Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Blog Universe

As a PS to my recent post on Science and the Web 2.0, here are some results from a survey among "more than 400 communication experts from all over Europe" that studies "the way weblogs and social software are changing organizational practice". The survey, called EuroBlog 2007, is a follow up of a 2006 survey. You can download the details from their website


One of the lead researchers, Swaran Sandhu from the University of Lucerne, Switzerland, said

"We did not expect the field to mature so quickly. Four out of five participants of the survey read Weblogs regularly, two out of five daily. A year ago Weblogs were spoken about, but they were not integrated into the daily media consumption of communication professionals. Today they seem to be indispensable.


85% of the participants think that Weblogs and Social Software are revolutionizing the way we communicate. 89% believe the new communication platforms such as Weblogs and Wikis are becoming accepted communications platform in the same way as website. 20% sees Weblogs as overhyped and not very relevant for their daily operations.

As the most relevant factors limiting the use of weblogs or social software in companies/institutions is a lack of return on investment (42% up from 31% in 2006), as well as a lack of personnel capacity to handle the new communication challenges (69% up from 22% in 2006).

Also interesting is this question, the answers to which I think apply to the academic world as well:

What are the biggest challenges using weblogs brings for your organization?

83% (10% in 2006): Having time to blog regularly
83% (37% in 2006): Reacting to comments/feedback by the audience
80% (39% in 2006): Creating Content and Ideas for posts
88% (40% in 2006): Integrating blogs into communication strategy

And they also provide us with an interesting graphic on the 'virtuous circle of blogging':


A graphic that I however can't make very much sense of. I fail to see why a) blogging is necessarily about environmental scanning and why b) reaching new audiences leads back to environmental scanning.

The pdf of the survey results contains a 'suggested citation' for quotes from their study. Unfortunately the pdf is copy protected and I'm in no mood to retype their suggestion, so here just comes the link.

13 comments:

Plato said...

blogging is necessarily about environmental scanning

It's a way of perfecting knowledge and the circular functions of the diagram reveal this.

While one may not be happy with Wiki's perfect record:) it is the current means with which to familiarize, then, comes the environmental scanning that produces current and accurate record.

Such trail blazing is an important feature of the service this "means of communication provides."

It's easy to lay a wide sweeping claim against anything, without realizing the depth of the work that is being done.

"Enquiring minds" would like to know.:)

rillian said...

I would guess environmental scanning just means "looking at what other people are doing/talking about (on their blogs)."

I'm with you about closing the circle though. Perhaps they mean the generation of more interesting blogs (because it's tuned to be so as part of a communications strategy!) results in a larger audience some of whom also write more interesting blogs, which in turn makes the environmental scanning more useful.

Bee said...

I would guess environmental scanning just means "looking at what other people are doing/talking about (on their blogs).

Yes, that's how I understood it. I don't get though why blogs are necessarily reactions to what other people do. I mean, most of the blog posts that I've written that I consider the most interesting (see sidebar) are introductions, or just some thoughts I've had about a topic that has been on my mind for a while etc. Also, many people write about their experiences, daily lives, give advises, or make jokes, etc. I wouldn't call that environmental scanning. In fact, the writings that I find most interesting to read are those which are not environmental scannings, but something genuinely new that is not an aggregate of already existing information.

Best,

B.

Uncle Al said...

At least 400 "communication experts" are studying the Web? If each averages $(US)50K/annum salary and expenses, Uncle Al has a way to foster interpersonal communication and simultaneously save $20 million/year.

http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/textbook.htm
"inverse conjugate behavioral space... resistant to recurrent attempts at interpretative evaluation."

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

The only comment I would offer is that since the methodology is so haphazard (non scientific) as described as a “self recruiting snow ball sample” and as such no randomization incorporated thereby preventing probability analysis, it doesn’t amount to much in terms of significance. Compound this with the assembly method of the snowball sample as being totally online and this furthers to diminish the significance as compared to what would be revealed within a truly randomized sample of the target group.

Best,

Phil

Bee said...

