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May 08, 2003
Deep Thinking About Weblogs
Having spent a month writing a weblog and thinking about weblogs, I've written an essay about what they are and what I think makes them interesting.
Posted by Andrew Grumet at May 8, 2003 10:17 AM
Great essay, thank you! Let me add a couple of thoughts since I'm currently very involved in learning as much as I can about these new technologies.
Like many technologies before it, I think that refining the tools is crucial to make sure we don't just end up with more gigabytes of random data to sift through. For programmers, it may be easy to fine tune the tools...but for the average user, it's still difficult to "get it right".
I happen to be using Radio, and every day I find new features and abilities that demonstrate it's power...but it still requires some intimacy with XML, stylesheets, and other fairly "techie" interests.
My hope of course, is that new generations of tools will make all of this easier, and given the past I think we can count on it. In some ways, I consider "progress" to be shortening the 'gee whiz' cycle, and we're doing that.
Again thanks for some great thoughts.
Following a brief conversation with Andrew about this article, I've written up some comments about this article along with some of my own deep thoughts about blogging.
If HTML were allowed in this comment, you could just click on "some comments" in the previous paragraph. Instead you'll have to copy this URL: http://wemmick.blogspot.com/ and see my entry for May 9, 2003.
Am wondering when and if klogs will ever take root -- can it be an efficient way to share information within an organization?
Also, this whole corporate blogging idea -- is a blog too much of a personal expression to be coopted in this way, or can a bunch of people with similar interests (all the IAs in a UE firm) share space?
An Online Marketer Trying to Figure Out How to Use Weblogs Without Your Encouragement
Mark and Doug: thanks for your comments!
Ugh, I need to figure out how to allow anchor tags in MT.
That article on klogs (wincing as I type it) is interesting. Dave Winer is convinced that business blogs are about to happen in a big way. I think he's probably right.
Shared blogs: I've seen a few. memepool (http://www.memepool.com/) comes to mind. Also, see Dan Bricklin's on small business blogging (http://danbricklin.com/log/businessblogging.htm).
From personal experience, I'd say that a blog is the killer app for press releases. It's good for the companies because it helps promotional information about them flow through the Net. It's also good for VC's and sector reports because they can collect and display relevant press reports using a news aggregator.
A very thoughtful piece.
Dave Winer has promised to write us a publishable paper on why weblogs have a social dynamic superior to the mailing list-serv, the old bulletin boards, and even comments systems like this one.
Requiring that comments about Dave go on my weblog (with a trackback link to Dave) keeps my flames from polluting his pages. He calls the negative contributions "stop energy" and claims weblogs keep them under control.
I looked in the Help files for Movable Type to turn on HTML in thi editor, but cannot find it.
I do this all the time for the OSCOM Blog. (http://blog.oscom.org/)
It seems to be automatically on for one's own blog posts (I find no setting), but not offered in this visitor comment editor. Too bad.
I would like to insert a link to my work with OSCOM that publishes XML, RDF/XML (for incipient web services use) and Dave Winer's OPML, all from the CMS database, but when I type the HTML it gets lost on the preview round trip.
Derek and I are drafting a skyBlog tool that integrates all the blog posts into the master enterprise database of all pages.
See the CMS Review blog.
Commercial websites believe scoring high placements in search-engine results is so crucial for generating traffic that many are willing to pay top dollar to sponsor keywords or hire "positioning" consultants to secure a good ranking.
Then there are bloggers. With no deliberate effort, many dedicated weblog publishers are finding their blogs rank high on search results for topics that, oftentimes, they claim to know practically nothing about.
I wish that I could share the optimism about business weblogs, but I have serious reservations. Back in 1990, I used a product from a small company called MaxThink (very clever at the time, but dos based) to build a knowledge sharing system for a Fortune 500 company in Tennessee.
Although crude by today's standards, it actually functioned quite well, was blisteringly fast, and quite simple for the average Joe at the desktop. This project just sort of faded away..."The crowd went mild" you might say.
A couple of years later, using emerging web tools, I build another similar system. Not quite as fast (Windows), but definitely a more comfortable metaphor for most. It was disused for the same reason.
Until there is a yardstick for "value" of shared information, and the sharing becomes part of the compensation equation, I don't think there is a snowball's chance in hell of wide adoption. Specialized knowledge...the 'secret sauce' if you will is still considered to be a major factor in job security and status.
Having worked with many other mid sized corporations since then, I am convinced that this old saw still holds true. I'm willing to kiss a toad if I'm wrong, but do not feel compelled to "pucker up" at this point.
For Some Odd reason I can not get too comfortable with the idea of posting my personel information on the web. My view of the web is that nothing is safe. If I Have no other options Ill use the web: however, I will be verycareful,and fearfull of the type of information that im posting on the web