13:51 11/06/2004 Mathemagenic: Mathemagenic
...giving birth to learning...


  Saturday, May 31, 2003

  Better tools and educative marketing Jon Udell | OSCOM 2003 | Introduction [via Roland Tanglao: KLogs] (bold is mine)
Some lessons you learned in grade school:

Write effective titles and topic sentences.
Neatness counts.
Share with others.
No hitting.

Three assertions:

  1. Some people learned those lessons, and they communicate effectively with or without the aid of content management systems.
  2. Many people didn't learn those lessons, don't communicate effectively, and don't get much help from CMSs.
  3. The CMS opportunity, and challenge, is to help the majority learn and apply a handful of grade-school lessons.

One more point for my discussion with Sebastian about tools and social conventions: one of weblogs challenges is to help the majority to learn how to write for the web.

This is also related with "better tools and educative marketing" points of my BlogTalk presentation, but I guess I have to write more on it to make it clear.

[A bit related: Content Creation for Average People]

More on: BlogTalk paper 

  Weblogs, personal voice and digital apprenticeship

Dale Pike:

A weblog does not have to include a first person voice, but I think that it becomes much less when it does not. I believe that a weblog is a concept that has become much more than simply the tools used to post chronologically-ordered HTML entries. A weblog is a manifestation of an individual voice. There will always be a place for sterile, scholarly dissertations, but I guarantee I won't look forward to reading them on my lunch break. If I can listen to you, however, talk about something you're doing...something that is going on in your life, chances are I can learn from you. And that IS something I'll look forward to reading at lunch...

In other words, weblogging is about open digital apprenticeship.

More on: better blogging 

  Friday, May 30, 2003

  Finding time for blogging

Maria reflects about time for blogging:

When blogging is not part of your work it is sometimes difficult to make good partitions in your time. To find time for blogging is often connected with some compromises. The choice between blogging during working hours or blogging when your family waits for you can't be made easily.

[...]Simplifying the idea, I think the ideal blogger is an independent worker without family. A university profesor, a consultant, even a journalist or a researcher. Single or at least living alone. Therefore, it would be interessant to know whether there is an over-representation of independant single workers among bloggers.

This could be true... I'm getting more and more convinced that personality is important for blogging. One more question to add if I do a follow-up of my BlogTalk paper.

[See also personal characteristics that support blogging]

More on: bloggers BlogTalk paper 


There are too many interesting things in my news aggregator, too many ideas that want to be written down in my head and too much work to finish before I go on vacation. I guess I have to learn how to let ideas go without trying to catch them. If they worth it they would come back.

Please, expect light blogging next three days and then silence for two weeks. I'm going to switch off Radio, so I won't even try to post :)

More on: life 

  Wednesday, May 28, 2003

  Between bloggers and their employers

A lot of thinking about problems that could happen between bloggers and their employers by Joshua Allen [via Serious Instructional Technology]

As long as your company views your blogging as "you chatting with your neighbors on your personal time", you pose little risk.  But the more that co-workers, CEOs, and so on are on-record as being cool with blogs, the more that blogs take on the timbre of being "official".  The more "official" that blogs are, the more perceived risk the company takes on by allowing you to blog.  And neither you nor your CEO is really keen to make things more complicated than they need to be.  And this is why, IMO, you see most companies and employees today still dancing around the issue of employee blogs and seemingly settling on a "don't ask, don't tell, and please for the love of God don't do anything stupid" policy.

Is it something to face?

More on: blogs in business 

  BlogTalk: follow-up citations

I'm not finished with BlogTalk follow-up writing, I only have a lot of work... So, before I post more, I have some pointers to others.

On live conference blogging, digital divide and echo chambers

Eamonn Fitzgerald

Here's the scene: Those with laptops and wireless internet connections were clicking away on their keyboards (although the network collapsed Saturday afternoon), and those with pens and paper, myself included, were scribbling and doodling. The digital division was made all the more visible by the fact that access to the power points meant that the live bloggers (photo credit: Heiko Hebig) were almost all arrayed around the podium, and those who were just looking and listening were arranged behind them in the remaining seats.

Steve Cayzer (see this page for the notes as well)

Well, I've just spent the afternoon blogging my notes at blogTalk. One thing's for sure, I sit on the side of the live bloggers. Sure, I understand Maria's concern about concern for the presenter ("Don't blog me, I'm real") but as Kieran says maybe it's just a matter of adjustment, Personally, I had no problem with it. Although maybe the people I fondly imagined were real time blogging my talk were catching up on their email. Or playing quake. As Lilia says, "blogging by 2-3 people is enough to provide quite good summary of what is going on". However, I find my own notes invaluable and I have to write a trip report anyway - so why not blog it? If anyone else finds them useful, that's great.

David Weinberger in Learning from echoes:

Echo chambers definitely do exist. Sometimes they exist precisely in order to solidify opinion. But not every case of homogeneity is an echo chamber. Because we can only understand the new in terms of the familiar (which is the same as saying that understanding means placing something in context), agreement is the ground on which learning can occur.

On business blogging

Heiko Hebig (bold is mine)

Corporate blogging: It really comes down to change management. Getting employees to blog is nothing different than getting them used to work with content management systems and/or intranets. It's about empowerment, it's about delegation, and it's about having the courage to drop yet another Internet buzzword inside a corporate environment that once saw it's share price double because it registered a funny .com domain name. Some CTOs or Managers will understand the potential value of weblogs and use them wisely, other will not care. The success of their company will not depend on whether or not it starts blogging. Their personal career will (very likely) not depend on weblogs, either. However, weblogs might make some tasks a lot easier. And weblogs certainly help people to network. If you believe in the power of (business) networks, weblogs should be on your agenda.
 About real-life people

Ton Zijlstra

Conversations are the most important part of any conference. In that sense it was a shame that delays in the program were compensated by cutting down on breaktimes. However interesting the presentations, and most of them were, I would have welcomed more individual face to face time during the day. The fact that at the last evening noone seemed able to detach himself from the group, and everybody stayed on till 4:30 in the morning to continue the conversations, totally unaware of their surroundings, supports this feeling.

To get a better feeling about people you may check Portraits by Oliver Wredecollection of pointers to BlogTalk photos by Maria or Selected quotes by Haiko Hebig.

And, finally, remember that real-life people are interested in cakes and not only in knoweldge management :)


all the knowledge management in the world can not help you find cake in downtown Vienna at 1 am.

Maria Milonas

I was there. It wasn't the question of a simple cake, Lilia needed a "torte". That's the problem... :)

Do you want to know about my main outcome of BlogTalk? My RSS subscription list is exploding. It's all about people...

More on: BlogTalk 

  Tuesday, May 27, 2003

  New blog: Mathemathantic by Bill Dueber

This is not me, but another blog - Mathemathantic by Bill Dueber [via Serious Instructional Technology]

Mathemathanic means something totally opposite to Mathemagenic:

Richard Clark, coined the term twenty years ago as a play on words. From “thantos”, death, it’s used to describe an instructional intervention that makes you dumber than you were before.

It's nice to see new edublog, the name is funny, but I'm afraid that it will be too easy to confuse us...

