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


  Friday, July 30, 2004

  Brain vacation

Not able to write - only consuming. It's probably contagious: once your brain sees another brain on vacation it decides to go as well :)

Anyway, I'm lucky enough to be able to follow my brain. I'm going to Moscow... Going to have fun with friends, eat raspberries at my parents dacha (my sister says that strawberries are over :(,  read books, go out in Moscow, talk to smart people, do some things I have to do, work a bit, may be even blog, forget about alarm clock, and have fun in all other ways.

More on: travel 

  Thursday, July 29, 2004

  Sometimes this blog is a personal diary...

...quiet in the office and it's finally summer outside... time to read interesting papers and to think... even unanswered e-mails do not make life stressfull... very good project news... new ideas... new books to read... finally car is getting fixed... getting a bit more travel budget... a friend is back after almost a year travelling... flight home day after tomorrow... another friend is back to singing and if I'm fast getting my laggage at the airport I'll be in time at her concert... and she is getting married - good reason to change tickets and stay in Moscow longer... less and less lines in "to do before leaving" list... managed to catch people to discuss urgent work... starting to pack presents... wasps are sleeping now instead of scaring me in the kitchen... new haircut... Dido singing late at night... lots of things to finish tomorrow... and finding all these presents to pack... peace inside... so many reasons to be happy...

...sometimes this blog is a personal diary :)

More on: flow 

  Tuesday, July 27, 2004

  Strange Attractor

Suw Charman joins Corante blog family with Strange Attractor (RSS feed) exploring patterns in the blogoshpere:

If you could visually represent the ebb and flow of my thoughts, you'd find a lot of swirly folded patterns emerging. The cause? Blogs - my very own strange attractors.

But blogs have a far wider effect than just making me think in swirly folded patterns, they are perturbing the business world as well. A disruptive technology that is more often than not smuggled in through the back door by evangelist employees, blogs are helping to unite previously scattered communities of interest.

Like instant messaging, blogging is gaining such a strong foothold amongst business users that by the time the management realises they have been infiltrated, they no longer have the power to switch it off. The corporate cat has to sit back and watch as the Trojan Mouse struts its stuff.

Loved the title: although there are not many formulas left in my head from my first degree in mathematical modelling, I still think about the world in terms of strange attractors and bifurcation points :) 

  Monday, July 26, 2004

  On reading in a train and problems with task-based view of knowledge work

Spent the day reading papers on knowledge work in trains... Funny that reading papers in a train goes much better then reading them at home or in the office (I guess because of the rhythm and lack of distractions :). May be I just should schedule short meetings somewhere at far end of the Netherlands each time I have a pile to read :)

Two main things as a result: knowledge worker definition and thoughts on task-based view of knowledge work.

Knowledge worker definition (let's see if I reinvented the wheel :)

knowledge worker is someone who creates value by being subjective

Not sure for how long it will stand, but so far I think it captures two things:

  • value: something more or less objective, existing outside of a knowledge worker, defined (?) by a community/an organisation/"client" (don't know yet)
  • by being subjective: unique input of an individual (knowledge, experiences, intuition...)

Of course, this definition has a problem: it doesn't reflect social side of knowledge work. Will think about it.

Thoughts on task-based view of knowledge work

Today once more I realised how much current knowledge work literature is driven by organisational perspective on knowledge work. Will try to explain.

Last year I suggested that there is not enough attention to knowledge work:

organisations focus on things they can control and can measure, thus knowledge work is left to knowledge workers

I guess now I can refine it:

existing research on knowledge work takes process/activity/task-based view of knowledge work, but not personal (knowledge worker) view

I believe this is not enough and taking knowledge worker perspective is important. Don't have very strong arguments yet, just gut feeling and some people saying the same :)

Of course, focusing on specific processes or tasks of knowledge workers can be very valuable: one can design a system that supports a particular task in intelligent way. Lets assume it works.

The problem is that in most cases knowledge work is multidimensional and requires multitasking (for example, as a researcher, I need to be able to do different types of studies, write papers, present my work to different audiences and so on...). Optimising specific tasks will never optimise work of a knowledge worker.

Giorgio De Michelis provides nice example in his paper, The "Swiss Pattada": Designing the ultimate tool. It's the Swiss Army Knife: lots of carefully designed functions packed into one tool which is not easy to use at the end. He also looks at an alternative design: the Sardinian Pattada, a simple knife used by shepherds that allows multiplicity of uses...

Taking it to an extreme: researching specific knowledge work tasks will result in designing perfect "blades" for those tasks without taking into account how these "blades" are supposed to work together. 

One can argue that if we analyse all important tasks for a particular role in a specific context, we can think of an "optimised solution". Of course. This works if you believe that knowledge work is something that happens "at work" and that people do not have other "knowledge work" roles when they are out of the office. Which is never the case: cooking dinner or raising children is knowledge work, as many other things we do in life. 

I guess this is my main problem with task-based approach to knowledge work: I suspect that somewhere deep behind it there is an assumption that you can optimise "knowledge work at work" without taking into account "knowledge work outside work", without taking into account that multiple roles and contexts of people make their input so "subjective" and so valuable.


I know that this is messy and probably not understandable, but I need to get it out of my head, so sorry :) I'll work it out coming weeks and give you something nice to read ;)

Disclaimer: I need to do more careful reading of "task-based view on knowledge work" literature, I'm likely to take less extreme position. Especially because Jeremy Aarons is in task-based KM camp (1, 2, 3) and this means that there is something useful there :)

More on: knowledge networker 

  Sunday, July 25, 2004

  Blogging in NL: people and events

Ton makes a list of professional weblogs "around Netherlands":

On several occasions I have complained about the fact that it seemd hard to find Dutch blogs with a professional orientation. Most Dutch blogs seem to be lifelogs or linkdumps. But over time I did come across several of course, and now I have put them all together in a list.

I hope some of you will be able to add more!

Go over to my Wiki, to see or add more professionally oriented bloggers (in Dutch, or by Dutch or written in the Netherlands) to the list.

So, if you qualify make sure you add your name :)

And, because we are in a small country, we don't have much excuses for not meeting face-to-face. I took the liberty of adding DutchBloggingEvents page to Ton's wiki for coordination.

And, to make it even more practical - I'm in Amsterdam tomorrow (Monday 26 July) late afternoon, so if you are there and want to meet for a drink or a dinner, let me know (e-mail or call at 0615304114; of course I know that you had to put it in your agenda two months back, but who knows? ;).

  Now I'm blogging in Russian: Edges

Finally my Russian weblog goes public: Edges (RSS feed). A few things to explain:

Domain name

It lives at edges.twowayweb.ru. I took the domain name thinking about the future:

  • I believe in empowering people and being able to contribute actively to the online world is a part of it.
  • Although I'm not in Russia now it's always there when I think about the future.
  • I'd like to be able to share domain name with Russian colleagues who decide to start blogging or (who knows :) turn it into a business one day.

Weblog title

Actually, first I called it Boundary object, as a way to reflect the fun of building bridges across boundaries between communities, disciplines, countries, languages... But "boundary object" is a bit difficult to translate into Russian and it doesn't make short subdomain :) So, I called it Edges.

Why it took me so long to start blogging in Russian?

