DaveNet today describes spontaneous community-building through blogging. (Dave's brand is "Radio Userland," so that's what he calls a blog tool.) Imagine this scenario inside an organization instead of in a newspaper's circulation area:
First, I would offer a copy of Radio UserLand to every person on the editorial staff (okay, I'm biased) and say "Start a weblog now if you want." Then I'd make the same offer to the readers. Then I'd watch to see what happens.
I'd say to the staff "Read the new weblogs, and for those of you who have your own, point to the articles you find interesting or useful." Let this run for a few months. My bet is that the community starts generating good news reports, on things like school boards, and city council meetings, the stuff that the organizations no longer cover. (Or medical care, or city workers who dump paint in the sewers.) Just what people see and what they think. Democrat weblogs that beget Republican weblogs.
Elevate one of the staff weblogs to the main site (by then its flow would probably be almost as big as the rest of the publication). Go back to all the editorial people who haven't started weblogs, and invite them again. Wait a few more months.
Now here's the New Economy bad news (sorry) -- cut the people who aren't participating in the new network. My bet is that the community gets energized by the new participatory journalism and the former reporters, who now are editors, talent scouts and teachers, are also energized, doing what they wanted to do  when they got into journalism. Now ask the community what they're willing to pay to keep the system working and growing. I know I'm naive and unrealistic, but this is how I think it will work.
Another source of revenue. Charge local businesses to place their weblogs on your network. This is advertising turned around. No more interstitials and ads that interfere. If people aren't interested in your business, maybe it's time to find a new business. News drives interest. Minds, not eyeballs. Real issues not puffery. New products that meet people's needs and wants. No limits on where we go.
Editorial note: This is a revisit of an idea I wrote about in 2000  and 2001 , now there's new interest, as a handful of newspapers are starting weblogs. And a disclosure, my company is actually working on this stuff now, and expect to have an announcement in a few weeks; it's not so theoretical.
The Meta-Learning Lab page now has a link to Clark Quinn's and my Human Captial Live! presentation on Applied Meta-Learning. Take a look if you've got an hour to kill. Actually, you can hop from slide to slide if you get bored and the audio will catch up with you.
On the meta-learning front, I realized that my rambling blog entries are but a means for me to listen in on the internal conversations which are my learning process at work.
Finally, I have cleared my desk and my mind of the detritus that piles up when one's on the road for a couple of weeks. Today I'm devoting my time to Beyond eLearning, Ian Hamilton's and my blueprint of the future of learning, eLearning, competency management, and eKnowledge., At long last, my ecommerce "shopping cart" runs on its own. Next up: figuring out how to enrich the white paper with contributions from readers. And maybe renaming the "white paper" a book -- it's 200+ pages long!
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