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


  Thursday, January 29, 2004

  Just to make you smile

Frank Patrick: Upon Cleaning Out My In-box This Morning -- A passing thought...Who needs social nets when we've got friends of friends automatically delivered to our inboxes via email worms?

More on: fun 

  Wednesday, January 28, 2004

  "Permalink" talking

I had lunch with Ton this afternoon. Thinking about it I realised that we talked in "permalinks", reffering to specific posts that we (or someone else) wrote, continuing conversations and thinking started in our weblog neiboirhood.

I had similar feeling at BlogTalk: meeting people I linked to the day before and just continuing conversations in another way. I feel the same e-mailing or talking by phone or Skype with people from my blogroll: if feels like we talked the day before.

This constantly in touch feeling make meeting with bloggers different from meeting others.

  O. is back :)

In case you don't know, Orkut is back :)

More on: fun 

  Tuesday, January 27, 2004

  The one who is blogging

Lilia: green hair, green glasses and green coat There is at least one good thing about Orkut: I wanted to use funny photo for my profile and I found this one.

March 2003, Maastricht, carnaval...

I guess it will not help to recognise me if we meet face-to-face, but I think it shows real me, the one who is blogging :)

More on: fun life 

  Weblogs are not about informing, they are about engaging

Some thoughts on Can Blogging Work for E-Commerce? Got it from a colleague, commented by e-mail and decided to post here as well...

1. Jupiter research analyst blogs are not the best example of corporate weblogs (e.g. they don't have any conversational features, rarely include links, not very personal, so I'd say that they are just another channel on the corporate web-site). Compare with Fast Company weblog.

2. Weblogs are searchable. Search engines index them faster and rank them higher then most web-sites. Inability of searching individual weblog means only laziness of a blogger to add search and to take care about weblog structure (is it different for any web-site?)

3. Weblogs are not about informing, they are about engaging. Making use of weblogs in business requires changing mindset: markets are conversations.

More on: blogs in business 

  Networking: YASNs vs. blogs

I'm supposed to work on a paper abstract, but I find all reasons not to do it (I guess next to studying my own multitasking habits I have to study what turns me into "can't write right now" mode :) In such a case my favourite distractor is my news aggregator (if there are no new e-mails in my mailbox; old e-mails that need actions are not good as a distractor :), so I join the crowd enjoying flow of posts reflecting on Orkut (read overview and commentary by Lee Bryant).

My "reading distraction" turns into an urge to write when I see Dina's post, My Blog is my Social Software and my Social Network. Dina passionately explains the feeling that I share as well, something that made me writing at my Ryze page "I'm not sure what to write here, because my main internet identity is my blog".

I guess many bloggers will share this feeling, but then why YASNs manage to get us in? I'm thinking about differences between weblogs and on-line networking tools...

Fuzzy and emotional vs. clear and square

Reading a weblog creates very rich, but fuzzy image. I have been surprised so many times to find out somewhere else (often at Ryze :) that someone I thought I knew from a weblog was much older/had kids/worked for a company X/lived in a country Y. Weblogs do reveal a lot, but very often we omit trivial details we include in our business cards or tell at a first date.

In turn, YASN profiles are very explicit in following social conventions of introducing yourself: born..., studied..., work..., married, have 5 kids, big football fun. These profiles are not very warm and inviting, they square as business cards and I never experienced such a strong emotional connection from Ryze as I do with many bloggers.

Slow uncovering vs. instant visibility

Learning about someone from a weblog takes time. Personality appears in a context and through time to read many lines of weblog posts and to participate in conversations. And it's even more difficult to learn about someone's network: linking, blogrolls and RSS subscription lists tell a bit, but you never know if linking or blogrolling means regular reading and how many e-mails/IMs/calls were exchanged next to blogging.

At YASNs finding about someone's profile and network doesn't take much time (only invitation or access rights :) The degree and type of connection are still not clear, but at least you know that it was explicitly approved. Browsing through connections is easy and fun.

Building relations vs. browsing them

Both weblogs and YASNs have added values:  weblogs are good for developing and maintaining relations, while YASNs are much better for surfing existing ones. Just compare how many new relations have you developed in each way (later: Paolo about it).

I'm thinking about YASNs and weblogs in terms of contact management (knowing whom and how you can reach) and relation management (knowing why you do it and why they would react). For networking you need both...