In fact I started it ages ago, but was struggling with difficulties of writing in Russian. I explained it in more detail in Russian, so just a quick summary for those who don't understand it - why I find blogging in Russian difficult:

  • Technical problems
    • finding software that would allow me blogging in Russian and provide enough functionalities for a professional weblog
    • being reluctant to go public before domain registration and proper domain mapping (because moving weblog to another domain is not a good idea)
  • Language of professional community
    • most of my professional community is English-speaking, there is not that much happening in Russia (and I'm not alone choosing English instead of my native language)
    • no critical mass of Russian bloggers with similar interests
    • difficulties of translating terminology
  • Difficulty of writing for non-existed audience
    • starting "Mathemagenic" was easy because I wrote for myself and only later discovered social effects of blogging
    • I started writing in Russian thinking about "an audience" and reputation building only to find out that I can't write for "an audience" without having one
    • decided that writing for "an audience" kills authenticity, motivation and all other things important for good blogging and stopped caring about it :)
  • Fear of schizophrenia
    • using weblog for personal knowledge management I prefer to have all ideas and notes in one place and one online identity, so having another weblog makes my life difficult
    • drawing a line between "in English" and "in Russian" is quite artificial because I'm a whole :)

Ideally I'd love to have one multilingual weblog, but I guess it's not that realistic at the moment (I need Radio for organising my PhD thinking and it doesn't support Cyrillic). I will see how writing in Russian goes...

This post also appears on channel multilingual blogging

More on: blog new Edges 

  Friday, July 23, 2004

  Davenport on personal information and knowledge management

Reading Stephanie Carlin's overview of a talk by Tom Davenport at APQC KM conference (via Bill Ives)... Some interesting points:

Why the idea of managing personal information to transform KM will take off:

  • information overload becomes a problem (hmm, there is an alternative opinion :)
  • "thanks to the Internet, Google, and other knowledge resources, there are greater expectations for information access"
  • "because of self-service strategies employed by many large organizations, employees often feel they are on their own"
  • "devices and tools for personal information management are multiplying, and they do not always integrate well with other knowledge tools in an organization"

There are three levels of activity in companies in personal information and knowledge management (based on talking to 21 managers of information and knowledge)

  • already there - "these corporations realized that individual productivity was important and were using technology to enhance personal information and knowledge. Moreover, they also focused on strategies to increase use and change behaviors"
  • on the road - "These corporations relied on technology to manage personal information and knowledge management, but did not focus on changing behaviors to improve the way people manage their information. Although they recognized personal information management was important, they were often consumed with other issues, such as platform integration or technology conversions."
  • not much on the horizon - little awareness or activity

What are leaders in this first level doing to successfully manage personal information and knowledge? Not surprisingly, many of these leaders are information technology companies that rely heavily on the use of emerging technologies such as instant messaging, personal data assistants, and shared repositories. Within these organizations, there are often individual-oriented support groups that exist with a holistic focus to personal information and technology. In addition, companies successful at managing information have defined productivity initiatives underway and an explicit knowledge management focus internally.

Issues that needs to be addressed:

  • focus of personal information and knowledge management: on jobs, a single process, or key tasks?
  • difficulty of measuring beyond "time saved"
  • "although many companies implement self-service strategies to encourage workers to be more resourceful in managing everything from benefits to vacations, it is worth asking whether they are really making life easier and saving time"
  • "finding the right way to change behavior is important. Specifically, personal information management needs to be integrated in the day-to-day workflow of a typical worker, and this may require behavioral changes. Whether through technology, education, or coaching, it is important to identify the right way to influence behavior in an organization."

Results of survey of using technologies to process work-related information: 3 h 4 min a day average and lots of other numbers. And:

It is interesting to note, said Davenport, that coping strategies are not necessarily sophisticated. When users are asked directly what they would change in their information environment, the majority of respondents said they "did not know." Others said they would not change anything, and a third group reported they would like to eliminate "junk mail and Spam" from their e-mail accounts. This reveals that most individuals either do not acknowledge a problem with their information environment or simply do not know how to begin to make a positive change.

Those who developed successful coping strategies:

  • use a few devices as possible, but learn their capabilities well; resist temptations of moving to new tools
  • invest time managing information on a weekly basic (e.g. "cleaning up" and organising their stuff)
  • get instructions in searching

And a bit more:

How can organizations put personal information and knowledge management to work? Individuals need to recognize how much of their time and productivity is tied up in personal information and knowledge management. At the same time, companies need to realize that their workers are wasting a lot of time trying to manage personal information and that better personal information and knowledge management means greater organizational success. Vendors will also play in integral role in successfully managing personal information and knowledge. In terms of technology, vendors provide "features and functions but not reliability," which Davenport described as "the biggest waste of our time." Also, vendors need to do a better job integrating tools and technologies within a corporation and provide training and education on effective use of these tools. Finally, all companies need to provide more instructors, role models, and insights on how to manage personal information and knowledge.

Interesting... My few cents:

1. Would like to know what are the companies that do it already. If you know some, please, let me know :)

2. Based on which criteria people with successful coping strategies were identified?

3. Here is comes again - lack of distinctions about information and knowledge, information management and knowledge management :) So at the end the data from study of personal information management is used to make conclusions about personal information and knowledge management (I know that disctinctions are difficult, but still mixing is not such a good idea).

4. I guess the main challenge is that people do not feel a need to change or do not know how to do it. So, it's not even about behaviours, it's about awareness and motivation...

More on: knowledge networker 

  New blog: Steve Denning on storytelling

Carla brings great news:

I just found out that Steve Denning also has a weblog. The postings in the month of July 2004 contain excerpts of chapters of his new book A leaders guide to storytelling. He did the same with his former book The Squirrel, posting parts on his homepage, and now in his weblog.

1. I'm curious to see if Steve will go beyond posting pieces of the book :)

2. I wonder why there are no links to RSS/Atom feeds at the weblog? Bloglines autodiscovery shows Atom (which is ok) and RSS (which seems to be abandoned as it doesn't include recent posts). Strange if you ask for a feedback.

  PhD is just a bumpy road, sooner or later I'll be there

I knew that doing a PhD is about ups and downs, but it's a kind of special fun to discover the bumpy road as you go along. This time it's about mixed feelings of discovering a good paper...

I'm reading A Confessional Account of an Ethnography About Knowledge Work by Ulrike Schultze (spotted it some time ago, but got a version only yesterday) and my feelings go everywhere between:

  • gut feeling of finding one of "the papers" that can make core foundations of my research
  • thinking "why the hell I didn't find the paper a year ago?"
  • admiration of research done by someone else and a way of presenting it
  • loosing confidence thinking "I will never be able to do it that good"
  • happy insights and "aha!" moments - "now I know what to do!"
  • getting a bit down understanding how much time doing it will take
  • trying to get myself together "it's just a bumpy road, sooner or later I'll be there"...

And I'm still in the middle of reading it :)

More on: knowledge networker PhD 

  Wednesday, July 21, 2004

  Radio evening: lessons learnt

Today Radio didn't behave well again, so I spent some time in the discussion group trying to figure out what to so. As some of the exchanges went back and forth I just summarise them here.

Radio discussion group has RSS feed, but it's hidden, so you wouldn't know unless you ask.

If you are (like me) struggling with lots of small problems, it's may be a good idea to clean Radio. As a result of using a tricky combination of scripts from Steve Hooker I managed to reduce my data files to half of their original size and to fix some other things. At this moment there are no simple "how-to" instructions, so check the discussion (make sure you read everything before starting :)

Steve also developed some other tools for Radio:

Btw, Steve was very helpful answering all my questions and his company also offers services in developing corporate blogging (so you know whom to ask :)

  KM journals and magazines

The list comes from my colleague Guido Annokkee, who works for our internal information center (and although Guido and his colleagues are much more than librarians I worship them :)

I'm looking for a good journal for publishing on my PhD research. At this moment I'm reworking personal something management paper into a journal article (restructuring and adding theory), but thinking about more...

Please, let me know if you know other relevant journals, have comments about those from the list or can give specific recommendations which one I should choose.

More on: KM PhD 

  On cultural stereotypes

Just filled in a survey from my company on "how do I want our canteen to operate?" (we are moving to a new building in few months). One of the questions was about time when I'd like to have lunch, giving me an opportunity to choose between 4 options of 30 minutes long.

