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

Mathemagenic

  Tuesday, June 22, 2004


  Travel plans

Finally I'm leaving for so long expected "summer conference tour"... No way I could finish everything in time, so my bags a full of paper and digital pieces to work on. Anyway, it feels much better than working in the office.

So, where I'm going to be next few weeks

  • 23-26 June - Ed-Media, Lugano, Switzerland
  • 27 June - Genoa, Italy
  • 28 June - Milan, Italy
  • 29 June - 2 July - I-KNOW, Graz, Austria
  • 3-7 July - BlogWalk / BlogTalk, Vienna, Austria
  • 8-10 July - (still clarifying) Milan, Italy

If you are around and want to meet - please, get in touch. I should be quite well connected during the conferences.

Sitting in Schiphol airport waiting for the plane. Please keep your fingers crossed for me - I have to managed to get last train connection from Milan to Lugano :)

More on: travel 

  Legitimised theft: le sandwich corse de clotilde

If you didn't talk about it with me face-to-face you don't know that I'm reading quite a few food/cooking weblogs. Reflecting on how reading them changes my own cooking practices provides lots of ideas for thinking about implicit learning and legitimate peripheral participation in a case of weblogs (more on it soon: my presentation at Ed-Media is in two days ;)

Chocolate & Zucchini is one of my favourites: it's a great combination of style, inspiration and humor (and of course, new dishes on my table :) Today Clotilde shares her joy of discovering le sandwich corse de clotilde:

I cannot begin to tell you how gratifying Chocolate & Zucchini has been, since the very early days. But this, having a sandwich named after me at one of my absolute favorite lunch places, is a benefit I clearly hadn't foreseen. You must forgive my candor, but : how unbelievably cool is that, I ask you?

Read the whole story: it's a great example of how ideas travel, not only between weblogs, but to our offline life as well. And then you have a choice: you can treat it as a source for cooking inspuration, example of legitimised theft or a business case :)))


  Monday, June 21, 2004


  Danger of immediacy of comments and trackbacks

Mark Bernstein on danger of immediacy of comments and trackbacks:

Weblog comments incite duels. Duels are bad for society. We should all forego comments and return to carefully blogging responses -- including responses we disagree with, but excluding responses we cannot tolerate.

More on: blog writing 

  Day job

May it's something of a non-native English speaker, but I find funny when people talk about their "day job" :)

Anyone has an idea from where it comes?

More on: fun 

  Sunday, June 20, 2004


  Why looking at practices of blogging is important in weblog research

Just an example of why looking at practices of blogging is important in weblog research.

Based on content analysis of random sample of 203 weblogs, Herring et al. (2004)  conclude that weblogs are not as interactive as it is claimed. I think this conclusion is true for an "average" weblog, but I can not trust it because of the methodological flaw:

Interactivity of weblogs was measured based on number of comments to a weblog post. This may look like a perfect measure if you don't know that some people prefer not to use comments, but instead react to a post in their own weblog and link back. These incoming links were not included in the analysis.

For me the fact that there are two options to comment in weblogs (actually more if you think of comments you receive by e-mail, but it's another media ;) redefines what interactivity is.

This post also appears on channel weblog research


  Saturday, June 19, 2004


  How Open Space makes you the one in charge

I'm not lost, just busy finishing everything before leaving to another round of conferences next week (I'll post on planning, check "meet me" section of my homepage if you are too curious to wait).

Although I do not blog, I read others. So this is something for you to think about: Ton on how Open Space makes you the one in charge.

Because it is clear up front that no-one is in charge, it is clear that if anything is to happen, you will have to take charge of your own role in the event. There is no way to delegate responsibilities.

It reminds me of the effect when someone needs help on the street: when you are alone you are likely to act, when there are others around we tend to wait to see who will take the lead, and then follow: usually meaning nothing happens. In Open Space it is clear up front that waiting for someone to take the lead will not be useful. The only thing to get the group going is to get going yourself.