Later: Because of this post Bill is thinking about changing his weblog title. I don't think that it's a good idea: that's true that people can be confused, but this is an opportunity for a story like the one Heiko Hebig and Haiko Hebig have :)))

More on: blog new 

  Blogologue about blogologue

Several related stories [via many in my news aggregator]

1. Dynamics of a Blogosphere Story:

Through a study of 45 blogosphere stories, Microdoc News has developed a picture of how a blogosphere story gets started, how that story develops and then how it then comes to an end. While each blogosphere story has its own pattern of development, the similarities between one story and another is intriguingly similar. The smallest blogosphere stories can have as few as fifteen bloggers, the average story has between 40 and 60 bloggers, while the largest one to date had about 285 bloggers involved. A blogosphere story can be as small as 180 posts in total, while the largest we studied has numbered 7,540 posts in total.

[see also Sylvie Noël on their research method and later Practical Considerations in Tracing a Blogosphere Story]

They describe stories as an interplay between four types of blog posts:

  1. Lengthy opinion and molding of a topic around between three to fifteen links with one of those links the instigator of the story;
  2. Vote post where the blogger agrees or disagrees with a post on another site;
  3. Reaction post where a blogger provide her/his personal reaction to a single post on another site;
  4. Summation post where the blogger provide a summary of various blogs and perspectives of where a blog story has got to by now.

This story goes on describing the how blogosphere stories start, grow and die. Even a summary would be too long, so I leave it to your own reading. The bottom line is
blogs cannot be read in isolation from each other. Blog stories are understood and appreciated in aggregate and not in isolation.

2. Googlewashed Revisited: Shape of a Blogologue provides an example of one story, discusses "multiple ends" of many stories and could be relations between mainstream media and blogoshpere. 

Should mainstream media understand how blogging works, and how collective journalism works, they should encourage their journalists to participate in building these collective stories, as when a journalist has participated in building a story in this manner, a more complete and authoritative article could be built with dozens of sources, votes, reactions and opinions are available through this process.

3. Discussion and citation in the blogoshpere by Tom Coates

This article provides good visiaul comparision of conversations in threaded discussions and weblogs. He also compares blogging conversations with Kuhn's paradigm shifts

[see also Tom's earlier post on How do we find information in the Blogosphere? and his later post on On parallels with academic citation networks]

4. Following a Collectively Constructed Blogstory traces and decomposed the discussion followed by the first article

At this moment I'll keep it as a collection of links, but I guess I'll be back to it one day.

  Monday, May 26, 2003

  Relational qualities that promote effective knowledge sharing

This is something that was on my "to blog" list for a long time: 

Knowing what we know: Supporting knowledge creation and sharing in social networks by Rob Cross, Andrew Parker, Laurence Prusak and Stephen P. Borgatti and earlier white paper with the same title.

These papers describe studies focused on analysing characteristics that promote effective knowledge sharing and then using those characteristics in social network analysis. Both papers are worth reading. The white paper provides a better overview of the study on characteristics of effective knowledge sharing. The journal article is more polished and packed with practical examples of SNA. 

Relational characteristics that promote effective knowledge sharing (research method described in the white paper; the following citations are from the journal article, page 105):

  • Knowing what another person knows

Knowing what someone else knows (even if we are initially inaccurate and calibrate over time) is a precursor to seeking a specific person out when we are faced with a problem or opportunity. For other people to be options we must have at least some perception of their expertise.

  • Access

However, knowing that someone else knows is only useful if you can get access to their thinking in a sufficiently timely fashion. Access is heavily influenced by the closeness of one's relationships as well as physical proximity, organisational design and collaborative technology.

  • Engagement

People who are helpful in learning interactions actively thinking with the seekers and engage in problem solving. Rather than dump information, these people first understand the problem as experiences by the seeker and then shape their knowledge to the problem at hand.

  • Safety

Finally, those relationships that are safe are often most effective for learning purposes. Being able to admit a lack of knowledge or to diverge in a conversation often results in creativity and learning.

Simple, powerful and research-based. Must-read for knowledge managers and interesting as a framework to think about weblogs as an environment for knowledge sharing.

[Sebastian, this is about knowledge sharing in a broader sense and includes learning side of it. I am curious to know if you can relate it to your research on weblogs and learning]

  Sunday, May 25, 2003

  BlogTalk: back home

Ok, I'm back home, I posted all pieces I had written on my way back home and finally I can catch up with sleeping :)

This was a great experience! I suspect that my "reflection" posts can create a totally different impression, but they are an attempt to understand what was happening at BlogTalk.

Thomas and his team - thank you for making it real. See you on-line.

More on: BlogTalk 

  Writing books for managers

This is something totally different: some ideas from talking with Phil Wolff and Martin Roell on Friday night. Phil talked about two types of books for managers. One is a thin "vision" book. It usually has one main idea ("message") in it, so it seeds certain idea in manager's head. The second type is thick "how to do it" book. It provides case-studies, lessons learnt and implementation guidelines. Managers usually do not read these books, they give them to specialists who are supposed to implement the idea.

More on: BlogTalk writing 

  Blogging echo chambers

Probably not blogging gave me some time for more thinking :) At the end of the day I realised that we've got a quite good understanding of our viewpoints, but have no idea what people in the audience think. It was strange to have rich discussion between panellists and few other bloggers and almost no comments and questions from other people. I even don't have good idea who they were and what do they think about blogging.

Before not having access to others' feedback was fine, but once I realised that I have ways to get them because they are blogged, I've got a strong feeling of loss of impressions of people who were not blogging. It's like getting feedback only from one - biased - part of the audience.

Yesterday I asked not bloggers to comment on the conference, but it wasn't very successful. The funniest thing is that at the end I started to feel like agreeing with Denham Grey about self-referencing in the blogosphere. Blogging accelerates shared understanding and consensus building, but at the same time it amplifies it's own sound. At the end it's so strong that voices of not bloggers are not heard.

One may argue with Rebecca Blood's talk about the danger of group think in the blogosphere, but yesterday I could feel that we were in echo chamber.

More on: BlogTalk 

  BlogTalk: why I wasn't blogging

For me this was the first conference blogged for many people in real time, so I had to discover my way of doing it. A couple of times before I was the one blogging and I did it mainly in reporting style. I started the same way blogging BlogTalk, but I was also adding links to other bloggers.

Very soon I realised that this was a bit stupid: blogging by 2-3 people is enough to provide quite good summary of what is going on (presentations and papers are on-line too, so if someone is not happy with summaries there is always something better). Next to it we went into discussing "don't blog me – I'm real" issue, so I also didn't feel like blogging.

I also found that during this conference I was even more lazy. It was not only "why reporting if there are others doing it", but also "why making photos if many others make them almost real time with their digital cameras".

[photos by Heiko Hebig]

More on: BlogTalk 

  Real-time conference blogging: reporting vs. reflecting

I'm sitting in the plane on my way back from Vienna. I wasn't posting from yesterday's morning. The network was down in the afternoon and evening/night face-to-face time was too valuable to go on-line. So these are some of the yesterday's impressions revised and reflected while talking with many people late at night.