This post also appears on channel weblog research

Found just after finishing this post: comment by sneJ

I also think another aspect of what makes Orkut (and Friendster et al) not work is that there's no "there" there. The lack of personal journals/blogs makes the individual content sort of hollow. All you are given to learn about someone is pictures and a few short blurbs, which is nothing compared to stalking through their last few months of journal posts.
SneJ reminds me that I totally forgot the model tha combines blogging and network browsing has been there long... I guess now we just need it flexible and decentralised.

  Multitasking vs. cross-fertilisation

Just to let you know about new weblog: Timeris: Thoughts about knowledge worker, personal time management and productivity (also in French). Two posts so far, but I loved both :)

Knowledge worker that didn't know:

I discovered only recently that I was a knowledge worker. In fact, I am a software architect for a small independent software vendor (in fact, it means I am one of the oldest developer). But, by reading Peter Drucker, I've learnt a lot of things that have definitely changed the way I see my job.

You are a knowledge worker if your job consists in at least one of the following:

  • collecting and processing information,
  • creating knowledge,
  • using specialized knowledge that must be regularly updated,
  • transferring knowledge.

It means that you're a knowledge worker if your main tool in your job is your brain.

Interruptions with links to Multitasking is counter productive and Human task switches considered harmful and a secret of helping colleagues without giving them an opportunity to interrupt you.

The second post makes me thinking again about my own multitasking: I know that I benefit from working on several projects at a same time because of cross-fertilisation, but, yes, switching takes time and I'm less productive. I'm still in search for optimal combination of things to get involved in and for good ideas of organising them in time...

  Monday, January 26, 2004

  Wanted: research on not using public spaces to document experiences

Note: this is a bit of background thinking for my earlier post on personal ways of doing things in public.

We did several studies looking on how people are finding in-house knowledge in their company (e.g. who knows/what was done on a specific topic). Our main finding* is that in most of cases people search personal spaces (own paper/digital archives, mailboxes) for clues or ask people in their personal network.

I guess this "searching behaviour" would be correlated with "sharing behaviour", especially in case of documents: preferring use of personal spaces (because it's easier) and forgetting about public spaces (because it's extra work). Some examples I have in mind:

  • forgetting to add documents to central document management system while maintaining personal archives
  • forgetting to update personal expertise profile in a corporate "yellow pages" directory
  • resistance in documenting best practices
  • communicating via e-mail and not in on-line community

So far these guesses are based on my intuition and knowledge about difficulties of implementing KM, but I don't have any hard data. I would appreciate if you can point to any documented examples or research illustrating/confirming (or contradicting) my assumptions.

* We are working on a paper with more details.

  Sunday, January 25, 2004

  Orkut and a bit of thinking on on-line networking tools

It's funny to see the blogosphere getting infected by Orkut: from announcements to getting invited and first reviews (1234) in weblogs I read.

So, I'm there as well. It's fun to browse the network and especially to see how it changes just over a few hours. I'm not sure what I'll do there: I don't feel like revealing personal information (those who  close enough know anyway), as others I don't know how to decide how strong should be my connection with someone to be counted as a "friend", and I'm not comfortable inviting others to one more networking tool before I see the value (but if you want to get invited - let me know :)

A couple of related quotes:

Anil Dash: In the future, everyone will have his or her own social software application, and then try sending out invitations to their friends to have them join it. Everyone's worried about the services being centralized, but with five billion of them sprouting up, we'll be completely decentralized. It'll be just like our email address books!

Stefan Smalla (re: Friendity, a German on-line networking platform): so far, we have not come up with a way to classify relationships that fulfills the following criteria: (a) unified usage for all membrs, (b) non-overlapping (at least not too much), (c) complete (at least almost), and most importantly (d) understandable by the mainstream user as well as (e) not forcing the member to declare what he does not want to declare.

Update: the offer to send an invitation is only for the people I know. Sorry if you are not the one.

  Friday, January 23, 2004

  Do you want to redesign my weblog?

I'm thinking of making myself a present - finding someone to redesign my weblog :)

What do I want:

CSS-based design

  • fast loading
  • accessible (at least for most important points)
  • with a print version
  • redesigned in yellow-orange colors (I think I would like it, but I have to see it first :)
  • probably keeping main text as black/blue on the white background (may reconsider)
  • I would prefer not to change default link colors as well :)
  • may be styling quotes differently
  • simple, with space, but with all info easily accessible
  • something I could edit myself in the future

I need a logo - I have draft drawings, but need a professional touch on it

Unified templates for homepage, archive pages, stories, outlines and topic pages with a smart integration of all add-ons I have (although I'm ready to reconsider what it really needed)

  • post level: comments, trackbacks, topics, categories (?), Waypath plug-in (?)
  • pages: search, menus, translation, recent posts (?), recent keywords (?), may be a space for ads ;)
  • probably integrated bars for the recent posts from other weblogs (at least my my del.icio.us links)

I would consider redesign as a visit to hairdresser: I'll try to articulate my ideas about what it should be, but leave it to the fantasy/experience of a professional to make something better out of what I have...

