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Blogging = Open-source knowledge management

Posted by Renee Hopkins Callahan

Corante contributor Don Dodge points us to a Technorati report on the State of the Blogosphere that says that the number of blogs has doubled every six months for the past three and a half years. Don uses this information to illustrate how the "law of large numbers" works with company growth. But behind those numbers there's a great innovation story. Say what you will about the lack of quality of many blogs -- blogging has still been an incredible innovation engine, the platform that's made a huge amount of personal creativity to see the light of publication.

Blogging as a publication platform has also fueled a great deal of business productivity, while at the same time some argue that it's caused personal productivity to decline! Blogging has certainly caused a time management problem for a lot of people, but rather than bemoan that, it seems more positive to try to figure out ways to manage this great influx of knowledge. The value of this wealth of collaborative knowledge creation is just too great to do otherwise.

Corante contributor Rod Boothby has been tracking this very subject. Here he describes the value of Structured Blogging's solution to enterprise blogging:

"One could easily imagine a whole ecosystem of open-source contributions...Here, each contribution would define a new structured element that would help end users embed a microformat snippet within their blog posts. In an enterprise setting, this could be used to add company specific forms to enterprise blogs, such as client call reports, expense reports, loan forms, and meeting minutes."
While I'm on the subject, I want to also point you to Rod's white paper on enterprise blogging, "Turning Knowledge Managers Into Innovation Creators."

Think of enterprise blogging as open-source knowledge management. That said, Don Dodge also had an interesting post on the sale of open source project JBoss to Red Hat Software for $350M. Don pondered on why open source contributors, who will see none of this money in these kinds of deals, continue to participate in such projects. The best answer was in one of the post's comments:

"I tend to think of OSS contributers as amateur sports-men and women. People who play sports on an amateur level are play because they love the game.... I think what drives them is the hunch that may be, just may be they can write that great algorithm, or routine, or application that's better than the one developed in a traditional development environment. "
My take: For knowledge creation, blogging fuels that "love of the game."