ASIST2007: Notes from our Panel
I moderated a panel on corporate blogs and wikis and I think it went really well. I took notes when the speakers were talking so I could ask questions later, but then I was so eager to learn the answers to my questions that I made the audience wait while I got my answers first! (it's good to be the king, er um, I mean moderator :) )
J started out by asking the audience to answer some questions about what they did with blogs and wikis (do you have a blog, do you blog for work, do you read corporate blogs... and so on with wikis). Unsurprisingly, it seemed that more people worked with wikis than blogs.
She then reported on a survey that found that 5% of companies in the UK blog and 8% of the Fortune 500 in the U.S. do. We've passed the early adopter stage and they're more mainstream. At her organization, they decided to have a public facing blog in part because their competitors do and because it's expected, and in part to just communicate about their products and their company.
I think she was talking about her internal wiki when she mentioned that they put meeting notes on it and bugs and things that they're working on... but I'm pretty hazy at this point.
Jack talked about how communities are formed. Usually they are formed around a thing, a or around shared values or a common interest. He also talked about why they stay together and why they sometimes disband. (interesting thing here, it really hit home why some communities get so very upset when their branch library is moved -- even if only a few blocks). He talked about how even though blogs are about me, my point of view, etc., they are connected with the world through commentary on news stories and links as well as through comments and blogrolls (still used heavily in some circles). Blogs are also used for requests for help. Bloggers have a sense of audience when they compose their posts.
Jack talked about how there is evidence of community in blogs -- one way is through co-citation (blogs that all reference x have something in common). Also through the typical tools to find things linking in, etc. He ended with discussions of how/if organizations can engineer these communities.
Jordan disputed the 5-8%, or at least said that might be true for customer-facing blogs. He has found that 68% of pharmaceutical companies have internal blogs, which are much easier. User cases in corporations are much different from what we think of with blogs on the internet or
wikipedia. He emphasized the importance of time, specifically milestones, in all information in the corporation. He found three main categories of wiki use cases:
- ordered (like a book), an array
- project team collaboration
- including "wiki" content
- including blogs for meeting notes, etc.
He suggests 5 tag types
- content type
- status (to-do)
- assignment (this is interesting - like for:person in del.icio.us)
- category (subject)
So from these, you can see how wikis and blogs can be used for project management (automatically time oriented, and you can tag something for someone). He sketched out a use case of a bank and how they were tearing through their milestones after converting to a wiki model.
Questions (ok, so I'm writing this on Friday so if anyone remembers differently, feel free to comment):
from me: Jessica, you have been blogging on your own blog for a while and recently started to blog on a customer-facing corporate blog. Can you tell us how that differs and what it was like to change over?
Jessica: it's racier (!)
from me: Jack, you mentioned tools to follow conversations on/between blogs. These don't apply to blogs on the intranet. (and I would have like to have phrased it as how do you view community growth or what impact does this have on community growth, etc). How do you follow distributed conversations on internal corporate blogs?
Jack: There are some tools to do this, and you can search (I'm sure he said more but ...)
from me: Jordan, many of the uses you mentioned for wikis and blogs are currently being done by commercial products for project management and bug tracking. What advantage does a wiki give over these products?
Jordan: (a very good answer that made it all clear for me) (ack, hey Jordan, if you read this can you fill in some details?)
from audience: gaining participation?
make it *the* place to go for information on something important. community leaders
from audience: what not to do?
make sure to pick the right tool for the task. have backups. carefully plan what you want to do and how you want to do it. have a graphical user interface.
... I'm actually going to stop here, because I'm going home for the weekend, but I will add more if something occurs to me.