stories and with those of the collective.

  • Taking it to the next level would move us beyond a best practices collaboratory to creating a networked brand. The brand would help us achieve a price premium for the collective capability and reduce risk for others engaging us on a large collective project. An example would be a more complex multi-client that is facilitated by a core group and had commitments from both industry leaders and topic experts. I can imagine a couple of examples in the blogging social software space that would combine research, best practices and planning for the "future". We have to think through our target companies. We might be surprised by what we turn up when the proposition is ready to sell. This might also form a "collective intelligence" at your fingertips type capability. (And that was where my membership type model suggestion was coming from). Such a service might be a GLOBAL "tec chair" type approach which demonstrates a successful business model in this regard.

    Actually to get anywhere we have to start with an exploratory form of one above making some specific commitments in terms of both time, expected rewards and what we are each prepared to commit to. We also need those quick ideas on "ITCH" and "TARGETS". The key consumable is "time". Forming, storming and norming still have to take place.

    I'm taking Ross up on his suggestion and activating the "Actionable Sense" Network (working name for now). If you haven't already and are interested e-mail me. It will prove to be a more effective environment for developing this thread further.

  • December 15, 2003

    Good Interviews: The Future of Web Conferencing

    Robin Good is an important connection that I've made tracing orginally to postings on Skype. Combine with blogging, and a general curiosity between two parties and the layers get peeled away. So I was delighted to respond to his interview questions. I knew they would stimulate my thinking and when open minded often lead in directions I perhaps didn't expect.

    So I really appreciated Robin's comments and introduction to "The Future of Web Conferencing". I'd be uncomfortable dwelling on the interview here, I simply appreciate the opportunity to share for this part of blogging opens up new dialogues, finds new voices, and lends new ears. For those that have read the interview it may capture me in a way that I don't often talk or write to in my blog --- despite knowing the result would be blogged. I liked the conversation that ensued. I've seen little on the "blog" interview genre particularly when applied to other bloggers. As such an interview has the potential to put a number of blogs in play and may be worth further thought. So one lesson for me is to consider interviews as a blogging strategy in the new year.

    Robin's questions also had me thinking more:

  • The first was around running a second monitor as a "communicator screen". The gains to be made from this strategy are not only tangible in easing desktop workflow and notifications. There's also a set of intangibles that reflect the "desktop statement". Give managers a simple story to share and the dual screen works as effective method to introduce new work practices and programs. It provides more than a talking point enabling the introduction of "new" features without taking up current desktop space.

  • Second was beginning to consider the impact on costing practices of advanced knowledge solutions emerging at very low cost. Costing for IT projects that has been corporate centric will be assigned to the individual level. For the vendor that is a different sale. "Full Augmented Network" costing practices will be required.

    One thing I'm still looking for is a web conferencing solution with VoIP that works cross-platforms (ie Mac and Windows) has zero latency globally, enables 4-5 in an unmoderated discussion and can be learned in 15 seconds. It should be free or low cost.... etc.

  • December 19, 2003

    Blogging Break

    I'm taking a blogging break from now until the new year. Actually (like the addict) it is more of a posting break. Rather than feel any need to look at the newsreader, spend time visiting other blogs, I'm just going to use the time for reflection and on what already exists. I figure it may make me a better blogger in the new year. Plus I need a little time off. I'll catch up again in 2004.

    As I started blogging late in 2002, it is a perfect point for me to take a look back and a look forward. I've played around with layouts, categories and various MT plug-ins during that time. I started blogging more as personal creative therapy than with a clear mission in mind. I believed the blog would evolve, that it would become my gyroscope. However I'm personally way past that point. Blogging re-energized me on a number of fronts. It's also created its own set of unexpected wonderful benefits.

    I'm really thankful for the introductions, the new friends, colleagues and connections I've met. Today, this community of bloggers some close - some far away is a group I trust and respect more and more each day. I haven't met them all face to face, although I've met many. We certainly haven't all worked out yet how to earn together and for many that is not the mission. Somewhere within blogging and the emergent communications media lies the future of the consulting services businesses. I'm convinced the skills and practices learned here means "blogging" will open more doors for everyone in 2004.

    There are some things I wished I'd posted this year. There are others that are drafts that still remain dormant. In some cases those are the ones I should have just dumped out there. They are dormant and moribund because I thought they deserved something more. I'm not sure. Instead I've found that sometime it is the strangest posts that get the attention. Blogging needs a Ready, Fire, Aim approach in this regard. Sometimes just write and post and it is easy.

    Then there is that feeling like the builder who's own house is never built or the accountant who's finances never seem to get the same attention as the clients. There is the plumbing, the layout, the mechanics, many things that I can do - in fact must do to make this a better blog. Then there is that fact that for most it is just in a newsreader. A balancing act for some serious thinking on my blog strategy for next year.

    Some questions I have for myself.

  • What kind of blogger are you?

  • Thinking about the blog and the adjectives that others would use to describe it, what five words come to mind? ............. What would you like them to be?

  • Imagine for a moment that you have access to a clairvoyant who can see the future of your blogging exploits. What three questions would you want to ask the clairvoyant?

  • Now please answer your questions, telling me the story of your blogging exploits over the next few years.

  • What is your greatest blogging fear?

  • What do you think is impossible to do today with your blogging that would change everything about the way you blog?

  • What is it about blogging that keeps you awake at night?

  • When your blogging days are done, what words will you find on your blogging epitaph?

    Now answer the questions! I'll take your comments too! That's the sort of thing I might just respond to.

    Finally a very Happy Holidays! Best wishes for peace and happiness where ever you are.

  • January 21, 2004

    The "Online" Distinction

    I'm participating in the current Muckabout. It's going to be a wonderful face to face meeting in early February. Right now the online ramp-up has begun and registration captured wonderful people and kicked off a set great questions there.

    This is a question that just grabbed me tonight.

    "is there a disruptive innovation in "collaborative work/learning/action" in process yet or are we still warming up?"

    Just made me want to ask. Are "online communities" a relevant distinction in the world going forward?

    Online (to me) now means that it is separate from my buddy list, apart from my social networking services, unlikely to connect in real-time and / or involve a voice conversation and for the most part we can forget the flip charts. It often means large lists of brilliant contributions to run though and contributions made in the environment are semi-lost to my personal search engine when my memory fails. It's also a separate destination I must go to.

    By contrast my "always on" buddy lists with their "presence" connect in much more interesting ways. My blog and trackbacks potentially link to others and my newsreader can aggregate all this stuff!