"No way to delegate" :) Can we found a trigger for self-organised attitude here?

This post also appears on channel BlogWalk


  Friday, June 18, 2004


  Weblog networks as social ecosystems: finding who belongs to a weblog community

A bit of a follow-up for Weblog networks as social ecosystems.

Let's say that there are cases then community-like structures emerge as a result of connections between bloggers. This is immediately brings a few questions:

  • What is their nature? How do we call them? They are probably not communities, but more loosely-coupled networks of people. Mainly weak ties, but still high degree of awareness of each other.
  • How do we find them? There is no single "community space", just interconnected networks of weblogs. Where would you draw a boundary?
  • What are their characteristics? How and when do they develop? change? die?

Hope to find answers one day... So far just a couple of things:

A. Before there is a good term I'm going to call them "weblog communities".

B. How to define who belongs to a weblog community:

  1. People who say they belong together - interviews? 
  2. People with similar focus - directories? topicExchange?
  3. People who share language - content analysis? trend discovery?
  4. People who link to each other weblogs (using blogroll links and/or links in the text and remembering that these are different) - link analysis?
  5. People who read each other weblogs on regular basis (e.g. using RSS subscriptions) - RSS Neighborhood?
  6. Some/all of the above? Something else?

For an inspiration: 

This post also appears on channel weblog research


  Monday, June 14, 2004


  Managing NOT knowing

Just a quote from Johnnie Moore:

This reminds me of my long held view that Knowledge Management is an unattractive term. What really engages me is how we manage our NOT knowing... if we can handle that lightly, then other things have a chance to drop into place.

More on: asking questions KM 

  Diving vs cycling or from practice to theory and back

There was a great metaphor developed by one of the discussion groups at CPsquare open house.

Think of nurturing communities as a crossing a bridge (due to local circumstances the only transport offered was a bike ;) You can go pretty straight (and follow something like "10 tips for facilitating communities of practice") and cross the bridge. However, in most cases it's not that simple: many people fall from the bridge and discover deep waters of underlying theories and practices under it.

[I hope to find a photo and post it here. This one gives some impression.]

Some people just swim on a surface, others go diving to discover the treasures of depth. Divers are different as well: some are supported by a team on the surface, stay in depth longer, but explore only limited part of the bottom; others take risks of diving by themselves to get more flexibility.

Some people just want to cross the bridge as fast as possible and don't want to go diving into theories. Others get addicted to diving and stay underwater with fading memories of the bridge. Others get out of the water, but forget to take of all their diving gear, surprising other bicyclists on the bridge with wetsuits and masks.

This metaphor provokes many questions:

Is it necessary to dive into deep waters of theories to cross the bridge? Some just want to get to another side faster. Are people prepared for diving? Do they need crash course or long training in a swimming pool to get ready for the surprises of the depth?

Which diving style to choose? Are there any "fitness" conditions to go diving?

How to make diving fun? Do you need an experienced guide to show you around?

What do you if you get addicted to diving?

How to remember to take you wetsuit off if you decide to go back on the bridge? How to explain others on the bridge what you have seen in the depth? How to share experiences of deep waters with those who can not even think of swimming?

Why do we have to stick to cycling on the bridge after all? One can use boat or fly over the riverÖ Of course, the bridge is persistent; it embodies expertise of earlier generations to make crossing easier to newcomers. It also fast. However, the bridge keeps distance from the water, so those who fall down from their bicycles can get surprising cold showers. May be we should think of a ferry: a bit slower, but at least the waters do not get out of sight :)

Of course, I find the metaphor particularly appealing as it speaks diving language :) Thinking where I would position myself on the picture... I guess I will be a diver establishing a ferry business. My ferry would be fast enough to make a good alternative to cycling on the bridge. I'll make sure that it has glass bottom, so those on board can see the beauty and depth of waters under the bridge. I'll provide some safety training, so those falling in the water will not be shocked, and basic introduction to diving, so those interested get a starting point. Iíll do something "not super fast, but with a lot of fun on board" and make sure "deep water education" activities are well embedded into the river-crossing experience.