Hi Phil,

Yes, I had the same reservations about the target group, but their answers are interesting nevertheless in that there is a growing awareness that social networking/blogging can be quite interesting for their organizations, plus, that it takes time and people. I hope at some point it will become clear that done the right way, it can be a good investment.

Best,

B.

QUASAR9 said...

I mean, most of the blog posts that I've written that I consider the most interesting (see sidebar) are introductions, or just some thoughts I've had about a topic that has been on my mind for a while etc.

Bee, you are not your average blogger. As you say some of your 'best' posts are about things you've had on your mind ...

But a lot of people are influenced by what they read on other blogs, ie:
oh I'll do a post on that, or
oh I have some thoughts on that

and so on

You know like some people wanting to attract visitors or increase traffic to their site by posting on a topic or giving the post a title that will attract traffic, etc

Still there must be a universal law there somewhere, but there are never any real guarantees that the circle will be virtuos, it can be a downward spiral ...

less visitors/comments
less motivation to blog
harder to find a topic of 'interest'
less visitors/comments or
less time to blog
death of blog

or at least temporary hiatus
and/or re-branding: new template, new direction, new name, etc

stefan said...

Dear Bee,

my impression is that there are indeed many blogs that find much of their topics just on other blogs - and so, new audiences and an increasing network lead to more stuff to blog about, helping against challenge #3... At the moment, I am challenged by both #3 and #1, (or #1 impeding the solutions to #3), so I can relate to that ;-).

Cheers, Stefan

Bee said...

Quasar, Stefan,

Yes, I have of course noticed that de facto many blogs dominatnly discuss topics they find on other blogs, or in the recent news etc, and act as some kind of information aggregate. I didn't question this. What I was wondering is why in this figure it is assumed that 'blogging is necessarily about environmental scanning'. Especially in the science area I would think that putting out some half-baked idea and getting feedback on it would be a great thing to do. It seems to me it does contrain the use that blogs can have. Best,

B.

Bee said...

I meant 'constrain'.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

“, plus, that it takes time and people. I hope at some point it will become clear that done the right way, it can be a good investment.”

A very interesting comment and relates to one that my place of work is currently struggling with. In the design of our new web site I proposed that we have what amounts to be a forum incorporated into it. This is a place where product specific questions can be asked, application and industry issues addressed and so forth.

The first objections I faced by colleagues was who was to respond to all the queries and also they feared the transparency of it as it relates to concerns and complaints. I have said the response part will have to be shared by all and transparency should also be looked at from the standpoint of it developing trust as apposed to suspicion.

The debate continues and it will be interesting whose vision prevails. I will of course campaign strongly for it and have some clout as it was largely due to my insistence 15 years ago that we created our first corporate web site, which was among the first and has paid dividends many fold since its inception. I can only hope I am correct with this as well and that they will agree.

Best,

Phil

Plato said...

I guess one could ask what web 2.0 actually represents in mapping and then move on too, how Web 3.0 is going to be used?

Virtual realities while not liked by some, is actually the descendant of what we do now, except, the new methods employ an abstract and thinking housed in the use of characters and places created that speak from the other end of the key board?:)

Phil, I have had some experience with this, and of course, in the context you are saying, some thoughts as well. I will post later as the work world calls. Some info under the heading of "Blogging," and of course, it could lead you from one thing or another.

But you get the drift, while needing the knowledge, do not espouse the need to incriminate anyone, but look past this, for the need of that information?

Why we need protection sometimes while participating. Court cases can always hurt, the need to push the boundaries.

Plato said...

Just to clarify my comments a little bit further with regards to Phil, I comment further here.

"A very interesting comment and relates to one that my place of work is currently struggling with. In the design of our new web site I proposed that we have what amounts to be a forum incorporated into it. This is a place where product specific questions can be asked, application and industry issues addressed and so forth."

If one did not understand the very historical developments of the internet, then one would likely forget this historical drama continues to unfold today.

The Cathedral and the Bizzare by Eric Raymond. Traps of libraries that lure you in, and then you become dependant and are circumvented by them? Richard Stallman's ideas?

What is "free speech then" in such a world?