Besides the personal blogs that we have discussed so far, blogs can also be used within corporates and communities. Within corporates, blogs can serve as knowledge management platforms. John Robb (blog) elaborates on the use of blogs within corporates in the context of the real-time enterprise:
Within corporations, the applicability of real-time data, centers on its ability to make the enterprise more informed and responsive within shorter time frames. It also means that data once locked in application silos is now dispersed in a way that enables individuals to contribute to a correction or amplification of a trend without specific guidance. It democratizes the information flow and flattens the hierarchy by widening the circle of those “in the know.” It also ensures that those with senior management responsibilities are informed in a more timely fashion than previously practiced.
This type of web-enabled “digital dashboard” approach to business can be easily and effectively combined with knowledge management systems, in particular, K-Logs (Knowledge Management Weblogs — there is a Yahoo group on this topic. A digital dashboard can provide the raw data within the context of a Web browser that can serve as useful contributions to personal K-Logs along this formula: real-time data + insightful commentary + posting to a K-Log = effective knowledge transfer.
My ultimate corporate desktop is a series of browser-based “digital dashboards” that automatically stream real-time data to me on what is going on within the company. These dashboards pull information from multiple corporate apps via Web Services (particularly ones which I don’t have a client on my desktop for)
that is relevant to my job. I also have a personal K-Logging tool on my desktop that makes it easy for me to post this real-time data to my Intranet-based K-Log with commentary via just a few keystrokes and clicks of the mouse. In addition to real-time data, my K-Logging tool allows me to post unstructured data such as important e-mails, IM conversations, links, etc within a contextual framework. I can also use the tool to subscribe to knowledge streams from other employee K-Logs that are doing the same thing I am.
Blogs naturally foster a community. Writes Chris Ashley in Berkeley Computing and Commuications (Fall 2001 issue):
Typically, weblogging takes place within a community of other webloggers who share a common interest. These communities may be very loosely or closely associated, ranging, for example, from a circle of friends sharing day-to-day information, to a group of fifteen people working collaboratively on a project, or to hundreds of people who share a larger general interest. For the most part the community is the primary audience, and the weblogger quite likely has two roles, being both a writer for this community
and an audience member of the other community members’ weblogs,
which point to, comment on, and reference each other.
Blogs can be used by clusters of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to create a shared knowledge base. Blogging by “SME Clusters” can become one way to institutionalise knowledge. These community blogs can get SMEs out of their silos and make them members of a network which can give them greater clout and newer growth opportunities. Individually, SMEs may have limited
insights but as a collective, their intelligence can unmatched. Just like Ants. The last word comes from Jon Udell, writing on Byte.com:
The currency of blogging communities is awareness. It flows within these communities, and increasingly (thanks to RSS channels and cross-posting APIs) it flows across them, too. This mode of communication can resemble e-mail, yet differs from e-mail in ways that are important but hard to describe. Nevertheless, I’ll try. E-mail is a message addressed to a person or group, whereas blogging is a message addressed to a space. The relationship of people to spaces is many-to-many, and fluid. Blogging communities wired together with publish/subscribe technology form knowledge networks, and the people joined to those networks are the routers. What happens in a network whose routing function is governed by human intelligence? Lots of people, me included, expect powerful emergent behaviors. But we won’t know until the phenomenon reaches critical mass.