I guess I'll also arrange for a helicopter flights across the river, so people (especially addicted divers who rarely get out of the water) can appreciate the surroundings and see that the river if only part of the landscape ;)


  CPsquare open house

CPsquare open house was an interesting experience: the fun of meeting new people and discovering new connections between ideas. I also couldnít avoid mental comparison with things we do at BlogWalk ;) Thanks for being open for newcomers!

Some ideas:

Weblogs and personalities of their authors. We had an interesting discussion about weblog vs. forum/mailing list choice. One of the things that came on the way is a distinction between global and sequential thinkers, foxes and hedgehogs, generalists and specialists. First operate in "clouds" of ideas, spanning boundaries of different fields, picking out relevant bits everywhere and connecting them into a whole. Second follow the trail of their chosen field, focusing and digging deeper. (Of course, it is a continuum :)

Many webloggers say that their weblog serves as a one place to collect their ideas. It make a good sense for those thinking global, so they have a Home to bring ideas from traveling to different online spaces, many of which are strange and exotic. Keeping track of different combinations of ideas and spaces they come from can be too complicated without weblog as a base camp.

In contrast, for those who focused in their quest for knowledge, participation in different online spaces may not be a big problem: at least their line of enquiry is clear, remembering spaces from there ideas come it not that difficult.

Think of organizing a collection of travel photos from two people: one interested in things people do differently in different cultures, and another, who travels across the globe in search for best waterfall shoot.

Weblog introduction. Weblog practices differ in different weblog neighborhoods, so to a great extend a newcomer experiences of blogging are shaped by bloggers around. One gets exposed to practices of using different tools, to different writing styles and to social norms in a community and is likely to pick up some of those. If someone starts with an idea that weblogs are easy webpublishing tools and do not upon a weblog neighborhood with different practices, he may never discover the fun of social connections arising from weblogs.

Of course, Iím still thinking about the city metaphor for blogging. Just imagine what you will think of Amsterdam if you walk into the red light district after arriving and get hooked into it, never discovering museum quarter or business areas?

An illusion of shared experiences of in online communities. We think of a online community as a whole and talk about shared experiences, but at the end each member sits in front of a computer and experiences something totally different from others. Whose experiences are rarely shared (unless members get involved into a reflection on it; Iím thinking of meta-blogging posts that sometimes reveal how differently people embed blogging into their daily routines). See also: Nancy White about it.

Distinction between a (social) network and a community. We tried to draw the line between those two, but didnít get very far (at least I donít have a convincing distinction for myself :). The criteria suggested for a community during the discussion: leadership, ownership, shared practices, greater accountability, shared purpose, many-to-many relations (vs. a system of one-to-one relations).

We also talked about differences in constructing someoneís identity, accommodating different cultures (national, professional, early adopters vs. majority), the core and the fringe of a community in context of welcoming newcomers and many other topicsÖ They landed somewhere in my thinking cloud, somewhere in those areas that are not ready for words yet :)

Quite a few people from the group are presenting at Virtual Communities conference today and tomorrow, so I joined them for dinner in The Hague as I had to stay overnight as well to get a Swiss visa. Nancy White, John Smith and Alasdair Honeyman are presenting on improvisation and design in communities, so yesterday evening was pretty much in Improv style: getting Indonesian food from nearest gas station and eating it in front of five star conference hotel followed by rehearsal of their presentation. That was a lot of fun, so I do not really feel that bad typing this in a café while waiting for my visa, instead of being at the conference :)

See also: notes and pictures by Ton Zijlstra, summary by Erik van Bekkum, notes by Nancy White


  Sunday, June 13, 2004


  Weblogs as a conversational tool

Another piece of thinking aloud for the paper (triggered by Denham's comment:)

Weblogs make a very funny conversational tool:

Bloggers say they write for themselves, but they also care about their audience. Or, they write for an audience without really knowing for sure if there someone reading. In other words, they write for a change to be read.