    Is it the tools, is it the time, or is it just me? One thing is certain my online community participation has gone down since I began blogging.

    The above is pretty much as I posted it in the Muckabout forum. I'm adding this little postscript here as it tells an additional story.

    I shared my post with an online buddy, there was no-chat active in the forum. Just wanted to test my thought and check clarity. In a live facilitated session it would be the equivalent of a mini-paired discussion before sharing to the group. In closed online conferences where you don't know everyone you learn caution. I'm intrigued by the fact that as I write this and post --- the more "open" blog world lets me post with less reservation. That's probably because they are in the context of all my posts, rather than an initial or early post on a forum. Here I actually know some of my readers.

    Finally, I'm not being more explicit about the Muckabout right now as "blogging" it has never been discussed and I sense it is "community" work product. Thus I share my little piece.

    February 11, 2004

    My UnBlogged List

    I just thought I'd compose my unblogged list tonight. It's a place setter if nothing else. It has no live links. The still unblogged:

  • An update from Tech-Muck, particularly a dicsussion with Etienne Wenger on Identity Theory.
  • The changing face of conferences. What happens when everyone is web-enabled and using a wiki? What happens to the flipchart activities? How does it impact on listening?
  • Holding the Crest Spin brush. Power is going into consumer products, particularly those where tools can be enhanced.
  • Stowe Boyd covered Gush a two pane IM system in great detail. I'm going to be trying it out.
  • Jerry Michaelski shared his brain at Tech-Muck --- really I mean "the Brain" program. Jerry just has more entries than anyone else. However it makes for an interesting possible directory interface. It's also short sited not to connect it to Blogs and RSS feeds.
  • Ah then there is a new search program. Eurekster. Not sure I want to share my searches with everyone. Still will check it out.
  • Then it is time to consider Google's future strategies. Orkut is a bigger play than just social networks. Potential it is a gateway for tomorrow phone system. Watchout!
  • Blogging - simply what I've learned recently doing a couple of simple installs.
  • How social networks are changing the definition of self. And a follow-up to Danah's ETech paper.
  • Jon Husband and connecting to the game of life.

  • February 24, 2004

    Down by the BlogPond

    What is the nature of the creative swamp down by the blog pond? Are current reporting systems really just reporting on the fly fishers? Are our views of the blogosphere too linear? Should we dip our toes in?

    These questions just emerged from a discussion with Jon today. We were talking about various social networking, blogging and newsreaders --- all as part of sharing information. Our reflections centered on the wired nature of the diagrams connecting all this data. From search engines to blogs and trackback there is a linear way everything is connected up. Similarly we wire information when we send it. I believe we tend to associate this visually with the network diagrams of the internet. Similarly we map the data. Think of recent Orkut Clusters. The majority of the current diagnostic blog tools we use all show the wiring rather than any physical manifestation or as any living ecosystem. This approach is very much a this is linked to that sort of world, at least on the surface. This is further reinforced when we look at Touchgraph or Technorati. It is no wonder the most common strategy bloggers use to get ahead is their linking strategy. It enhances google rankings too.

    However, perhaps this is only half the story.  Take a moment and contrast the wired view with puddles and pools.... we POOL our information.  Pooling experiences and stories are part of sharing, while pooling assets and resources is all about leverage. The level in the pond or lake changes and the shoreline too with the season. Technorati Google, Orkut, Ryze and their ilk don't give you this. The blog pond is much more intangible - fungible... And perhaps that is the challenge.  As long as blogging metrics are linked and linear we may never get a real handle on their collaborative nature and the quality of different ecosystems. Blogging is part of a living system. Could the intangibles be as hidden and difficult to measure in the blogosphere as they are in real life?

    Why get stuck in this quagmire, this creative swamp? Who will be the one to dive in, and who skips?

    Perhaps someone else feel like taking this further. There is plenty of data on keeping a pond. This little post provides a nice illustration. I could see the some deeper wisdom in this post for new blog owners. Finding the way to help develop the blog pond and the things we can do might emerge from this piece below.

    Certain biological processes must occur before a pond is fully seeded and balanced. Nitrifying bacteria must be present and working in the pond’s ecosystem before the pond can promote a healthy environment for aquatic life. New ponds will have none of those necessary biological processes in place. This creates a “New Pond Syndrome” that can be frustrating if the new pond owner is not equipped with knowledge on how to deal with it. Giving the pond time to develop these processes is the most important step and there are things that we can do to hasten the development.

  • Biological Filtration
  • Populating with Fish
  • Get Ready for the Green
  • The Crucial Tests
  • Keep an Eye on the pH
  • Not All Algae Is Bad
  • April 8, 2004

    Gold Medal Feedster

    I got a gold medal today from Feedster for "catch-Up Ball" (see below). Now I want another! Few probably know how much Feedster has changed the way I read blogs. When I started blogging like many I quickly learned about blogrolling and started to add to my blogroll. For awhile I read key blogs by clicking the blogroll off my main blog page. Some of those early blogs remain favorites. However my list expanded and I migrated the majority of my reading to various newsreaders.

    I became hooked on Sharpreader (I also have Newsgator) for the majority of my feeds, now near 200. Sharpreader provided my introduction to Feedster. Sharpreader's search function links to Feedster and so any search results can immediately become a RSS subscription. I've reported my use of "Skype" and "Social Software" Feedster searches before.

    Now I have almost 20 feedster searches, and a similar number of Google searches. Some are as vain as my own name --- who's blogging me??? and then then the names of my favorite bloggers. A favorite name ususally picks up their posts and others that are blogging them. This is more valuable than the bloggers RSS feed alone. It's fodder for conversation, and increases my understanding of links without having to spend time studying Technorati or BlogStreet etc.

    So my Feedster catch of the day came in for the topic "Nokia 3560". Not my normal reading from a blog I would normally never see. The result.... Feedster highlighted for me a little Symbian application that means my Bluetooth cellphone now acts as a music remote for my laptop. This is the post. The program is Bemused It installed and worked first time. I've found two or three tips a week for the last month for using my smart phone in ways that are at time unexpected with this search. I've found other product type searchs to be equally useful.

    If you find yourself playing catch-up ball on some topic--maybe because you took a vacation, maybe because you just discovered an interest--just start with a Feedster search on your topic of interest. Then fine-tune the results to get more focused information. Some examples:

    Search for: skype [RSS feed for search term]

    Based on your first results, search for a hot subtopic: pocketskype [RSS feed for search term]

    Check out results that matter most to you: Go to Feedster's advanced search form, give your search term (skype). You can search just one blog by giving its RSS feed--or search just your blogroll if it's in an OPML file. (For many blogs, we have more than a year's worth of posts in our database.)