I guess you need to be Dutch to assume that 30 minutes is enough for lunch :) I want 1-1,5h, good food and preferably a walk after it, but there is no way to fill it in... I guess I should spend lunch time in another country :)))

Just an example of how often we try to put others in the frame of our own experiences... Guilty of that as well :)

One of my professional quests is about recognising and appreciating differences, getting out of the box of your own stereotypes and habits, finding multiple perspectives... I guess it's coming from my belief in multipolar world.

Back to work.

More on: cross-cultural 

  Tuesday, July 20, 2004

  FOAF Camp - August 19 and 20 2004, Campus UTwente

FOAF Camp - August 19 and 20 2004, Campus UTwente (via Marc Canter):

Two days of talking, hacking, socializing and making FOAF better. Held in the parklike surroundings of Twente University, hometown of the Grolsch beer brewery.

This gattering will be loosely based on the ideas pioneered at the *BSD and Apache Hackathons and last year's FooCamp; i.e. a self organizing group (though do suggest topics) working on cool things together; you can also use the FOAF wiki for ideas and notes.

Organized by the FOAF community for the FOAF community.

I guess it's a bit too technical for me, but may be I'll drop by: the whole thing happens next door from my appartment...

More on: learning event 

  Monday, July 19, 2004

  Time is the currency in the knowledge economy

Since long I have a feeling that time management and knowledge management are connected, but it wasn't really clear how. David Gurteen gives a simple answer: time is the currency in the knowledge economy, not money (actually referring to the article by Larry Prusak).

Sure... Most of things we need in knowledge economy - knowledge, trust, conversations - take time.

May be we should redefine effectiveness then: instead of striving to do things faster, we need to take time doing things... Be slower and pay attention... Let knowledge, trust, conversations grow...

More on: KM knowledge networker time 

  Sunday, July 18, 2004

  Weblog conversation tracking tool

First a quote from Kenneth Burke (stolen from Piers Young):

Imagine that you enter a parlour. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally's assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress.

Second, a scenario:

After coming back from a vacation you are trying to catch up with interesting stuff in weblogs you read. In one of them you find an interesting conversation on a topic you care about (let's say about weblog research :). The post you see is in a middle of the conversation: it refers to an earlier discussion and you see numerous comments and trackbacks... And of course you want to find out what was said before and after to know where to add your own 5 cents...

Third, challenges of tracking weblog conversations:

Finding earlier posts is not that difficult they are explicitly linked to, although it doesn't happen always and no one will spend time linking to all relevant posts. Most likely you will have to browse though several chains of weblog posts...

Finding later posts is a challenge: not all weblogs use trackbacks and tools for finding incoming links are far from being perfect.

You will have to check every post you find to see if it's really about the topic you are interested in (and sometimes to see if it's in the language you can understand :), or if it's just related reference or someone inspired to write about something quite different.

And next to it there are comments that sometimes even more interesting to read than posts...

Once you found most of the pieces of the puzzle you try to put it together into a whole in your head, which is not easy at all: instead of being clear as threaded discussion, weblog posts are interconnected into a complex web of relations (and some nice people also link to comments making it more complicated), the sequence of discovering pieces not necessary follows the sequence they unfolded over time, the arguments mix and mold...

Once you are done and ready to write your own post on the topic you probably will be kind enough to your readers to summarise the conversation and link to most important pieces, so they have a bit less work to do (but it's too much work to show them everything you found, so those who "want it all" have to follow you path by themselves).

Forth. Can we have a tool that makes it easier? What do I want from the tool like that?

  • helping me to find all pieces of a conversation, starting from any post in the middle
  • displaying them in one place, showing connections and chronological orger
  • making it easier to share with others

This should be possible, although there is a couple of obvious challenges:

  • defining boundaries: deciding which posts that do not belong to the conversation
  • visualising the whole thing

Fifth. Anyway, I have some ideas for the weblog conversation tracking tool for any developers who like challenges :) I think it could work more or less like that:

  1. You go to the tool and enter url which leads to a weblog post
  2. Tool scans incoming and outgoing links to the post and displays them
    • I guess for finding incoming links the tool have to check trackbacks and some of incoming link tracking tools
  3. You can click on all post found and decide for each of them if it is:
    • Not relevant => it's excluded from the picture or marked
    • Relevant => it marked as relevant
    • Relevant and you want to find all other related posts => steps 1-3 are repeated
  4. For all found posts the tool displays their titles and dates as well as links between them. Could be also nice to have all posts by the same author marked by colour or something like that.
  5. Once you think you are done, the tool allows you rearranging posts, so you can see the logic better
  6. You can save the whole thing and link to it. Others can open it for editing and then save as their own version of the conversation.

Comments? Suggestions?

This post also appears on channel weblog research


  Saturday, July 17, 2004

  India: dreams into plans

Instead of sleeping I'm totally trapped by Indian stories of Stephanie Booth... Just two pieces I loved:

A Day in India

As she had tried to domesticate Indian time, she had little by little, without being really aware of it, inserted herself in the outside world in this strange way that Indians have, allowing a part of her individuality to dissolve into it. The world she now lived in was not the tame world of her homeland; it was wild and unpredictable like the feral cats who lurked in and out of the kitchen and rubbish heap during the night. She was living in the uncharted territories, in a place where our rules do not apply; and to survive she had had to dive deep into it, losing some of herself in the process.

A Tourist in India

Iíve always hated being associated with Ďtouristsí, in India or elsewhere.

Tourists come to see, not to share. They watch the world outside from cozy A/C boxes. They are impolite, they donít know how to dress or behave, they canít eat the food or find their way around without a map. They see what they are meant to see, stay in places specially designed for them, and buy things in shops that nobody else would buy. They have money, lots of it.

In some ways, I have to admit that I am indeed a tourist. I take lots of photographs. I buy loads of stuff in shops to bring back to Switzerland for my enjoyment and that of others. I donít really keep an eye on what I spend, I eat in nice places, I go to the cinema as often as I like.

But on the other hand, I much prefer trying to share the life of Ďnormalí people or just walk around the town Iím staying in, rather than sleep in expensive places and do the things that only the tourists do.

I like people. I do my best not to turn them into objects. I like everzday life. I like soaking in the atmosphere of a place or time.

Bringing all memories of my 4-long-years-back trip to India again... One more reminder that it's time to stop dreaming and start planning...

More on: India travel 

  Improving Knowledge Workers' Productivity and Organisational Knowledge Sharing with Weblog-based Personal Publishing

In case you wonder what to read this weekend: Martin Roell published 0.9 version of the paper for his BlogTalk presentation - Distributed KM - Improving Knowledge Workers' Productivity and Organisational Knowledge Sharing with Weblog-based Personal Publishing.

This paper briefly explores the failure of traditional knowledge management to adress the problem of knowledge worker productivity and argues that a deeper understanding of knowledge work is necessary to improve it. It then explores knowledge work and how it is supported with information technology tools today, focussing specially on the email client as a knowledge work tool.

The paper introduces weblogs as personal publishing tools for knowledge workers and shows how personal publishing supports knowledg work processes, is personally beneficial to the knowledge worker and helps the dissemination of knowledge through an organisation.

Martin intergrates lots of thinking on "blogs in KM", so, next to an interesting read by itself, this paper is a good starting point to discover follow-up reading.

  Friday, July 16, 2004

  Weblog conversations: definition and characteristics

Pieces from thinking on weblog conversations...

