I recently read Marydee Ojala's article in Business Information Review, "Blogging: For Knowledge Sharing, Management and Dissemination" (22(4), pp. 169-276). [*cough!* Retyping that title, it occurs to me I must have read it because I thought I didn't have enough jargon in my diet.]
After defining blogs and sketching a brief history, she notes the aging dinosaurs of library blogging. "Early adapters of technology, librarians were among the first to start weblogs as true communication devices rather than diaries." She lists the Shifted Librarian and Library Stuff. Now that I am out of school, I rarely look at those two: too educational (dull). She put Resource Shelf in this list, too. It's new to me, and looks useful.
Having shown us the difference between "communication devices" and "diaries," Ojala next discusses two types of internal workplace blogs. There are those that are an "outgrowth of current awareness newsletters" and there are those that are tools for knowledge sharing. (Should I remind you all of the hierarchy of mere data, then information, and finally Knowledge?) The second type of blogs -- and, as a blogs, being save-able (I hesitate to using "archivable," though she did) and searchable -- make great institutional memories as well as venues for exchange. Ojala stresses, though, that they need to be grassroots, not management directed, to succeed. When all can blog and comment, knowledge sharing is more comfortable. "Ask someone simply to respond to a blog post about how a particular procedure works, for example, and that person is much more likely to respond than to fill out a tedious form."
Ojala closes reminding the reader that blogs may well be a flash in the pan, but since e-mail's usefulness seems doomed to drown in spam, its future, too, is murky. To that I'd add all I hear and read about instant messaging and NextGens: People under 25 view e-mail as a way to talk to old people. When I asked a small meeting of our Teen Advisory Board about good ways to communicate with them, they said they never check e-mail, that IM is too transient (that they probably wouldn't make a note of it if we IM'd them about an upcoming meeting), and that MySpace would be great. To include them as our colleagues and customers, we must be mindful of this.
I am mindful that I most enjoy the oft-dismissed diary-style blogs: Librarian Girl leads at the moment; the Vampire Librarian and Libetiquette follow her. Perhaps I gain the occasional idea or technique, but mostly I gain the sense that I am not the only GenXer doin' the library thing, and puzzling over, say, patrons' hangups with staplers or how to act in public. Oh, and I gain lots o' laughs. That's important.
Capital City weather: sunny, breezy, 60ish on its way up to 70