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					      Weblogs:
the buzz and beyond
              Lilia Efimova

    Telematica Instituut, The Netherlands
            lilia.efimova@telin.nl
      Personal weblog: Mathemagenic


Edited version of internal presentation
             7 October 2003
Weblog
• Web-log

• Simply defined a weblog is a personal web-site with
  reverse-order posting of links, commentaries,
  reflections or notes

• Also
   • Blog, blogging, blogger, blogosphere
   • K-log, b-blog, c-log
   • Moblog, photoblog, audioblog
Weblogs demystified: outline
• Examples of weblogs

• What everyone can see
   • Public pages

• What is hidden
   • Weblog writing
   • Reading other weblogs
   • Searching and tracking

• Blogging ecosystem
Examples of weblogs I read:
Jim McGee, USA
teaches KM in Kellogg School
of Management
writes a lot about knowledge
workers (my PhD topic)
Sebastian Fiedler, Germany
does PhD on weblogs and
learning
Ton Zijlstra, Netherlands
KM practitioner in Enschede
Many 2 Many
group weblog on social
software
                                            Weblogs demystified:
                                                public pages

                                                               links to
                                                               archives
permalink



                                                                link to
                                                               RSS feed

                    comments, links and                        links to
                   keywords for this post                      archives

            post



                                                                search
                             Weblogs demystified:
                                      writing
                     writing new
                    post or editing
                      an old one




 you can do it in
HTML if you want
    (I don’t :)




adding metadata:
 title, keywords,
     categories
“Weblog tools” (1)
• Weblogging software
   • Hosted: desktop/server (personal or provider’s)
   • Keeps “raw materials” of a weblog: database of posts and metadata,
     templates
   • Supports adding, editing, deleting “raw materials”
   • Uses templates to generate HTML pages and uploads them to the server
   • Generates RSS feed (Really Simple Syndication; weblog content in XML-
     based format)

• Also
   • Anything between simple and light to complex and extendable
   • Supporting single/multiple weblogs, single/multiple user, managing
     access rights
   • Growing list of features
        Weblogs demystified:
              reading

             RSS feed of comments
                 to my weblog
New
posts




                             One
                            click
                            citing
Weblogs demystified:
      reading
Weblogs demystified:
      reading
“Weblog tools” (2)
• RSS readers
   • Few hosted, but mainly desktop tools
   • Manage subscriptions to RSS feeds
   • Check RSS feeds regularly, download changes and display locally
• Also
   • Increasing number of not-weblog websites provides their content in RSS
   • Other RSS based tools
         • RSS to e-mail
         • RSS aggregation and channelling
         • RSS search
• My observation
   • Those who start using RSS readers
         • Tend to look for RSS feed at any web-site
         • Get frustrated with maillists and newsgroup discussions
         • Don’t read weblogs without an RSS feed
Weblogs demystified:
    ecosystem
 Weblogs demystified:
visualising connections
Weblogs demystified:
tracking incoming links
  Weblogs demystified:
search across weblogs on
   “knowledge work”
“Weblog tools” (3)
• Searching
   • Weblog-level search: blogging software function, special software,
    Google site-level search
   • “Blogs I read” search: Trusted Blog Search Tool
   • Across weblogs: Blogdex, Technorati, DayPop…

• Tracking
   • TrackBack – automatic notification about linking
   • Most referred pages across weblogs, for a specific weblog
   • Links to and links from, referers
   • Revealing groups of weblogs
   • Word Bursts (heightened usage of certain words in weblogs)
   • Conversations across weblogs
Blogging ecosystem
• Weblog as internet identity
   • Person-centred vs. topic/discussion centred
   • Personality becomes visible through writing
• Links as references (~academic publishing)
   • Culture of linking to the source and to related additional reading
   • Snowball peer-filtering: interesting articles/posts/weblogs get to the surface
   • Frequent, quality-based cross linking  high rank in Google
• Distributed conversations
   • Commenting in your own weblog and linking/notifying the source
   • No flame: you don’t want to post irrelevant things in your own space
   • Difficult to trace for outsiders
• Networking
   • Snowball networking: finding interesting people through weblogs you read
   • Creating shared context and building trust
   • Follow-up contact by other means (IM, e-mail, phone, f2f)
Weblogs in business: outline
• Professional weblogs: What’s in it for me?

• Business uses of weblogs: What’s in it for business?

• Choices and challenges
What’s in it for me?
• Publishing
• Personal information management
   • Watching trends, staying updated (~“search” strategy)
   • Documenting experiences and ideas
   • Organising links, ideas and references

• Dialogue and networking
   • Getting feedback and evaluation of ideas, engaging in conversations
   • Establish contacts based on common interests
   • Emergent community

• Learning
   • As a result of: staying updated - articulation - organising ideas -
     conversations - being part of a community
   • As a side effect: writing, communication, search and technology skills
What’s in it for business?
• Releasing and “channelling” personal passion
   • Personal nature of a weblog
        • Provides context to understand and interpret ideas
        • Supports trust, reputation and relation building
   • Personal motivations to write in a public space make employee
    knowledge and aspirations visible, supporting articulation of ideas that
    are difficult to get other way
        • Experts and their expertise become more visible
        • Documented ideas can be collected, stored, processed and reused
          company-wide
   • We tend to trust people more than we trust machines or organisations
        • Personal touch in customer-relation building
        • Authentic internal communication
Weblogs in business
• Internally oriented
   • Project management weblogs
   • “From customer’s” reports
   • Knowledge-sharing weblogs
   • CEO voice

• Externally oriented
   • News, updates, web-site management
   • Representation, reputation building, service (Jupiter analyst weblogs)
   • Brand building
   • Community building (Macromedia)

• Spanning boundaries: professional weblogs
Weblogs in business: choices
• Tools vs. voices
   • Weblog tools can be used to support organisational processes as any
     other tools, but then we risk loosing advantages of weblogs as
     personal voices
   • Weblogs can be passionate uncensored voices of employees, but
     then we risk information leaking and creating “wrong” image

• Business vs. individual
   • If we impose organisational goals and rules weblogs are not likely to
     work
   • How can we benefit from weblogs if we don’t?

• How do we balance organic and personal nature of
  weblogs and business goals and needs?
Weblogs in business: questions
• Intranet weblogs
   • If there is enough weblog readers to motivate weblog writers?
   • How weblogs integrate with everyday practices and existing tools?

• Public weblogs
   • Corporate weblogs=no personal voice: Will they be trusted?
   • Personal “work-related” weblogs
        • Are they censored? What do we loose then?
        • How do we insure that no competitive knowledge is leaking?
        • Should they be affiliated with a company? Hosted on a company’s web-site?
        • Who has copyrights?

• Business model? Legal issues? Technology choices?
Finally
• Thanks
   • my blogging ecosystem for conversations that improved my
    understanding of blogging
   • Edward Faber for the feedback on draft version of this presentation

• Links and follow-up reading could be found in my
  weblog
   • http://blog.mathemagenic.com/2003/10/07.html#a786

				
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