    April 20, 2004

    Perfect Pitch Competition

    The perfect pitch. I was away in Mexico when this Perfect Pitch number was cooked up. I thought it was a great idea and came back to find so many bloggers I know on the judging panel. In fact there were so many judges that I can only begin to imagine how hard it might be to judge this competition. So time to have a little fun. May as well toss out my two cents into the blogosphere while they are deliberating so to speak. Judith my apologies for not submitting an entry. I was a little busy last week.

    The criteria was:

    A business executive, with whom you have been trying to arrange a meeting, is available for a condensed pitch from you on a one minute elevator ride. It is your goal to convince this attentive business leader who has heard about weblogs, and in fact reads a few regularly to sponsor and resource a critical mass of weblogs in his/her organization so that their benefits can be demonstrated in a meaningful way. The Social Software Weblog

    My two cents:

    Hi Jason, I want you to begin blogging... it is going to change your life...

    It will mean some changes to in the way you and the organization handle information....

    However it is the only way to compete in tomorrow’s world. It's not that bloggers think faster or believe they are really an elite group.

    Their competitive advantage comes from how they share and influence

    Leaders blog. My job is to get you blogging. When can we start?

    Ah 77 words. That fits the criteria. What makes me think this is a winner? The idea that we must look to the future. That blogging is a leadership tool. That accelerated knowledge sharing is central to harnessing the organizations collective intelligence. Thus competitive advantage or at least collaborative advantage. That bloggers aren't an elite. And of course I said it didn't I?

    April 21, 2004

    Feedster RSS Meskill

    I found myself texting with Judith Meskill today and ended up adding a Feedster RSS search for her to my newsreader. She's a good example about what I'm about to write and the next little enhancement I may want from my Feedster!

    Judith has a personal blog and writes for The Social Software Weblog as well. So currently I have two feeds in my newsreader. She may well have other blogs as well. Still she's out there networking many posts and is often picked up by other bloggers. So the little secret is I keep a small elite list of named blogger Feedster RSS search feeds. Judith was added to it today. As I'm sure I've noted before it's one way for me to keep track of other blogs that mention me. Otherwise I might never see the notification especially if I don't see the trackback.

    I'm going to watch this new feed and see if I get all her posts plus those that reference her thinking at the same time. If it's 95% effective I could simply delete the classic RSS feeds. The only downside is Feedster doesn't report in real-time.

    So the opportunity exists for Feedster to create a Feedster Subscribe button which I can add to my RSS options in the top corner of my blog. Of course I could do this now. Just would add one more level of choice. Short Extracts, Full Posts and a Feedster RSS link for subscription that returns what references and links are floating around me. In fact I should be able to define the feed myself on Feedster, check the returns for the last n posts and then if it is what I want to offer to my readers simply collect the link details and add them to my blog template.

    There are two real benefits to this. I get a better view of who is linking to the blogger I'm reading anyways. This may enable me to shink the number of peripheral feeds as they are being captured fairly effectively by this supernode, thus enabling me more time to capture data in more diverse areas. Then second, having a better sense of who is blogging friends means you can offer that as a conversation piece! Hey neat piece by X....

    May 1, 2004

    Many Bloggers Make a Better Blog

    Jenny Daley launched the new look Cheskin blog complete with a photoblog this week. It's been a fun project and you can see today how the Cheskin personality and style is emerging in their public blogging. I can't think of many companies that are sharing their stories and integrating their blogs quite like this. This may be an illustration of where writing together creates something much larger.

    Two elements really stand out 1) authors visibility (easy navigation), and 2) a moblog in parallel. Within the cleanly styled company corporate blog there are also individual authors. Each author also has a subscription feed. It's all done using MT. The Topics (categories) are also clearly labeled.

    Over the last couple of months particpation has increased with each new author sharing their stories. This is more than an insight into Cheskin culture, it demonstrates their daily work ethic, passion for what they are doing and how they approach it. It's clear their business is about stories and insights and Cheskin is seeing new ones everyday. Were I looking for services this blog tells me much more than the main website. It's more personal, and more involving. It's also up to date and current.

    There is an old saying "many hands make light work" and after not blogging for a week I could do with some hands. Cheskin solves this by handing out the work and creating something more powerful as a result. Some organizations wouldn't have the trust for this. My belief is extend the trust and not only do you get many hands you get a better product.

    These clips from some recent posts.

    From Fresh Perspectives:

    Soundtrack of Life
    I've just purchased Dell's Digital Jukebox, and I'm a happy camper. Right now I'm sitting on a long plane flight listening to Cassandra Wilson, who has taken me to an alternative reality that I much prefer to the drudgery of a cross country flight
    Lee Shupp

    Toxic Missionaries
    On my way to work this morning, I encountered three men handing out flyers. As I approached them, they stuck their mechanical arms out in front of me hoping to block my passage and be heard. They came within inches of my mid-section and then retracted at the last second
    Lisa Leckie

    Social Networking Buzz
    Every so often, people in the valley start to talk about a new buzzword. Lately, social networking has been the buzzword. The growth and prevalence of social networking sites, such as Friendster and Linkedin, Orkut, and Tribe is generating serious curiosity from many folks in the business community. But are we all talking about the same things? And where does the newness lay?
    Maria Flores Letelier

    Teen Tastes
    I have two daughters born in April (15 years and 3 days apart from each other). Each year, as their birthdays arrive, I begin a frantic search for whatever is new and hip for their age group. With my oldest daughter, I've pretty much given up. She gets money or something she's picked out herself. But the little one is still easy. Want to know what's near and dear to the hearts of pre-teen girls right this second?
    Christopher Ireland

    Concurrenly Cheskin are moblogging in parallel. I've made my enthusiasm for moblogging known in earlier posts and wonderful to see this being taken on. Dina and I recently set up a Project blog for an ethnography project. It just began to demonstrate the value that blogs and moblogs have to the research process. I'm hoping that the infectious success of blogging externally for Cheskin now creates some great new opportunities to revolutionize projects studying life.

    There are some other blogs in the Experience Design space that I look at from time to time. Challis Hodge is one of the best. Similarly Andrew Zoli's blog while infrequent captures interesting insights. Josh Rubin similarly provides a cool blog which really leverages pictures.

