Why we need blogs

This article originally appeared as a TWiki post in November of 2007, a companion to another article titled Why We Need Forums.


Blogs are a place to record musings. Often these consist of interesting links they just went to, with commentary on what they thought when they read it. These little thoughts don’t tend to be enough to merit an R&D meeting to share, but are valuable for others in Development to read.

1. The Value of Blogs

The blog has these unique features:

  • Low-risk thought preservation: Blogs provide a place to record thoughts that may be worth eventually developing into a TWiki page or a presentation, or may not be. You don’t have to decide now, but the thought is preserved and can be pulled up again, potentially to help form the basis of later decisions.
  • Low-cost brain share: Others are interested in what thought leaders are thinking about, and blogs provide them a way of keeping up on this without having to bug them in person.
  • Only needs one: Blogs don’t require a critical mass of participation to be successful – only one motivated individual is needed.

2. Blogs vs. Other Communication Mechanisms

If forums are a natural place to ask, blogs are a natural place to say. Forums are group-oriented in that many are asking questions and many are answering. A blog is a more focused medium: even if there are comments, they are off to the side with the author directing the main flow of discourse.

Blogs don’t replace documentation, TWiki, or training. It’s more for informal thoughts and musings. (Though sometimes thoughts that were originally musings may grow into something more later.)

3. Blogs for the Few

If blogs are implemented at [our company], only a few developers – say five to ten – are likely to blog regularly. This is to be expected – the power of blogs is not that everyone must participate, but that there is value even if only a few participate. Thought leaders are likely to read each others’ blogs and post thoughtful comments from time to time. This networking will be a help to the company and aid the professional development of the participants as well.

Conclusion

Blogs are a good way to preserve and promote the kind of long-term thinking that our company needs from its current and up-and-coming thought leaders. In this paper I have tried to give convincing reasons for making blogging available. Are there other barriers I did not speak to?

DanielMeyer – 28 Nov 2007

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