I’m helping to create a collaborative work and learning space for a group of executives and this is part of the introduction to the site:
Blogs: The main communication tool is your blog, which each participant has registered in his or her name. Think of your blog as a professional journal, where you can record your thoughts and ask questions of your peers or the staff. Each blog post has a unique identifier, called a permalink, which can be referenced by others. Blog posts do not need to be perfect essays. Blog posts can help make sense of your learning process. Comments can be made on another person’s blog, or you can discuss it on your blog and then connect with a hyperlink to the other one. This creates a network of the conversations around an issue or topic. Here’s a video called Blogs in Plain English.
Wikis: Blogs are personal, while wikis are for groups. A wiki is a collaborative web document that records all activities so that any person can add to it, without losing what was previously written (it’s like “track changes” in MS Word). Here’s a video called Wikis in Plain English.
Jon Husband has dusted off a piece on blogging and dialogue that he wrote in 2004, which I think bears repeating:
- Firstly, individual or group blogs that are focused on a domain of information and expertise chronicle and catalogue the blogger(s)’ knowledge. Over time, this grows to create a recognizable “body of knowledge”.
- Secondly, by offering the capability of commenting and interacting, the information on offer can be better defined, refined, explored, tested, and built upon.
- Thirdly, the information on offer provides a latent platform for action – information that can be acted upon often turns into knowledge that can be shared and used in various ways.
- Fourth, by linking to the blog or blogs that offer related information, the knowledge that is built can be shared more and more widely, if desired.
- Fifth, the rhythym and cadence of the posting, reading, commenting and linking replicate the dynamics of dialogue in very effective ways. There aren’t the same kinds of interruption and distraction that so often occurs in conversations that only weakly replicate the dynamics of dialogue.
- Finally, an ecosystem of knowledge can develop that consists of the aggregated sets of links and content the participants in a blogalogue create. And this “body of knowledge” and understanding remains online, available to anyone who cares to become involved.
The more online communities and social networks that I’m involved with, the more I view blogging as a core process that keeps them going.