Weblogs can provide immediacy of instant messaging (e.g. sometimes people comment on your post within minutes), but usually communication is asynchronous. (Sidenote. Would be interesting to study the timeframe of links/comments to a post: earliest comment time, longest comment time, average. Something like: "most of comments to a post are written within 1-15 days interval, so if you really want a feedback to your idea and waiting for a two weeks already, rephrase it and post again" ;)

Weblog conversations can be very intensive and develop fast much like mailing list or forum discussion (see the paper for an example).

Unlike mailing lists or forums, which require membership for participation, weblogs are open for everyone to comment. But not all commenters are equal: those with their own weblogs can make "global" contribution and engage their own audience in a discussion, but "blogless" people have to comment in the original weblog, where comments are secondary. (Of course, everyone can use e-mail to comment, but it's another story :)

Weblog conversations are public, but they are still hidden in a sense: it's too difficult to find all the pieces and it's even more difficult to get an overview (e.g. comparing to forum discussion). I would say that weblog conversations are like books in the library: only well-trained people can find them ;)

(One more sidenote: Don't know why I'm getting into writing mode when I should be sleeping. Hope I will not be sleepy in the morning ;)


  Following weblog conversations

Some ideas for the paper: on how people follow weblog conversations.

There is a substantial difference between abilities to follow a conversation between its participants and outsiders, as well as between following unfolding, real-time conversation and returning to it back after a period of time.

When the conversation unfolds its participants can use numerous tools to find out who commented to their weblog. Comments in weblog itself could be send by e-mail and/or shown in "recent comments" section on weblog homepage. Links from other weblogs could be found via trackbacks, referrer logs, Technorati (or other tracking services), which most of weblog authors will check regularly. In many cases participants of a conversation are connected via their own subscriptions, (e.g. they are likely to read weblogs of other participants), so they just find posts in their RSS readers. (Sidenote: I guess that weblog conversations are more frequent in existing network of weblogs connected via regular reading. Would be nice to check...)

Outsiders have fewer opportunities to follow a conversation: usually they cannot see referrer logs or receive e-mail notifications about comments on someone else's weblog (even if it will be possible there are not many people who want to follow all links/comments to a weblog, and tools for selecting specific posts to follow are not there yet). They can follow links to earlier posts and trackbacks and use tracking services as well, but the latter requires extra clicks. They can also observe the conversation in their news aggregators, but they are likely to miss comments and trackbacks, as those are not part of RSS feeds in most cases (and most of "local" conversations in comments develop after regular reader was there).

Following a real-time weblog conversation is a challenge by itself: one needs to combine several tools to find out all the leads. Following a conversation after some time is even more difficult. Usually referrer logs and many tracking services provide only newer links and do not keep archives. News aggregators do not help much as well as they show recent updates. So the only thing that is left for someone who wants to trace a conversation which is a few month old is to rely on trackbacks or hope that posts were indexed by Bloglines or Blogdex.

See also: Weblog conversations are flows in a river delta (thinking aloud about different degrees of visibility of arguments in a weblog conversation) 


  Saturday, June 12, 2004


  Wish I was there: Weblogs and Cross-Disciplinary Communication panel

I should be working on a paper right now, instead of blogging. But since I got interrupted anyway: read Collin Brooke summary of Weblogs and Cross-Disciplinary Communication panel by Liz Lawley, Alex Halavais, Sébastien Paquet, Clay Shirky, and Jill Walker at Media Ecology Association Conference [via Many-to-Many].

