Beta Bloggers Need Not Lurk in the Enterprise

October 18, 2006 · · Posted by Jordan Frank

KnowledgeJolt with Jack writes about a study reported on Jakob Nielson's AlertBox about Participation Inequality: Lurkers vs. Contributors in Internet Communities. Jack agrees and expands on Jakob's recommendations for increasing participation. Both are on point for public internet communities like wikipedia, group blogs and product review sites. However, the problem can be simplified in enterprise settings when catering to beta bloggers.

A study by Bill Tancer of Hitwise provides more grain to the Lurker effect that I referenced at AlertBox. He indicates that 0.16% of visits to YouTube are to upload content and 0.2% of visits to Flickr are to add a picture. This affirms that most of us are passive visitors of public sites. But this is far from a blow to 2.0. In fact the increase in viewership affirms the value of the medium. Individuals simply need a reason to contribute. As I conclude in the original post here about Beta Bloggers, there is a simple and obvious role for any knowledge worker to publish a steady stream of content in the process of every-day work process and communciation.
April 19, 2007 | # | Jordan Frank

"Alpha Bloggers" include folks like Jack, Jim McGee who writes McGee's Musings, and Michael Arrington who edits TechCrunch. Of course, there are many, many many more. Alpha bloggers have a view point or expertise and aim to share it.

As noted in Jack's post, this kind of blogging requires passion, writing comfort and time.

Inside the enterprise, there are a few natural alpha bloggers. The list may include the CTO, product architect, or a market strategist in the making.

Inside the enterprise, there is a much greater adoption opportunity for beta blogging than alpha blogging. While alpha blogging has a role, it represents a new process and is not something most folks would be comfortable doing.

"Beta Bloggers" simply use the blog format, as an individual or in a group, to do their job better. Beta bloggers report status, share relevant information they read, ask questions, write meeting notes, write/edit requirements, and define/track/discuss issues.

Here is a real example, an hour in my enterprise beta blogging life. The last 5 posts to our internal blog are:

- A draft customer case study posted by a partner.

- A support note sent to a customer, copied to our server.

- A new license file for an insurance company.

- A question from a customer about his HTTPS implementation

- A note about a conference call with an industry analyst.

Mixed within this flow are about 10 comments about these and previous posts. Hidden from our primary chronological view are several code check-ins published by our CVS system. The CVS system is blogging too.

Beta blogging takes the regular communication flow you find in email, and moves it to the intranet. It requires no extra time investment, no new process requirements, no writing classes, and no new communication policy (see Blogging Policy = Blabbing Policy).

It simply moves business relevant communication to a time-ordered and categorized platform capable of improving communication efficiency and threaded discussion, with a benefit of capturing knowledge for later use or reference.

Rather than going out of one's way to blog, the blog is in the beta blogger's way. Its a part of the process, not a distraction from it.

Jim McGee explains Why email continues to be a poor project management tool and Rod Boothby explains how Email is critical to Enterprise 2.0 and Office 2.0.

The net of it, is that email is the single application which is as pervasive as the browser. By integrating email flows (for publishing and notification) with blog and wiki type platforms, wide adoption of beta blogging use cases becomes an easy objective to reach.

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