    May 4, 2004

    Blogs Going Forward

    Smart innovative decision-makers will get blog pilot up and running. I really liked the title of this article. "Social Computing: Getting Ahead of the Blog"
    Originally published on 29 March I don't know how I missed it until now. It inculdes this useful set of questions, many of which I have wrestled with recently case by case.

    Understanding the different categories enables strategists and decision makers to illustrate multiple solution scenarios. As part of that process, several critical issues need to be examined, including:

  • How do blogs add or detract from the overall business model?
  • How will blogs be positioned versus other communication, collaboration, and information channels?
  • Will users respond to a pull (subscription-based) model?
  • Will a browser model for reading blogs suffice, or will an e-mail client be preferred by users?
  • Will blog proliferation lead to just another source of information overload?
  • To what degree is editorial control and release management required?
  • How will the time devoted to blog-related activities by employees be valued?
  • What leadership, communication plans, and reward/incentive programs are necessary to encourage blog adoption and use?
  • What risk factors do blogs present (e.g., court-ordered discovery, regulatory compliance)?
  • What rights management situations might arise (e.g., copyright)?
  • Will blogs become as credible a resource as other sources of company information?
  • How will blogs be used within business processes as opposed to personal networks?
  • What are the alignment aspects of blogs (e.g., portals, content, learning, and collaboration tools)?
  • How do blogs “fit” into existing infrastructure (directory, security, operational management)?
  • What metrics (e.g., subscription data, page sessions) should be gathered and reported?
  • Are blogs a premium service for certain external activities (e.g., commerce aspects)?
  • Are vendors already on-standard and poised to deliver blog tools, or can they deliver the same benefits within existing technology?
  • What options do emerging vendors, hosted services, or open-source alternatives offer?
  • What are the archival and records management aspects of blogs?
  • What storage implications (e.g., backup/restore) will occur, and what limitations around storage allocation per worker (similar to e-mail inboxes) might have to be established?
  • What content security aspects should be required to protect liability, confidentiality, and intellectual property?
  • How does all this fit into a social computing strategy?
    Social Computing

  • July 27, 2004

    Where is Blog Innovation Today?

    Since returning to my blog and comtemplating where to next I've been asking myself a set of questions. These include: What's happened to Blog Innovation? Are blogs and their formats "mature"? If so why, or if not why not? I'm sure that blog innovation is not moribund and hasn't stopped. Still I started thinking about this as I considered revising my format today. Last time I just generally experimented however the standardised formats now appear fairly static. For example with all the Typepad blogs are we just seeing the standardization of blogging online like Amazon standarized online retail? Is it fair to accuse Typepad of killing innovation in a category that still needs it? Or should we complement them for enabling the case for standarization in a way that makes it easy and idiot proof for newbies?

    What do others think? What are the most innovative new functionalities appearing in blogs today? Then really do the majority of blogger really care? Would changing the blog format too much upset them?

    What new blog genre is required if we are to reinvigorate the category? Is it something with additional photo or audio input? Something else? Each of us probably have a few regulars that visit the page (What do they really want?) and those that arrive as a result of Google searches are looking for context may also get some delight from discovering more. For the rest this may be a mute point as an RSS feed is an RSS feed which limits blog art in that format. Concurrently comment spam is killing comments while trackback is still misunderstood.

    As I finished this post I was pointed Jeanne Sessum post. I also noticed a new Flickr feature. The Flickr Daily Zeitgeist. Looks interesting and Flickr is still making progress.

    August 2, 2004

    Trust in Blogging

    "I need a quick fix" kind of bother. This is an addicting medium. Many are thinking and talking about blogging and its psychological impacts. Fresh Perspectives
    I'm also addicted to blogging. Blogging is about conversations while organisations are living conversations. Perhaps that is why Microsoft's Channel9 recently caught my attention. "Trust" in blogging comes when organizations start engaging in real voices. Microsoft has more to gain than most. From "evil empire" to "blogging empire" would be quite a transformation. It's hard not to like or respect bloggers you read frequently. Similarly each time you leave something behind whether a comment or trackback the bond strengthens. We know this. When we comment on product quality or read book reviews at Amazon, we are much more bound than to Barnes and Noble. When you build a positive reputation at eBay you don't want to trade someplace else. So companies that enage us in the development community intellectual understanding are likely to profit.

    Microsoft is beginning to enage their customers in blogs. By contrast I have no feeling for whether IBM (see this post from Ed Brill) or CapGemini are creating external conversation like this? I don't know if their consulting services can. Thus I wonder if MS is unknowingly disintermediating part of the "consulting" conversation and shifting it to "peers"? Or will these consulting knowledge workers have to become part of their conversations too? Is it just like Linux developers who find value in giving to the broader community?

    Mmm... Microsoft appears to be really pushing the envelope with how to build websites that start online conversations with customers. PR Communications

    Who blogs anyway? What is the psychographic profile of the blogging population and do these attributes extend to the majority of the market, or just to the nano-pundits? In other words, are most people psychologically predisposed to adopt some form of mass-market blogging or is blogging inherently a niche behavior and application? The Gordon Gould Weblog

    ..... I include Linux, Apple, Sun, Oracle, Macromedia, and IBM blogs in that. Why? Because it's important that Microsoft employees and executives keep up on what bloggers from across the industry think. I do it out in public to help everyone and to make sure I'm an authority on the tech industry, not just on Microsoft. Credibility. You get it by not just helping yourself. Scobleizer

    Again and again in answers to my survey I am told the big advantage of blogging comes from the speed of communication with an audience. However, what I find interesting is that the people who are saying this are the people who build the products. Now, no longer is there a barrier between the customer and the architects of software and products.

    I think the answer is yes!

  • Can Blogs (as a form of mass media communication) communicate facts?
  • How could a blog foster innovation in software development?
  • Can a community really be built through a blog based on a single personality?
  • Can a collection of blogs (based on a single personality) build a community?
  • How do the technological limitations of a blog help or hinder (given the goals)?
    S&TS 349 Final Project: Proposal

    Over the weekend, I got an outbreak of self-referential blogs. Robert Scoble (the self proclaimed "Microsoft Geek Blogger") wrote that Mike Padula is doing a study as a student at Cornell about why people blog. Marc Nozell referenced Fresh Air's interview with Bill Moyers about blogging (among other things).
    Feld Thoughts

  • Then the same level of "trust" doesn't seem to exist in the academic world. Anonymous blogs? Where would the academic discussion leave anonymous corporate bloggers?

