Where are weblogs going? How will they adapt to the workplace?
1. Blogging platforms are quickly growing smarter.
Blogs are document centric (the post is at the core) so they can evolve toward what you think of as project / process / knowledge management tools. XML, SOAP, databases, and content management services are part of the blogging toolkit. Content syndication and RSS news readers are part of it too.
2. Blogspace is joining the infrastructure.
We can build bridges to existing systems and processes. I can blog a hiring process, integrated with an human capital system. I can annotate a mySAP Engineering Change Order, linking to the transaction and to other materials. I can comment on project progress, tailoring it for different stakeholders. Some of these may happen by year end. http://www.hrxml.org/, http://www.pmxml.org/xml
3. Community tools are improving too.
Social capital is getting easier to observe and measure in blogspace; no reason it shouldn’t happen in your enterprise’s blogspace. Every week we see new tools that help users identify what’s new, what’s relevant, who’s the expert. We see people forming communities of interest/practice, project teams, spreading memes and tools; evidence that people are reading as much or more than they’re writing.
4. Knowledge extraction is coming.
Weblogs leave a trail that can be mined by social network analyzers, text miners, taxonomy and categorizers, and search engines. All of this is work that today’s KM systems ask the poster to do at the time of the post. Blogs lower the effort hurdle; they’re easier, so they get used. And their trail of time-stamped posts, citations and cross references, traffic logs, and syndication feeds (in XML) mean that other tools can be added when you get to it.
5. Blogs compete with MS Word and email as a writing tool.
The five minute post is no substitute for the five day essay and knowledge interview. But blogs encourage lots of the former and don’t prevent the latter.
6. Blogs of other content.
Audio blogs. One-two minute posts. Aggregated, they make a newsradio channel. I heard a prototype this spring where one blogger aggregated the syndicated audio posts of other bloggers.
Video blogs. Documenting processes, quality programs, customer presentations, class projects, slices of life.
CAD blogs. Syndicating components for peer review and comment.
XML envelope blogs. Drag and drop an event, syndicated from someone’s blog, to your Microsoft Outlook or Project. Drag an RFP from a blog to your CRM system.
7. Secure blogs.
Create private spaces, a la Groove, but using your weblog tool. Authenticate some users, be public with others. I do this to a limited degree now, with private categories shared with engineering partners.
8. Mobile blogging.
I’ve seen people posting from AOL IM, phones, pagers, Palms, RIMs, and 80211’d notebooks. When you have an experience worth sharing, a snapshot of that Kodak moment, you want to blog it then and there. Watch blogging capabilities migrate to the tools you carry.
One last prediction.
In the tradition of Coke machines with web sites, I expect my 2006 Camry to come with a blog.
[aka klogs][a klog apart]