So, if you want to do the work or know someone who can do it, please, let me know - Click here to send an email to Lilia. I'm ready to pay something: I have no idea how much it could cost, but we can negotiate :)

If you are not a web-designer, but "normal" reader of my weblog you suggestions are especially welcome.

More on: Radio usability 

  Thursday, January 22, 2004

  Personal ways of doing things in public

Why Ask Questions in Public? (via David Carter-Tod)

So please, unless you have a question that only I can answer for some reason, ask it in public on a newsgroup or mailing list. I'm more likely to be in a question-answering mood when I encounter your question, you're giving more people the chance to help you, you're helping all the people who come after you that have the same question, and you won't be contributing to the problem that many of us have in keeping up with our private e-mail. You're even likely to get a better answer, and could spark a discussion of your problem that would give far more information than you would have gotten out of any one individual.

Read the whole article for the arguments of choosing to discuss things in public rather than in private. It comes just in time for my thinking on a paper abstract :)

People prefer personal spaces: it feels more comfortable, fast and easy to ask personally, to have documents on your local drive or to search your inbox for copies of corporate reports...

Think of e-mail. E-mail is where knowledge goes to die (Bill French): most of e-mails I have in my mailbox could be shared without any problem within my company, but nobody could see them and to learn from them. For example, within a company one of the targets for introducing on-line communities usually is about moving one-to-one conversations to a space where more people could learn from them.

In a corporate context most people are not eager to use public spaces (for example, they continue storing documents locally instead of using document mananagement system). I keep on wondering why.

I think that in most cases people don't mind sharing, but they also need their own, not a "corporate" or "community", way to do it. So in most of cases they choose to do things in private spaces in their own way rather putting effort "to confirm" to standards of public spaces.

Now think about the power of weblogs for thinking in public or bookmarking with del.icio.us. I guess their sucess is in supportting personal ways of doing things in public.

See also: public - private - secretprofessional/personal or public/private balance and your conversation might be public domain

  RSS Winterfest: Robert Scoble

Robert Scoble at RSS Winterfest:

  • 300 weblogs in Microsoft (internally?), reading 1200 external feeds + 200 internal
  • Social pressure is keeping weblogs alive
  • "Now the entire world can have a conversation about you before you wake up in the morning"
  • Public weblog posts get more attention internally than internal e-mails
  • Bill Gates considers writing a weblog (internally :)
  • "E-mail is where knowledge goes to die" (UPDATE: it was said during Robert's session, but I'm not sure by whom; Seb suggests that it's likely to be a quote from Bill French)

Robert on reading weblogs via RSS (see also: RSS vs. HTML), RSS can bring 10x improvement to your productivity:

One last thing. What's funny is I've spent a bit of time making my weblog more efficient for the folks who read my blog via a Web browser. What's really weird is that people are still using browsers to read blogs at all.

Why do I say that? Because if you read my blog via an RSS News Aggregator, it's at least 10 times faster to read there than to read via a Web browser. How do I know that? I have been timing how long it takes to read an RSS feed vs. reading the same thing in the browser. There is at least a 10x difference.

  RSS Winterfest (2)

Listening to RSS Winterfest again (my links). There is a lot of pleasure in not blogging knowing that others do :)

For notes, check Ronald Tanglao on day 2.


Will be updating this page, be patient...

  Connecting KnowledgeBoard and blogs

Recently I promised to write about connecting existing community and weblogs using Knowledge Board case. I have been thinking about it since starting KnowledgeBoard blogroll...

Problem description in more detail: Ton Zijlstra after his contribution to the KnowledgeBoard went down because of blogging (scroll here)

What I would like is to re-start contributing to KnowledgeBoard but I am not looking forward to putting in double the time to keep up with both blogging and KnowledgeBoard, especially because there is overlap in topics and readership.

Is it a useful addition to be able to ping KnowledgeBoard with relevant blog-entries, and then have them incorporated into the KnowledgeBoard, with a link to the originating blog? That is taking this blogroll one step further, namely to provide KnowledgeBoard not only with the links to more content on KM, but also with the content itself. Making it searchable within KB would be nice too.

