blogs and informal learning

17 03 2005

one of the prime rules of blogging has to be that good information can come from just about any source.  while going through my email, i decided to click on what was obviously an unsolicited newsletter from a vendor.  the concept of an enterprise wiki sucked me in.  i’m not sold on that idea.

but what did make me want to blog was ideas raised in another article in the newsletter entitled three rules for sharing informal knowledge.  the author suggests that the three defining qualities of information found in blog (which imho would have been the better title for the article) are:

  1. immediacy
  2. interactivity
  3. informality

he then goes on to say:

companies start to take seriously the idea that something written in an
informal tone can be just as valuable as something that has been
copy edited and when they start to get comfortable with the
self-correcting effect that comes when knowledge workers share
information they will be amazed how much more powerful their
information resources will be.

i think he hits on a couple of concepts that are barriers to adoption by most organizations.  first, corporate control of information.    there have been several recent articles companies trying to control blogs/bloggers (apple suing bloggers for releasing information on tiger or the delta flight attendant fired for blogging about her travels.)  i’m not going to weigh in on right or wrong, but leave it at i don’t think many companies, particularly their legal departments are ready to relinquish control of information.   hit the continuation below to read the rest.

a second barrier i think is more problematic – listening.   most
organizations, corporations especially, are  focused on honing their
message down to laser beam  accuracy to have greatest impact on their
target market.  talk to anyone in marketing or sales and they’ll tell
you about the effort that goes into getting the message right for a
relatively small group of consumers.  building a mindset that then
turns to it employees and welcomes unfettered dissent just isn’t going
to happen overnight.  if at all.

the self-correcting effect that
the author refers to is true, but takes time. lots of time, in some
cases.  i haven’t seen too many books on corporate strategy  recently
that have been advocating a "slow down, relax, you’ve got plenty of
time" approach.

all this said, i still agree that any company who can overcome these
barrier and successfully tap into the wealth of information available
to it in informal channels will clobber its competitors.  agree?
disagree?  speak up!  hit the comment button below.

ps – to read great commentary on the latest ruling in Apple v. doe (and blogging at  it’s best) check out



3 responses

21 04 2005
Scott Sorley

I read about the delta airlines stewardess getting sacked. I don’t know if it was the blog that got here fired – I think they thought that some of here pictures in the workplace were suggestive and inappropriate – pretty innocent really.


16 06 2005

I agree with your sentiments on informal learning. I have recently done a lot of research pertaining to this topic for a uni assignment, and it does make sense. In a lot of cases informal learning is one of the most primary sources for knowledge sharing within an organisation.

16 06 2005
- Mel's Moments -


Whilst attempting to broaden my e-Learning horizons I have come to a sudden realisation. I understand that people want to share, and have the right to do so, I was just a little astounded (not that this is a bad thing) at how personal some people were…

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