| Weblogs (blogs)
are personal websites which make it easy to record daily entries. I blog
to learn. Blogs let me read content from a single individual, unadulerated
with corporate claptrap. On the outbound side, my blogs stick memories in
my head -- the teacher always learns more than the student. Blogs are gut-simple
to set up. Go to Blogger to see for
I recently shifted some material from BloggerPro to MovableType because I want an easy way to set up comments and categorize topics. (Blogger's API has made it possible to swap content between the various blogging tools.)
Blogging was arcane when I started in mid-1999. Now (2003), a million people have registered with Blogger alone. Once the realm of individuals, corporations are joining the blogosphere.
Build a Blog
The best way to understand blogs is to visit a few.
ElearningPost. Maish Nichanis blog deals with corporate learning, community building, instructional design, knowledge management, and so forth. Every weekday Maish links to four or five interesting articles. Sample sources are Wired, Chronicle of Higher Ed, Syllabus, First Monday, Training, PBS, and CIO. Maish writes a brief paragraph to describe each link.
I no longer read three-quarters of the magazines I once felt obligated to, but I do read e-learningpost religiously to find out what I need to read. Its also more fun to read from a variety of voices--an article from Fortune, a story from Learning Circuits, or a white paper from IBM.
Research on Learning and Performance (now the learning category of www.internettime.com/blog).This blog began as a personal tool to capture ideas that I would later add to the e-learning page of my company's Website. As more information about e-learning became available, keeping that page up-to-date became a burden. Now, every couple of weeks I harvest worthwhile entries from the blog to post. What sort of content do you find on this blog? Whatever I found interesting at the time. Essentially, the blog is a clipping service. Love me, love my blog. Some sample content includes
My blog contains more than a years worth of items like those. The content comes in small bites. How do people retrieve needles from this haystack? Most use the Google search box that appears atop each page.
For me, blogs highlight useful information that I may never find on my own--or think to find on my own. Cameron Barrett's blog has taught me more about Web design than any course. David Weinbergers blog mentors me on knowledge management, and often it has me laughing out loud. Chris Pirillo keeps me abreast of Windows' developments. Recently, Stephen Downes began augmenting my understanding of how people learn.
I know what you're thinking. Why couldnt I get the same insight from reading a book or a magazine? Let me count the ways. First, the informality of blogs makes them engaging. Second, they're a time management tool. Because bloggers read one another's stuff, the best of the best rises to the top and eventually appears on the handful of blogs I read. In addiiton, blogs offer personal and even contrarian viewpoints. Third, blogs are current. For example, and unfortunately, I first learned about the World Trade Center disaster on DaveNet rather than CNN.
Basically, blogs work.
Visit the New Learning Circuits Blogby Jay Cross
Blogs (short for weblogs) are informal Websites where people publish stories, opinions, and links--often on a daily basis. The most recent entry comes first; old entries are relegated to online archives. Originally personal diaries and lists of recommended links, blogs have blossomed into tools for knowledge sharing, public education, customer service, journalism, community-building, and marketing.
Learning Circuits was there first. The Learning Circuits Blog kicked off in April 2002 with commentary from Peter Isackson, Tom Barron, Clark Quinn, Bill Horton, Kevin Wheeler, Ellen Wagner, Margaret Driscoll, Allison Rossett, Richard Clark, and me. Six months and 18,836 words later, this starter blog sputtered to a halt, a victim of overly long postings, advances in technology, and other priorities. Today we're re-starting the new Learning Circuits Blog with the ability for you to make comments and an enthusiastic team of contributors.
Bloggers have always linked to one another; it's how one gets known. Lately, blogs have begun to accept comments. Many blogs are "syndicated." For example, my blog entries are automatically swept into a consolidated blog published in China. Comments, cross-referencing, and syndication connect bloggers.
For example, I just posted this comment on George Siemens's elearnspace: George, at first, your piece on blogging made me angry but now I'm growing to love it. You see, I sat down twenty minutes ago to write a progress report on blogging for Learning Circuits. A link from Dave Winer's blog to Phil Windley's blog led me back to elearnspace, where I found that you'd already written a lot of what I intended to say. But then it occurred to me that the true spirit of blogging is sharing ideas. Passing along a meme can be as powerful as originating one. After all, most bloggers gladly point to other sources they like. So now I'm happy, for instead of writing something original, I'll just quote you extensively. Thanks.
Discussing the implications of the tremendous expansion of blogging,
George says: "As a disruptive technology, blogging is altering (or
perhaps responding to?) many aspects of information/content creation and
use. These changes are not without impact. What are some of the implications
of a tool that functions at the same speed as the medium
Please drop by the new Learning Circuits Blog. Post a comment. Join the fun. And visit again.
Published: December 2002
PROCESS (July 2003)
The blogger is no longer the solitary writer, detached from the real world. Today's blogger spends quite a bit of time reading, commenting, researching, recommending, and promoting. She may be part of a community of bloggers.
"A Weblog (also known as a blog) is a personal Website that offers frequently updated observations, news headlines, commentary, recommended links and/or diary entries, generally organized chronologically. Weblogs vary greatly in style and content." from Triumph of the Weblogs by Kevin Werbach.Blogs about blogs
Blogroots index of sites, pointers, books & more
BlogDex (MIT) "blogdex is a system built to harness the power of personal news, amalgamating and organizing personal news content into one navigable source, moving democratic media to the masses. at current, blogdex is focused on the referential information provided by personal content, namely using the timeliness of weblogs to find important and interesting content on the web."
BlogHop "About BlogHop! Your friendly neighborhood blog portal. Bloghop was made with one thing in mind -- to help readers find good blogs. It's all about the readers, man. If you find a blog you like, rate it, and it'll float to the top for the next reader."
the complete guide to weblogs "This resource is intended to contain as much information as possible about weblogs." And they do it rather well.