It would be nice if Knowledge Board allowed each member to create a weblog, but I don't think it's feasible: it would require too much resources to develop and to maintain. So I'm thinking about simple ways to integrate existing infrastructure and blogging.

*** do it right now, ** do when there are enough resources, * dreaming :)

Make Knowledge Board content accessible via RSS

Add RSS feeds to

  • *** Newswire
  • ** Each of SIGs and ZONEs
  • * Each article and forum threads (to monitor comments)

Support KnowledgeBoard blogroll

  • *** Make special URL for it
  • ** Aggregate KM-related blogs (at least something like "15 recent posts", but better by topic)
  • ** Support search across weblogs in the list ** (could be done by third-party tools, but I couldn't make it work :(
  • * Create an infrastructure to submit weblogs (e.g. a field in member profile) that automatically lists and aggregates them 

Connect Knowledge Board with KM-related weblogs

  • *** Have "view RSS" code on the server and make it easy to include into exiting pages
  • ** Make all articles/discussion TrackBack-enabled

Any other suggestions?

  Wednesday, January 21, 2004

  KnowledgeBoard blogs statistics

Did some maintanance work on the blogs of KnowledgeBoard members: checking if weblogs were alive and adding missing RSS feeds to public Bloglines aggregation of KnowledgeBoard blogs.


  • 50 weblogs in the list
  • 12 do not have RSS feeds (were not find by Bloglines and by me looking at blogs' homepages)
  • 6 were not updated within last 2 month
  • 4 broken/not availiable

I'm thinking if I should generate missing RSS feeds via Blogstreet (is there better way?) or ask bloggers to do it themselves.

More on: KnowledgeBoard Quaerere 

  RSS WinterFest

In case you don't know: RSS WinterFest has started (login to join webcast). The official site it's a bit confusing, I find underlying SocialText RSS WinterFest space more clear.

Things you may be interested to check:

I'm listening to the overview session with Dave Winer (notes by Ross Mayfield, more notes).


  • An explanation of Dave Winer of the abbreviation: it's actually means "Really Simple Syndication" and not something else :)
  • What is RSS? 

Dave Winer: Automated web surfing

Scott Mace: It's more like a smart librarian who brings useful materials to me. CORRECTION: More like a dumb librarian who works very fast with a large set of personalized search instructions.

I'm SO confused with a combination of so many communication channels...

More on: learning event RSS 

  Ideal case of employee weblogs

Think of a company that wants to experiment with public employee (not group/project) weblogs, understanding that they would give more "human" face to its on-line presence. I wrote about possible choices and questions before, but this time I want to be more specific.

I could think of two "extreme" choices: (a) establishing a weblog space on corporate web-site and (b) personally hosted weblogs linked from corporate web-site.

A. Corporate web-site weblogs B. Personal weblogs
  • Hosted at corporate web-site
  • Clear corporate affiliation, copyright and legal implications
  • Centralised technology infrastructure and support
  • Corporate control over weblog content
  • Personally hosted weblogs are linked from corporate web-site
  • "My company is not responsible" statement and personal copyright
  • Personal choice of technology infrastructure and support
  • Personal future-proof control over weblog content
  • Example: Jupiter Research blogs

    Example: Groove Networks blogs

  • Low technology threshold 
  • Employee has to take care of corporate interests while writing
  • After employee leaves: stays with a company
  • High technology threshold 
  • Freedom of speech (writing :) - personal decisions on what matters
  • After employee leaves: stays with an employee
  • Bottom line: easier to start, more control and benefits for a company, but less motivation to write

    Bottom line: difficult to start, less benefits for a company, but more personal motivation

    Now I'm thinking about an ideal case somewhere in between:

    • company provides a hosting space and centralised technical infrastructure for weblogs
    • weblogs are clearly marked as a personal initiative
    • employee has an opportunity to import/export content (see who owns narrated experiences?), company has an opportunity to aggregate/reuse content

    Closest example: Weblogs at Harvard law (terms of use).

    Bottom line: low threshold to start a weblog + high motivation to write + shared benefits

    This post also appears on channel weblog research

    Please note, that although posted in my personal weblog, this post was provoked by my discussion with colleagues, written during my work hours and it is a part of weblog research we do. I'm responsible for it personally, but my company is likely to expect some benefits from it :)

      Tuesday, January 20, 2004

      Defining weblogs

    What a blog is? discussion at misbehaving turns into actions: Liz Lawley and danah boyd are starting research in order to come up with weblog definition for research purposes. The discussion is worth reading, but I don't have much time for a summary now.

    Would be interesting to know how these ideas could be connected with upcoming paper on framework for analysing weblogs by Kaye Trammell and Urs Gasser.