Liz Lawley chaired the panel, and opened with a brief discussion of the definitional problems that weblog research encounters:

  • There's no such thing as an "average" blog, making generalizable conclusions difficult;
  • Most so-called "personal" blogs defy narrow categorization;
  • Most weblogs shift in tone and focus over time, making it difficult to generalize even within a single blog;
  • Many of those writing about them aren't writing them, and research that treats bloggers as "others" often misses crucial aspects.

Liz' summary resonates well with my own thinking (especially the last point :). Recently I was thinking a lot on difficulties of selecting a proper sample of weblogs for a study given all differences between weblogs. Of course, one can take a random sample (e.g. as here), but then all specifics (most interesting for me :) will be lost.

I guess that a better strategy will be to study specific weblog neighbourhoods (Alex Halavais too according to the summary). Not only because studying a weblog outside of its author's social ecosystem is a best way to miss the essence of blogging, but also because it may be easier to generalise.

Many people distinguish technologies and practices of blogging (I picked up the idea talking with Sebastian Fiedler, but if you want something to read check this post of Alex Halavais). I suspect that blogging practices are tied more to specific social networks than use of specific blogging tools (also taking into account that choice of weblog tool is social as well). For example, when I read some of weblog studies I do not recognise my own experiences of blogging and experiences of others in my own weblog social circles. It seems that certain practices are shared in my weblog community that do not exist in "average" weblogs. Could it be that studying weblog communities would make generalisation easier? (Of course, once you solve the problem of drawing boundaries of a weblog community :)))

[Have to stop on the topic of studying weblog communities for a moment: writing all my ideas would mean not coming back to the paper at all :) May be I need some discipline of not checking my news aggregator :))) ] 

A few more things from the panel:

1. Clay Shirky (in Collins interpretation) on weblog collaboration:

As of yet, though, the interfaces themselves are still geared towards individuals, and so there's a sense of "parallel play" rather than actual collaboration.

This is close to "actionable sense" discussion (which is, btw, something analysed in the paper I'm not writing :). Would be nice to find out experiences of other groups...

2. Have no idea how I missed it in my subscriptions: analysis of scholars' weblogs by Alex Halavais connections and network visualisation.

Of course, there is much more in the summary of the panel, so make sure you spend time reading it.

This post also appears on channel weblog research


  Thursday, June 10, 2004


  RIP old Mathemagenic

Don't do it like me: while trying to solve some technical problems with Radio I have deleted old version of my weblog at radio.weblogs.com (see cached).

All links to my weblog made between June and October 2002 are going to be dead.

More on: Radio 

  Weblog networks as social ecosystems

Images explaning weblog ecosystem: weblogs as identities, networking, peer-filtering and recommendation, distributed conversations and community participationComing Sunday I'm joining CPsquare open house meeting in Amsterdam. Next to an opportunity of meeting great people and learning about CPsquare I'm bringing my interests in communities (see posts on communities to get an impression :) Of course, my main interest is on social ecosystems that emerge around weblogs and their dynamics.

My experience shows that it's difficult to explain to people new to weblogs that (in some cases :) weblogs are more than a bunch of linked egocentric websites. This time I'll try to use pictures. I know this is powerfull: my collaboration with Aldo de Moor on weblog conversations has started from one of these images ;)

My main points:

1. Weblogs are online identities of their authors: by reading a weblog we learn about and connect with another person

2. Networking. By reading a weblog a reader gets introduced to a blog author network

3. Weblog networkds serve as peer-filtering and recommendation engines: they help interesting ideas travel faster

4. Distributed conversations. Weblog conversations do exist, but they are distributed, difficult to track and different from other technology-mediated conversations

5. Connecting with community. By connecting with several weblogs belonging to a dense weblog network new blogger connects with a community.

