Ron Tolido, my fellow blogger, and I, have been discussing at some length the whole topic of blogging, and Ron has contributed some material on our trials of ‘verbal blogging’, and therein lays the interesting issue. What do we call Ron’s contribution? Is it content, thoughts or, as we have become increasingly convinced, is it experience? Or perhaps it is better described as a personal experience shared with those of a similar mind set.
We were trying to isolate what made a good blog, a topic made particular relevant a few days later by a report comparing blogs from the ‘big four consultancies’. There seems to be a considerable variation in style amongst successful blogs, even between Ron and myself, so we couldn’t pin it down in a conventional way, eventually we concluded it was all about the format. Okay we all know good blogs are supposed to encourage feedback and interactive discussion, but looking at the number of responses posted on the most busy blogs sites leads to the conclusion that the vast majority of readers are not responding. For them the blog is a one way read, yet still of value.
Given that the web has a vast amount of content there has to be something about blogs, and it can’t just be a hope for some indiscrete remarks by the author that will provoke a scandal though certainly these that specialize in this are mighty popular! The final rational we came up with goes like this;
Browsing by a search engine is fine to find out what you don’t know, but lacks focus, whereas knowledge management tools, or even sites like wikipedia, can take you to the next stage of focus. It seems slightly amusing to hear that students are complaining that there are inaccuracies in Wikipedia and this is leading to them getting poor marks, until you think it through and realize that what is required at the next level is more than assembled focused content, it’s this elusive quality which we called ‘experience’. The assembled content is still a mass produced ‘product’ and that the act of mass production means too often it loses the individual element that makes it directly relevant, plus you may not know who wrote it, why they wrote it and what was their driving motive.
A blog seems to answer a more direct human need for evaluating people, and placing trust on the judgment of people we can relate to. What Ron and I are doing is open; you know who we are, and have some sense from our roles in Capgemini as to the amount of trust to place on our opinions; it’s honest in the sense that we are writing about our personal views, and not a Capgemini corporate press release; and over time you can decide if we are relevant, or aligned to you, and your own experiences.
If we are right, and we need you to tell us what you think, then it’s a deeply fascinating insight to yet another changing aspect of society brought about by the new generation of a) technology and b) personalization. When I first started on blogging I thought it was like the challenge that television brought to theatre performers where the same act could be used for years to the different audiences in each town. After one television performance it was finished as everyone had seen it. But in entertainment we are going back from broadcasting to narrowcasting, and now I think this is what blogging represents, the change from the broad face of a company to the personal face of individuals. It’s not about the production of a standard PowerPoint slide set of high quality to be used at a succession of industry trade shows requiring little thought from the presenter, that can be got from the web site, it’s the individual’s observations on the slide set that are the value.