During the past week, I had the pleasure of meeting with quite a few senior executives — mostly CIO’s — of major corporations. They were all familiar to varying degrees with WiFi but not one had even heard of blogging. One said, “blobbing?”. This is not surprising. CIO’s have a lot on their plate. Cut IT spending. Get systems integrated. Support wireless. Improve security. Do more with less. Although I strongly believe enterprises do need blogging (see Site Redesign), it is understandable that CIO’s think they need blogging like they need a hole in the head. Once I explain what blogging is all about, the typical response from people is that they are already in “information overload” to how could they possibly take on reading or writing a blog?
Fair enough. We are all suffering from various forms of information overload. The answer has many components — one of which is not to resist new forms of communication. A person I met this week told me that she uses an agent in Lotus Notes which automatically puts all email on which she was a cc’ed person into a Copied folder. She never looks in the folder. Her rationale is that if is important enough for her to know about or take action on, then someone will send it to her directly. Not a bad idea. A follow-on could be to have the agent send an auto-reply that says, “I received the copy of the email you sent to Joe Blow about XYZ Subject and I have filed it in my Copies folder. Please don’t feel you need to send me very much FYI materials. If there is some way I can help you or if it is urgent that I know about something then please do include me in the “To” field. Otherwise, there is no need to copy me.” It is a matter of style, some people want to take the time to read everything; others don’t. Back to blogging.
So where do we get time to read or write blogs? For writing, I would have to admit that it is a passion for some (like me) and they will do it because they want to. As for reading blogs it is a more complex question. Where did we get the time to use Instant Messaging? There are millions of IM’s every day. Where did that time come from? Telephone calls and email. The average person spends hours per month surfing. Where did it come from? TV, trade magazines, catalogs. This is nothing new. TV took time out of Radio. There are only so many hours in a day but the number of “channels” of communication is constantly expanding. It is mostly additive. This phenomenon is not a bug; it is a feature. Having so many channels allows us more choice, more breadth and depth, and more on demand information and expertise. Technical people have told me that blogs have become their primary source of technical information. Some people are using Newsgator as their primary way to read news. Blogging will begin to take a chunk of time away from email, surfing, IM, trade magazines, newspapers, and journals.