I think that there are two modes of conference blogging: reporting and reflecting. Reporting provides a summary of a presentation/discussion with a bit of impressions. Reflection goes deeper to analyse what was said and to build on it (Phil Wolff also distinguished between "three levels of reflection" and "twenty levels of reflection").

Dan Gillmor provided a great example of impact that real-time conference reporting can have. He blogged about an executive presenting and soon received a comment pointing that this guy was playing with a company stocks. This was posted as well and had an impact of an audience reactions to the presentation. Another example was about real-time corrections after he posted misinterpreted summary of presenter's words.

This mode of conference blogging is not really different from note-taking, it's only about changing medium and making notes available for others. The best of real-time conference reporting comes from the opportunity to provide reacher feedback. But it's also requires that presentations are more-or-less long and that a blogger has substantial number of readers reading his blog real time.

Reflecting mode of conference blogging is different. I believe that reflection requires more attention than reporting, so if you do it real-time you tend to switch from active listening and participating in a discussion to your own thinking. This is provides much richer ground for a conversation, but I doubt that it can have real-time impact (because in most of the cases discussion will move faster than your writing). It may be more valuable to formulate your emerging reflective ideas as a question and ask it.

From one side a conference gets an on-line mirror with many people posting, commenting and linking to each other. This mirror can change and enhance the conference reality (using Gilbert's words – it can direct reality). From another side, the process of creating and supporting this mirror takes our attention and energy, so we have less energy for creating the reality that mirror is supposed to reflect. This is an interesting and very strange phenomena.

I agree with others that conference blogging is there to stay like SMSing during lectures. I agree that it can make our experiences more interesting by providing a real-time mirror. Still, I feel that rich discussions require our attention and that it's quite stupid to change opportunities of talking to real people into virtual conference. At the end our face-to-face time is limited and blogs are there for long.

More on: BlogTalk 

  Saturday, May 24, 2003

  BlogTalk: day 2

I don't feel like live blogging today. I we have discussed with Sebastian: it's hard to be immersed in a activity and reflect on that. I don't feel like purely reporting and there are many others who do that. I want to reflect, but this is something that takes more attention.

We had three main themes running this morning:

  • are weblogs echo chambers?
  • weblogs and marketing
  • weblog introduction problems


More on: BlogTalk 

  Don't blog me - I'm real

It's strange that so many people are blogging live. Many are struggling to find a balance between the pleasure of listening to real person, writing and following other writing at the same time. Do we change the fun of real-life communicating for virtual reflection on it. This is something to think about.

As Maria said "don't blog me - I'm real".

[Please, see some clarifications at the end of this post]

Later: Maria posted almost in the same time "don't blog me - I'm real"

I quit live blogging.

As observing people here, I am really wondering - are we on a real conference or is it a good imitation, a virtual show presented while we are blogging ?

As a social event, live blogging is amazing.

A dozen of persons writing online while other persons are presenting their thoughts, the results of their work. Textual journalism online - I think it is a rather new form of publishing. Til today, each press article, even a little note usually passed by a press agency before going to the public. You have direct relation, you have opinions about other's words even before they finished to say them. Yes. Amazing.

But I also had the opportunity to be blogged yesterday. I was there. And I can say sincerely that it was not a pleasure. A particular kind of stress when you are not really afraid of what you say or who you are but much more of what they are going to write about you. Gosh, it is not a press conference !

[...] It won't be easy to explain to live-bloggers that they are not doing a good job, because they are. They are blogging about everything that is said and they are doing it in an impressioning time. But thinking about the person who is doing a presentation - isn't it a little bit rough?

[...] We do isolate ourselvs, escaping in the virtual streams of our blogging homes. By reference to my psychological backgrounds it seems to me that there is a problem. Just as we wouldn't like to accept the devirtualization that has been done here. We are not the same anymore, as we have met each others. At least I hope so...

Later (26 May)

You may think that I was not happy with people blogging my talk instead of listening. This is not true - I don't feel any difficulty with it. My feelings could be better described as "why blog if we can talk" question.

I tried to discuss it in Real-time conference blogging: reporting vs. reflecting and BlogTalk: why I wasn't blogging

More on: BlogTalk 

  Friday, May 23, 2003

  BlogTalk: an overview of discussions

I wasn't posting about the discussions at the end of each panel: I was in the listening mode. To get an impression about issues we discussed by Kieran Shaw


Topic blogs vs personal blogs

Blogs across the world

Blogs in business

Blogtalk day 1

...the general consensus seems to be that it is hard to get people blogging unless there is an obvious benefit to the individual to do so. We need to make blogging socialable and fun first, and then gently move them into education without them knowing it."

Another overview of the day (including comments to specific presentations): Blogging and Streaming at BlogTalk by Dan Gillmor

More on: BlogTalk 

  BlogTalk: who owns narrated experiences?

The question that came into my mind: what happens with your ideas that you posted to a weblog inside certain boundaries (e.g corporate blog or course blog) after you leave these boundaries. Both Martin and Sebastian suggest that it should be your property and you have to be able to take it with you as your own learning resource. Ideally, I would say the same, but I don't think that it's going to happen easily in practice.

Companies and educational institutions are recognising that they could benfit from aggregating ideas produced by people (e.g. course assignments from previous courses could be reused in a new course). An individual knowledge worker, from other hand, wants to have access to his own thought, may be throughout his whole life. This is not interesting for a company (it's competitive advantage!) and it should be ideal educational institution to take care of it (at the end no any educational institution is responsible to your own life-long learning).

In one paper knoweldge workers were addressed as investors bringing their knowlegde for corporate use. This is good metaphor, but unlike real investors knowledge workers can not take their investment back. Even worse, if you leave treads of your knowledge work in corporate context they are likely to belong to a company (often copyrighted), so they in fact risk loosing some of their investments.

In a long-term this could be a problem to weblogs adoption in a corporate context: I'm more motivated to write something down if I know that it stays with me and I can come back to it than if it's locked in a corporate knowledge management system or e-learning system (see more about motivation to post in order to keep track of your learning - Why I blog more than use discussion tools).

This is also somehow related with the discussion on institutional versus personal speech by Ross Mayfield.

Later: some directions for solutions could be found by operationalising ideas of Andrius Kulikauskas on copyright.

More on: BlogTalk motivation 

  BlogTalk: Oliver Wrede about weblogs, learning, teaching and higher education

Oliver Wrede about weblogs, learning, teaching and higher education

Oliver provides examples of using weblogs in teaching worth looking closer and many pointers to relevant ideas. Something to come back.

Blogged by:

More on: BlogTalk 

   Everyone is blogging much lighter after the break :)

  BlogTalk: Martin Röll on weblogs in business

Martin Röll talks about weblogs in business

This talk is funny, but Martin is talking about something really important: evolutionary introduction of weblogs in corporate settings. He proposes to start from examplary project log and than move slowly to individual knowledge logs.

Martin says later that he also thought about interrelating intranet weblogs and internet weblogs. Going to catch him in the break.

Blogged by:

More on: BlogTalk 

  BlogTalk: Sebastian Fiedler talks about uses of weblogs for learning

Sebastian Fiedler talks about uses of weblogs for learning

I'm not going to write a lot about it: Sebastian has posted his paper, Weblogging as a reflective conversational tool for self-organized learning, we discussed it on-line and off-life.

