Blogs

The New York Times recently printed an article http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/21/technology/internet/21blog.html?_r=3&src=busln claiming that blogs are becoming increasingly unpopular in favour of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, particularly for the younger generation. Blogging numbers have dropped amoung this demographic, with claims that social networking sites do ‘just as good a job’ as blogs, and that most target audiences are not as  reachable by blogs alone.

While this may be true, I think it is a question of semantics. Sites such as Twitter and Facebook do incorporate many of the elements of blogging – posting in reverse chronological order, comments and dated entries. It could be said that blogging (in popular use), instead of waning, is actually evolving towards being a ‘component’ of  multi-purpose social networking sites, which incorporate almost everything one could imagine needing, rather than ‘blogging’ alone. Though, it does have to be said that for in-depth discussion, blogs have the upper-hand as typical entries on facebook etc. usually compose of no more than a few words or lines.

The advantages of blogs for opining on topics of interest, recording daily thoughts and activities or as a public forum for social discussion are numerous. These advantages however, are not necessarily as advantageous when it comes to team blogs created to facilitate group collaboration. As part of research for the virtual team assignment, I have developed a strong opinion that they should NOT be used as the primary mode of communication within a team. Here’s why;

1. Reverse-chronological order hinders team communication
This fundamental characteristic of blogs, while reasonable and beneficial for individual blogging, becomes a burden of sifting through a mass of entries and feedback, as the ‘author’ is not one but several people all contributing their input and ideas. While the option of categorization and archiving certainly exists, it relies on the effort (and memory) of each team member to catalogue their entries accordingly, which can be a tedious task for all involved, and easily forgotten.

2. Blogging Language can skew from professionalism
As the language and traditional culture of blogging (similar to any technically-written language like text) is relatively informal, it may be difficult to be stringently professional while communicating within a team blog. Unless strict standards of conduct are explicitly given, blogs have the potential to veer into more friendly or personal topics/communications. While this could be said to promote the social aspect of the group, promoting team bonding, it has obvious implications for the progress of the blog as a productive tool within a professional setting.

3. Blogging masks non-verbal cues
For team collaboration, like most asynchronous communcative tools
blogs do not allow for the communicative value of non-verbal cues. Whereas VOIP software such as Skype or videoconferencing have the obvious disadvantages of time, effort and technology required, they have an advantage over blogs in that the commincative dimensions are deeper (visual) than that of purely textual commication.

Those are just my personal opinions as a result of my research. From my own experience, I have found that chat tols and discussion forums serve the interest of the team quite sufficiently without the need for blogs. When I began a team blog on our Sulis Site, I had to explicity rquest that tam members use it in some form, as no-one had engaged with it whatsoever. It was unnessesary for the purposes of our team, an extra information/communication vehicle that confused matters to an extent.

Has anyone else researched blogs for this project?

Katrina

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. John Rainsford
    Feb 23, 2011 @ 18:32:41

    I am doing blogs also katrina in my collaborative team. I feel though that blogs have become more political forums now where people try and link into an issue of the day. That’s how blogs really took after 9/11. I like your colourful site. I have tried to add a bit of colour to mine too and a few pictures. it helps I think. I also agree with you about technology. As I said previously I do not have a mobile phone and am trying to eradicate them. Can you help 🙂

    Reply

  2. el6082katrina
    Feb 25, 2011 @ 01:41:51

    Hi John, thanks for the comment!
    Although I actually physically detest mobile phones (I think people are totally controlled by them and act like they’ve lost a limb when their not within their immediate sphere), I can’t deny their usefulness. Sorry! By the way, I love the background of your site also, it looks great and really stands out.

    Reply

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