A few of the slides mention when email is more appropriate than blogging and vice versa, and Patrick Lambe riffs on this:
“The more we can siphon off the non-time sensitive stuff into channels that are more suited to them, the more we’ll be able to calm the raging torrent of email that threatens to drown us.”
Well put…social tools are not a total replacement, there is a time for their use, if the information is not time pertinent, and not private, and intended for a lot of people, then blogs are perfect…and of course it’s a public archive…and unintended people may come across and be able to add something of value.
I’ve posted a few times on blogging vs email, my main concern is that instead of sending a broadcast email you blog it, but what about those you want to reach who are not subscribed.
The internal enterprise blog I use enables me to see a list of people who are subscribed to my blog, this helps in the confidence that I know it will reach all relevant people.
These people will receive the new blog post in their email client…they can choose to reply (leave a blog comment) right from that email.
Since I can post to the blog by email, another option would be, adding the blog address and the recipients who are not subscribers to the blog, in the to: field, this way I can still capture my intended audience with one post.
Publishing a post by email (with the blog address in the to: field) is a great feature, the simplicity of blogging for those addicted to the email client format…plus blog comments via email.
This brings social tools to where people are comfortable…slowly people may take to visiting the blog, but at least we have step one of spoiling them by bring the blog to the email environment.
In a past blog post I mentioned that perhaps a manager can subscribe an email group to a blog, this way people have no choice of receiving blog posts. This sounds harsh, but they would be receiving this content as email anyway. And there should be a way to change the default setting to not being able to unsubscribe.
I’m just talking about team updates and releases…this is content team members need to see.
The only reason this could get annoying is in a group blog, but as long as all bloggers stick to the topic of the blog, posting “must see” content (for all people to see) that is pertinent to your job, then that’s OK.
Information that is just for a few people can still be done in email, or better still a more specific blog.
NOTE: blogs are not the only new way of information exchange, an enterprise version of Pownce would enable conversation between a select few, which is archived in a central space. You could even use an informal community space, which would have blogs and forums.
I’ve also mentioned before an OPML package that is catered to your job position eg. someone joins the organisation as IT Support…they are then given an OPML (a batch of RSS feeds you can subscribe to in one go). They are instantly in the loop, they can visit the archives to see what was going on in the past.
Or as mentioned before, someone new is put into email groups, and in turn these email groups are subscribed to various blogs.
A great quote from one of the slides:
“We decide when we tune into information rather than having to let it interrupt our work.”
The slidedeck talks about setting aside a time to visit the blog, as mentioned earlier some blog platforms don’t just post notifications, they also include the content, and a reply will leave a blog comment…in turn others will receive an email with the content of the comment, and so on. You don’t have to save these emails, as it’s all in the searchable blog archive.
Here is the slide that really hits home about, email vs blogs for discussion, this type of communication is where blogs shine:
I won’t bother going into the more clean discussion we have using blogs over email, it’s really self evident.
I think blogs shine for announcement/release posts as well.
At work we get an email about server down time etc…now we have so many servers for different products that we are always getting these emails. I read them then delete them, but then if I want to remember one of these emails I can’t as I deleted them, and I’m not about to start collecting these type of emails.
Whenever I want to be reminded of the status of a server, or the stage of a release, I could just visit the blog…plus I could ask a question in the comments.
Now since everyone in the organisation needs to receive this content it’s not a good idea that this blog has subscribers. Instead a broadcast email can be sent to the office and to the blog email address as well, this way recipients get one email only, and the email is posted to the blog as well.
NOTE: the email will always have a link to the blog homepage, saying if you have a question click here to leave a comment.
Now if someone leaves a comment, only the blog owner will get an email notification, and the commenter can choose to receive comment notifications for that post only.
Sure if the whole office was subscribed to the blog it would be easier, just post and people will get content in a new email, but we don’t want the whole office receiving comments…this type of thing is suited to blogs with a smaller subscriber set.
NOTE: The given here is that if you subscribe to the blog, you are also subscribed to comments…with some platforms you have to subscribe to comments separately.
Whenever the server manager wants to see past downtimes, they have a whole log of this stuff in the blog archive. Perhaps the IT server team could be subscribers to this blog, so multiple people can deal with general comments, and also they can use the comments to discuss the job duty between themselves.
I see 7 types of blogs:
Office - announcements/news/releases
Project/Business Unit - announcements/news/releases
Smaller teams - announcements/news/releases
Activity - share/correspond/updates
Work (group/individual) - eg. support tips
Interest (group/individual) - eg. topic blogs
Personal (private/public) - a person’s log on their experience, thoughts, feedback, etc…
Email is great as it allows very simple unstructured free form correspondence, but it doesn’t do the discussion, and archiving part well at all. Blogs are just as simple and unstructured, its forte is publishing, subscription, longevity, etc…in fact here is 10 reasons why blogs are better than email.
Blogs are not the only social tools that can have more impact than just relying on email, check out: Instead of sending an email…
Here are three blogs posts about internal blogging:
Here are some posts about why email is strong and how it can help web adoption:
I’m not going to go into the differences between blogs and forums, but just say an email discussion has just started about a topic like “project folder structures in the document management system”…more people keep creeping in and out of this conversation, most people only know half the discussion, etc…
When a topic of discussion begins in email, the knowledge worker must set up a quick forum so the discussion can be centralised…this isn’t a task, this is how a worker gets things done, and the tools have to be as easy as email (most forums can be done by email anyway).
This can be done in a Community of Practice (CoP), but then some people in the discussion may not be members of the CoP. On this occasion it’s not really a full on CoP, it’s just a place to have this 2 month discussion, an on the fly forum is perfect for this.
What about a blog.?
I see blogs more as publishing with comments, whereas I see a forum as specifically a place to discuss. So sure you can do this in a group blog, or distributed blogs, but for this situation or intention, a forum is best.
Here is the slidedeck: