When I was undertaking my degree in information management – all of ten years ago now, come to think of it – the whole idea of a blog was still off in the distance. Newsgroups were the in thing, and along with Netscape Navigator they represented the cutting edge of the Web for Real People.
Eight years and three information-related occupations later, and I returned to RMIT to complete my Masters degree. Somewhere in that decade, the Masters of Information Management met its demise, and despite my best intentions and efforts I eventually gained the long-avoided IT degree instead. My major, if such it can be called, was in the field of knowledge management – the study of the capture, storage, indexing, retrieval and dissemination of institutional awareness and memory.
I recall writing a paper – the closest I ever got to a thesis – arguing the benefits of blogging for the purposes of team-building, internal skills training, and across-team awareness. An effective large-organisation method of sharing experience across campuses, across business units and across organisational silos would require key people in each area to blog their day-to-day problems and solutions as narratives within a centralised blog store. This methodology would also require an effective method of indexing and retrieving blog postings (this was writing in the days when blogs were still fairly new, and subject tags still to come into common use) and appropriate incentives for blog writers to contribute and other employees to use the resulting stories.
To my knowledge, we’re still waiting for such a system to be widely implemented and practiced. (If your organisation has integrated internal blogs into its practice and KM systems, I’d be fascinated to hear.)
So why has it taken me so long to start a blog of any description?
Partly, I have long felt that weblogs are a fad and likely to disappear over time. I still feel this, to some extent. I avoided MySpace as I couldn’t see its longevity, and whilst I maintain a Facebook account I think its lifespan also is limited. Rather than dying, however, I think Facebook will evolve, over time, in conjunction with other offerings. The way of internet applications of the future is synergy, and I suspect Facebook now has enough momentum to be a part of that future.
More than anything else, the delay has been about time and commitment. It takes time to write a good post. It takes commitment to write with enough frequency to maintain interest. And it takes experience and expertise to have something worth saying that stands out from the crowd in a blog-saturated online world. Blogs are easy to set up, free, and possess a kind of mystique, a promise of self-realisation that comes from being a “published author”. At this moment there are almost 150 thousand bloggers on WordPress. Perhaps fortunately, there’s no ability to sort these by number of posts. I have to wonder how many blogs are started and end up with only one or two posts before being abandoned… it’s hard to find statistics but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was high. It’s entirely possible that this new blog will take the same path.
So Random Pariah begins, with no expectations of standing out or gaining an audience. Covering an eclectic range of topics, it may occasionally pop up on a Google search but I claim no particular expertise. And without even a clear understanding of purpose, this blog will likely itself evolve, eventually to take on a shape of its own. What that shape will be, who can tell? Certainly not me. But I look forward to the ride.
For the sake of interest, this blog is being written using Microsoft Live Writer, on a Wind U100, for a WordPress blog. Like everything else, this is subject to change.