    Steve comments about a conversation over at Graham Leuschke's site about anonymous academic blogs
    Lori announces some changes to her own blog (now Stepford-ized for your approval), in light of her recent job search Collin vs. Blog

    In that last-mentioned post, profgrrrrl points to a couple of articles in the Chronicle, Say anything

    You've answered most questions in your About and FAQish areas, except the most important, if you expect humans to trust you.
    Who are you?
    Who are the principals, who are the backers? What is the intent? What is the "birth story"?
    Without these, I see no reason to join.
    Jerry Michalski

    August 10, 2004

    Blogs and Quick Links

    Some advice on bloggers and your startup strategy in the news today. Some get it and some don't. Then it is also a reminder to bloggers that real people are behind the startups and there are lots of them who have done their research. So when one is jaded by new launches it is possible to be too dismissive. I'm both dismissive and ready to hear more below.

    Weblogs could help make or break your startup's marketing strategy. Here's how to get them on your side. Red Herring Article

    In the copy camp another Skype competitor emerges. TelTel. (Note I downloaded this, then one friend got crashes each time they loaded and the other couldn't get it to log in to their server and I couldn't log in this morning.. So I don't know whether it works.) As it doesn't claim to be better than Skype and misses many of the features and comes with a name that sounds like the babytalk dressed in baby blue I'm at a loss to get excited. Oh they are prepared to buy some traffic and testers with a free call bribe. You must have at least three friends on the system, and there is no guarantee the calls will go through. There is nothing new here and I can think of others including italk2u and Peerio maybe phonegaim? (still new) which will probably vanish.

    TelTel is telephony with a new perspective. We are not aiming to reproduce the standard phone. We are looking to combine the best of the familiar features of the phone with the rich possibilities of the internet, coupled with the flexibility and power of your PC. TelTel.

    On the emerging companies with blogs and talking to bloggers I got an immediate response to my earlier IM posting yesterday which linked to a post by Stowe Boyd on InterComm. I still haven't tested out the product although I did look at it in more detail. Glenn Reid wrote me and added a few new details.

    I think you hit the nail right on the head with your observation that IM infrastructure is the "fat pipe" on which business applications will be built. This is exactly where we're headed. InterComm is our introductory product, but we have a very rich protocol that we've developed (called XSIP) that's intended for computer-to-human and computer-to-computer conversations that simply aren't possible with the human-language centric protocols that carry most IM traffic today. Imagine a database in your buddy list that pops up a form interface when you double-click it.

    ....we see IM networks as being more structured and involving business-class data transfer, not just human language.

    As you would expect there is a real depth of thinking to InterComm's approach. So if you are an Enterprise I wonder what your current shortlist for enterprise IM clients is? Anyone know of a list? I still believe that voice and mobility should now be part of any "presence / IM" startup strategy. This is Glenn's blog . He's using metaphors Eg "circles" which i like and I hope he keeps blogging away. I'd also like to see some thinking on IRC vs... IM for groups and teams. The trick will be helping to define this emerging category of products. That's a hard thing to do.

    Getting further away, this also reminded me of a friendly note that pointed me to Pangean Technologies. There is no demo to try out although the claims looks interesting. They have announced some "push to talk" features.

    Business blogging hits the headlines in this week's Business Week. It's a nice article and suggests a new opportunity. To my knowledge no one is yet syndicating top CEO blogs. The url is available! So here it is. Create a syndicated blog forum that captures Fortune 500 CEO blogs. By aggregating CEO blogs you get some unique opportunities. Afterall all you are doing is aggregating their blogs. They don't like it... they can stop blogging. Centralizing the most important ones will add new perspective to the investment community, corporate direction etc. The Fortune 500 is just one slice of this. CEOBlogs can be sliced by country, industry, turnover etc.

    The criteria is they must be written or audioblogged by the individual. No ghostwriting. They must have a bi-weekly average frequency to stay on the list. When the list volume needs managing readers will become involved Slashdot style. There will be a special section for "registered analysts" comments. Blogs will be assigned industry categories etc. The site may also provide some interesting traffic data. Additionally most commented on... most trusted etc could emerge.

    "There's no fundamental difference between giving a keynote speech in Shanghai in front of 30,000 people and doing a blog read by several million people,"

    Sun expects to start supporting staff blogs within a month, according to Schwartz. Employees won't be censored, they'll only be warned against releasing confidential information. "There's no better ambassador for Sun Microsystems than an employee," Schwartz says. BW Online | August 9, 2004 | Blogging for Business

    Benefits for Ceo? More exposure, part of a syndication. Come closer to people seem more personable. Downsides? CEO's may have to understand what other CEO's are saying. For all of us..... Perhaps the majority of CEO's are boring and can't write.

    So if you are a CEO and don't blog you and your company are not in the rankings. That would be like missing out on Google rankings. CEOBlogs could provide the indices. Similarly, Technorati may uncover new "influence" pools. The owner of CEOBlogs may just write one little summary per day. That would create some real value.

    Who could do this? I'd think it may be an interesting addition to Feedster. Then it would also work in the world of Corante. For example CEOblogs - Corante. I'd also think that Weblogsinc could execute on this as could Red Herring. In the end one will win. While giving the idea away.... I do realize that this is potentially a powerful network enabler. To run CEOblogs may bring you into contact with 500 of the most influential business leaders over time. Providing critical feedback would only enhance your position. There is a business here!

    Perhaps Jonathan Schwartz should put up the money to kick this off!

    October 18, 2004

    Iterative Blogging: BlogDoc 1.0

    Last week I stumbled across a potential blogging application that I've not entertained or seen used before. The solution jumped out when asked how blogs might be applied to an iterative document. I realized then that the pitch we were making for using blogs as part of a researching tool was ahead of the learning the client needed for an initial blogging project. I think what jumped out was something with viral potential to grow, and also concise enough that only one or two people need really commit to get it going so the benefits can start to emerge.

    For the purposes of this example think business plan or a similar structured document with a fixed number of sections that will require a number of re-writes. At first glance this appeared to be a perfect application for a Wiki. I know others would even advocate forums for such development. In this case the organization had already experimented with wiki's and so far they have failed to become part of their collaborative landscape. So this small team was looking for a new vehicle from which they could update on iterations more effectively, provide a "living" state of the document now, enable both a comment format and enable version control and integrate it more effectively with e-mail and current work practices. Plus create learnings on blogs.