    This post also appears on channel weblog research

      Wikis and blogs: convergent and divergent conversations

    Ross Mayfield's Weblog in Fisking the Fisk on differences between weblogs and wikis:

    I took Jeff Jarvis to task for Fisking, the act of ruthlessly ripping apart an article or arguement point-by-point. Weblogs are rediculously easy Fisking tools. You copy a body of text and intersperse your own commentary. Generally, the commentary is short and quippy and stands out from larger blocks of quoted text. Its actually easier than writing your own point or and fits with the copy-paste culture of blogspace. The strength of the Fisk is we can fact check your ass and reveal the devil detail by detail. The downside is the form of the Fisk actually inflames personalities.

    [...]Contrast this with any contoversial page within Wikipedia. Wikis de-emphasize personality, reveal group voice, and put emphasis on content. However, the impermanence of the page as opposed to the post doesn't satisfy the communications of many. Which is why many controversial issues within Wikipedia are escalated to dicussion lists (which would be better done by blog). In the worst case, you take advantage of the infinite space in a wiki to offer differing definitions of the controversial entry, with the original page as a fork point.

    In simplified way I would say that wikis are "converging conversational tools", taking convergence to the extream, where original points together with identities of their authours are lost (hm, may be when wiki is not a "conversational" tool anymore :). Blogs are more "diverging" tools, with capability to take points to their extremes (when it gets to "inflaming personalities" :)

    This post also appears on channel weblog research

      Monday, January 19, 2004

      More on weblogs at WBC04

    A follow up to previous post: I checked WBC04 web-site and found a list of submitted papers. Between them there are two explicitly mentioning weblogs:

    • Creating on-line student communities using forum-supported institutionalised weblogs
    • The Spanish-speaking blogosphere: Towards the powerlaw?

    I guess I know who wrote the second one, but would be nice to know the authours of the first article as well :)

    It feels very good that weblogs start to appear at "mainstream" research conferences (see my dissapointments at 2002 and 2003 conferences ;).

    This post also appears on channel weblog research

      Sunday, January 18, 2004

      Learning webs: introducing weblogs to support communities

    Good news: Learning webs paper is accepted for Web-based communities 2004. The evaluations are very positive, but there are things suggested for an improvement:

    Even though the authors' account and discussion of blogs as stand alone tools is satisfactory, I find that an explicit discussion of how blogs can be used to support CoP is missing in the manuscript. Thus, I would suggest that the authors write a paragraph discussing the following two points:

    (a) how in their view blogs can be used in more systematic ways by educators and web designers to support spontaneously formed CoP which are somewhat losely coupled as the authors rightly note

    (b) how they think that blogs can be integrated into current environments supporting the formation of CoP either in their existing format or in possibly new ones (such as e.g. a formal learning log or learning journal)

    I wonder how far we will address these issues in the paper given that we are already over the page limit :)

    My "quick and dirty" strategy for introducing weblogs to support communities in more or less formal settings:

    • provide weblog technology infrastructure with "social" features enabled by default: RSS, comments, trackbacks, e-mail subscriptions, personal RSS readers and community aggregators (ideally with topic-based aggregation like k-collector)
    • find a group of early adopters (ideally boundary spanners that send around e-mails with ideas and links :) and help them to start with writing and reading weblogs
    • make starting a weblog easy and have someone to encourage newcomers and connect them with existing weblogs (e.g. by annoucing their weblogs or by commenting on their posts)

    I assume that the rest will follow (please, note that I know that starting to write a weblog is not easy, but this is not a "community" question :)

    Integration with an existing community infrastructure is another issue. I'm trying to formulate my suggestions for adding "weblog flavour" to the Knowledge Board, so will use it as an example for an upcoming post.

      Share your OPML! and hidden weblog readers

    If you don't know about Share your OPML! yet, go and check it.

    The purpose of this site is to gather a community of subscription lists, in OPML format, and aggregate them in interesting ways.

    Next to adding your own subscription list you can check check Top 100 RSS feedsPictures from the Top 100 and Subscription lists for authors of the Top 100

    I always find personal views more interesting than aggregations, so my favourites are:

    Although the last one shows only subscribers who shared their subscription lists it adds a lot of value providing more insight about our audiences.

    In most of the cases weblog RSS readers are not as visible as weblog page readers: usual counters show only web-page visitors, not everyone can access server-based statistics to see RSS traffic and even having this access it's not easy to estimate numbers of RSS subscribers. Similar problem exist in on-line communities: web-pages traffic is easy to count, but nobody knows how many people lurk via e-mail subscriptions.