My own (working) definition of weblog conversations:

  • weblog posts and comments
  • on a specific topic
  • interlinked

The combination of all these three is important. For example, according to my definition, these are NOT weblog conversations:

Characteristics of weblog conversations

  • distributed over multiple weblogs (without any borders: if you study 100 weblogs you can be never sure that you have all pieces of the puzzle)
  • lack of bi-directional links: in most cases there is a link from a later post pointing to an earlier one, but not vice-versa (This problem could be solved with the use of trackbacks, but many popular blogging platforms do not support trackbacks yet.)
  • tangential: each post can "belong" to several different conversations at the same time

This post also appears on channel weblog research

  Thursday, July 15, 2004

  New Bloglines

A few months back I left Radio news aggregator behind: it wasn't scaling anymore. I tried several news aggregators, but ended up with Bloglines, mainly because I need it from work, from home and from all those strange places where I get online when travelling.

Recently Bloglines selebrated one year anniversary and updated their interface. Between all other things they added three had a lot of impact on me:

  • mark unread option that I was dreaming about to make sure that I can find back posts that need more time to read without bookmarking them
  • unsubscribe option that helps me cleaning my scary 200+ blogs reading list
  • number of subscribers shown for every feed

The last one got me really scared when I found out that number of subscribers for my weblog is three times higher than I expected. The feeling reminds me the similar one when I realised I was in Google:

Itís not funny. Itís nice at the beginning to see your name at the top. It takes a lot of courage later to continue writing. Just because you feel that you are in the "spot-light".

See also: Richard MacManus on subscriber stats in Bloglines.

  On human voice, non-tech bloggers and linking

Human voice, non-tech bloggers and linking may be not that connected for you, but they are for me: bits of thinking and feeling provoked by Heather's "Marketing at Microsoft" Blog :)

On human voice

For me Microsoft is a powerful example of corporate blogging: it destroyed "evil" image of the company that I had (yes, although being on Windows myself, I always had "open source spirit" guys around :).

Some time back I articulated it replying to Heather's question about business value of (her) blogging:

Your weblog is one of 3 I read from Microsoft people :) I like the tone and style and openess. It feels like being a friend of someone recruiting for Microsoft and listening to "stories from the field" over coffee. I don't know how good it is for finding better people for Microsoft, but definitely it helps to understand your role in the process. And I enjoy it. Think of customer satisfaction :))) I may be angry when Windows crashes, but I'm more able to accept it and wait for a better version when I see human faces of people in the company.

May be not very rational, but how much of our relations are rational anyway?

Non-tech bloggers

Heather in I hate that I am jealous of the tech bloggers... 

I don't begrudge the technical bloggers here their community. I actually think it is really cool. I stopped by one of the parties at the MVP summit and it was really amazing to see how excited people were about getting together. It's just that I never felt like these were ďmy peopleĒ.

I realize that blogging took off in the tech space quickly. I just feel a little bit like the bumble-bee girl in the video trying to find my bumble-bee peeps. I'm very happy with the people I get to communicate with outside of Microsoft. Just wish there were some more of us on the business side in the company that could get together and share. The first round of drinks would be on me!

Unfortunately we (me at least :) don't know much about dynamics of blogging inside companies*. Outside you can always hope to find some strange people sharing your interests, but I could imagine that it could be lonely behind the firewall. I wonder if it's just a problem of growth or natural limitation for small companies or people with specific interests.

Finally, on linking. Heather asks when is it OK to solicit links? (links to your blog). I thought I'd share my experiences here...

There are two sides of it. First, about someone asking me to link to their weblog.

I'm probably bad: I don't do favours :) I find linking to someone because I was asked to totally strange... I know the value of welcoming for newcomers and the value for myself when I discover a new blog via someone's link, but still I find "just linking" strange... I usually link when something in a weblog resonates with my own thinking and provokes me to write. Then I link a lot :)

The second side is about asking others to link to you. I never did it... Partly because I started blogging for myself and wasn't caring much about incoming links and number of readers. Partly because I was lucky to start in a "good neighbourhood", quickly discovering people with similar interests, getting triggered, engaging into conversations, linking and getting linked back.

But I think that there is a trick here: it's not enough to write something interesting, it is important to link to others. Internet is about social visibility, so linking gives others a way to find you (and then it should be interesting enough :).

And - if you want to know about strategies that I'd call "aggressive on the edge of acceptance" ask Peter "Attention Whore" Caputa :) He will tell you about sending tips to other blogs'buy a link' experiment, Weblog Invasion Tour and I guess about many other ways he will invent soon :))


* I'm looking for cases of internal corporate blogging, so if you know a company ready to let me in for a study, let me know.

  Tuesday, July 13, 2004

  Trip report: index

An overview of interesting ideas during conferences I visited. Organised by themes.

[I'm going to work on it next couple of days. Links and updates will follow. Be patient, please.]


Themes (note: there is something on weblogs in each of them :)


ED-MEDIA04 proceedings are offline (CD). The best way to get more is to Google/contact the authors.

I-KNOW 04 proceedings are offline (paper). I link to papers/presentations if authors provided them online. Some of the presentations will be online at the conference web-site (hopefully soon enough). I'll try to go back and to link to them, otherwise check links to the program next to each reference.

BlogWalk 3.0 didn't have any proceeding or presentations, just Open Space discussion. I have only brief notes which wouldn't help you much. Notes of other people could be found at BlogWalk channel. The best way to find out what we did there is to read blog posts, ask participants or be there next time :)

BlogTalk 2.0 is covered online pretty well, but most of the papers are not ready (deadline is early September). I tried to link as much as possible, but I guess there is more online. BlogTalkViennaNotes wiki pages give good impression about sessions and should have more links if people are good enough to add them :) Many weblogs posts could be found via BlogTalk channel as well. Or Google is always there for you :)))

MILK forum: most of the presentations are online. I tried to provide an overview in my post, otherwise check MILK web-site.

  Trip report (3): knowledge/community mapping

Ideas and presentations from conferences I visited, on community/knowledge mapping (see other themes).  

It's difficult to draw the line between community and knowledge mapping: in most cases you want to know not only who is there and what they are talking about, but more precisely who knows what. The two themes are here just for an indication of where most effort goes in a specific case.

Community mapping

SELaKT - Social Network Analysis as a method for expert localisation and sustainable knowledge transfer by Tobias Mueller-Prothmann and Ina Finke at I-KNOW

  • abstract (and link to full-text if you are ready to pay), presentation
  • really interesting presentation that I managed to miss; on SNA applied in KM context

Blogosphere community formation, structure and visualization by Juan J. Merelo, Beatriz Prieto, Fernando Tricas at BlogTalk 2.0

  • abstract, presentation (OpenOffice format which I wasn't able to open), wiki notes
  • SNA (+tools) overview, results of analysis of Spanish weblogs 
  • if you are into SNA on weblogs talk to these guys!

Applying Social Network Analysis to a small Weblog Community: Hubs, Power Laws, the Ego Effect and the Evolution of Social Networks by Michael Schuster

  • abstract, wiki notes
  • bit of theory + case: community dynamics in (relatively closed) (relatively small) weblog community

Knowledge mapping

Supporting drug discovery research through knowledge modelling and integration by Edy S. Liongosari, Anatole V. Gershman & Mitu Singh at I-KNOW KM/learning track

  • nothing is online so far, but you can check older presentation (3.1MB!) that gives an idea or check other publications
  • interesting work on creating interconnected maps based on data from different sources...

Shared Conceptualizations in Weblogs by Anjo Anjewierden, Rogier Brussee and me

Ideas from MILK: multimedia interactions for learning and knowing project

  • community knowledge maps on large screens integrated with contact/presence awareness

Ontologies, topic maps, expert profiling, visualisations, etc.

Note: there was a lot on these topics at I-KNOW, check the program and special track on Semantic Web and Knowledge Discovery (many presentations are online).