    What we found ourselves suggesting was an Iterative Blog, one that would be designed and laid out to provide:

    Key Iterative Blog Elements:

  • The latest version of the document (template retrieving the last post in each category)
  • Version Control by section (all the posts in that category and associated comments)
  • A lifestream of all updates. (the master blog, a time log of all changes and reissues)
  • Authoring Information (contribution by author and commenter)
  • Comments - Comments by version / section release and comments by time.
  • E-mail notification of updates and RSS / Newsreader integration.
  • Release Notes: Using the "Extract: function" a short release note can be captured and related to each "sectional reissue".

    Extending Functionality with Additional Categories:

  • News: This is news on progress, particular data or investigative findings, thanks for inputs, recognition etc. These are primarily process and planning updates.
  • Scanning: Data that may affect the outcome or provide additional context for the document. This data can also be assigned and associated with the document to enable a live form of footnotes and substantiation.
  • Meetings or Forums. Specific dates and timing reminders.

    Creating additional structure around the document while providing specific responsibilities for sectional content means the latest post in any category / section captures a stream of updates supported with release notes.

    I'm still pondering the advantages of this versus the same document in a wiki. However I think the difference here is the formal assigning of it as a project and the contained format that the assignment of categories provides. Rather than recent changes… this format secures / provides the opportunity for commentary and context. As releases are issued the old discussion is not buried, rather one can see the full development of the document over time.

    I think this is an important distinction for circumstance where the evolution of thinking might later be shared or where one might want to understand the evolution of the document and track down authors and comments. By contrast a wiki makes more sense for a policy or instructional document. Where best practice and a more static and permanent document is desired. It's quite possible that the document created above could be migrated into a wiki at the end of the creation project.

    What I'd hope to learn from implementing a project like the above would include:

  • Did we create new and less foreign avenues for participation (eg lower the bar for a non-blog / non-wiki culture?)
  • Provide additional functionality around the document blog format that enables the blog environment to grow. (For example the Scanning and Reference Function?)
  • Can this approach to the "plan" then lead to additional blogs in support. Particularly Status or team development blogs that may include insights and learnings on the implementation and achievement of the document objectives. Typical headings may include Perfomance, Plans, People and Policy items.

    I'd appreciate it if you have examples of the above, or similar that you ping me or provide me with a reference link. I'd appreciate it.

  • November 1, 2004

    Blog-Based Research

    I like the way Ross puts it. "decreases transactions costs" ( read real-time interaction and research while increasing client interaction. Still before working in this way the benefits are accelerated learning and incremental release / capture of tacit infomation are often hard for clients to understand. The post sums up a nice set of observations.

    Mike from Techdirt -- which not only delivers public analysis, but custom corporate intelligence via private blogs. They have hit upon the beginnings of a cost effective method of delivering post-by-post analysis that engages the research client in conversation.

    Overall, the model decreases transaction costs for publishing and client interaction. The client service shifts from the end analysis product (.pdf) to the open process of research. Some of this process can be shared for free on public blogs, some of it is a private value added service. <[Ross Mayfield's Weblog]

    December 18, 2004

    Audio Blogging -- Podcast Feed

    The hottest thing in audio is podcasting. A blogger can't think about podcasting without having a suitable RSS 2.0 feed. I've now added one to this blog. Means podcasts are sure to come. See the top left. Brandon's MT-Enclosures plug-in was one of the simplest I've ever installed.

    Audio blogging is starting to take off. Currently, Movable Type has no support for audio blogs so I decided to whip up a quick plugin to provide the capability. The missing link here is automating the process of adding the special link into your RSS 2.0 feed. That is the job of this plugin. To start audio blogging, you have to do the hard part first — record the audio file. Be interesting. Let’s say you recorded as an MP3 file. Then upload the MP3 file to your web server so that it is available for download. Then create a new blog entry that announces your post and has a link to the MP3. The link should be a standard tag with the HREF pointing to the MP3. Save and rebuild your index files. Your RSS 2.0 index will now have an tag in it pointing to the MP3. You are all done!

    The plugin supports a wide variety of file "types” not just MP3! It handles audio, video, image and other file types.

    If you have Movable Type 3.0, the plugin will also ping for you when you post a new enclosure. Currently, only entries with a category of "Podcasts" will trigger pings. You can change this in the source if you like.

    Brandon Fuller

    December 29, 2004

    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,, 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.

    January 2, 2005

    Traditions... blog and more

    Thank you all for so many comments and trackback recently. I'm simply overwhelmed. I didn't mean to throw away the tradition of thanks and response, nor was it a New Years resolution. I've been buried deeply in two projects reading them to kick off the New Year.

    So I promise to post a portion of my traditional blogging follow-up tomorrow. And Yes! Part of it does involve a wiki, although it's less a wiki than many might think. Behind the scenes on Yi-Tan we have been experimenting with new ways to create an emergent plastic platform. I think the solution is much more dynamic than a blog and many times more adaptable for the corporate environment. For it is not the pages that is really interesting. In the end it is the posts and the collections. Then in different places we've been adding presence and other collaboration methods. I also need to give Ken Tyler at Seedwiki just a little more time.

    On the other front, I'm planning to leverage my passion for Skype in new ways. Right now 2005 the outlook is for amazing change and new action!

    January 3, 2005

    Changing Blogging's Context

    Wow what a response to giving up on "traditional blogging". I'm forced to declare my hand early. For the last couple of months I've been working with Jerry Michalski, and Dina Mehta on creating a new kind of collaborative work space and collective business. We call it Yi-Tan and our blog is "Conversations About Change. One may never be ready for the day when you start that new blog. We're still getting the bugs out and the platform is still being changed. Yet all of us believe in prototyping to the future. I'm personally learning and creating new features as we use it.

    On Yi-Tan today you will see something that looks a lot like a traditional blog. Yet if you look under the hood you will see that it is not a blog, in fact it started as an editable page. Note at this point I am trying to eliminate the work "wiki"! It's superfluous, we are talking pages, posts and collections. Yi-Tan is a collaborative platform for accelerating change. There's some bits we're not showing today, there also remain some ugly URL's soon to disappear. The log-in functions are being worked now. Still we have a working prototype and a current RSS feed. I've written quite enough on the Yi-Tan site today. Much more here would be redundant.

    We encourage you to experiment, comment and add new pages to Yi-Tan. Please don't add them to our Yi-Tan Collection "Conversations About Change" unless invited to. You may create your own collection and we have a "Blog Sandbox" there. You will be surprised at how open our "editor" is. Don't forget that like many wiki's we have a full history.