    So, even being far from perfect Who Subscribes? uncovers the hidden part of weblog reading iceberg. For me the best thing of it is discovering names of people I never knew were reading my weblog. 

    See also: RSS vs. browser for weblog reading and more on blog reading

      Saturday, January 17, 2004

      Weblogs vs. journals

    There is an interesting discussion following a post by danah boyd at misbehaving Why are bloggers mostly straight white men? It's more about our biases in thinking about blogging then about anything else: what type of blog do you write? what blogs to you read? how do you find out blogger's identity? what do you call "blog"?

    The last question is related to the distinction between weblogs and journals. Below is the selection of quotes by danah (as far as I know who posts behind zephoria nickname :) trying to articulate her views on the issue.  Please note that these are pieces from different comments in the discussion (and I had to do a "look at the source" trick to find permalinks :(

    [link] First, i came from the journaling community as well. I'm still trying to put a finger on what is so fundamentally different about it because i can definitely feel the differences. One thing is for certain: audience. When i think about bloggers, they want to be visible and they try to get their words out. Journalers are more about recording the daily rhythms, noting what's going on for a local audience. Journaling is more about getting support; blogging is more about conversing around ideas. I do believe that they must be treated separately, even though there's a lot of gray area, simply because the intention, purpose and publicness of their activities are fundamentally different.

    [link] One clear separation for me between the blogger/journal communities is the audience - who the writing is intended for. This doesn't mean that journalers don't write about ideas, but those ideas aren't directed at the public, but more towards their friends. This also doesn't mean that there aren't journalers who want the world to pay attention to them; this is the classic behavior of teenagers anyhow (and definitely gets propogated in journaling). But their construction of the public audience is quite different than the non-journaler, as is the expectation that they have from the public audience.

    [link] The reason that i'm trying to tease out a distinction amongst digital daily publishers of text is because, regardless of words, there are underlying differences in what people are doing, why they are doing it and who they are doing it for. That said, it's a very huge range and thus there are definitely ideas in more personally directly posts and definitely personal rants in more publishing oriented posts. There's no clear line and the easiest separation that i've found is through the terms journal and blog. This also has to do with identification. Most LJ folks i've ever interviewed talk about writing journals, not blogging. They don't identify with the huge blogging meme. Of course, that's a generalization and there are some who do.

    While there are blogs that i read because the ideas are interesting even though i don't know the author, there are very few journals that i read that i don't know the author. The content is often not relevant to me in those cases. I mean, when my friends rant about their jobs, i want to read about it, but not necessarily when the whole world does. There's a relationship difference.

    The last piece has two connections to my own research:

    1. I'd like to focus on "professional weblogs" in my PhD research, so I have to make a distinction as well (I thought about it for my BlogTalk paper, didn't do it and had to cope with consequences). One of the choices would be between using some kind of objective criteria in defining what a professional weblog is and simply asking participants for self-identification. The discussion above makes it clear that the results will be different.

    2. Last paragraph has something to do with my thinking on blog reading in connection with weblog networking.

    This post also appears on channel weblog research

      Experiences of using del.icio.us

    I'm using del.icio.us for a few weeks now, but there are some changes in my bookmarking habits already:

    • I add post to del.icio.us bookmarklet to all computers I use (including adding and then deleting it at Internet cafes!)
    • I stopped sending e-mails to myself with links!!!
    • I have less "just a link" weblog posts.
    • I do not keep many things in my news aggregator just to decide what should I read them, send e-mail to myself or write "just a link" weblog post :)

    I definitely like an opportunity to assign tags that emerging with my thinking. For me it works the same way for accessing my bookmarks as liveTopics for accessing my weblog, but with one important difference: it allows both my own and a community views on bookmarks and tags describing them. This is something that could be done by combining functionalities of liveTopics and k-collector in a way that allows switching between personal and community views on weblog content.

    I do not know if del.icio.us will scale in time for me. Also I would love to have a better integration of it with my weblog. I'm thinking of using Radio's multiAuthorWeblogTool to get links posted to my weblog automatically via my del.icio.us RSS feed. This will make them searchable with the rest of my weblog, but still leaves the problem of integrating two sets of topics (liveTopics for weblog posts and del.icio.us tags for bookmarks).

    I still hope to find time to write on linkblogs, so this reflection may be a first step...

      Friday, January 16, 2004

      1/2 page description of my PhD research

    If you are curious: I just posted 1/2 page description of my PhD research on-line (the current title is "Personal productivity in a knowledge intensive environment: A weblog case"). It's not very informative, but short. Longer research outline will follow in a few days...