Selected presentations (didn't go personally to most of them!), all links go to .pdf files

This post also appears on channels BlogTalk and weblog research

  Trip report (2): presence

Ideas and presentations from conferences I visited, somehow connected with the theme of presense (see other themes).

From examples to theory

The blog as an immersive space: Moblogging Jokkmokk 2004 by Stephanie Hendrick and Therese Örnberg at BlogTalk 2.0

'Live'-writing: weblogs and the coverage of reality by Lisbeth Klastrup at BlogTalk

Insights for tools

Ideas from MILK: multimedia interactions for learning and knowing project

  • co-presense over multiple environments: desktop, mobile, large screens

Weblogs and Location, beyond the limits of physical and virtual space by Mikel Maron at BlogTalk 2.0

This post also appears on channels BlogTalk and weblog research

More on: BlogTalk presense 

  Trip report (1): blogs and wikis implemented

Ideas and presentations about implementations of weblogs and wikis from conferences I visited (see other themes). These are the highlights grouped in themes (relevant for our research); I'll try to link to full sources as much as possible.

Weblog imlementations in corporate settings

Distributed KM - Improving Knowledge Workers' Productivity and Organisational Knowledge Sharing with Weblog-based Personal Publishing by Martin Röll at BlogTalk 2.0

Informal, joined up knowledge sharing using connected weblogs in pursuit of Mental Health service improvement by Lee Bryant at BlogTalk 2.0

Using Weblogs as Project Management Tools in innovative projects by Michael Schuster at BlogTalk 2.0

  • abstractpresentation, wiki notes
  • case study: multi-author project weblog with students for real-life project => used as discussion board, not very interactive, topics not used

Enhancing Blogs with a dual interaction design by Brigitte Roemmer-Nossek at BlogTalk 2.0

  • abstract, wiki notes
  • case study: virtual communication among a class of trainees and among their coaches during on-the-job training
  • results
    • coaches didn't expept the tool (not many, mainly to communicate with trainees, but not between each other), trainees did
    • weblogs worked better than discussion forum and chat in two previous cases

Learning from weblogs of others (re: weblog apprenticeship)

Legitimised theft: Distributed apprenticeship in weblog networks, our own work, presented at I-KNOW KM/learning track 

    • paper, presentation
    • conceptual framework, "public weblogs" case and possible limitations of implementing in companies

Using weblogs for eliciting new experiences and creating learning elements for experienced-based information systems by Gabriela Avram, Eric Ras, Stephan Weibelzahl, presented at I-KNOW KM/learning track

    • Gabriela, is anything online?
    • a case of weblog implementation in a company
    • study of how weblog posts could be useful as resources for (more) formal learning programs => yes, they are useful

Collective blogging from the view of a context-oriented understanding of knowledge by Markus Glötzel at BlogTalk 2.0

    • abstract, wiki notes
    • a case of weblog implementation
    • study of how people contextualise observations through blogging and what others can learn from it => weblogs allowed totally exterior person to construct narrative based on what information had been stored in the weblogs

Beyond webpublishing: a journey into reading... lurking... learning... - my presentation at EdMedia symposium on weblogs and learning

Weblogs in educational settings

Seeding conversational learning environments: Running a course on personal webpublishing and weblogs by Sebastian Fiedler at BlogTalk 2.0

Don't remember the title, but it was interesting by Adrian Miles at EdMedia symposium on weblogs and learning

Blogging as a dynamic, transformative medium in the writing classroom of an American Liberals Arts College by Barbara Ganley at BlogTalk 2.0

Blogging in higher education: 10 thoughts/lessons by Tom de Bruyne at BlogTalk 2.0

Weblogs in journalism

Blog to work: blogging and journalism by Jane Perrone at BlogTalk 2.0

  • abstract, wiki notes
  • on experiences writing weblogs for Guardian Unlimited: personal blogging vs. blogging for work; role of weblogs in news coverage

From weblogs to wikis

Bottom up Knowledge Management with Weblogs and SnipSnap by Stephan J. Schmidt & Matthias L. Jugel

Roughing up processes the Wiki Way - Knowledge communities in the context of work and learning processes by Frank Fuchs-Kittowski, David Fuhr, André Köhler at I-KNOW KM/learning track 

  • hope presentation will be online soon
  • one more case of wiki implementation in Fraunhofer, this time in connection with formal learning program

This post also appears on channels BlogTalk and weblog research

  Monday, July 12, 2004

  Online communication tools: designed for a group, experienced by an individual

Nancy White on something we discussed at CPsquare meeting last month:

There is insufficient experience and practice to slap labels around and make claims that completely ignore a key factor of online interaction technologies.
  • They are designed for a group experience.
  • They are almost always experienced by an individual in the isolation in interaction with their computer.

My experience is not your experience. Further more, it is hard to even describe OUR experience. We romanticize the concept of group interaction, but in truth, it is imperfect, online and offline. And online we donít see the consequences as quickly nor are our communication antennae, trained for millennium to F2F communication, as attuned to online communication. I think we are getting better. I see changes. But I canít see if you are smiling, frowning, curious or pissed off as you read this. And if I want to communicate and engage with you, that matters to me. (If I just want to spout and publish, well, you are out of luck!)

A simple example: smileys look different in all IM tools I use and I never know what is used on another side... It keeps me wondering how my ;) looks at your end...

More on: communities 

  How do you want research results to be shared?

I'm struggling with something and need your thoughts. Aldo and me has written a paper on weblog conversational practices (this is a follow-up for the earlier paper; includes in-depth analysis of actionable sense conversation). It's under review, but (of course!) I want to share it.

I think that the most interesting part of the paper is the analysis of actionable sense conversation: it provides an image of the conversation and illustrates some patterns that would feed well into several discussions around (at least into: complexity of weblog conversations, comments or not, tracking weblog conversations).

There are several options of posting the paper (or parts of it) online:

  • full paper in .pdf (.doc; .html) 
    • pro
      • readers can get an overview of the whole thing
    • con
      • it's not a final version yet, so it's likely to be changed
      • there are only a few people who would read the whole thing
      • linking to/commenting on the whole paper is difficult
  • post part of the paper as a single text (thinking about the data analysis part, which takes 6 pages anyway :), .html
    • pro
      • one place overview of things interesting for the blogosphere
      • easier to link
    • con
      • still too large: less readers
      • commenting is difficult
  • cut paper into pieces and post them as weblog posts (as Alex Halavais did for his chapter on weblogs and learning); could also come in a page a day format
    • pro
      • small pieces: easy to link, to comment and to integrate in other discussions
    • con
      • overview is lost

At this moment I'm trying to choose between last two options (I'll post full paper later anyway), so if you have any preferences, please, let me know.

  Sunday, July 11, 2004

  You can't participate in life via conference call: media vs. pace

I couldn't leave it unnoticed: Martin Dugage, you can't participate in life via conference call.

This is an ad (original), but the image is very powerful. Thinking of f2f time, conference backchannelling, sightseeing, dialogue in slow motion...

I guess it's not about tools we use, it's about pace: you can't connect with others at sixty-five miles an hour. You can't learn about a city jumping here and there in a packadged tour, you can't became friends in half an hour... Weblogs may mediate presence, but connecting with others still takes time as pregnancy takes nine month...

More on: time 

  Back from travelling: thinking themes and lessons learnt

My three weeks of travel are over. I'm back home, unpacking, tuning into regular rhythms and trying to connect bits and pieces into a whole...