Further reading:

Earlier ideas of 1-4 are described in section 2.2 of Learning webs: Learning in weblog networks (more)

A bit more elaboration on weblogs for relation building - in section 4.3 of Discovering the iceberg of knowledge work: A weblog case (more)

More on weblog conversations: An argumentation analysis of weblog conversations and posts on weblog conversations

My thinking about weblog networks as communities is still in progress, so Communities, shared spaces and weblog reading is the closest explanation so far. For a background start from Blogs and CoPs: Can blogging replace communities of practice? by Martin Dugage

And some other posts on weblog ecosystem :)

Disclaimer: I haven't invented all of it myself; these ideas have grown from discussions in my weblog ecosystem and work of other weblog researchers. Check links in posts and references in papers :)

This post also appears on channel weblog research

Update: it seems that images are more powerful than words :) Incoming links for this post.


  Tuesday, June 08, 2004


  Effects of reading someone else's feeds

Peter Caputa on reading someone else's feeds:

Bloglines allows users to make 'what feeds they read' public. (ie mine, amy gahran, martsanz, mfagan)

I started reading through Amy Gahran's feeds and I felt like a bit of a voyeur. Of course, SNSs allow people to spill a lot of info about themselves, and some people have no holds barred on what they write in their weblog, eurekster lets people share what they search for. And now bloglines lets people see what you read.

I am thinking outloud here, and just wondering what the implications for this are? It isn't like I could feasibly read everything Amy Gahran reads. But, I can tell a lot about her based on 1) what she reads and 2) how she categorizes it.

[...]I think browsing someone's public bloglines subs is the quickest way for me to find out about someone and what they are into. An advanced, yet still easy to digest, business card.

[...]And last random thought/question: When will the big hosted blogging services (ie blogger, typepad, livejournal) integrate an aggregator. Imagine knowing not only what people search for (google), write(blogger) and read (bloglines). It wouldn't be too hard to guess what I was thinking if you could monitor all that. You could call it google brain monitor.

I'm a bit hesitant to make my Bloglines subscriptions public: mainly because I don't feel comfortable with people finding that some are in the "Core" category and others don't :)

Btw, you can earn 5$ linking to Peter (it's not that I need 5$, but may be you do :)


  My dream wiki/weblog tool

At last BlogWalk I was trying to explain my ideas about ideal wiki/weblog tool, so just writing them down.

I wrote about blogs and wikis for thinking earlier, so just in brief on what is important for me:

  • process - weblogs are good to keep track of ideas unfolding; datestamp and preserving the original are important
  • outcome - wikis are good for (collaborative) working on integrating, refactoring and connecting ideas
  • connection between these two is essential - I'd like to see how bits of weblog posts turn into something more tangible

What my ideal wiki/weblog tool should do:

1. Weblog. Usual one. The only thing I need is something like liveTopics to add keywords to each post. Keywords should not be predefined and shouldn't behave like categories in Movable Type or Radio multiplying content: I need only an index that allows retrieving posts by a keyword (e.g. blog reading).

2. Linkblog. Something as easy as del.icio.us, with only one difference: when I add a keyword the link is added to the same keyword index as weblog posts (so, my posts about blog reading and links on blog reading are indexed on one page).

2.n Ideally I could have other types of logs - e.g. file log, e-mail log, reference log, book log, recipe log. Same: keywords and joint index (with an opportunity of switching indexing off for sensitive stuff).

3. Wiki. Here all the fun starts. When I post something to my weblog or any of other logs it's added to two places: keyword index (see above) and keyword wiki page. This is the time when I want the software to multiply my content: I'd like any new post about blog reading it is automatically copied at the end of wiki page called blogReading". Then I (and others) can do all the usual wiki stuff - editing wiki page making a whole from posts there.

If I add new wiki page, new keyword is added to my keyword index. If I rename a keyword then everything gets renamed and reindexed.

4. Keyword indexes (see above) - list of keywords that leads to keyword wiki pages and keyword indexes (and, of course, these two are linked).

5. Keyword (concept) maps. At least three of them: (1) visualising connections between wiki pages; (2) visualising connections between weblog posts based on co-occurrence of keywords in the same post; (3) integration of the two. All organised as webs (not trees :)

6. RSS feeds of every page (especially indexes, so people can subscribe to a keyword).

7. (just dreaming ;) Time-travel machine that keeps track and visualises changes in weblog posts, wiki pages, keyword maps.

