|Tuesday, May 13, 2003|
Another stream of recent posts has focused on weblogs as a tool for knowledge management both to capture and share knowledge. They include a mix of posts focusing on individual knowledge workers and on knowledge workers within organizations.
Dave Pollard has generated a great set of posts on weblogs as knowledge management tools. His weblog in general has become a must read for me.:Blogs in Business: The Weblog as Filing Cabinet
Weblogs could be a mechanism to coherently codify and 'publish' in a completely voluntary and personal manner the individual worker's entire filing cabinet, complete with annotations, marginalia, post-its and personal indexing system.A Weblog-Based Content Architecture for Business (this post also has some excellent diagrams of how weblogs fit within the entreprise)
The fundamental difference between this and traditional enterprise-wide content architectures, is that knowledge under this model resides with and is controlled by the individual. The knowledge of the community is simply the sum of the knowledge residing in the weblogs of the community members (within any shared categorizations the community members decide to establish, and pushed to other community members by the weblog's 'subscription' functionality. The knowledge of the enterprise is simply the sum of the knowledge residing in the weblogs of all employees, made accessible through the weblog's publishing and subscription functionality, using the tools present in the weblog itself. Theoretically, depending on the robustness of the company's networks, the Intranet could be slimmed down to nothing more than a set of organized links, with no actual 'content' whatsoever.Blogs in Business: Finding the Right Niche
Weblogs can be effectively pitched to senior management of major organizations by explaining how they help solve the six problems:
As weblogs account for more and more of the traffic in knowledge about a given subject, they become powerful instruments for hacking common wisdom. In many categories, they are moving ahead of mainstream journals and portals and building useful community services where over-funded dot-com efforts failed spectacularly.
Right now what we have, globally speaking, is pretty much a huge pool of blog posts, each implicitly tied to a particular weblog author and with a date slapped on.
At the dinner table I explained what a blog is. There was the usual polite, partially feigned fascination with anything having to do with the Internet. But when I said that blogs have completely transformed my utilization of media and the way I acquire information about the world -- that I basically get everything from blogs now -- everyone stopped being polite. One fellow at the table was utterly shocked that I would trust any information I acquired online. I asked him if he trusted information he got from politically biased mainstream newspapers like the New York Times, or for that matter, from any commercial media biased toward at least some degree of sensationalism, if not some particular political view. I asked him if he had ever, once, read a newspaper account of some event of which he personally had expert or eye-witness knowledge, and found it to be accurate. I asked him he had ever once been interviewed by a reporter who quoted him accurately or in context, or who didn't already have the story written before the conversation even began? Well, no, he had to admit... but still... "...not the Internet! You can't be serious!"
Roland is always a source of good observations and links about blogging in knowledge sharing and knowledge management contexts. Some recent commentary via his blog include
Blogging is too difficult but it will get better. Like I always say we are at the VisiCalc stage of blogging. Compare and contrast Excel and VisiCalc; lightyears better and people in 2003 understand spreadsheets. Same thing will happen with blogging; we need years of experience and iteration to get from the VisiCalc of blogging to the Excel of blogging.
and this pointer to Value Creation by Communities of Practice
Blogs encourage cross-functional disruptive thinking.
That should cover it for tonight, although there are still a bunch of good posts on this topic filling up my aggregator.
Good series of recent posts on weblogs as a learning tool both for individuals and organizations. Here are ones I consider worth visiting and revisiting.
Stephen Downes - More Than Personal: The Impact of Weblogs. Good overview with a learning perspective.
I want supportive technologies with a high degree of freedom. Technologies that can be twisted and tweaked, that can adapt to my changing purposes and interests, that can grow with me over time. Personal Webpublishing systems are a big and important step into that direction. After all, I own that freaking publishing space and I can experiment as much (or as little) as I want.
Sebastian Fielder had a interesting post last month about the general idea of Learning Webs that builds on this observation by Ivan Ilich:
The planning of new educational institutions ought not to begin with the administrative goals of a principal or president, or with the teaching goals of a professional educator, or with the learning goals of any hypothetical class of people. It must not start with the question, 'What should someone learn?' but with the question, 'What kinds of things and people might learners want to be in contact with in order to learn?'
When you start to think about learning as plugging into a network of resources and people, it's pretty clear how weblogs have a critical role to play.