Is anyone else a little disappointed with Grokker?
Maybe I was just enchanted by all those coloured spheres but every time I use it I struggle to see the relevance of the information it brings to my searches and unless its going for the ultra-serendipity vote that's not a good sign.
What puzzles me is that they say the right things and that it got good previews. Is it just me? Any other Grokker previewers out there want to share notes?
I am attending Supernova, the most interesting conference I have seen in years, put on by Kevin Werbach & Jeff Pulver.
[Ross Mayfield's Weblog]
I'd love to attend, pity I am in the wrong country and broke. Oh well, at least with conferences being blogged these days you don't miss out entirely.
BlogChannels for loosely joining webloggers?.
There's a dual way to look at blog channels. They provide a sociality-driven incentive for bloggers to apply metadata tags to their posts. By tagging X on a post you're in effect hanging out a bit with the X crowd. "Metadata has never been more fun!"
Well, that's perhaps an exaggeration, but I'm personally much more interested in metadata that means something for people other than me. This is what I find most interesting in this scheme: metadata is shared - that's built into the design. The meaning of the shared term takes shape through the efforts of several people. Contrast this to what currently happens with individual blog categories, where we often have a hard time making sense of each other's categories.
UNQUOTE [Seb's Open Research] [Al Macintyre: Brain to Brain]
Al groks it. Adding metadata is a way of self-selecting the crowd you want to hang out with.
And the problem of differences in metadata can be overcome by building shared taxonomy (e.g. using an XFML map) to relate your topics to each other. By building it out in the open you encourage other people to adopt the same terminology (this is what liveTopics topic rolls will be all about).
'Special needs' pupils turned away. Schools are said to be turning away children with special educational needs for fear they will harm their league table standings. [BBC News | UK | UK Edition]
As with everything else in life, be careful what you choose to optimize.
I was discussing my recent posting on contributing to intranets with a friend to test the water. She said something that made me reflect upon my our experience's and what I see around me, namely, that many intranets are a reflective tool rather than a creative one.
In this I mean that, quite often an intranet lags behind what an organisation does. Documents will be put up, after the fact. A department or project will create a view that must be updated and infrequently is. Basically the intranet is an afterthought and not a living breathing part of the work of the organisation. More like a gallery than a factory.
This seems to me to be dead wrong, but possibly a fact of life.
If it is true then I think it is because there is so little room for peoples lives and work to become part of an intranet. If the intranet is just a repository of corporate documents, policy's and procudures and dry applications then where do the people actually fit in?
I would be interested in knowing whether simply adding workflow changes this somehow?
I'm trying to come up with more models for thinking about communication. I came up with a question: What affects my contributions? And some attributes of an answer:
- inertia - how hard is it for me to make a contribution
- reward - what do I get in return for contributing
- value - how much use can be made of my contribution
A powerful intranet system makes it easy for people to contribute, gives them a direct return on investment and allows what they have added to be re-used in as many ways as possible.
Typically an employee can contribute via:
- bulletin board / discussion list / group mailbox
- document management system
A cursory examination of these options follows:
It is very easy to write e-mails but often harder to know who to send them to for maximum value. They often go unacknowledged, its very hard to tell if they've had the desired impact and it's increasingly hard to know if and how to re-use the content of an e-mail. Also with the quantity of e-mail people receive these days I think the law of diminishing returns is at work. More e-mail (even better e-mail) isn't going to make things any better.
On the face of it bulletin boards and other discussion groups work very well. However as long time users will attest they have many significant drawbacks. The first is that it is very hard to keep on track as an initial discussion widens out in collaboration. Inevitably people look to take the traffic "elsewhere". Popular discussion groups can get croweded very quickly which is a curse and a curse. A crowded group can intimidate new comers and makes it harder for members to find what they are interested in. A corrolary of this is that it soon becomes impossible to find anything for re-use.
document management system
These days web-based document management systems (which all call themselves knowledge management systems in the hope you won't know the difference) tend to be pretty easy to use. As ways of storing and indexing large collections of documents they work very well, but they often fail to solve the underlying problems of managing an organisations knowledge. This is because, often, the knowledge isn't in the formal documentation.