    See also:

    This post also appears on channel weblog research

      Ready for a wiki

    Finally, I'm ready. Weblog is not enough and I need a wiki to organise my thinking (so far mainly my work with research literature). I'm still thinking a bit about joining to one of existing KM-related wikis, but I want "my own space" where I don't have to think what is appropriate to post and where...

    Do you have any recommendations about a wiki tool which is easy to install (for almost non-tech person ;), maintain and use? (Or any strong arguments why I should join an existing wiki and which one exactly :)

      Thursday, January 15, 2004


    I'm back to work and to regular posting. I even managed to miss work during my vacation :)

    Hope to catch up with interesting comments and posts of others over the weekend...

    More on: life 

      Wednesday, January 14, 2004

      Employee engagement: Doing it vs. measuring

    Employee engagement: Doing it vs. measuring by Theresa Welbourne [via Beverly Kaye @ FC Now]

    Don't have much time to write about it now, but it has something to do with earlier doing vs. thinking/talking discussion and with Follow this path book (promise to post on it soon :)

    More on: leadership passion 

      Friday, January 09, 2004

      Boundary spanning

    Writing previous post I realised that it would be interesting to look at "boundary spanning" activities of knowledge networkers. I know that there is some research on the topic, but I'm not familiar with it. What would be interesting from my perspective is better understanding of personal triggers and processes of boundary spanning and match-making:

    • How do you spot an opportunity to make a connection?
    • Why do you feel like connecting "related, but not connected" ideas or people?
    • How do you do make a connection (especially if it is not a single case of connecting two ideas from different fields, but a more complex case of connecting two totally different methodologies)?
    • What does it give to you?

    In my case it's much about enjoying diversity, having fun of spotting similarities and differences, feeling pity when different sides do not know about each other or don't understand each other, even more fun of "translating" ideas and connecting people... I'm happy that I found quite early in my professional life that I enjoyed building bridges and was able to achieve results doing it, so I came to being conscious about choosing job and project opportunities that allow and require "boundary spanning". The funny thing is that I didn't reflect much on how I did it before writing previous post :)

      Personal effectiveness, improvement.ru and boundary spanning

    I feel like explaining how did I came to adding personal effectiveness to my "PhD mix". It's a very funny way - via Russian time-management community.

    Some time back I discovered the improvement.ru community (btw, professionally I "belong", mainly as a lurker, to two Russian on-line communities, this one and e-xecutive.ru). It's a "time-management beyond time-management" community: taking time management as a starting point, its members talk about many related things, which could be anything from goal settings, scheduling and chronometric to fighting (or not) with laziness, using PDAs to organise ideas, biorhythms and healthy food. I would say, this is about things that you need to make the best of your life and a name of the web-site reflects it well.

    For a few months I was lurking: reading and thinking that this would be a great space to write in Russian about weblogs as professional instruments. I'm still thinking about writing on weblogs, but at least I've got a bit more actionable sense  getting into a time-management course, offered by the community leaders. My main motivation to start the course was about learning to make choices that would create more time to do things I want to do (link to loose ends piece). The funny thing is that I ended up with spending more effort thinking how the ideas behind this course are relevant for my PhD than in working on my time management skills :)

    The course comes together with a book on time management (translated into English: Time management: from personal effectiveness to company development by Gleb Archangelsky). It's a pity that most of you don't read Russian, because this book connects "foreign" TM ideas with original Russian thinking on and around this topic. Between other things with methodological thinking and TRIZ, two Russian "ways of thinking" that I touched a bit in my professional life and placed into my "should learn in-depth after coming back to Russia" list. I'll try to find more resources in English and to write more myself to add "boundary spanning" value.

    I feel very funny reading this book. It's like flying over the river with no bridge, but occasional swimmers across, spotting possible connections and thinking why/where/how to build a bridge. I guess this is because the book is very much "Russian", building on Russian thinking around TM-related topics with only some connections with "foreign" ideas. It feels "heavily related, but not connected" with most of the things I was immersed in during last 2,5 years working abroad...

    Coming back to my starting point. The book heavily uses the idea of time management as a starting point to improve personal effectiveness. And because I'm very eclectic and bring into my PhD research everything that seems to be relevant I used it once to explain why I focus on individual perspective in KM. It worked to get the message across, I tried it a few more times and then realised that it solves some of the problems with using knowledge work/knowledge worker as terms.