The presentation is well crafted to represent originally complicated ideas. I'll probably go back to it and post summaries of some slides.

Blogged by:

More on: BlogTalk 

  BlogTalk: Maria Milonas speaks about blogs in Poland

Maria Milonas speaks about blogs in Poland. Some highlights:

Polish blogs are more personal journals. Low tech (no RSS+). Many young women writing.

"The majority of bloggers feel better after posting"

Blog suicude: someone being forced to shut up a weblog

Weblogs are very much popularised by media.

Two weblogs are getting publishes as books.

Blogged by:

More on: BlogTalk 

  BlogTalk: Hossein Derakhshan on Iranian weblogs

"Weblogs, an Iranian perspective" by Hossein Derakhshan

Hossein present some specific characteristics of Persian weblogs. I find especally interesting connections between characterisctics of blogging  and social situation in Iran.

Yesterday Hossein said he wanted to do research on social aspects of blogging. I'm looking forward to it.

Blogged by:

More on: BlogTalk 

  BlogTalk: people blogging it live List of people blogging live by David Weinberger
Azeem Azhar
Gilbert Cattoire
Lilia Efimova
Dan Gillmor
Heiko Hebig (with pictures)
Jorg Kantel
Nico Lumma
JJ Merelo
Kieran Shaw
Ulrich van Stipriaan (and on non-BlogTalk topics)
Fernando Tricias
David Weinberger
Oliver Wrede (auf Deutsche)
More on: BlogTalk 

  BlogTalk: photos

Sebastian blogs some photos

More on: BlogTalk 

  BlogTalk: Ethan Eismann on topic weblogs and knowledge communities

Ethan Eismann talks about topic weblogs and knowledge communities.

Ethan talk about best practices for topic blogs. I feel that this approach is a bit too formal. This could help if you want to use weblogs to discuss things with students or to create a formal channel on a topic for your customers.

Still, it's worth checking the presentation for guidelines in case of implementing weblog focused on a topic in settings you can control (e.g. corporate blogging). The link should lead to the presentation, but so far it's broken.

Blogged by:

The "problem" I currently have with the notion of »topic weblogs«: Sometimes there are topics not clearly defined, with blurry edges, experts that even do not know that they would be considered an expert to that weblog. Would they find that weblog? Would they actually search? Would they be attracted?

More on: blog ecosystem BlogTalk 

  BlogTalk:Gernot Tscherteu, Christian Langreiter

"The blogosphere map" by Gernot Tscherteu, Christian Langreiter

These two guys demonstrated a great tool that shows how topics travel around the blogosphere. The tool shows map of 400 weblogs and changing size red dots to show when topic is mentioned by a weblog. This looks like heart beating.

The demo may be availiable on-line in a couple of weeks. I'm really looking forward.

Blogged by:

More on: BlogTalk 

  BlogTalk: Andrius Kulikauskas on copyright

"The algebra of copyright" by Andrius Kulikauskas

What happens when weblogs written under different copyright licences reuse content of each other?

"asking for permission is very taxing for micro-content"

Reading someone's weblog regularly can exceed "fair use": it's may be copying the whole idea which goes behind many posts.

I believe that the ideas behind this talk are important, but the language is too difficult for me to get through. I'm going to wait for practical implementations.

Blogged by:

More on: BlogTalk 

  BlogTalk: Steve Cayzer on semantic blogging

"Semantic blogging" by Steve Cayzer: "blogging is cool - but it could be even cooler"

How could it be cooler?

  • semantic view: ways to see weblogs beyond chronological view
  • semantic navigation: finding the meaning of links (e.g. who is agreeing with me?)
  • semantic query: who is blogging on related topic

More at Semantic blogging for for bibliographies project.

Blogged by:

More on: BlogTalk 

  BlogTalk: David Weinberger

Presentation by David Weinberger. I will do only highlights.

Three stages of weblogs history: hard-coded expressions -> webpublishing with tools -> links and conversations.

Weblog without links looks like marketing.

"There is something important about writing badly". Draft writing is liberating: you can be who you are and be accepted like that. Your readers do not expect edited version.

Constructing a self with weblogs. Your web-self is only public.

Our relation to web-self is more like a relation between an author and a character.

Subjectivity is important: it captures the richness of reality. Weblogs allow multi-subjectivity.

More on: BlogTalk 

  BlogTalk: open

Thomas Burg started BlogTalk conference with posting to the weblog. We have Internet connection, so stay tuned.

See also live reports.

More on: BlogTalk 

  BlogTalk: started

Ok. Here are the news: I'm at BlogTalk sitting in a hotel late at night. Feels strange...

I was reading Seb's PhD dissertation on my way to Vienna. It was interesting to see many points from his weblog taking more formal shape. I also found out that my weblog was one of case-studies described there. I'm going to read that part again and to use it as a mirror...

In overall: I believe that there are a many good points/pointers that I can apply to my work. It is also good to see that weblogs are making it to the "serious" research, so they are more likely to be considered seriousely.

BlogTalk. We had many random dinner discussions. It was much like blogging: local dialogues, joy of discovering similarities, jumping from topic to topic, but overall feeling of being connected. I'm happy to see people I got to know on-line and, of course, not-technology-mediated conversations are more efficient.

More on: BlogTalk 

  Thursday, May 22, 2003

  End of RSSify I recieve this for all weblogs that use RSSify to generate RSS feeds. Don't know what to do about it as I don't think that these people are technical enough to sort it out.
22-May-03 Moving away from RSSify. RSSify is a rather horrible hack that shouldn't be needed any more. Please ask the owner of the site you're reading ([weblog link goes here]) to change to a system that generates RSS natively such as Blogger Pro or Movable Type. Alternatively consider hosting RSSify yourself rather than using my bandwidth.
More on: better blogging 

  Tuesday, May 20, 2003

  Why tool makers have to listen to feedback and institute social conventions

Simon Willison: Scripting.com, with added CSS [via Roland Tanglao: KLogs]

One of the aims of this course is to show how relatively simple CSS can be used to make dramatic improvements to existing sites. Today, I'll show how CSS can be used to reduce the amount of code needed for a small part of the design of Scripting.com.

I post this for two purposes:

(1) I want to keep the reference for myself in case I find time to learn CSS.

(2) I would like to use it as an argument in the discussion with Sebastian Fiedler about CSS, Radio templates and the role of sofware in promoting "good standards".

Sebastian is not happy at all with amount of HTML codes in Dina's RSS and believes that

if someone writes on the Web he or she should check some of the basic concepts of mark up. The concept of separate stlye sheets (CSS) and structural HTML is not really hard to understand... Anybody who has mastered her text processor should understand the concept right from the start.

My point

I guess that you would agree that knowing that using CSS is better than hard-coded formatting and being able to do it are different. As a user I know, but I do not want to learn CSS to be able to do it (I changed it in my weblog only because I've got help). At the end I guess that embedding CSS in Radio templates is easier than making many users like me learning CSS :)

and another

The problem is not in Microsoft, the problem is in Radio developers not thinking about it, so we have to rely on social conventions (see post+discussion about Quoting in Radio and Ross Mayfield comments to it).

