it's been great to see the big question take off in the past week. what a great response and an energetic discussion. It's always fun to put theory into practice and find that it works.
with all the administrative aspects involved in launching a project that we've never tried before, I hadn't had a chance to read many of the 88 posts and comments (as of last night) that the lcb community has generated already. skimming through them today, I was happy to see great content, ideas being swapped and good humor all around.
as i stated in my opening post for the big question, i don't feel that blogs are for everyone. especially with the cornucopia of different tools that are emerging in the web 2.0 wave. in fact, i'll point to the very success of the big question as evidence that the tradition blog is not the greatest tool for everyone. the format of post with comments on the post appearing directly below it on the same blog is confining. social conversations don't flow like that. but by breaking out of the blog format and leveraging rss tools, we hopefully are making lcb richer and enlightening. i know i've found myself on some pretty great blogs that I haven't visited prior to monday.
but it seems that some have taken my strong statement against universal blogging to mean that I think blogs are bad. this couldn't be farther from the truth.
i too see the power in a simple blog to transform the way a person learns and expands the way they can impact the learning of others. reflection, negotiation of meaning, building of new meaning together;and taking risks together are characteristics that management teams have gone through outward bound experiences to gain a bit of appreciation about. if they'd only known about blogs, their vp of sales and marketing wouldn't have a broken leg now!
a great write up on the benefits of blogging is stuart glogoff's article in the june/july 2005 issue of Innovate: the journal of online education entitled instructional blogging: promoting interactivity, student-centered learning, and peer input. (you do need to register with innovate for free to view the entire article). glogoff's article is very pragmatic and provides great pedagogical examples that can be easily implemented.
recently i've been focused on some even higher level benefits from using blogs - particularly in work settings. these higher order benefits arise not from the structure of the blogs themselves, but from the cultural norms that have developed around them in the blogosphere. A few of these include authentic personal expression, trust/honesty, dialog seeking vs. information transmission, and immediacy of information sharing and feedback.
an environment that includes these cultural expectations opens up opportunities to take risks, try new ways of communicating or putting your ideas out there for your audience to critique and enhance. you can "find your voice" or create a new one with feedback that is immediate and honest. how's executive voice for a tough characteristic to teach in a workshop or even coach in a coaching session? or how about the deep understanding of how an organization runs and thinks that comes from experience? a well built out blogging community could be a place where potential leaders can go to learn more about different groups and individuals. building that intuition and broad knowledge that enables them to make those uncanny snap decisions that good leaders seem to make with ease.
so, hate blogs? no way. it sounds a bit corny, but it's literally true. blogging has dramatically changed my life. from the content i've learned to the people i've met. so mark me down as a big, big fan of blogging. but i'm staying put on my no to "the big question." ;-)