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Enterprise Blogging... A "Disruptive Technology"? (and Ray Ozzie's blog is back)

Category Blogging

In the latest issue of Computerworld, there's an article titled Blogs Play A Role In Homeland Security.  It talks about how blogs ease the sharing of information from the bottom-up in critical infrastructure agencies.  It's an interesting article to see how groups are using blogs in the enterprise.  But there's a quote from a software vendor that states that enterprise blogs "have all the hallmarks of a disruptive technology".  Might that be a little strong?

To be sure, blogs can have some unique applications in an enterprise.  They can put a personal face on a corporation, much like
Ed Brill's blog for IBM.  And Joe Litton has some interesting ideas on the use of blogs in the software development cycle.  But "disruptive"?  Personal blogs are trendy and have opened up new avenues for communications.  But enterprise blogging is a different beast.

I think that this might be another case of software hype falling short of software reality.  Maintaining a blog for ANY reason, be it personal or corporate, is as much a matter of culture as of technology (perhaps even more so).  There are plenty of personal blogs that started out with great intentions and then haven't been updated in months (thank you,
Ray Ozzie!)  A software developer who loathes doing documentation isn't going to become a prolific documentation specialist just because he has a blog.  People who are hesitant to share information aren't going to start doing so just because the enterprise mandated the use of blogs.  This is an issue we're all too aware of with groupware, and it isn't any different here.

So...  do you think that enterprise blogging is a "disruptive technology"?

SIDE NOTE:  In the process of getting a link to Ray's blog as an example of a "dead blog", I discovered that he has started blogging again after an extended absence...)


Gravatar Image1 - Sorry - just noticed your last line!

Gravatar Image2 - Sorry - just noticed your last line!

Gravatar Image3 - Ray Ozzie has been updating his blog recently so he;s probably not such a good example of a dead blog right now.

Gravatar Image4 - I've never really liked that term "disruptive technology". I do think that enterprise blogging has some potential. Email is over-used, particularly for group authoring and review. Attachments end up ping-ponging back and forth, and everyone ends up with multiple copies in their mailboxes to the point that merging changes or even just figuring out where the "current" copy is can drive once crazy. While we all know that Notes-based discussion and doc library apps are ideal for this, it takes a lot of foresight to set up the right collaborative spaces for the way people really need to work. QuickPlace is a great way to get past the administrative overhead associated with rolling out collaborative workspaces for ad hoc groups, too, but someone has to think that it's worthwhile to set up the infrastructure, and someone needs to think that it's worthwhile setting up each specific place. I have long advocated that the way to do ad hoc collaboration is via a doc-lib-on-steroids template that comes in "personal", "group", and "enterprise" flavors, all tied together by an organizational directory and wizards that allow people to share items within their personal libraries, move them to group or enterprise libraries, etc., and some mechanism for spreading the word about new documents. The latter part I usually figured was the proper role for email -- but now along comes RSS feed technology, and there's an alternative. Perhaps the personal blog replaces the personal doclib in this plan, and RSS is the way to get the word out about new posts. Perhaps personal blogs and personal doclibs (with more power) can be integrated into one collaboration structure. Perhaps this fits with IBM's strategy for the future, in which LWM provides the simple mail for low-need users, and Notes is mail for the power users. Blogs can be the doclibs for the low-needs users. Just my 2c. I have at least 98 more, but I reserve the right to change my mind. Frequently. And soon. ;-)

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Thomas "Duffbert" Duff

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