Themes to think about:

  • Networking: from awareness to action, dynamics, scaling
  • Interplays: tools and practices, users and developers
  • Reflective practices
  • (PhD) research methodology: design research, multiple perspectives, Niels Bohr, (in)visibility as a lack of dimensions
  • Conversations: multiple media

Lessons learnt and other unrelated notes in no particular order:

  • never ever think of finishing a paper while travelling to conferences - spoils all the fun of sightseeing and f2f time
  • how comes that I was meeting "hypertext guys" at all places I went?
  • survival Italian: spremuta di arancia
  • when you decide to have a "laptop-free" day you need it most (or: one step closer on investing into something light and small)
  • where to eat in Milan (or: poetry and food) - find link!
  • lunch at a conference venue is not necessary the fastest one: sometimes it makes sense to walk more
  • before blogging a conference check if there are collaborative notes 
  • for a real-life metaphor of being lost on the Net, get into the net labyrinth at  Mur insel in Graz (and while you are in Graz, remember that the best time to walk to Schlossberg is 2 at night :)
  • walking in Lugano be prepared for salsa dancing
  • when you start believing that there is no one to talk about weblogs, you find a great company to do so
  • it's easy to start falling in love with everything Italian
  • three weeks with a small suitcase is not that impossible
  • it's not about getting to the colourful house, it's about conversations with people on the way there
  • it's a pleasure to see Earth from above again and again: each time there is a discovery
  • in spite of another round of Radio problems, I'm not going to change the tool (at least until liveTopics functionality gets into k-collector ;)
  • and, of course, all interesting personal KM discussions happen when I travel...

I'll be editing old posts during coming week, don't be surprised...

Something else: my weblog turned two years the day before I started travelling and I forgot to post about it. I guess blogging is getting so much interwoven into my way of doing things that anniversaries do not matter anymore :)

More on: liveTopics travel 

  Friday, July 09, 2004

  MILK: multimedia interactions for learning and knowing

My notes from MILK Forum - Supporting virtual teams for innovation and competition - Keep in Touch and Be Aware - 9 July at University of Milan Bicocca.

MILK (multimedia interactions for learning and knowing) is a European project focused on creating a solution for supporting knowledge and working processes in knowledge intensive organizations:

The conference focuses on the main results of the MILK project and presents an innovative Knowledge Management solution. In particular, collaborative working environments based on large screens supporting informal communication and knowledge sharing within and among communities in different work practices situations will be presented and exhibited. The interactive large screens integrated with the mobile and office environments have shown a noteworthy raise of corporate awareness of what goes on and who knows what in the organisation.

The solution they presented is quite impressive. From their about page:

'The MILK Solution Metaphor'

MILK is willing to support the current working place scenario where knowledge workers dynamically change between different working situations; they work in front of their PC in the office, they work with others in formal and informal groups often with little opportunity to have face-to-face meetings, they work frequently outside the office when travelling, or at a clientís site having only their mobile equipment with them.

In other words: this is a single environment that allows different uses from different perspectives... The MILK solution (.pdf) perspectives:

At the desktop

  • Promote publishing and sharing of documents
  • Promote discovering of related activities in organisation

While mobile

  • Make documents accessible when needed
  • Provide both Content and People information in an integrated way

While in shared office places

  • Provide support for on-the-fly communication even across sites
  • Provide an overview of ongoing activity in the organisation

All integrated

  • same information presented in different ways on different media
  • consistent interaction style to encourage cross-media usage

Desktop solution has a nice feature of adding new documents: when you create one you can add metadata (also by just drag-n-drop from project ontology displayed at the same screen), when possible related documents are shown. You can decide to keep document for yourself or to release it to the community.

Large screens are amazing. I'm big fun of shared artefacts (thinking of windows wiki :) to support shared understanding, reflection and work. Large screens used in social spaces in the organisation can play an important role for sharing digital artefacts that otherwise hidden behind small - not shared - screens.

Uses of large screens in MILK is guided by a metaphor of interactive broadcast (zipped huge .pdf): screens switch between displaying several views. People near the screen can login and then have a bit of personalisation.


  • Thematic view presents a kind of knowledge map of the community
    • bubbles for projects and groups
    • when you zoom into a bubble it shows a selection of related documents (recent and frequently used) as well as their authors
    • each document you can bookmark, print, send by e-mail (you have to login and then select yourself to make sure it gets to you)
  • People finder presents a social map
    • people with their locations indicated by color
    • if you zoom in you can see current availability of a person and ways to contact him (e.g. see if person available by mobile or e-mail or stands in front of a large screen in another location, so you can start videoconferencing on the fly)
  • Meeting channel supports ad-hoc videoconferencing or other modes of contacting people (e.g. sending sms to their mobile)
  • News and notifications channel brings pop-up news and notifications; could be used to broadcast important message during specific time

Switching between views is guided by presence of people in front of a screen and their interaction with it, as well as a schedule that shows one or another channel depending on location of a screen, time or specific activities or events in a company (see huge pdf for more details :).

The whole solution is more or less component based, so you can plug existing systems (e.g. document management system) into it.

So far the system is implemented in two organisations. Some lessons learnt are this presentation.

The only problem is that implementing the whole thing costs 130.000 euro :)

I was impressed to see many KM ideas I believe in implemented. Of course, there are weak points as well:

  • costs
  • centralised architecture of the system
  • thematic views are representation of "group think" (recent and most used documents): good for developing shared understanding, but innovation happens on the fringes
  • ontologies are centralised: I wonder how far they would work in e.g. multinational cases
  • and, of course, I want more autonomy for an individual :)

As a bonus point: two presentations which are more conceptual then about the system itself:

MILK project will be featured at Knowledge Board in August, so you can always find out more if you want. Or check reports and publications on their web-site.

  Thursday, July 08, 2004

  extisp.icio.us: visualisation of your del.icio.us tags

Of course I am supposed to do sightseeing now, but this is too great to leave without mentioning: extisp.icio.us by Kevan Davis visualises tags you use for del.icio.us (thanks to Liz Lawley for the pointer).

So, my del.icio.us links in visual format...

Update: the story behind extisp.icio.us [via Lee]

  BlogTalk 2.0: Recovery program

Ton on BlogTalk dreaming - Dreamfeed: You know it's been intense....

......when you dream about blogging the BlogTalk conference.........when you wake up realising you forgot what you were blogging in your dream.........and then think, ah well, I'll check the RSS feed of it later, and copy it from there. ;D

It's been great the past three days! Thanks to everyone who made that possible.


Did not have any dreams about blogging: travel, lack of sleep and information overload make me falling into dreamless sleep at every opportunity.

I am still on the road, now on a short detour in Italy, blending sightseeing, good food and noone to talk about weblogs into a recovery program. I will be back home on Sunday, so hope to write on two conferences before BlogTalk, to edit my BlogTalk notes and to post reflections on what all these new ideas mean for me and my research.

But the best part of this travel was meeting people. Thanks for all for sharing f2f time, food, drinks, walks and creative conversations (and special thanks to Sebastian and Rick for their company during various part of this trip).

Now leaving coolness of Internet cafe for treasures of Bologna...

More on: BlogTalk travel 

  Tuesday, July 06, 2004

  BlogTalk 2.0: overflow

Two panels to go and I'm not able to write anymore. Listening only mode. Will post links later

  BlogTalk 2.0: Shared Conceptualizations in Weblogs (our presentation)

Anjo Anjewierden / Rogier Brussee / Lilia Efimova: Shared Conceptualizations in Weblogs

Our slides are at http://sharedcon.notlong.com. Please, ping this post if you are writing about :)

See also:

For those who are interested: Anjo is planning to release the tool (called Sigmund :), but it will take some time. It will be announced in our weblogs...

  BlogTalk 2.0: Panel 6

Markus Glötzel: "Collective blogging from the view of a context-oriented understanding of knowledge"

Reinhard Prügl / Michael Schuster: "Using Weblogs as Project Management Tools in innovative projects"

Anjo Anjewierden / Rogier Brussee / Lilia Efimova: Shared Conceptualizations in Weblogs


  BlogTalk 2.0: Panel 6 - weblogs and KM

Martin Röll: Distributed KM - Improving Knowledge Workers' Productivity and Organisational Knowledge Sharing with Weblog-based Personal Publishing (slides and more)

  • knowledge workers are those who do interesting conversations at work
  • more irrelevant stuff - pageRank?

