Updated: 6/28/2005; 9:44:21 PM.


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  Thursday, May 13, 2004

  What happens once you see patterns in the mess of traces you and others leave?

You never know how it strikes you... Somehow Gabriela's reflection on my own post on sharing perspectives gave another angle to one of my long term questions.

In our project we do some work on aggregating and visualising data already availiable in organisations (some call it big brother technology :). Apart from obvious questions on how to do it and when it adds value, there is one more fundamental question. What changes once things get transparent? What happen to you once technology makes visible patterns in the mess of traces that you and others leave?

Of course this is related to all YASN discussions about articulating relations, but in that case articulation is explicit and you have choice to opt-out. We are looking at mapping what is already there as all of us leave traces when we do things. With only difference that these traces are becoming more and more digital (think of all your traces over Internet), more and more persistent, and technologies are becoming smart enough to find patterns in the mess...

Coming back - what happens once you see patterns in the mess of traces you and others leave? I would think about effects at individual and group levels. As an individual you probably will be able to recall and share your experiences better. At a group level I expect to get some effects like those observed in the KJ-technique story, increasing accuracy and speeding up decision making. Of course, the risk of amplifying group think is always there, but this is another story.

See also: other posts on transparency

  PhD as jigsaw puzzle

Thinking about my PhD approach... Some people do their PhD research in a very systematics way - going through well articulated steps and designs. Somehow I don't feel like doing it this way. My way of doing PhD is similar to how I would solve jigsaw puzzle:

  1. First I look at border pieces and try to make a frame out of them.
  2. Next I find pieces that stick together and make small "clouds" of them, trying to connect them to the frame if it is possible.
  3. Then big picture starts to emerge, "clouds" get connected with each other and with the frame.
  4. After that there are just a few empty spots and I fill them in with pieces that left.

Currently in my PhD research I'm iterating between 2 and 3, while focusing mainly on making "clouds". I use my 3 circle personal KM model as a frame (see the paper for academic description) to work on my "clouds". My idea is to work on relatively independent studies of different aspects of blogging and then triangulate them to re(de)fine the initial model.

So far the studies I'm planning/doing are an attempt to look at weblogs from different perspectives (btw, this is described in a more systematic way in my PhD outline):

  • me - weblog writing - understanding the activities around blogging and their value for an individual
  • others - weblog reading - understanding effects of other weblogs (e.g. work for Ed-Media conference)
  • ideas - weblog conversations - understanding how ideas develop in conversations (e.g. argumentation analysis of weblog conversations)
  • corporate context - corporate weblogs - understanding how far all the nice things above would (not) work in corporate settings

Of course, when it comes to writing papers I also do something in between. For example, weblog apprenticeship paper is a way to connect all four perspective around one practical idea of using weblogs.

Ah, still much work to do before I'm at the stage 4 of my PhD puzzle :)

  An argumentation analysis of weblog conversations (2)

Just to let you know: working report on argumentation analysis of weblog conversations has turned into a paper for LAP 2004 conference.

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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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