So, if you really care that newcomers are not falling in the same trap, than make sure that you (or someone else) write beginner-friendly instruction explaining why HTML is bad in posts and how they can deal with it. Another option would be to push Userland guys or developer community to make sure that they define CSS for quoting, make proper default styles and add easy options to edit them.

Coming back to the example in the beginning of this post: I think it illustrates that at least one person behind Radio does not consider using stylesheets important. This attitude is embedded in Radio templates and then multiplied in many weblogs.

To make the point better I will cite Ross (bold is mine)

The integrated aggregator was the reason I adopted Radio in the first place and remains its best feature.  However, the design of the tool doesn't capture the concerns of use, fair use in this case, leading to the need for social convention. [...]

The tradeoff is code can institute rules which is dangerous to pre-plan, but at a cost of user flexibility, while social conventions lag in adoption.  The opportunity is for the tool makers to listen to feedback and institute social conventions as they mature to eliminate differences between new and established users.

Working on the BlogTalk paper I became even more convinced that blogging tools are not easy. And, as Dina says, this could be a huge entry barrier:

honestly all i want to do is get on with the content and not be bothered by the formatting (i find i'm spending way too much time on it) ... and i do see such issues as a huge entry barrier for potential bloggers.

Citing Brian Marick's review of Crossing the chasm once more:

Pragmatists want a product that works. They are not interested in debugging it. They want to be able to hire people who've used it. They want to find books about it in the bookstore. If there's customization that's needed, they want to find third parties who can do it. Better yet, they want to buy third-party packages written for people just like them. In short, they don't just want a product. They want a 100% solution to their business problem. If they get the 80% that delighted the visionary, they feel cheated, and they tell their pragmatist friends.

Do you want blogging epidemic? It's time to understand that it is not about inventing nice technologies. It's all about happy users.

  Visualization of flows in social networks

Thomas Burg points to Visualizing Flows In Social Networks. Follow the links, they worth it!

Frederico Casalegno, Roberto Tagliabue, and Marco Susani presented an intriguing visualization of flows in social networks at last November's Doors of Perception [Smart Mobs]

  Monday, May 19, 2003

  The orange pill: Matt and Paolo are getting ready for BlogTalk

Matt Mover in k-collector recap:

Introducing WWWW. In the last weeks I've been posting here and there about topics, aggregators, K-collector and other assorted stuff. Maybe it's the case to recap and try to explain a little bit better what we are up to. Here we go [Paolo Valdemarin: Paolo's Weblog]

Paolo gives a good account of what k-collector is all about.

It's Ross Mayfield who said "I took the orange pill", I just loved the methaphor (I went to see The matrix reloaded yesterday :)

More on: BlogTalk k-collector 

  A Socio-Technological Approach to Sharing Knowledge Across Disciplines

Sebastien Paquet:

By popular demand (OK, OK, for the two of you who asked for it), here's an electronic version of my thesis (PDF, 4 Mb) which I defended in early May. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to compile the LaTeX source into a copy-pastable document (any tips on how to do that are welcome!).

  Not blogging time

I see many discussions in blogs around me that I want to join, but there is no time: my BlogTalk paper and presentation have to be finished.

More on: life 

  Thursday, May 15, 2003

  Fighting spam and e-mail address encoder

Sylvie Noël writes about a study of possible sources of spam and different ways to fight it Why am I getting all this spam? Unsolicited commercial e-mail research six month report. The report compares the effects of exposing your e-mail address in different ways. It also points to free E-mail Address Encoder. May be useful.

More on: spam 

  Wednesday, May 14, 2003

  Weblogging as a reflective conversational tool for self-organized learning

Sebastian Fiedler:

Paper Draft for BlogTalk 2003. I have published my paper draft for BlogTalk 2003. Comments and feedback are highly appreciated...

The paper titled "Personal Webpublishing as a reflective conversational tool for self-organized learning". It is an interesting read for those not afraid to dive into learning theories. If you are afraid of theories jump to tryout of weblogs with students.

My comments to the paper

  Books on-line

  Monday, May 12, 2003

  Weblog research

You can help another weblog researcher [via thomas n. burg | randgänge]

I am a Brazilian student of Master in Communication of Bahia Federal University, in the area of Cyberculture. I have been researching the formation of social relations within the practice of blogging. I'd like you to help me by answering my questions goiong to the following address: http://www.dinamidia.com.br/weblog. Please, spread this research among bloggers, please. Your help is very important to its extension.

Thanks a lot.

Author Name: Jan Alyne Barbosa e Silva

More on: blog research 

  Saturday, May 10, 2003

  BlogTalk paper: early adopters

Sylvie asks

Also, do you know if there is a number of the % of bloggers? I read somewhere that it was ridiculously small, but didn't note the reference. This suggests that all bloggers are early adopters who of course have different characteristics from the majority of users.

Reading BlogTalk paper by Jose Luis Orihuela I came across this citation from The Internet and the Iraq war (.pdf):

There has been much early discussion about the role of blogs or Web diaries in shaping opinion about the war and allowing Internet users to gain new perspectives and sources of information about the war. Our first soundings on the subject show that blogs are gaining a following among a small number of Internet users, but they are not yet a source of news and commentary for the majority of Internet users. Some 4% of online Americans report going to blogs for information and opinions. The overall number of blog users is so small that it is not possible to draw statistically meaningful conclusions about who uses blogs. The early data suggest that the most active Internet users, especially those with broadband connections are the most likely to have found blogs they like. In addition, blogs seem to be catching on with younger Internet users - those under age 30 - at a greater pace than with older Internet users.

Some other pointers to statistics on Webloggers (especially Blogcount).

Coming back to the suggestion. I would not make a conclusion about "early adopters" based on numbers: at the end we don't know how many people need weblogs at all and counting % from the general population could be not a good idea. I would rather look for more qualitative characteristics.

In the BlogTalk paper I made a conclusion based on blogging motivation. To make it stronger I need more in-depth reading on it. I think about two sources:

I'm quite familiar with educational resources on change and the book is on my reading list...

Crossing the chasm review by Brian Marick (worth reading in full):

The technology enthusiasts are the sort of people who jigger the microwave so they can cook their hands to "see what it feels like". (I know someone who did that. He said it feels weird.) Visionaries are less oriented to exploration, more to exploitation. They are people who see breakthrough potential in some technology and are willing to brave hell and high water to realize that potential. From the vendor's point of view, the nice thing about both groups is that they're not too bothered by the fact that the product doesn't work. They're willing to make it work.

Pragmatists want a product that works. They are not interested in debugging it. They want to be able to hire people who've used it. They want to find books about it in the bookstore. If there's customization that's needed, they want to find third parties who can do it. Better yet, they want to buy third-party packages written for people just like them. In short, they don't just want a product. They want a 100% solution to their business problem. If they get the 80% that delighted the visionary, they feel cheated, and they tell their pragmatist friends.

Conservatives buy products because they really have no choice. They want products that are cheap and do their job as unobtrusively as possible. They are not reassured by the existence of books about the product, because it implies the product isn't simple enough to use.

Skeptics are not going to buy, though they may talk other people out of buying.