Lee Bryant: Informal, joined up knowledge sharing using connected weblogs in pursuit of Mental Health service improvement

  • what doesn't work in knowledge sharing (you know that, so I'm not typing :)
  • Social Software
    • social in the way it is connceived: does what we want
    • social in its purpose: connecting
    • social in the way it behaves: adapts to us
  • Lessons from Social Software
      • informality
      • aggregation
      • bottom-up emergent metadata
      • 'loosely joint' mark-up and linking culture
      • simple conceptual models
  • There is a lot of interesting stuff, but it should be online, so I'll link to it
  • Social engagement approach
  • Use a project weblog to learn their issues and language and to help teach them ours
  • start where they are comfortable
  • code: if it doesn't work with trough it away - who cares about a code...
  • one by one, group by group, there is no mass approach
  • http://www.nimhenorthwest.org.uk/
  • http://kc.nimhe.org.uk/
  • heavily invest into understanding users
  • anatomy of a group
  • wiki is prepopulated (re: blank page problem)
  • ultifaceted - multi-perspective metadata
  • total aggregation, composed feed and take it out of the system
  • online social networking works best for a specific purpose
  • take content as feeds

[to be finished]

  BlogTalk 2.0: Panel 5

Jane Perrone: Blog to work? Blogging and journalism

  • Quote from Simon Waldman: "My overall feeling is that any journalist doing this is probably learning more about how the web works than any amount of professional training could provide..."
  • Much about drawing the line between blogging for work and blogging for passion
  • Thinking how blogging fits as an integral part of covering any major new story
  • More transparency: giving an insights about journalists' work
  • How to expain blogging as part of the news for people who have no idea about blogging?

Horst Prillinger: 'Are You Serious?' - the potential and the reality of weblogs as mass media, and why they matter

  • journalism:
    • first-hand research
    • multiple sources
    • different perspective
    • verification of sources
    • editorial process
    • facts vs. opinion
  • Weblogs
    • second-hand data
    • one source (+ snowballing)
    • one perspective
    • no verification
    • instant publishing
    • mix of fact and opinion
  • mosaic of weblogs

Peter Praschl: After midnight. Weblogs and jam sessions

  • History of jam sessions in jazz... As a way to escape rules, to experiment and to release passion.
  • Jam:
    • you need commont ground to start improvisation
    • belonging to a band
    • finding new songs

Thinking of jazz metaphor and day job discussion

  BlogTalk 2.0: Mena and Ben Trott

Mena and Ben Trott: Blogs, Bandwidth, and Banjos: Tightly Knit Bonds in Weblogging

  • "Weblogging revolution": when weblogs become invisible, embedded in what you do
  • TypePad
    • 33% of TypePad weblogs are private (not indexed, not pinging, etc.)
    • 10% are password-protected
    • -> only exist for those who are intended to see them
  • Why do you out them online then?
  • Behaviour influences tools

The bottom line: I'm not impressed. Mena and Ben wasn't here yesterday, were 15 minute late for their keynote presentation and didn't really tell anything new (apart from the banjo story that was entertaining, but more appropriate in another context). May be there are some serious reasons behind it, but it looks like the attitude.

For me it's quite connected with yesterday's discussion about developers not listening to their users :)

Update: Mena has posted on the talk, so you can judge for yourself. It's a pity that Mena and Ben didn't have time to communicate - their experience could add to the conversation... Anyway, online is always there...

This post also appears on channels BlogTalk 

More on: BlogTalk 

  Monday, July 05, 2004

  BlogTalk 2.0: Panel 4 - blog adoption and blog communities

Azeem Azhar / Stefan Glänzer / Max Niederhofer: Does blogging suck?

not many notes as I was reloading

  • an interesting study of correlation of blogger characteristics with growth of 26 communities in different countries
  • quantitive data (want to see the slides)
  • qualitative
    • three types of epitaths ("leaving notes") and correlation with returning
    • mobile blogging: heavy start and then drop-of; if heavy usage is for weeks, then it stays

Nico Lumma "The German Blogosphere - some facts and figures"

  • Interesting stats and implications re: German blogs, find presentation

Michael Schuster "Applying Social Network Analysis to a small Weblog Community: Hubs, Power Laws, the Ego Effect and the Evolution of Social Networks"

  • community "connections"
    • comments - 40%
    • blogroll - 40%
    • stories - 20%
  • incoming links
    • 20% blogs have no links
    • 60% blogs have less then 3 links
  • linking is necessary for the discovery?
  • community pressure from A-list blogs is something that turns people away: linking practices of A-list bloggers define the interconnectedness of a community


  • Numbers of password-protected blogs
    • 10-30% of hosted blogs
  • Numbers of weblogs: should they be calculated relative to the population?
  • Effects of media attention on growth of weblog numbers?
    • many new weblogs, but most drop-out fast
    • practices?
  • How to encourage people to blog?
  • Practices?
    • types of bloggers?
    • closed communities
    • clusters of German blogs are platform based (not in other countries?)
    • try to be part of local community and to strengthen it: why professional blogs?
    • ask questions better -  communities vs. social pressure

This post also appears on channels BlogTalk and weblog research

  BlogTalk 2.0: Panel 3

Juan J. Merelo / Beatriz Prieto / Fernando Tricas: Blogosphere community formation, structure and visualization

  • Maps as projections, multiple projections are possible
  • Evolution of communities
    • where and how weblogs travel over time
    • future trajectories

You need to see the presentation for it...

Talked to JJ yesterday, they have some tools available for a use... have so many ideas for joint work...

Markus Oswald / Brigitte Roemmer-Nossek / Erich Gstrein / Markus F. Peschl: Enhancing Blogs with a Dual Interaction Design

  • Implementation case: virtual communication among a class of trainees and among their coaches during on-the-job training
    • Two panels in editing modes: topic-based visual navigation + editing window
    • Results
      • Coaches didn't expept the tool (not many, mainly to communicate with trainees, but not between each other), trainees did
      • Weblogs worked better than discussion forum and chat in two previous cases
  • The tool also used in other cases

I wonder if success is due to the "dual" design or something else?

  • I asked later: seems that it's not much of the interface

Mikel Maron: Weblogs and Location, beyond the limits of physical and virtual space

  • Nice ideas and applications for geocoding in blogs
  • Location.root for Radio and plug-ins for other tools


  • Hospitality that makes gurus?
  • Links vs. content: how they are correlated?
    • JJ: mapping communities based on links vs. based on content would give similar results.
    • Don't think so (re: links are not only about content, but also sign of relations, which are more than content connections)
  • Where would you place you next dollar?
    • Brigitte: consulting for organisations
  • Dialogue vs. desire of being found: moving weblog as a result of someone finding it
  • Anonimity in public vs. intranet (re: Elmine's power differences)

This post also appears on channels BlogTalk and weblog research

  BlogTalk 2.0: Torill Mortensen

Torill Elvira Mortensen: Dialogue in slow motion  Ė  the pleasure of writing and reading across the web (see notes and links)

All bloggers assume the other

We are hardwired to accept the existence of others and to communicate with them

  • Communicating as a need
  • Connection with Emergence: sells communicating with each other

What makes us different from sleem molds is the sophistication of our needs and tools we use

Blogs are between oral and written communication: oral immediacy and informality, written persistence and formality

  • We expect turn-taking as a given right and not one of the possibilities

We need to start learning to live with different modalities

Tezt as a play between authors and readers: in between blog posts, in the space created by links

  • Space between texts could be compared to sidewalks (re: Emergence again + city metaphor ;)
  • Blogger strolls slowly through the city: you don't understand neighbourhood by driving through it

You can choose the level and the mode of this game (commenct and trackbacks are for hard-core blog players :)

Loved this talk: as a beautiful interplay of ideas, conversations, examples and themes in the blogosphere

This post also appears on channels BlogTalk and weblog research

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  BlogTalk 2.0: Panel 2 - blogging beyond webpublishing

Stephanie Hendrick / Therese Örnberg: The blog as an immersive space: Moblogging Jokkmokk 2004 (presentation, handout)

(Co)Presense in weblogs: interaction, immediacy, immersion, intimacy, involvement, individual user preferences

Dispersive presence

  • indication of shared space (cognitive blending)
  • social interactions
  • sensory input
  • asynchronious

Blends build the spaces...

