Updated: 6/23/2005; 9:37:08 PM.


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  Wednesday, July 16, 2003

  NL bloggers wanted!

Erik van Bekkum:

A call for bloggers in The Netherlands! I have been thinking with Lilia Efimova and Ton Zijlstra about getting bloggers together during the holidays and get to meet the people behind the blogs...we're thinking about doing something fun and informal, perhaps a picknick, on a Saturday?

Who is in? Go to the comments field of this entry and let us know who you are, where you live and what period would best suit you. If you cannot attend, syndicate this entry to your blog or email your blogofriends.

Of course, it's going to a be a Dutch treat! And: you don't have to actually have a blog to come. It's going to be fun!

More on: face-to-face time 

  Information foraging and weblogs as snack-bars

Information Foraging: Why Google Makes People Leave Your Site Faster by Jakob Nielsen

A bit of definition:

Information foraging is the most important concept to emerge from Human-Computer Interaction research since 1993. Developed at the Palo Alto Research Center (previously Xerox PARC) by Stuart Card, Peter Pirolli, and colleagues, information foraging uses the analogy of wild animals gathering food to analyze how humans collect information online.

[Read the middle yourself] and then:

The patch-leaving model thus predicts that visits will become ever shorter. Google and always-on connections have changed the most fruitful design strategy to one with three components:
  • Support short visits; be a snack
  • Encourage users to return; use mechanisms such as newsletters as a reminder
  • Emphasize search engine visibility and other ways of increasing frequent visits by addressing users' immediate needs

Next to the fact that it's a useful theory for my work, it also calls for some parallels with blogging:

  • Weblogs are rather snack-bars then restaurants: you can come often, find something to eat and leave fast. They are even better: snacks are changing (there is always something new), but the cook is the same, so you can easily get a feeling of cooking style and quality.
  • Weblogs use RSS feeds to notify you when something tasty is served (and you can even try it without going there).
  • Google loves blogs and brings readers directly to snack they want.

From this perspective the only problem with blog-snack-bar is that once you are there you can hardly find anything beyond the front raw of snacks :)

I also wonder when Jakob Nielsen will write a bit more about weblogs (because his Alertbox was a role-model for me when I started my weblog and because he is a bit sceptical now).

More on: blogs usability 

  Why people do not ask questions?

Thinking about something not new...

In a corporate KM context we think how to improve knowledge sharing. Once you realise that it's not a technology problem most of discussion goes around "why people share/do not share knowledge?", motivation and culture.

From another side if you start zooming in and study knowledge-sharing motivation of real people it's easy to find out that many don't mind to share, but don't do it because nobody asks them or because they are not sure that others need to know. It seems that the problem is not with motivation to share, but with motivation to ask. So, I guess we have to turn the problem upside down: "why people do not ask for knowledge of others?"

This question may be more difficult: sharing your knowledge at least makes you an "expert" while asking others can "show" how "stupid" you are. Next to it there is "not invented here" syndrome and higher satisfaction of inventing your own solutions rather than reusing work of others.

My questions:

  • Why people ask/do not ask questions (search for expertise of others)?
  • What can be done to create an environment that motivates people to ask more questions?
  • Will an environment where people ask questions improve knowledge sharing (and contribute to KM)?

Any ideas, comments, references are welcome.

  Between bloggers and their employers (2)

From notes of the Voxpolitics event on blogs and politics (I have no idea what it was, you can start digging in from here) [via Cindy Lemcke-Hoong], about Stephen Pollard, "first major journalist in the country to be running a weblog":

And he's not writing for free - people respond to his comments and inspire him to write pieces for which he gets paid.

This simple phrase gets the value of blogging for free - it inspires you to come up with other pieces (with more insight/analysis/depth/structure) to get paid for.

For me it would also draw a border for copyrights: I'd like to "own" my blog (to give it away under Creative Commons) even if it is related to my work, while my company owns more elaborate products (e.g. papers) that can be inspired by it (of course when a company pays me to work on these products :).

In fact I don't like to get paid to blog, because I want the freedom of doing it and I want to own the content. I'm also addicted to blogging enough to think that I would not be happy if I couldn't do it. And I have scary phrases in my contract to worry about these issues :(

[Related: What Does European Law Say About Blog Ownership? (thanks to Martin Roell), Between bloggers and their employers, Bloggers Gain Libel Protection, BlogTalk: who owns narrated experiences?]

More on: blogs in business 

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© Copyright 2002-2005 Lilia Efimova.

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.

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