[...]The problem dealt with in Crossing the Chasm is that the visionaries aren't in fact good references for the pragmatists. They provide tales of heroics - not stories of smooth, predictable adoption. Pragmatists want references from other pragmatists.

I would say that the study participants fit mainly technology enthusiasts and visionaries categories.

  BlogTalk paper: missing questions

Somehow I missed Research on Blogging post by Sylvie Noël:

Lilia Efimova at Mathemagenic has been reporting on a little study she did on bloggers and would-be bloggers.

I wish she had added some demographic questions. I would have been curious to see the distribution of men and women bloggers as well as age distribution.

Other questions I would have liked to see: "do you use your blog for a single subject (eg work-related, strictly cinema, book reviews) or for several subjects?" and "do you use your blog to support your work or for personal reasons?"

Sylvie made many relevant comments on the paper and helped me a lot with finding a better way to write. I agree with her comments: especially last two questions would be very valuable for the analysis.

I'm only learning to be a good researcher :)

Silvie also comments on the final version:

Other "future research" you might add in your conclusion: (1) exploring why bloggers cease to blog; (2) interviewing Web users who are not interested in blogging (but who are aware of the phenomenon). For ex., do bloggers cease because of technical reasons (points to problem with software) or because blogging is not meeting their needs or becaues they no longer have time (personal reasons).

In both cases there is a need for more elaborate strategy to find respondents. The one I used (mainly via my weblog) will not work. For someone who wants to study the first question I would suggest to start from weblog cemetery.

More on: BlogTalk paper 

  Friday, May 09, 2003

  My aggregator and I would appreciate it

David Carter-Tod:

Moveable Type RSS feed hint.

The default MT RSS feed only gives an excerpt from your posted item.  If you wish to include the full body part (not the extended post element), then substitute <$MTEntryBody encode_xml="1"$> for the excerpt element inside the description tags.

My aggregator and I would appreciate it.

Me and my aggregator join David. I'm not happy at all to read short teasers and then clicking to find the rest of the story.

I guess that there is a good will behind posting only excepts to RSS feeds - trying to save readers' time. In fact the result is the opposite. (But may be this is a mistake and someone posts exepts only to make sure that we go to the page to see its nice design and to be counted in referrer logs :)

More on: Movable Type RSS 

  Thursday, May 08, 2003

  BlogTalk paper: draft version goes on-line

Draft version of my BlogTalk paper (.doc, 130K) is on-line. Comments, suggestions and criticism are welcome (papers can be improved till the conference).

Improvement suggestions I received/though about about so far:

  • Will do
    • Adding frequencies of answers to the results
    • Improve page layout (make sure that tables do not span two pages and so on) - depends on the final requirements for the print version
  • Would like to do (if time allows)
    • Better description of the data presented
    • Adding broader categories to group results in tables (e.g. categories in the blogging motivation list could be probably grouped as "experimentation", "improving personal information/knowledge management", "community-oriented")
    • Follow-up analysis (e.g. given the fact that some bloggers say that tools are easy and others that they are difficult, I could compare other responses of these two groups to find a better explanation)
  • Not sure
    • Removing references to questions from the text
    • For each table add links to "raw responses"
More on: BlogTalk paper 

  Four things we do with weblogs

Few weeks ago I made a presentation for my colleagues about weblogs. It was an introductory talk for a quite technical audience. I'm waiting for an agreement to make this presentation public, but I hope that it's not a problem if I provide here a piece of it.

In the presentation I distinguish between four things you can do with weblogs and explain how it is done. These four things (without screenshots and with only a few links) are below.

1. View

  • Weblog usually has
    • Posts, usually arranged in a reverse-chronological order
    • Often it’s possible to add a comment to each post
    • Each post has permalink, permanent URL for linking
  • Archives
    • Pages with all posts for the same day / week / month
    • Calendar or list to navigate
  • Menu
    • Some information about the author and weblog, links to other pages
    • Links to other weblogs (blogroll), other webs-sites
    • Search and subscribe forms
    • List of categories/ topics, often “recently updated” list
    • Link to RSS feed
    • Buttons, thanks, disclaimers, copyrights, etc.

2. Publish

  • Blogging software
    • Hosted on your desktop or on server (your own or provider’s)
    • Keeps “raw materials” of your weblog: database of posts, templates
    • Allows adding/editing/deleting of “raw materials”
    • Makes HTML pages out of it and uploads them to your server  (your own or provider’s)
  • Metadata/channeling
    • Categories - each post can go to several categories
    • Topics/keywords

3. Discuss

  • Finding weblogs
    • Weblogs directories, Google
    • Links from weblogs you read
  • Finding new things in weblogs you know
    • Browsing their pages
    • Subscribing to RSS feeds using news aggregators
    • Subscribing by e-mail
  • Discussing
    • Using comments of original weblog
    • Citing and commenting in your own weblog

4. Search and track

  • Searching
  • Tracking
    • Most referred pages across weblogs, for a specific weblog
    • Links to and links from, referers
    • Revealing groups of weblogs
    • Finding similar weblogs
    • Word bursts (heightened usage of certain words in weblogs)
    • Conversations across weblogs

  Wednesday, May 07, 2003

  Papers on KM in Russia

Husted, Kenneth & Michailova, Snejina. 2002. Knowledge Sharing in Russian Companies with Western Participation. International Management, Vol 6, No. 2, pp. 17-28

Michailova, Snejina & Worm, Verner. 2002. Personal Networking in Russia and China: BLAT and GUANXI. Working paper No. 15, Department of International Economics and Management, CBS (results in a paper: Michailova, Snejina & Worm, Verner. 2003. Personal networking in Russia and China: Blat and Guanxi. European Management Journal, forthcoming in August)

Mined from Center for East European Studies, Copenhagen Business School: here and here

More on: KM Russia 

  Tuesday, May 06, 2003

  BlogTalk paper is finished

I've finished the BlogTalk paper, but I'm scared to post it on-line before I get it reviewed by a colleague. Most of the time I'm confident as a blogger, but I'm still not confident as a researcher. It could be fine as a "blog essay", but it is supposed to be a conference paper…

More on: BlogTalk paper PhD 

  Friday, May 02, 2003

  BlogTalk paper: multiple-choice questions responses go on-lne

I added multiple-choice questions responses to the data page. It took me sometime to figure out how to do that. I didn't want to do Excel->HTML, because such a generated code looks scary. So I found a solution: generating graphs together with tables.

This whole thing still needs polishing, but at least it's there.

Lessons learnt:

  • Posting progress of the study on-line takes quite a lot of time, so the progress itself is slower. From another side I've got many valuable comments and questions on the bits I posted, so this can prevent me from taking "wrong paths" while writing.
  • I should use proper tool next time, something with one-click HTML generation.
  • Writing long stories in Radio is awful: slow and not convenient at all. Using several outlines could be much better. This is something I will do after finishing writing: turning paper-related stores into outlines.
More on: BlogTalk paper 

  Discovering research connections

Sebastian Fiedler posts Shaping a personal learning domain [related: The happy ground for conversations] and I find the whole bunch of connections with the earlier version of my PhD research (see comments).

Funny. By reading his weblog I knew that our thinking was close, but it wasn't clear where exactly as we don't really use weblogs to document our research.

