Cognitive Edge: Hubert’s error

Dave Snowden provides a strong response to two comments made by Hubert St Onge (one of the authors of an important modern book about communities of practice)

1. That Blogs and Wikis are publishing tools not collaboration tools, and in the case of blogs the publishing is individualistic/egotistical.
2. That an organisation should mandate one tool for collaboration, rather than allowing diversity; but that participation in the use of those tools should be voluntary.

I can see exactly why Dave would need to take to his blog and strongly oppose these ideas, but on the other hand I can also imagine possible contexts in which the comments can be valid.

Certainly blogs tend to be individualistic, and the much vaunted “conversations” which they may faciliate can tend towards the networking type of interaction rather than the many-2-many model which I believe to be more powerful in some ways.

Whilst Dave’s experience of blogging has been something to enthuse about:

Cognitive Edge: Hubert’s error
In over 15 years of taking part in collaborative spaces I have seen less intimacy, less exchange and less learning than in the six months that I have been writing this blog.

he still likes to invest a fair amount of thought and time into taking people to task in the various “listserves” (email groups), and develops the practice which I do a bit of myself, namely finding inspiration through conversation in groups, and then working the content up into a blog post, or sometimes the other way around.

The second point, about standardising on one tool, could also make some sense in terms of avoiding the draining effect of dissipation of conversation through the proliferation of channels, but it really depends again on the context or organisation concerned.

I think my own views about this have been evolving and I no longer see the opportunity presented by blogs for anybody to self publish as being something which may threaten to supersede or diminish the established format of online communities, in fact the boundary crossing nature of the tools is just as likely to pull new people in to them.

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