    Yi-Tan is developing on a collaborative platform that allows us to move into a world of dynamic blogging, new forms of "tagging" collections and new ways of thinking about using RSS. This page discusses what happens when a wiki is fused with a blog context. What is different? How does it make a better product? What are the metaphors that should be used in developing a language for this emergent product?

    The posts that begin here at Yi-Tan have the potential to be very open, dynamic and more conversational. More importantly this approach is more applicable to the way we work in living sytems. When all of us own the blog, we write differently. What's more even after this page is elevated to a post it may be updated during the time someone sends you the link (by someone I don't know) before you access the post. read more... Conversations About Change (Stuart quoting Stuart :-)

    Notes from trackbacks:
    I think collections are better than "topics" although searching may uncover the depth of new topics or early warning signals that can quickly make a collection that can be built on, until too large to manage. "Author" provides some interesting aspects. Multi-Authored will become a norm.

    I see 5 major dimensions that can characterise information sharing: individuals, topics, opinions, things and time.The end of bloggin? Already? | noirExtreme

    Yes we have been experimenting with "presence" information via Skype on Yi-Tan pages. Will make it easy to work and collaborate with other authors or people that are interested. Pages can even been asigned problem solvers... and act like mini-call direction centers for free.

    I also want a way to get more of a dialogue (a la David Bohm). This blog, like many others, easily slides into conversations which are talking or reloading. It's harder to get that spirit of thinking together. Stuart is a big fan of Skype and talks a lot about presence which has much to do with what makes dialogue work. Johnnie Moore's Weblog: Blogs: connection or just "loneliness lite"

    Come and try out Yi-Tan. You don't need a permit for a test drive!. Just help us and add some value!
    So, after reading Johhnie More and then being sent to Stuart Henshall, I started to search for an ASP based implementation of a Wiki that I could start to work with.The only one I could find was JotSpot - I have requested a BETA but they are not automated sieze the day: JOTSPOT - Have you seen this?

    My motivation is less about the positive things that blogs are good at. Well listed here, rather I'm more concerned about the future of how work is shaped. I see simple tools, the cost of which is so disruptive when combined with presence and learning effectiveness, that content management systems are as endangered as telecom.
    I foresee three kinds of blogs forming. There will be the traditional online diaries. Slice of life, something made popular thanks to the Puritans pushing the biography as a form of literature. We just love to read about one another's lives. There will be the News/opinion blogs..... View from the Isle by Larix Consulting :: End of "traditional" blogging?

    I'm not planning on giving up writing. Where I'd like to contrast the difference is that 18 months ago you could create a list of say important blog papers and it would go out and you would get lots of hits. Assembling information individually provided and generated useful dialogue. Today, check Wikipedia for "Podcasting" or "Tsunami", more powerful collections and completed more quickly than I ever could. I'd like to bring that power to what we ultimately do. It's what Guilds were also made of. Concurrently enabling anyone to create a custom RSS feed out of Yi-Tan with their own collection will perturb new systems in new ways. This post is a testament to that.
    I've found when a reader reminds me that some bloggers provide valuable services of information that betters certain parts of our techno world. Eric Rice :: What is traditional blogging?

    Ton's thoughts are a must read. He put the thoughtfulness into something that I orginally dashed of. Thank you Ton.
    One direction is to enhance value on a personal level, creating loads of more context. Not by only being an outlet channel for thoughts, but the on-line hub of my life. This could mean (more) integration with my other personal information tools (think private and public wiki, yasns), providing not only personal intellectual context (books I read etc.), but especially more social context. Ton's Interdependent Thoughts: Blogs as Personal Presence Portal Revisited

    Euan asks whether we can create better friendships. I know I've made a commitment to my colleagues. From my perspective our collective blog has to be better than anything I could write myself. And then I can also run my own blog within the collective environment. I can even run a FlamePool if I want. Our collective blog is both a commitment and the desire to create something more valuable. More value will come too when the posting frequency is closer to 3+ posts per day. Euan, I hope you will come and join us.
    Could I replicate this high level of closeness of intimate friendship online? Could I discuss the stuff that really matters in an environment where passing it on would be as easy as copy and paste? The Obvious?: Blogging as therapy

    If you got this far well done! The prediction for this year is that simple collaborative workspaces will finally catch on. The wiki with difficult editing is doomed. The wiki without an effective structured RSS is doomed. And finally I'm looking for the Google Button like Google desktop for me on Yi-Tan.

    January 20, 2005

    BlogWalkChicago Saturday.

    BlogWalk USA in Chicago on Saturday. A group of wonderful people will be there. I'm looking forward to it. Rather than introduce it I thought I'd just tell a short story from today.

    We have all had the experience of meeting an old friend in the street and then guiding them off to the place where you were headed for conversation and fun. Well, it happens now in the online world too. This morning I pinged Martin (usually in the UK)with an offer to try Skype voice mail. He came back with an I'm in Chicago and it is freezing. To keep it short I said... ah.. I'm there tomorrow what are you doing? Why not come along to BlogWalk? A few more exchanges and Jack found himself in a three way Skype Chat. Martin will be there on Saturday. Simply brilliant. I'll only say... this connection would never have happened without Blogs, Skype and the willingness to share. I think it is pretty neat.

    Straight from the Wiki! Jack Vinson - Lilia Efimova - Jim McGee David Burn Steve Dembo AKMA
    {{image url="./images/ChristinaPikas.jpg"}} Christina Pikas Denham Grey Paul Chenoweth Tom Sherman Azzari Jarrett Matt Homann Dennis Kennedy Krista Kennedy Al Delgado Stuart Henshall Rick Klau Mark Bernstein George Nemeth Shannon Clark Martin Geddes

    September 18, 2006

    Open Space - New Realities

    Thank you Rob. Your comment is living proof that blogs work and they shouldn't be ignored. . This was a post I composed some moons ago in April. It was always my intention to blog it. No better time than around your first anniversary of walking in the door at NPR.

    I'm returning from Washington where I've been an elf in an Open Space session led by Rob Paterson and Johnnie Moore. It was the final workshop in a series run for National Public Radio - NPR. This post will just share a few words about NPR and the results of the Open Space session. I've also made some notes on my challenges and observations on the NPR conference site, which is open to the public.

    NPR like many organizations is threatened by the radical changes impacting on broadcasting today. With the evolution of Podcasting, video blogging, and ongoing changes in listening behavior with iPods, PVR etc. the "arrangement" that has held public radio together requires a new common ground and understanding. This was Rob and his team's challenge as they worked with NPR over the last nine months.