Can't wait to see the paper...

Lisbeth Klastrup: 'Live'-writing: weblogs and the coverage of reality

  • The web as a reality show...
  • Blogs as reality-TV: diary weblogs are interesting as reality-tv
  • When and how the web is live?
  • liveness - when media dissappear...
  • Deixis: language code of liveness, language people use to point to here and now...
    • examples of elements of blogging representing liveness: spelling, posting real-time, lack of body control, etc... -> think of tools to analyse weblogs
  • "Liveness" is a stylistic feature and conscious strategy of some blogs

One more paper I want to read.

Elmine Wijnia: Understanding blogs: a communicative perspective (slides)

communicative symmetry between partipants <- ideal speach situation

ideal speech

  • equal access (objectivity)
  • not power differences (intersubjectivity)
  • participants act truthfully (subjectivity)

information flow patterns

  • allocution - traditional media
  • consultation - traditional web-site
  • registration - questionnaires
  • conversation - internet forum


  • possibility to interact
  • provide enough context
  • caveat: power differences in organisational blogs are real threats to communication

Finally, I've got some understanding of Habermas :) One more to read


Why in so many cases weblog use doesn't go beyond webpublishing?

  • Multiple channels
  • Do people need the richness?

Tools additions to make rich uses of blogs?

  • multiple channels
  • awareness of people looking at your weblog
  • streaming? (check with Stephanie)
  • easy tools are not that easy, making them easier...

See also: notes by Stephanie HendrickTherese Oernberg, Elmine Wijnia, others at BlogTalkNotesPanel2

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  BlogTalk 2.0: Panel 1 - tools in contexts

Stephan J. Schmidt / Matthias L. Jugel: Bottom up Knowledge Management with Weblogs and SnipSnap (presentation)

These guys do some interesting work with SnipSnap (integrated weblog/wiki solution) in Fraunhofer, but they talked mainly about bottom-up KM (which is kind of "common knowledge" in the blogosphere) and failed explaining the interesting part (what exactly they do, how people are motivated and the rest of details).

Daniel Dögl: "Zoomblox - A Universe Of Topics From Children For Children" (slides)

A great example what could be done with weblogs if you care: weblogging tool for kids, well thought interface, architecture and policies (should be on at www.zoombox.at somewhere autunm 2004).

Jörg Kantel: Turn Your Radio On or Tweaking And Tuning Your Weblog

Funny and entertaining talk on weblogs as an alternative media. Hope the presentation will be online, because it's a lot of interesting things that I don't want to type :)

Jon Hoem: Videoblogs as 'Collective Documentary' (presentationpresentation notes)

Two traditions: vogs (Adrian Miles) and moblogs; lots of interesting stuff after. Since talking with Adrian I'm getting an idea that videoblogs can be actually one step closer to be used than I thought before...


  • I asked what types of user studies they do. As far as I can there is much user studies, most just guided by their own perceptions on what users want...
  • What is a critical mass of people you need blogging to move it on in the company? We have to redefine what is critical mass :) Obviousely it's not in numbers...
  • Memory: achirves, wikis, documentary - is it unexpored area of blogging?

Other notes: Anu Gupta, Martin Roell, wiki: BlogTalkNotesPanel1

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  BlogTalk 2.0: Mark "hypertext" Bernstein

Mark Bernstein talked The Social Physics of New Weblog Technologies. Inspiring and very much "hypertext" talk where slides live their own life independently from the talk.

Some highlights (I'm not going to write detailed notes anyway :)

  • So far much of weblog research has been trying to convince the academy that weblogs matter. Why not conduct research that matters to weblogs?
    • "There is nothing on my PR radar what it more important than blogosphere."
    • Fast feedback loop...
  • Does blogging changes writers? How?
  • Research methods: don't reach for the obvious...
    • Fast feedback loop
      • client-side architectures - ideal for habits
      • server-side architectures - ideal for spontaneity
    • Studying practices: daily writing - habit - personal tools
    • Going beyond studying novices?
  • How much weblog costs: labor is the main costs? Understanding weblog economy
  • Ethnography of flame wars
    • "If you miss an opportunity to do ethnography the only thing you can do is archaeology"
  • Simulation studies on blogrolls; how weblog have resisted evolving to broadcast
    • "habitual linking practices"
  • "Today's news wrap tomorrow's fish"... what is a way to engage our archives into continues conversations

This post also appears on channels BlogTalk and weblog research

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I'm somewhere in between - feel like writing down things and at the same time not wanting to spend time on it since life interactions are so much fun :)

BlogWalk 3.0 went well: lots of new people, good conversations and walking around Vienna make a great mix. It's too late to write a summary, so just notes for myself (sorry for being cryptic):

  • more thinking on community discovery
  • conversations bounded to a community: social visibility, overlapping reading lists, shared thinking space, expectations and trust
  • actions: strong ties, trust, shared space, leadership (re: why weblogs are not good for actions)
  • awareness networks vs. action networks
  • multiple weblogs or multiple categories?
  • pKM action points

See notes by SuwAdalbert (also photos), Lee, Anu, Markus, Sebastian, Ton, Elmine...

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  Saturday, July 03, 2004

  Blog deprivation

I have no idea for how long Radio will work, but it works at the moment, so I can't miss this opportunity to share :)

I'm in Vienna, recovering from another portion of travelling and getting ready for the fun of meeting others. As you probably could guess I wasn't blogging because of some technical problems and it's still not clear if they will be fixed. Apart from that I had a great time :)

...to be continued... going to meet some real people now :)

  Radio troubles

I'm trying to fix problems with Radio. No blogging till 11 July if I don't manage to do it today :(

  Friday, July 02, 2004


[sent via e-mail on 24 June 2004]

My home PC is disconnected again, so I have no idea when I will be able to post. hopefully my friends can fix it before I'm back, otherwise I will be disconnected for two more weeks. Anyway, I need to get all these impressions out of my head.

Ed-Media has been a strange experience. The conference is huge - 1500 people - difficult to get an overview and to get around (also presentations are in two buildings with 10 min walk in between). The chances for serendipity should be good, but I really miss a cosy atmosphere and easy-to-establish-good-connections of smaller conferenced. But may be my reaction is due to the fact that it's not on my core topic anymore.

Anyway, so far I had great experiences. Between others conversations with Adrian Miles and Jenny Preece. These two alone would make it worth travelling.

Hovewer the main reason for being here was a simposia on weblogs and learning that we have organised. We had a few things to work out as part of the people who were going to come couldn't make it at the end. To be fair I was surprised: participants managed to survive three of us presenting in a row and stayed for a long discussion. We had an interested and responsive audience, so at the end the lack of presenters turned out to be a good thing: we had almost one hour for a discussion. I hope to post presentations once my connection gets better.

Strangely my energy level is so low now that I can't even write a summary :) Mix of stress, impressions and hot weather, I guess.

Later: see notes by Adrian Miles

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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: 4/10/2006; 4:02:00 PM.