Keep Trying "Mike Sanders Looks at Life Through The Blog"
LinkWatcher aims to "supply linkwatcher users with much more powerful tools for searching, monitoring, and discovering new blogs."
|Eatonweb Portal Brigitte says "this portal is a labor of love. it started back in early 1999 when there were less than 50 known weblogs-there were a lot more than that out there, they just hadn't been discovered. as more kept turning up or getting started, i kept adding them to my list. it's grown a little since then." She lists 3377 blogs.|
BlogCon 2002 the first blogger conference. Vegaa, August 23-25
Weblogs and the News "Where news, weblogs, and journalism intersect. The following links provide information about new forms of personal journalism including weblogs, collaborative news sites, personal broadcasting, and more as well as pointers to examples of each genre."
Weblog Review "This page has been made so that people can find weblogs that interest them. Rather than just a bunch of links like other weblog portal pages, this one will actually include reviews of weblogs."
Will businesses blog?
Jay Cross, CEO of the Internet Time Group, a Berkeley, Calif., e-learning and knowledge management consulting firm, thinks a Blogger-enhanced content management system could be a powerful business tool.
It would allow subject matter experts to document whats important to them, and then publish it, Cross says. Instead of some knowledge engineer telling you whats good for you, which is the old style of top-heavy corporate thinking, youd have people in the sales force saying to each other, This is information thats really worthwhile. So you get informal exchanges of information within the corporation.
Cross believes that a Blogger-based content management system would help employees deal with information overload, as an editor could filter out the clutter and make sure only relevant information gets posted.
While Cross sees the potential for Blogger and other Web log software, he believes it will be a difficult sell at a time when dot-com technology is out of vogue and the nations economy is depressed. I think a content management system using Blogger may be a stealth sell; people buy it because it doesnt cost much. If you offer five seats for $1,000 and there are some early adopters, it might catch on, he says.
Thoughts on Blogging as Knowledge Management Tool
Corporate lawyers aren't going to applaud my concepts of KM through blogging. After all, if old email that might be subpoenaed as evidence is a legal nightmare, imagine what attorneys will think of uncensored blogs. Ray Ozzie has offered a policy to keep employee blogs from violating SEC quiet period rules.
Perhaps the ideal in-house blog database will be wired to implode if the SEC or the courts try to get at what's inside:
Of course, the urge for secrecy, understandable for a Worldcom or Enron, can backfire if employees can't access their own firm's know-how:
People who have heard my call for information sharing in business warn that (1) knowledge workers won't share their know-how because it's their meal-ticket and (2) you'll never get everyone on board. The first issue is motivational; reward systems can change the balance. Secondly, things will be a whole lot better if only one person in five takes part; 100% participation is not the objective.
See Using Blogs in Business, chapter from We Blog
|Blogs for Education|
a place to write, nothing fancy, Chris Ashley
Weblogging: Another kind of website, Chris Ashley
Weblogs: A Swiss Army website?, Chris Ashley
weblog-ed, Will Richardson
Weblogs in Education/School Blogs, Adam Curry and Peter Ford
Grassroots KM through blogging - Maish Nichani & Venkat Rajamanickam - 14th May 2001
Weblogs and the News -- "Where News, Journalism and Weblogs Intersect"
"Blogs are heaps of words that stick to the water: annotated transcripts of conversations that have no sides. They are the accumulata of What We Know, of open-ended conversation with who-knows-who. And perhaps I mean that last phrase a bit more literally than I intended when I wrote it eight seconds ago." Doc Searles
Dave Winer's History of Weblogs
Tacit Docs by David Weinberger "To hell with tacit knowledge. Go for tacit documents instead."
from Netsurfer Digest: Blogging or Web logging has been around since the early days of the Web. Weblogs offer a vital, creative outlet for alternative voices. While conventional media haven't exactly faded away in the meantime, as some thought they might, blogging is an increasingly potent, credible and creative force for individual expression. It allows people to reach out beyond their immediate geographical confines and find an audience, no matter how small, on any subject under the sun. The lure of blogs is their creative freedom; no one else has a say in what you say and how you say it. And, it's becoming easier for anyone to join in with relatively simple and inexpensive tools for self-publishing. Diversity of viewpoint is another important rallying cry. There's a lot to be said for blogging, and three interesting, expressive bloggers do it well here, providing thoughtful, intriguing and diverse points of view about the phenomenon. We should shamelessly but briefly blow our own horn a little here and point out that in some ways Netsurfer is a blog, and perhaps the oldest of them all.
Still not satisfied? Rebecca's Pocket (a weblog, of course) offers this history of weblogs.
Many current weblogs follow this original style. Their editors present links both to little-known corners of the web and to current news articles they feel are worthy of note. Such links are nearly always accompanied by the editor's commentary. An editor with some expertise in a field might demonstrate the accuracy or inaccuracy of a highlighted article or certain facts therein; provide additional facts he feels are pertinent to the issue at hand; or simply add an opinion or differing viewpoint from the one in the piece he has linked. Typically this commentary is characterized by an irreverent, sometimes sarcastic tone. More skillful editors manage to convey all of these things in the sentence or two with which they introduce the link (making them, as Halcyon pointed out to me, pioneers in the art and craft of microcontent). Indeed, the format of the typical weblog, providing only a very short space in which to write an entry, encourages pithiness on the part of the writer; longer commentary is often given its own space as a separate essay.
These weblogs provide a valuable filtering function for their readers. The web has been, in effect, pre-surfed for them. Out of the myriad web pages slung through cyberspace, weblog editors pick out the most mind-boggling, the most stupid, the most compelling.
An early list from the eLearning Jump Page