Example: I'm an engineer working for a company who make handheld wireless workstations. I acquire through on-site testing some valuable knowledge about a problem with making our equipment work in their situation. I could write this up in a document and post it in the DMS but more likely I will put it in a notebook or on a post-It or just tell my colleagues about it.
This kind of micro-knowledge (micro-content) is often where the useful knowledge lies and it can be very hard to get at if your systems all work at the macro level.
What company doesn't have at least a CRM system today? Supposedly the channel for storing all information. But if you take my previous example where does that knowledge go? It's not information about the customer (at least not really). And that assumes that your CRM system is flexible enough to handle unexpected data. Most either aren't or are never properly implemented.
Databases are often cumbersome, unfriendly and inflexible. Also where information goes in, it is often much harder to get it out again in any sensible form (another Access report anybody?).
As I have written before I do believe that all of these systems have a valuable role to play in building a successful intranet, however they address only the macro level and much of the knowledge an organisation needs to gain an understanding of itself and a competitve advantage over it's peers is micro-content.
What is required is a communication medium that has low inertia, rewards the constributor and builds shared value. Answer: weblogs, or more accurately knowledge-logs.
Okay I admit it, I'm hearing lots of people hopping up and down about BlogBrowsers and I can't help but ask; What is all the fuss about? Indeed more than that I can't help but ask the questions; Why? Where does this get us?
So a blog-browser reads & renders RSS, big deal. Wheres the value?
I hear Dave and others talking about "routing around Microsoft" but I don't see it. I'm a fan of blogs but I fail to see how a niche blogging application is going to route around MS. There's a whole lot of HTML web out there, are you planning to just leave it behind? And haven't we bought something pretty valuable in having a single platform (the browser) for delivering web applications? Isn't this what DHTML is working towards? If you want to innovate around MS then it makes more sense to me to start contributing to Mozilla's success.
Could someone give me the obviously missing pieces that will make this fit together for me...?
liveTopics RSS2.0 feeds now use a vendor neutral XML namespace:
which is currently pointed at http://www.novissio.com/resources/rsstopics/
- now comes with an definition for every topic it is associated with. These tags will soon be pointing back to their ToC entries and optionally to their definition within the XFML version of the weblog.
I have taken a quick look at the work done on the RSS1.0 taxonomy module with defines an RDF syntax for specifying topics and advises the use of Dublin Core metadata for adding information. I'll certainly be persuing the use of DC tags but does anyone think I should be trying to re-use the RDF module & syntax?
A different view. Mikela Tarlow talks in "Digital Aboriginal" about a traveler who had spent many years in the Australian outback with an aboriginal tribe. He explained that the aboriginal elders counseled their people to avoid the seduction of agriculture.
"Suddenly, instead of following the weather, you want the weather to be different. And it is now easier to put things in straight lines. And because you have planted, you need fences. And since you have planted, you can accumulate possessions. And once your tribe is bound to a fixed address, forms of hierarchy emerge that were not possible when it had to stay on the move. Because you have put down roots, for the first time you must consider defending your territory. Thus, convenient as it is, planting is the beginning of control. Merely because you put a small seed in the ground, you are now invested in a whole system of maintenance that requires you to stay put. You are no longer free to follow what calls. So, the aboriginal elders wisely teach their people to avoid agriculture. The aboriginal spirit requires the freedom to follow the wind."Hm, that is certainly different from the way westeners normally think. For us it is often a powerful metaphor that we're putting seeds in the ground and staying around to nuture and defend them. But this makes sense on several levels. Maybe a hint of another way of being, where we don't trap ourselves in our own net of obligations and expectations.
"His profound sensitivity is possible only because he does not have to wait for seeds he has planted. His perceptions can be long and deep, since he has no territory that he must defend. His mind is quiet, since he is not attached to outcomes. Because he does not have to plan, his spirit is free."[Ming's Meta Mechanics]
about domestic issues what with your upcoming war and it being thanksgiving 'an all...
(posted with the kind permission of Tom Tomorrow)
If you like Tom's work browse the archives or support the Salon.