      Monday, January 05, 2004

      Quality that emerges in action

    I know that I'm not going to catch up with all interesting posts from Internet-cafe, but I'm still trying :)

    John Moore (and long chain of others) point to a quote from Art & fear:

    The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the quantity group: fifty pound of pots rated an A, forty pounds a B, and so on. Those being graded on quality, however, needed to produce only one pot -albeit a perfect one - to get an A. Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the quantity group was busily churning out piles of work - and learning from their mistakes - the quality group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

    John adds a connection with the book Changing Conversations in Organisations by Patricia Shaw.

    This is such a fantastic book I can't do it justice here, but essentially Shaw discusses
    (moving from a) thought-before-action, design-before-implementation, systematic, instrumental logic of organizing, towards a paradoxical kind of logic in which we see ourselves as participatingin the self-organizing emergence of meaningful activity from within our disorderly open-ended responsiveness to one another

    Shaw is talking about how we talk to each other, the story is about making pots; they're both about recognising that it is misleading to think we can entirely separate thinking from doing - an insight that may trouble a great many management thinkers.

    At the same time Martin Dugage writes about smart people driving out action linking to Why Can't We Get Anything Done?

    All those provoke many ideas for my thinking on learning vs. doing and would provide an interesting angle to look at the actionable sense story, but I guess I'm not writing on it now :)

      Diablog by Jon Hoem

    Jill Walker points to another "PhD on weblogs" weblog in English :) Diablog by Jon Hoem. From Jon's introduction:

    I'm doing a Phd on how to use "personal publishing" as a tool for learning. I'm employed and give lectures at IKM / NTNU, but some of the time you'll find me at HiB in Bergen.

    Between other things Jon links to an instruction for publishing del.icio.us links on your site (del.icio.us is a social bookmarks manager; I signed at the end of December, but didn't have time to write about it).

    This post also appears on channel weblog research

    More on: blog new blog research 

      Knowledge networker

    Thinking about terminology for my PhD again. I wonder if I should introduce knowledge networker as a term. I like it because it stresses social side of knowledge work, being a node in a knowledge network, which is often missing in a "mainstream" knowledge worker literature. From another side, it may be percieved as a narrow one, focusing only on the networking side of the knowledge work. May be it should be something like knowledge net worker :)

    There is another problem with knowledge networker. Knowledge worker is the one who does knowledge work. Following this logic knowledge networker does knowledge network :) It could be netWORK as used by Nardi, Whittaker & Schwarz, but their meaning is not mainstream too and means "networking part of work".

    Next to the assosiations that people may have with new term, my problem comes to a usual dilemma about introducing new terminology. For example, many people do not like knowledge management or weblogs for several reasons and introduce new terms to stress specific aspects of the phenomena behind these terms. I undestand them and in many cases admire their persistence in introducing terminology that captures their views better than existing one, but I belong to another, more pragmatic, camp. For the sake of common language and being understood I use "mainstream" terminology. For example, I do not believe that knowledge can be managed, but I use knowledge management because it establishes a common ground to start. If we go in depth I would introduce my assumptions about KM stressing that "of course, we can't manage knowledge"... Sometimes it feels as a bad compromise, but I choose it instead of starting with trying to address the same thing with different terms.

    So, may be I should just stick to knowledge worker and explain what I mean with it :)

      The power of lurking

    I'm thinking about "core" vs. "fringe" in a community and at this moment it's more about a "fringe"... As far as I know there is not enough attention paid to legitimate peripheral participation in communities, to the "learning" and "belonging" effects of lurking (I may be missing something here, any pointers are welcome).

    As I wrote before, there is a great value of an on-line community as a content provider: it could be a small group generating most of the discussions, but many people can benefit from finding and learning from them. I wonder what lurkers do in a community, how their activities ("passive" reading is an activity as well :) and effects of those activities can be accounted for and what role lurkers play in a community dynamics. I believe there are some hidden treasures there :)

    And as usual, my questions have to do something not only with communities, but with blogging as well: regular reading of a weblog is a sort of "lurking" that creates similar effects of awareness of what's going on and "silent" learning.

    More on: communities lurking 

      Back to writing

    Red berries in snowI'm back. Still in Moscow (or, to be precise, in a village 100 kilometers from it at the moment of writing this :), off-line most of the time. Enjoying time with my family and friends, time to read and to reflects. And having a lot of fun trying to explan in Russian the tricky combination of knowledge work and blogging in my PhD research to my friends who know nothing about KM and weblogs.

    Most of the things I'll be posting are written at other times...

    More on: life 

    © 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: 6/28/2005; 9:43:17 PM.