In the following post I will talk about what I learned about weblogs or blogs through self studies and an online conference with my course mates Angelika and Ulrike. Another "Thank you" to those two and my fellow student Maurizio for all the input!
A weblog, which is usually shortened to blog, is a web page that serves as a publicly accessible personal journal. It is comprised of links and postings in reverse chronological order, meaning the most recent posting appears at the top of the page. It may consist of the recorded ideas of an individual (a sort of diary) or be a complex collaboration open to anyone. Most of the latter are moderated discussions.
Blogs normally combine text, images, links to other blogs or web pages, and other media related to its topic. Though most of them are primarily textual many show also on photographs, videos or audio.Authoring a blog, maintaining a blog or adding an article to an existing blog is called blogging. Individual articles on a blog are called blog posts, posts or entries. A person who posts these entries is called a blogger. Blogs are typically updated daily using software that allows people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog
Private blogs can be in form of an online diary telling friends, family etc. about one's life. Furthermore they can be used instead of a personal web page as it is much easier to edit them. Of course they can also serve as an information platform about personal interest or as a communication platform.
Private Blogs can also be used as a simple personal place of storing knowledge that the author is interested in. The knowledge sharing is then only a secondary objective.
Corporate Blogs are blogs that are done by an organisation and are used as a new way of communication with clients, staff and stakeholders. They can be subdivided into 2 groups:
- External Corporate Blogs
- Internal Corporate Blogs
External Corporate Blogs
..are official Weblogs of a company. They can be used as a method of Marketing Communication by posting products, services or other relevant information.A special form of these Marketing blogs are Campaigning Blogs wich are used only for a limited period of time to support a certain Marketing Campaign. Service Blogs, which inform clients about news in handling of products, possible malfunctions and their solutions etc. are another possibility to include blogs into corporate communications. They work mainly as information sources for clients.
Furthermore there exist Customer Relationship Blogs where companies search the direct and open dialogue with their stakeholders and try to keep a good contact with their customers.
Crisis Blogs are kind of an online news service in case of company crisis that provide updated information to affected people.
Last but not least there are the so called CEO Blogs. These blogs are updated by the CEO or members of the management board and concern current branche topics or strategic implications.
Internal Corporate Blogs
.. are used to spread knowledge or information within the organisation or within distinct project groups and/or boost informal learning. These blogs are mostly posted on the Intranet of the company.
Knowledge Logs or K-Logs are a method of internal Knowledge Management that support knowledge transfer and exchange and leads to Communities of Interest. They can be updated by either only department heads but better by all employees. So they provide a good platform for organisational knowledge exchange.
Collaboration Blogs define all tools und weblog-functions that may ease the collaboration within the company. Collaboration Logs can be included into Project Management where they work as a centre of information and knowledge exchange or may be a part of the reporting system by working as a platform of linked documents, information etc.
Pros and Cons
Obviously a big advantage of blogs is that they are very easy to create and to edit. Also people with little technical knowledge/experience can edit them easily. Furthermore the update on their own as always the most actual post is on top of the page. This means no cleaning up of web-pages has to be done, and an archive is created automatically. Another advantage of blogs is that it eliminates a mass of emails sent among members of a certain group if just a post is set and other members can comment it. This eases communication a lot.
Blogs normally show a list of links to other blogs or interesting webpages so that further information can be found easily.
Unfortunately there are also a lot of Shortcomings: First of all, also when blogging doesn't require a lot of technical knowledge it still needs a certain amount of comfortability with computers and the internet. So the target group of blogs can only be people that show a certain knowledge/experience in this field.
Furthermore blogging became very popular in the last year so that exist millions of blogs. To find a good blog therefore is very difficult. There are no really blog searching machines and obviously no quality assurance can be done for contents. On the other hand the bloggers can not chose (except if a blog is posted within a company's intranet) who reads and comments the blog.
Another shortcoming of blogs is that they depend on the learners initiative. If he/she has no time or is not in mood for reading no learning effect is realized. It all depends on the initiative and deiscipline of the single person.