That's it. Should not be that difficult given existing technologies. Even time-travel machines do exist. The only thing which is not in this picture is access rights (e.g. blogging to the world, to a group, to yourself). Have to think about it.

If you have a tool that integrates 1-6 I would switch to it.

This post also appears on channel BlogWalk


  Monday, June 07, 2004


  Communities, shared spaces and weblog reading

To start with - a piece from my comments to Blogs and CoPs: Can blogging replace communities of practice? (scroll to find)

For me (please forgive simplification) the essence of a community is in a sense of belonging and practices that its members share. I can understand that it's hard to believe looking at loosely-coupled weblogs "out there" that their authors belong to a community, but I can not discard my own feeling of "belonging" as well as indications of many other bloggers saying that weblogs help to build relations and shared understanding and to engage into reflective conversations.

I've been thinking on it for a while and trying to articulate my ideas about community clue in case of weblogs to a few people in Nürnberg and Lisbon... One more attempt.

Elmine Wijnia talks about weblogs as communication hub (also here) to find others and connect with them. I think weblogs do a bit more - they provide shared thinking space. I know that it's hard to believe that many individual weblogs, even linked, can provide a shared space, but it feels like that (and I tend to trust my feelings :)))

For me the closest metaphor is a city, a shared living space. Usually we don't know many others in our neighbourhood, but we walk on the same streets every day, see the same familiar strangers, get wet under the same rain, miss the same bus... We have a lot of context to share and meeting each other abroad we will connect easily. Living in a same city creates a sense of belonging and a sense of community...

Weblogs do as well. Of course, not for everyone (as in a city, you may not feel it). I was thinking what creates such shared context in case of weblogs. I guess it's weblog reading.

I'm thinking about my own weblog ecosystem. We don't read same weblogs, but they are interconnected, so at the end we get exposed to similar names, events, ideas, books. For example, once you get into KM blogging, you will quickly learn about wikis, join Orkut or find out who Dave Pollard is. Our experiences of blogging are never the same, like experiences of living on different streets, but in some cases they overlap enough to create a feeling of sharing the same space.

I think that those "some cases" of overlapping weblog experiences have to do with several things: density of a network, speed of ideas travelling around and time that one devotes to reading weblogs of others. The last one is important: getting to know your community takes time and you will never connect with a city when you jump in and out of a tourist bus.

I'm getting more and more convinced that when introducing someone to blogging the most important thing is to help newcomer to start feeling rhythms of blogging cities: getting a map for an orientation, learning basic terms to find a way around, finding good guides (blogs to start reading), taking time to explore and soak...

I'm playing with a "city" metaphor to explain blogging... I'm thinking of RSS as public transport lines - they take you faster where you have to be, but you miss little secrets on a way. And about risks of generalising in weblog research when one studies only specific communities (think of aliens making their opinions about humans based on their study of New York ;)

I guess it's time to dive a bit deeper into research on cities (thinking of Emergence on self-organisation of cities, William H. Whyteís theory of triangulation, and may be even connecting with A city is not a tree).

So, may be at the end we can find out if and when weblogs can turn into a knowledge spaces...

This post also appears on channel BlogWalk


  Finding blogs linking to a specific blog post: test results

Last week I asked What would be a good way to find all (blog) pages linking to a specific blog post? and received some suggestions. I'm going to do an experiment and test all of them for finding links to a specific post.

For example, I'd like to find who links to my old post which is at http://blog.mathemagenic.com/2003/11/23.html#a849. There are 9 trackbacks from external weblogs pointing to this post. Let's see what other tools give (in alphabetical order; links from my own weblog are excluded):

Blogdex - 6 (This is a complicated case: it doesn't show permalinks, only links to blogs and dates; 5 referrals come with wrong dates. Interesting that it gives one referral which is not in trackbacks.)

