Not long ago I posted on how the unstructured nature of blogs can work against us, as unlike wikis they are not generally updated pages, rather they are a point in time, so if used as a knowledge base, someone could search and come across an outdated post and apply it with perhaps bad consequences. I explained a wiki is better off as a knowledge base, whereas blogs are communications and thoughts in time.
In fact James Dellow summed it up nicely in the comments:
“A blog by its nature is a record of a communication at a particularly point in time, so naturally “buyer beware” if you are seeking currency.”
Another fear is that someone may use what you say the wrong way, compared to email which is closed and directed to parties you know that understand your context.
Unlike email I think blogs face a context issue, only not as extreme as codified documents.
Blogs are kind of between email and codified documents; similar to codification in the way that it’s in the open for public consumption, ie. people who don’t know you may not be able to grasp what you are saying.
But then it’s similar to email as blog posts are casual (not a polished product), they are more informal, as it happens.
When compared to codified documents, blogs have more potential for common understanding and context to come across to readers as blogs are conversational (comment feedback), and they are also on a network or relationship model, so people who subscribe to you come to understand your writings over time. Sure this relationship model is not within a closed circle of a forum, or email, but still there is opportunity for a shared level of understanding, plus being outside a walled garden lends to discovery and a greater reach to valuable people.
In my post about my KM review article I talked about my experience with publishing an article and how it’s different to the blogging experience.
This really made me think that the word “publish” just doesn’t mean the same thing in the context of blogs, but in the same breath since blogs are unstructured they can indeed be used as an editorial based online magazine, newspaper or even a journal.
I think in the enterprise it’s important these two ways of using blogs is known; they can be used as a report or formal communication, and at the same time they can be used for thinking-out-loud, unfinished work-in-progress type thing, ideas, thoughts, etc…
It’s this second way that’s special in spreading the know-how and connecting to people, until now we have never been able to do this in a documented and globally networked fashion. Now we can share thoughts-out-loud fragments as it happens, rather than traditionally wait till the end when you have a polished product.
So the two benefits we have are the timely nature, and raw information, and of course the regular read/write benefits of a blog.
The problem we have here is that the word “publish” brings up feelings of polished material, and the fact that your scratchings are documented for all to see…the hope is to try and use the word “post” to avoid falling into this thinking.
I certainly don’t feel like I publish (in the traditional sense), when I blog and tweet…I think the word “post” or “entry” or “stream” (for aggregate) are far more suitable.
Is the fact that it’s visible for all to see make it “published”… I’m not too sure because then every graffiti artist is a publisher.
My blog is more for memory management, connection, discovery, conversations, and learning…in this respect it’s more what you don’t see or the interactions that’s exciting…for me it’s more stream of consciousness than publishing.
As I said earlier blogs are a perfectly OK medium for traditionally published editorials, but when using them to get tacit know-how flowing the word “publish” works against us.
I think part of the enterprise adoption is to explain the format of blogs in comparison to email; how much better blogs are for certain types of communication, but at the same time, how similar they can be with the casualness of the content.
It needs to be put across, even though blog posts, unlike email, are in the open and immortalised, like email, they can be disposable, fall into the archives, and can be as official/unofficial as an email…I really think it needs to be assimilated to the casualness of email, only in the open.
BTW-this post was triggered by something I read on Jack Vinson’s post:
“This led into a discussion of writing and thinking and how “finished” the written word is vs. the spoken word. In blogging, while the thinking-out-loud element is important, it’s also important to realize that the publish button is a publication of sorts. Even if I acknowledge that the thoughts are incomplete, they are still out there for people to ponder and re-use as they wish. (If I didn’t want that to happen, I’d keep it in my personal notes blog or in my paper notebook.)”