Just in case if you are curious, there are some raw descriptions of my PhD research "Supporting knowledge worker at work": 1/2 page .doc and slides. Please let me know if you see any connections with your own work. And I'll try to post more on it in the future.


  Broken code

Coming to the previous entry (posted on purpose ;): it seems that most bloggers belong to the [base "]knowledge seekers[per thou] and [base "]knowledge sharers[per thou] tribes. [Mathemagenic]

It takes someone quoting you to see that you send around broken code (I subscribed to my RSS, but somehow it's ok in Radio). I should be more careful with copy-paste from Word. Thanks to Albert Delgado it's fixed now.

  BlogTalk paper: personal characteristics that support blogging

Responses to the Question 7. Which personal characteristics support blogging?

Somehow I've got into a funny style with this one :) So, the collective portrait of bloggers.


  • have passionate curiosity and eager to discover new things
  • like, feel easy, have a habit or want to improve writing
  • care about passing ideas or "paying back" to their community
  • are not afraid to expose ideas at the early stage
  • have a desire to collect, organise and connect ideas
  • like explaining
  • believe that articulation helps understanding
  • look for a feedback and critical discussion
  • like conversations
  • believe that sharing and open discussion are important to craft understanding, to progress and to create a better world
  • like networking
  • don't mind or even want exposure

Some bloggers

  • are introverts
  • actively looking for new contacts
  • "have a bad memory"
  • believe that "if you do't express and talk you won't reach out"
  • are educators with "a desire to connect with the learners in as many authentic ways as possible"
  • "hate secrets and lack of openness"

My conclusions in brief:

Coming to the previous entry (posted on purpose ;): it seems that most bloggers belong to the "knowledge seekers" and "knowledge sharers" tribes.

More on: BlogTalk paper 

  The knowledge archetypes

Communicating to knowledge workers by J. Steffen suggests that suggests that employees "can broadly be divided into four archetypes which describe their relationship with knowlegde":

  • The Knowledge Seeker (e.g. R&D, marketing) - "motivated by the job itself; focuses on the big picture; finds detail tedious"
  • The Knowledge Sharer (e.g. manager, trainer) - "regards knowledge as a common currency; distinguishes between stewardship and ownership of knowledge; more interested in transfer than retention of knowledge"
  • The Knowledge Keeper (e.g. finance, personnel) - "screens knowledge selectively; ascribes equal importance to the retention and transfer of knowledge; forms strategic alliances"
  • The Knowledge Avoider - "distinguishes between official and unofficial knowledge; regards official knowledge as inherently suspect; considers knowledge-sharing a lure to entrap staff into unnecessary activities"

This article provides nice framework to look at the attitudes of employees to knowledge and links it to their function. It's not research-based, but still useful (at work we refer to it a lot discussing knowledge workers). It also provokes follow-up questions like "what is more important function or personality type in defining those archetypes?"

More on: knowledge networker 

  BlogTalk paper: cases of writing/not writing to a weblog

Responses to the Question 8. Which situations prompt you to write to weblog?

I found a bit difficult to structure the responses to this question… At the end I decided to distinguish between what is blogged and why people do it. I don't feel that differentiating between bloggers and would be bloggers adds value here, so I don't do it.

  • What is blogged
    • Links
    • News
    • Events (future, current and past)
    • Ideas and reflection
    • Experiences and progress (personal or work-related)
    • Opinions
    • Emotions
    • Politics
    • Funny things
    • Reading, movies, friends…
    • Feedback on RSS item
    • Comments
  • Why
    • Something to keep for myself
    • Something to share with others
    • Something to promote
    • Feeling urge to comment
    • Discovering an opportunity to connect different pieces/ideas, to generalise from examples
    • Clarifying ideas or concepts, articulating ideas to understand them
    • Starting a conversation, looking for a feedback
    • Instead of mailing to many, to let them come in their own time
    • Replacing bookmarks
    • As part of the daily routine
    • Being bored

Responses to the Question 9. [Bloggers only] In which situations would you like to write to your weblog, but are not able to? Why?

Here I distinguish between situations where someone is not able to blog or makes a choice as well as mentioned solutions for these problems.

  • Ability
    • No computer/no connection (walking, on the move, during a meeting, vacation…)
    • Lack of time
    • Occasional server problem
    • Being drunk
    • Not being able to: use moblogging, type things with mobile phone keys, record and post voice
  • Choices
    • Confidentiality (business)
    • Ethics and privacy (not sharing things related to other people, disclosing names or details of personal discussions)
    • During work time/ "professional" subjects (for personal weblogs)
    • "Private" subjects (for professional weblogs)
    • Not being 100% open because others (friends/colleagues) can read it or because it's indexed forever
    • Not posting because there is still need for something to sell to earn money
    • Not blogging technical things because audience is not technical enough
  • Solutions
    • Mobile blogging
    • Private entries

My conclusions in brief:

I perceive these two questions mainly as support to other questions. They provide an overview of blogging motivation at micro-level: in what cases a blogger makes choice to write or not to write and why. Next to it, question 9 describes some of the conditions that required for blogging (e.g. time or access to the tools).

I believe that these summaries could be used to assess if blogging is likely to fit someone's circumstances and life/working stile.

More on: BlogTalk paper context 

  'Weblogs simply provide the framework, as haiku imposes order on words'

Short break from the BlogTalk paper.

Meg Hourihan:

Weblogs simply provide the framework, as haiku imposes order on words. The structure of the documents we're creating enable us to build our social networks on top of it -- the distributed conversations, the blog-rolling lists, and the friendships that begin online and are solidified over a "bloggers dinner" in the real world.

More on: blogs 

  Thursday, May 01, 2003

  Beyond 'blogs = easy webpublishing'

Jon Lebkowsky [via Matt Mover]

Some of us are seeing weblogs as an early step in the evolution of the web (or, some say, a revolution in the way the web is used), and the general label for the stuff we're talking about is "social software." Social software supports group forming, an activity that wasn't necessarily in the heads of the folks who created the first blog systems as simple content management, emphasizing individual publication. Blogs are evolving, though, as nodes in social networks, and bloggers are drawn to group-forming activities and software developments that emphasize the connections as well as the nodes. It's possible to see blogs as a bunch of discrete publications that order random posts in reverse chronological order, but you get away from that pretty quickly when you get into the space and see what people are actually doing with their weblogs.

Synchronicity. Consistent with the results of blogging motivation and added value.

  BlogTalk paper: weblogging tools

Set of questions/asnwers about weblogging tools.

Question 3. Weblogging tools

Responses to the Question 14. What do you like about the weblogging tools <you use>?

  • Easy (install, use), comprehensive, clear
  • Easy customisation, templates
  • Editing (easy formatting, drafts, off-line editing)
  • Connectivity (RSS, Referrers integrated, pinging weblogs.com, trackback, comments, discussion tools, Friends in LJ, e-mail notification)
  • Integration (Combination of RSS/news aggregator/blogging in one, one step posting, many functions are embedded, works as CMS)
  • Web-based, accessible from any place
  • Opportunities to expand, large and open developer community
  • Free
  • Routing content into categories, liveTopics
  • Database/ doesn't need a database
  • Storage (hosting included, light weight)
  • Improves other things (save time, takes away hard work and allows concentration on writing, motivates learning)

Would be bloggers

  • Most of would be bloggers are not sure because of lack of experiences, some believe that blogging tools are easy to use.
  • Other suggestions:
  • Use of metadata
  • Ability to strip-off graphics when reading via RSS reader

Responses to the Question 13. Have you encountered /Do you expect any problems with weblogging tools? If, so what are they?

