March 8, 2010
On Friday last week I had the pleasure of attending a Lisbon Council event on the subject of innovation. I can’t lie, it was a fascinating event with some excellent speakers and interventions.
However, I don’t want to dwell on the content. Instead, I’d like to recall a conversation I had in the coffee break.
One of the main speakers at the event was Anthony D. Williams, co-author of the book Wikinomics. For me, speaking to him during the break was a real honour. I’d met the other co-author, Don Tapscott at another Lisbon Council event in 2009. These guys are the leaders in bringing the concepts around mass collaboration to the masses.
We spoke about blogging – I run a blog platform – of course. He asked me a very telling question almost immediately.
“What is the biggest problem your bloggers or your platform has?”
I explained that we don’t have as many ‘conversations’ and comments as I would like. He asked why…
As I was answering, I realised that Blogactiv – and possibly large parts of the EU affairs blogosphere – has a fundamental problem. It isn’t necessarily you, or me, it is many of us in small parts.
What is this problem?
The problem, I believe, is one of mindset as opposed to perhaps technology. Mr Williams, for his part, jumped on the problem as well. Here it is:
Many of the bloggers in the EU affairs space only publish complete thoughts.
That might sound strange, ‘complete thoughts’, but it is where many of us are. The point of blogging is not to push content out as often as possible. The content we push out does not have to be perfect. It might be that too many of us have some form of journalistic background or are frightened of possible hostile replies. Who knows?
Instead, the problem is that so many of the posts are finished and presume an answer within the content. Whereas, many bloggers do something quite different. They publish the seed of an idea. They can tell they are on to something, though not necessarily what, and then the audience chips in and helps to develop the idea further.
Blogging is collaborative. Blogging is not one way publishing. It isn’t a newspaper.
One of Blogactiv’s favourites, Mathew has written about similar things here and here. As you can see from that first post, he highlights a number of blogs that don’t even switch their comment functions on! And Julien Frisch posts here (be sure to read the comments) about the level of interconnectivity at the core of the EU blogosphere.
Mr Williams advocates many uses for Web 2.0 technology – as you might imagine – including bringing it into the public (government) space more and more. Quite right. After a wander around his blog I found this brief post, which sums up for me what we could all be aiming for. Solutions and answers as a group.
I don’t pretend to have the answers, but I can at least ask some questions…
How do you use your blog? Is it a conversation or one-way publishing?
If you only publish, what is it that prevents you from trying to generate more conversations? You know the EU blogosphere is a very polite place, you almost certainly won’t be pilloried for an opinion…
If you blog, do you ever ask questions to the reader? Would you publish their answers?
What might you be missing out on by not having others develop your thoughts further?Author : Stuart Langridge