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  Wednesday, October 01, 2003

  Is it difficult to 'catch up' with a weblog?

One problem in on-line communities is getting newcomers up to speed: it's not easy to catch up in a middle of a conversation of a group that has history of developing shared understanding and common language. A colleague asked if weblogs have the same problem.

I would say yes, but I believe that "getting into" a weblog is easier than joining a community conversation.

Compared to a forum posts weblog posts are more "self-standing" pieces. I would say that weblog post is more like one of many TV series and forum post is like a movie scene.

  • Weblogging discussions are distributed and bloggers have to take into account that the rest of a discussion is not visible on the same page, so they provide explicit links and often some kind of summary of other posts.
  • Bloggers also know that a specific post can not be easily connected to previous posts in the same weblog (because most of the archives will separate them into different pages), so they also provide linking and summary to their own posts.

In a forum you have to read most of the posts to get to the point, but weblogs provide multiple coherent "views" on a distributed discussion simply because each author tries to make his weblog meaningful. This provides a reader with choice of "entry points": I can always select weblogs fitting my level of understanding and preferred reading style and use them as "lenses" to grasp what's going on.

There is still a problem of developed shared language and understanding that can be difficult for newcomers to get through, but I believe that openness and multisubjectivity of blogging ecosystem provide more space for accommodating emergent interpretations of newcomers. [Of course, multisubjectivity may lead to lack of shared language that makes dialogue more difficult, but this is another topic]

These are my ideas and personally I find "jumping into new weblog" easy, but I wonder if there are other experiences.

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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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