posted 14 Jan 2005 in Volume 8 Issue 4
Trend tracker: Blogging
By Chris Harris-Jones, Ovum
Blogging used to be limited to the IT-geek community, but no longer. Blogging is now growing into an accepted part of the corporate-IT landscape.
Blogs, or web logs, have been around since the late 1990s. A blog is a web diary or sequence of texts created by an individual and arranged chronologically for anyone to read. There are now millions of blogs on the web, and while most have tiny (sometimes non-existent) audiences, others have a very wide readership, such as those used during the recent
The growth of blogging in some ways mirrors that of instant messaging. Once only delivered through sites such as AOL and Yahoo!, IM is now a technology found in leading collaboration software tools. Many users regard IM as an essential part of their business. The big problem at the moment is that most IM usage continues to be through free systems, which are typically neither secure nor controlled. Just as an inappropriate e-mail can put someone in prison, the same dangers apply to IM. Corporate use of technology must be under corporate control.
Blogging has gradually gained attention in a corporate sphere in a similar way. Companies like HP, Dell and Macromedia have all implemented blogging technology for internal communication. Just like IM, the software used is either free or very low cost. However, also just like IM, an externally hosted blogging site means you cannot guarantee security. It is impossible for your organisation to control the information that is posted.
Help, however, is at hand. As with IM, an increasing number of collaboration vendors are including blogging software in their suites. Open Text is one of the first of the big collaboration-software vendors to include blogging in its collaboration suite.
But is blogging of any real value to your organisation? One area where blogs are increasingly being used is as replacements to newsletters. Rather than go to the trouble of generating a formal newsletter at regular intervals, adding content to a blog ensures that it is available immediately. It is also possible to use a blog to keep track of your ideas and share them with your peers.
The big problem with blogs, at least as they are currently defined, is that they are read-only for everyone except the author. Blogging is designed purely to push information out to others; they do not allow for discussion or even comment. So while blogging has its place in organisations, preferably as part of a controlled collaboration suite, it is only one component. Technologies like discussion groups allow for a greater degree of interaction. Just like IM, blogging is great at some tasks, but is not a solution to everything.