This is another in a series of posts describing the day to day triumphs and setbacks of trying to bring blogs and wikis and other Web 2.0 tools to my organization. The introductory post is here.
We currently have a group of about 20 bloggers, a basic wiki and a blog aggregator which gives links to blog posts as they show up. By looking at the aggregator, I can quickly tell which blog is active and which is dormant. This week I discovered that one I thought was dormant was, in fact, quite active. The blogger had just been using it the wrong way.
This blogger runs weekly meetings and keeps the minutes. She had been writing the minutes in a Word document and uploading them to her blog. She then would post a link, but did it in a box on her sidebar. She didn't want to post them as blog entries, because she didn't like the way it would look if the blog became too long. I found all this out when she called and asked how she could archive the minutes by date. I couldn't understand her question, so I went down to take a look.
First, she didn't understand that our Movable Type blogging software archived things by date automatically. She also didn't know that we could specify how many posts appeared on the front page and limit the length of the web page. She really resisted the whole blogging process until we tried inserting a couple of her minutes as posts and she saw the thing work.
I would never have guessed that she was using the blog that way if I hadn't seen it for myself. I felt like I was watching someone try to dig a hole while holding the wrong end of the shovel.
She also complained that her blog was getting no hits at all. I explained that this was because the thing looked dormant since she wasn't posting at all. Changes to her sidebar boxes did not register as updates. Lastly, I tried to explain to her that her blog was like a conversation with friends. In addition to the minutes of her meetings, she should post about people she's talked to and upcoming events in her project. I think she got it.
Blogging is a huge cultural shift for her. She's a very pleasant and intelligent woman, she just had a way of doing things using email and Word and the blog was something totally different. Now that she's updating her blog, I'm going to ask members of the Blogger Underground (to be explained in a future post) to stop by her site and comment from time to time to encourage her.
The battle to bring the blogosphere to work is won one blogger at a time.