Reality check on organizational weblogging…

I recently linked to an inane set of criticisms on weblogging from the BBC. I like this piece from the Guardian better…

Long after the term “weblog” is forgotten, the impact of what the word means will live on.

Being able to publish words, pictures and – ultimately – multimedia to the web without specialised geek skills will remain a important advance, and have a broad impact on the nature of online media.

That’s a decent short summary of why these tools are of interest… I also concur with the implication that weblogs are themselves limited, and likely to be forerunners to a form that has yet to emerge.

More importantly, however, the cultural implications of information-sharing may not be a comfortable fit with the essential structure of most organizations….

While blogging’s earliest advocates operate on the “information wants to be free” principle, many businesses would shudder at the very thought.

“Information is power” is a more likely mantra in many organisations. Whenever you hear those three words, you’re hearing the signal of the kind of closed information culture where there’s also a heads-down, bunker mentality utterly unsuited to the openness required for a convincing weblog, be it an external PR effort, or knowledge-sharing internal one.

There are plenty of areas of business where people are judged on their knowledge, and the competitive edge – and thus the safety of everyone’s jobs – is the thickness of a single good idea. Share it all on a weblog, with competitors or (worse) an office rival? You must be kidding.

And, alas, changing that kind of culture is going to take far more than merely installing a smart piece of software on a server, and encouraging everyone to blog on.

It would be nice to think of educational institutions as rarifed sanctuaries fostering the free exchange of ideas… but ultimately they are organizations too, and certainly not exceptions to such survival-motivated tendencies.

:: Via Library Stuff

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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One Response to Reality check on organizational weblogging…

  1. Alan says:

    Hey, I thought you quit blogging 😉

    Maybe blogs will replace our computer’s operating system. Maybe it will replace course management tools. Maybe it will be our new “office productivity” software. Maybe it will balance the federal budget. Maybe it will find life on Mars. Maybe…

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