  • Those characteristics that mentioned by both bloggers and would be bloggers are marked with *
  • Lack of support (bad documentation, instructions are not suitable for non-tech user, difficulties in reaching tech support)*
  • Customisation is difficult (including: not suitable for educational purposes, "things I want to do are beyond the scope of the tools", templates/HTML problems)
  • Lack of reliability (bugs and problems with fixing them, server problems)
  • Lack of control over data (poor support for exporting, backups are difficult/impossible, archives do not work)
  • Usability&complexity (tool is not obvious, too complicated for normal users, difficult to set up and maintain)
  • Formatting problems (difficult to format, lack of power editing features, need MS Word integration)*
  • Lack of specific features (no TrackBack, no RSS, no access from different computers, lack of deep media object suport)
  • Other (slow, requires MSQL which is costly)
  • Problems are opportunities for learning *

Only would be bloggers

  • Blogging would require technical expertise (or at least some knowledge about them) and/or time to learn
  • Hosting-related issues (good communication with ISP, owning private server, firewall problems)
  • Finding tools
  • Speculation around and lack of stability of tools ("everybody and their scripting languages seems to have a blogging tool or twelve")

My conclusions in brief:

  • Half of would be bloggers don't know or not planning using RSS feeds and news aggregators.
  • Blogging tools are easy.
  • Blogging tools are not easy for everyone, especially when it comes to customisation. As one of the respondents says, "Drama! There is a lot of drama surrounding blogging" :)
  • "Would be bloggers" are not aware of many technical problems, but it seems that their expectation that technical expertise is required are right.
  • The results of questions 13 and 14 are controversial, so I'll try to relate the answers to the level of technical skills of respondents.

  BlogTalk paper: motivation

I guess Sylvie is right and I need some frequences next to the answer to make it more clear. I'll add them later, to the full paper version.

Please, note that these are not the responses (you can find them by following the link), but categories I use to group them.

Responses to the Question 10. Why did you start your weblog? What motivated you?

Those characteristics that mentioned by both bloggers and would be bloggers are marked with *

  • Curiosity, interest in experimentation*
  • Examples of other people/ other weblogs, encouragement from other bloggers*
  • Improving own thinking and learning (by articulation)*
  • Organising ideas and references (keeping research notes, organising bookmarks, moving knowledge-sharing/ communication activities from other tools to a weblog) *
  • Need for an expression and audience, publishing ideas, bringing ideas to others*
  • Interest in communication and sharing*
  • As add-on to /emerged from a homepage
  • To share life with friends/family (especially being in another city/country), sharing emotions (feeling in love, assault by a stranger)
  • Exploring opportunities for a professional use of weblogs (business, teaching, KM) *
  • Getting hands-on experience in order to understand weblogs (research, software development, business)
  • Demonstrating/promoting weblogs to someone else (clients, national audience)
  • Previous (paper) diary/notetaking experiences
  • War: to show alternatives for news sources
  • Because it's easy

Would be bloggers only

  • Getting connected with people with similar interests
  • Improving own thinking as result of a feedback

Responses to the Question 11. [Bloggers only] What other added values of blogging did you discovers after starting it (if any)?

Regular bloggers

  • Finding identity, gaining exposure and credibility in the field
  • Improving knowledge and skills: related to technologies, writing, discipline and being organised, ability to pose questions, ability to distinguish between public and private
  • Serendipity, feedback and dialogue contributing to idea evaluation and development
  • Networking and building relations, finding people with similar interest, finding friends, finding a community
  • Conversations and knowledge sharing
  • Audience and exposure, easy/cheap/fast way to promote/push ideas
  • Fun, joy, addiction
  • Depth
  • Time saving

People, trying out a weblog

  • Other webloggers as a great source
  • Easy of publishing
  • News aggregator as a tool to access other weblogs
  • Following up students
  • "the rather poor reciprocity, the endless circularity and rehashing/repetition, the low level of dialog"

My conclusions in brief

Blogging is still about early adopters (I perceive "curiosity and experimentation" as a motivation to start a weblog as a sign of an early adopter).

Many important values of blogging emerge only after starting it. Especially those related to the dialogue and building relations with others. Is "blogging = easy webpublishing" slogan a good way to promote weblogs?

  BlogTalk paper: job characteristics that support blogging

Responses to the Question 6. Which characteristics of your job (would) support blogging?  

Analysing respondents replies to this question I distinguished between characteristics of the job that motivate blogging and conditions that make it possible. Those characteristics that mentioned by both bloggers and would be bloggers are marked with *

Job characteristics – motivators for blogging:

  • Reading *
  • Making notes, writing *
  • Trends watching, collecting information and ideas, need for aggregating ideas from many sources
  • Need for a collaboration, sharing or feedback (especially if there are no other specialists in the area) *
  • Publication, need for an expose, "selling ideas" * Studying or using technology in general or weblogs in particular for learning, collaboration or knowledge sharing is part of the job *
  • IT/internet job: development, research or management *
  • None – 10 responses
  • All/everything – 4 responses
  • Don't know - 1 response

Job characteristics - conditions that make blogging possible 

  • Working in front of the computer/on-line * 
  • Freedom to communicate 
  • Time (as there is no job) 
  • Storage space 
  • Writing practice 
  • Software understanding

Is my grouping clear? Did I miss anything? Do you think that frequencies (number of people mentioned specific characteristic) will help?

More on: BlogTalk paper 

  BlogTalk paper: generalisation

I'm behind the schedule with the BlogTalk paper. Too bad.

I'm working on it and in any case I decided to post those pieces that are more or less ready, so there is an opportunity for an early feedback. Here is the piece I call "Disclaimer", your comments are welcome.

This study was designed as an exploration of factors supporting or inhibiting adoption of weblogs by comparing bloggers and would be bloggers. I wouldn't generalise the results to the whole "blogosphere vs. rest of not bloggers", I rather suggest using them as an inspiration for further research.

Specific problems that wouldn't allow generalisation include:

  • Questionnaire respondents belong to social circles around my weblog, weblogs of my readers and the Knowledge Board web-site.
  • Respondents volunteered for participation themselves.
  • There are three times more "bloggers" than "would be bloggers" (62 vs. 20). 
  • The definition of "would be bloggers" I used: the intent was to study people, who have at least some interest in weblogs, and not all the people without a weblog.

Relevant earlier posts/discussions:

More on: BlogTalk paper 

  Why do I Blog: simple and powerful

Dina Mehta, Why do i Blog - 2:

"The blank page gives us the right to dream." -- Gaston Bachelard

More on: bloggers motivation 

© Copyright 2002-2005 Lilia Efimova Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

This weblog is my learning diary. Sometimes I write about things related to my work, but the views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

Last update: 6/23/2005; 9:36:25 PM.