    NPR is the last bastion for "authentic American news". The closest thing America has to the BBC, and in my view we need it more than ever. And yet the "fund drives" and the way we get our news is being overtuned by the Internet. Concurrently, many stations lack the resources or the knowledge to "stream media", run a website or engage their community with emergent social media tools. There is also a large disparity between stations dependent on market. In my view, the opportunity exists for NPR to both go global and local with community radio. In the end NPR and the stations must engineer For community radio will become part of a multi-modal participatory media experience. Done right, with narrative journalism at its roots and a renewed look at the business model, NPR could well emerge as the media format for the future. MyNPR could be a nice place to be. (This is my speculation although I believe they must prototype it.)

    Open Space was invented by Harrison Owen. It has a simple set of rules and for the most part the approach is "hands off". It's empowering although often seen as a "risky" choice by sponsors as there is no set agenda before hand. The NPR Open Space session took the place of their National conference. It involved almost 300 people, provided each and every attendee with the opportunity to speak and contribute. For me it was the largest Open Space session I've participated in. It was also wildly successful. New initiatives emerged, a new understanding between independent radio stations and NPR emerged. In the end, 47 different session were run with self-organizing groups of 3 to 60 participants. Stations worked with stations. Stations worked with NPR and NPR worked with stations. In the end it was clear that only the "whole system" can create the future and move public radio ahead.

    Quotes from the end... "wonderful process... all have been heard.... really worthwhile...

    I was lucky to be invited to the aftermath dinner with the team from NPR and Renewal Consulting (which included Rob, Johnnie, Jevon, Kash, Dina and myself). As a relative outsider who was just there for this event I'd missed out on the many "New Realities" workshops that had been run over the last 9 months. However, what impressed most was the "human values" and soul searching that has been applied to this project from the beginning. The team correctly determined that the required change was not about technology, rather it was all about people and how to bring them along on a conversation and find a new path forward. The belief and trust established with each other was what ultimately made this Open Space session so successful.

    I will remember one discussion for a long time. I was testing Johnnie asking him where next and what instruction for the next session. I'd used an example I've used before. A few minutes later we shared it with Rob and he responded in the most remarkable fashion. The example is less important than the "values" (which he writes about all the time from his heart) with which he set us straight. Ultimately, it came down to how he wanted them to think and engage their creativity. Still his words at the time were "that's too much like consulting!". I had to agree with him and in this context it wasn't the right way forward. It was also the reason why he's generated so much trust on this project with his client. A trust and set of relationships that has allowed him to do the unthinkable for many. Not much more than a month ago Rob had never met Johnnie, Dina or myself. Johnnie met with Rob just over a month ago for the first time. While for our small roles in this theater we met on Sunday before the kickoff.

    For many that's a risk they wouldn't take. For me, like Rob, it is increasingly one I find myself taking with my blogging buddies. We've read each other often for years, probably Skyped and chatted off and on; perhaps met at a number of conferences. For me this small assignment is just the proof that 1) a new way of working is emerging, and 2) given the chance a few bloggers can often out strategise, out perform, and simply do a better job than the most expensive consulting firms around.

    August 29, 2007

    Blogger's Posts Launch Mosoci

    I didn't expect to blog today about new ventures and plans. Then in a world of twitter steams, IM exchanges and general old fashion sharing we often get the "push" that accelerates us forward down the path. I found Ken Camp and Dan York this morning blogging and humbling us with what they had found at Mosoci. Mosoci is the new venture that Dina and I have set up to formalize a collaboration that goes back a few years. There's more at Mosoci where we are still very much in the alpha - beta point of working out how to best integrate our lifestreams. Now we get to do it live.  It's exciting and frankly rewarding to live in a time where news and commentary just makes you say... "Oh Wow!".

    We know we would not be doing this without everyone that has read our blogs over the last few years. Social Media built the platform for our collaboration and the sense that our network and community would support, participate with us and help us grow. Now it is beyond an idea and yet it is still being formulated. We certainly don't want to end up as just the two of us. Today though we are happy to feel like we are in a constant state of beta. That's the zone where it is a real rush.

    Thank you for your support, praise and interest. Our blogs and blogging will evolve just like our other social media activities are. For example we are really enjoying bringing our bookmarking into the feed. For now our tweets are there too. That may be overwhelming. Then it may also be helpful. We'll let the readers tell us.

    It would be great if you would jump in on the conversation at Mosoci and add MosociRSS to your reader. We'd love your feedback and suggestions.

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    September 28, 2007

    Brand Champions and the Brand Lifestream

    I had a challenging comment from Dan Woodward on my latest search post. He asks whether these Small Business Owners should take the time to learn it themselves:

    Search - Still the best reason to blog your company (Unbound Spiral)

    But, when it comes to fairly advanced marketing/search engine manipulation, where do they go? Are you suggesting they should take the time to really learn all of this for themselves? Do they hire it out? It's a question that does arise (from those who DO have websites) and I'd be interested to hear your thoughts about how to answer them (being no Internet marketer myself).

    My point is directed to the brand owner. If the small business owner is the brand champion then they should have a strategy. I've  been spelling it out for traditional brand managers in consumer products companies recently. Simplistically, traditionally they were only interested in advertising (reach and frequency) and promotion.  If you look at a  Brand plan  there is no line in it to address Search or social media. All media is now social; all brand plans should now address social media; strategy and tactics.

    Recognizing you need a strategy is the first step. Small business owners get it.. just like brand managers do when you suggest they Google their business, google their name, google categories they compete in etc. Concurrently with these searches look at the paid search results. Who's paying and why? Are they competitors? etc.

    On should they do it themselves?
    I'd argue that all brand managers should have some tests they check on. From search engines to buzzmetrics and others. At this stage it is not a science they need. Science and "social media optimization" can come later. At this point its important to accept this is how customers search for your company. This is just part of how internet savvy customers learn about your business. (It goes too far to show them Facebook, or Twitter references at this stage, or introduce additional ways we share information about a business).

    As brand champion one of your tasks is to assemble or enable the monitoring of the "brand lifestream" that exists around your brand. Traditionally this was PR clippings, however the social and accelerated nature of media today means that this action can't wait till the end of the month. The manager today needs it in real time at their fingertips. It's just part of understanding conversational marketing. Time for many to learn new tools!

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    About Conversational Blogging

    This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Unbound Spiral in the Conversational Blogging category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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