‘Beyond blogging’ lessons learnt

by Lilia Efimova on 14 November 2007

Things that I’ve learnt from blogging that are relevant for ‘beyond blogging’ contexts and cases. I’m looking mainly at an intersection between blogging and work, since this is where my research and personal blogging experiences are.

[I did a “KM-flavored” version of this in my presentation yesterday, but I guess it’s relatively easy to draw organisational implications for most of the points.]

Personal passions have a (legitimate) place at work. Personal stories and personal voice turn into trusted relations. Passion drives expertise. People are more likely to believe another human being than an organisation or a computer. Showing emotions, telling personal stories, being passionate could be scary (especially in a hierarchical environments with power plays), but it is becoming an essential part of work.

Transparency is here to stay. Weblogs provide a visible, often public, trace of one expertise, actions and mistakes. There is no way to escape the past, one is always accountable. It’s not easy to write knowing that it is stays ‘out there’ forever, that it will be searched, aggregated, transformed and then linked back to you. We have to learn to let go the fear of making mistakes in public and learn how to make mistakes gracefully.

Microactions aggregate. Blogging is about microcontent – publishing small pieces of thought and commentary, anchored with permalinks and carried away by feeds. However, the real value is not at the post level – ecosystems between blog posts are more interesting and more important. Think of the fuzzy feeling of knowing someone from reading a weblog over time, implicit understanding of a new issue that emerges while following a conversation between bloggers or sense of belonging to a network of others – in all cases posts and links are only a tip of the iceberg. Counting and measuring those visible traces is tempting, but knowledge, reputation, relations are likely to escape rankings.

You never know where new connections emerge, but you can create right conditions. And then be prepared to discover your own ‘connectivity limits’ :)

Information overload exists. There are millions of blog posts out there – some of them are relevant and reliable, but most extraneous, incomplete and not interesting anyway – so how do we find those to read, to trust, to connect? Information overload exists, but mainly inside our heads. The world have changed from information scarcity to information abundance, but our habits and information strategies still have to adjust to it.

Everyday routines matter. Unless you don’t have anything else to do, blogging survives only if integrated into everyday world. Starting blogging is easy, staying blogging needs much more – embedding into one’s own information routines, work processes and (inter)personal practices, as well as transforming blogging routines when life takes another turn (like becoming a parent ;).

Authority becomes fluid. Formal hierarchies are still there, but blogging provides alternative routes. However, new blogging authorities are only as good as posts on their homepages, networks constantly evolve and anyway the share of attention one gets is more and more mediated by search engines (that might drop your valuable archives from their index :)

At the end it’s up to you. Making judgments, taking risks, taking responsibility. Crossing boundaries. Having fun.

Archived version of this entry is available at http://blog.mathemagenic.com/2007/11/14.html#a1954; comments are here.

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