What makes a good blog? To answer this question we have examined at a number of resources for the purpose of understanding why blogs can be an effective medium of communication and a meaningful contribution archive for organisations.
An effective blog conveys a message, opinion, or an activity. This method of communication draws from sources of material and personal experience. What can a blog achieve, is unique to the context and style of the blog itself. Self-gratifying dribble is not a blog. A blog is a way to engage with a community, share ideas and build a reputation. This can be applied to both individual and organisational context yet they share different methods of execution. Blogging as an individual compared to an individual blogging for an organisation; the delivery should have the same characteristics but an organisation could purpose their blog differently. For instance, if employees were asked to blog about their experience at a conference it’s purpose is to factualise rather than to personalise. This is the result of strick guideline that are forced upon employees. Nevertheless, blogs in the context of an organisation can have positive outcomes.
Enterprise 2.0 blogging infrastructure
An analysis by Thomas Davenport on organisations “dawn of the emergent collaboration” introduces SLATES, an infrastructure for fostering a blog community within an organisation. To summarise much of the insightful article, Davenport promotes the use of transparent knowledge archives that make information widely accessible and permanently visible. The SLATES framework is methods to assuring standards are met within this emergent archive but also so that delivery and retrieval are highly effective.
One of the fundamental points that distinguishes blogs as a communication method is mass authoring. Authoring is contributing, and somewhat surprisingly very popular. Weather it be knowledge, insight, experience, comments, fact, edits, or links, authoring is producing and re-producing, layer upon layer. Ward Cunningham highlighted the willingness of people to contribute by inventing the first online Wiki. During this he found that linking peoples experience created a pool of valuable knowledge. Much can be said about blogs and without blurring the two, it is important (especially organisations) to realise that collectively employee contributions/authoring can be very valuable.
Far from a traditional organisational archive, enterprise2.0 contribution seeks to decentralise content and rightfully deliver a bottom-up effective communication. Two outcomes that authorship promotes are, (1) better understanding of front-end service delivery, and (2) resources for employee’s seeking advice or answers.
Execution of Enterprise2.0 tools is key successful integration. Following the SLATES framework is fundamental to this, and a great start for any organisations enterprise2.0 endeavour. It simply provides the groundwork of effective methods of using enterprise techniques. The web2.0 tools are available, it’s the method that will make or break the execution of modern enterprise activities.
Organisational information systems consist of channels and platforms like an email client or a website. What is noted in Davenport’s studies is that employees are not satisfied with these portals as they have very poor access via search engines, and information is not common to any platform. The introduction of Enterprise2.0, its counterparts (SLATES) promote easy to use, information rich technologies. Furthermore, blogs are a good example of authoring and can improve transparency of information thus improving work delivery consistency. The contributive nature of blogger can be used effectively to deliver in an enterprise with integrated web technologies. With the right methods and framework, this visible, collective information can be extremely valuable to an organisation.
Externally, an employee encouraged to write a blog has is own problems. While more of what our discussion so far has been on blogging within a “walled garden” of an organisations intranet but increasingly employees are asked to blog externally. Corporate blogs such as IBM, Dell BBC, Sun Microsystems, Google and are using this as a means of PR and customer relations. Of cause there are strict guidelines associated (click hyperlinks). Without going into too much detail, this is also a good exercise for companies. There are commonalities of external blogs and internal blog in the regulations but more so for external blogs, which makes sense, as they need to cover themselves from potential lawsuits. The intended audience is also different but the reasoning is very simular. Communication, information rich, transparently, collaboration is still present in all blogs and can be a PR, employee relations, marketing, HR, purposed. Either way value of blogs for an enterprise both internally and external is justified and useful for communications.