Blogdigger link search - 0 (Update: 1 external link - see comments to this post)

Update: Bloglines9 (see note at the end of this post)

Blogrunner - 0 (Goes back 3 month max.)

Feedster - 0 (I was suggested to use fields for advanced search, but coudn't figure out how.)

Google2 (after cleaning all links from my own weblog :)

Technorati - 0 (It shows 2 links but I wasn't able to trace referring posts. Indexes links from homepages only.)

Waypath Link References Search - 0 (This feature is beta. As far as I know Waypath database goes back 45 days.)

The obvious winner is Blogdex. It found most and even 1 link that wasn't in trackbacks, but if you think that you can use it to trace follow-ups for a post, you are wrong: you don't have links to referring posts, so you have to go to a weblog and dig out archives (and you'd better Google search them as dates are wrong :). Anyway, given that in his paper Cameron Marlow says that Blogdex is moving from opt-in to opt-out indexing system, the future gives a bit of hope...

If you have a tool that gives better results, please, let me know - you can be the winner then :)

Just a bit later: Piers Young and Matt Whyndham on "unhealthy (=no depth) fixation with now-ness" and short memories in the blogosphere. Joining them wondering why most of the tools allow only searching recent stuff...

One more update: thanks to Stephan Mosel the winner title goes to Bloglines with 9 links from outside :)


  New KM blog: Dubbings and Diversions by Jeremy Aarons

One more addition to your KM bloggers list: Jeremy Aarons with Dubbings and Diversions

Jeremy is a philosopher in KM land, traveller, juggler and he is likely to take you for an adventure (I met him at OKLC in Innsbruck and we shared not only fun of talking about knowledge work research, but also the thrill of paragliding from 2000m :)

You can start from Jeremy's thinking on KM research (for example, a series on task-based KM: one, two and three).


  Sunday, June 06, 2004


  Turning work into life

Although I don't believe that plane hopping is my favourite sport, I do enjoy travelling. I'm pretty happy that I've got chances to travel for work-related purposes and I usually try to stay a few more days after work. Like this time.

Meeting of Knowledge Board SIG leaders in Lisbon was a good learning experience. Presentation by Martin Dugage (should be posted online, will link then), talks and sometimes heated discussions about KB moved my understanding of community dynamics to a new level (and the discussion about integrating KB and weblogs is likely to turn into actions :) I'll probably come back to it later...

Of course I couldn't miss this opportunity and stayed in Lisbon for a couple of more days. These days were full of thinking about passions and work-life balance...

Some people like drawing a clear line between work and "life", but not me. I knew since long ago that my work is part of my life and I don't want to draw lines in between. These days I was thinking how I would like to work.

I'm thinking about weblog discussions while sightseeing with Marting Roell, about spending a few hours in park with Monica Andre talking about implementing blogging in organisations, making notes connecting Emergence with ideas about community dynamics today on the beach and about last week conversations walking around NØrnberg... I love working this way and I wonder why these moments are so rare. Why on a average day I sit in the office even if sun is shining outside, why my working hours break my natural rhythms (my "productive" schedule is different when I'm not bounded by work hours), why I have to manage with eating sandwiches for lunch (hope my Dutch colleagues forgive me :) instead of enjoying food I like...

Don't get me wrong, I like my work and office is a great space for meeting colleagues and serendipity of coffee talks. I'm just thinking about things what would make me more productive. A bit more flexibility, a bit more nature, a bit more fun... I know that there are organisations that make work fun and flexible to their people, but I wonder why they are so rare and what could be done to turn work into life. I guess one of the biggest obstacles is a myth about work/life balance, implying that work is not life, making us thinking that work should be that way - formal and full of discipline - and preventing thinking about other options...

Related: Personal or professional? by Jay Cross





© 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: 6/30/2005; 11:31:43 PM.