How does Blogging Create and Support Knowledge Communities

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Presentation on the intersection between blogs and communities, given for the ASIST panel on Blogs and Wikis in the Enterprise.

Text of How does Blogging Create and Support Knowledge Communities

  • 1. How does Blogging Create and Support Knowledge Communities Jack Vinson Knowledge Jolt, Inc.[email_address]

2. 3. Communities: formation

  • About: Common interest
    • In public: science, religion, family, shared history, neighborhood
    • In organizations: work processes, work problems, academic discipline, company history
  • People gathering
    • In a physical space
    • Online at a specific venue: bulletin boards, forums, mailing lists,

4. Communities: existence

  • Why do they stay together?
    • Leadership
    • Common interest / purpose
    • Shared space (physical or virtual)
  • Why do they disband?
    • Passion (central purpose) fades
    • Change / Loss of space

5. Weblogs / Blogging

  • Individual author (generally)
  • Frequently updated
  • Reverse chronological postings
  • Topics to the authors interests
  • Lightweight content management system

6. Blogs general layout 7. Layout single entry Title Quote Comments Body Other articles withthe same topics 8. Blogs and communities?

  • Communities are aboutcommoninterest
  • Blogs are aboutmyinterests

9. Blogs and communities?

  • On the other hand, blogs are all about connecting with the larger world
    • Heres something I find interesting
    • Heres something Jane wrote, and this is why I think you should read it.
    • Would I write if no one were reading?
  • Hints of community: calls for help, quotes, links, blogrolls, comments, trackbacks

10. 11. Hints of community in blogs

  • Community of readers
    • A-list bloggers have thousands of readers
    • Readers are willing to help when directly called upon
    • Very much a one-way street

12. Hints of community in blogs

  • Favorite sources
    • Many blogs list their favorite blogs in the sidebar (blogroll)
  • Quoted sources
    • Many bloggers quote other bloggers and other websites that inspire their writing
  • Get a sense of the wider world in which the blogger operates

13. Hints of community in blogs

  • Comments
    • Readers can leave their responses directly on my website
    • Sense of community can develop around those who write
    • Little opportunity for participants to interact without the blog

14. Hints of community in blogs

  • Tools that can find who is talking about what has been written here
    • Trackback
    • Search
      • Google site search / blog search

15. Community in blogs

  • A community of bloggers
    • Write about similar topics
    • Read each others blogs
    • Get to know one another
    • Draw on each others writings to extend ideas and share their point of view

16. Community in blogs

  • Traditional online community behavior
    • Frequent writers
    • Discussions in comments
    • Discussions across blogs
    • Plenty of readers who belong to the community, yet are not actively vocal (lurkers)

17. Discovering a community

  • Comments, Blogroll, Trackbacks, Search
  • Analyzing linking behavior
    • SNA - Who links to whom
  • Text analysis to find similar blogs
    • WayPath, Watson (both mothballed)

18. Building a blogging community

  • Is it possible to engineer a blogging community, akin to creating a Community of Practice in your business?
    • Will they participate?
    • Critical mass?
    • Technology?

19. Building a blogging community

  • Issues
    • How to make the connections?
    • Champion / Leadership with individual ownership of blogs
    • Passion and engagement
  • Need
    • Active writers, readable commentary
    • Passionate writers
    • Topics that matter to many people

20. In the end

  • Communities of bloggers exist
  • Building the communities can be just as difficult as with traditional CoP
    • Communities are about shared interest
    • Blog communities are about shared passion

21. References

  • McKinsey Quarterly
    • Harnessing the power of informal employee networks , 2007 Number 4
    • The role of networks in organizational change , Web exclusive, April 2007
    • Mapping the value of employee collaboration , 2006 Number 3
  • Lilia Efimova has written extensively about weblog conversations and done some of these analyses ( http:// )
  • Anjo Anjewierden has been writing tools to analyze blogs from a number of perspectives ( )