Sunday 16 January 2005

Corporate blogs - revolution or evolution?

Don't take this the wrong way, but I can't help not getting excited about the idea of corporate blogs. This has nothing to do with denying the impact that blogs have had on the Internet, but in the corporate environment I really think this is more of an evolution than a revolution.

For example, excited utterances reported a new article in Free Pint on corporate blogs that stated, " specialist blogging software had been available only since early 1999". I'm very sorry, but if you wanted to implement a corporate blog then the technology was definitely available much earlier with Lotus Notes. Evidence of this comes from the fact I spent four years in a corporate environment that made full use of it's Lotus Notes infrastructure. Even before I got there in 1999 they had been using Notes to drive discussion forums, many of which in practice could be described as a corporate blog (which isn't that hard when you look at the possible uses for corporate blogs). In that context I found this interesting comment by the man behind Lotus Notes (and now Groove), Ray Ozzie, in his own blog:

"In 1993 or thereabouts, we saw the emergence of TCP/IP, HTML, HTTP, Mosaic and the Web. From our perspective, all of these were simplistic emulations of a tiny subset of what we'd been doing in Notes for years. .. I am quite embarassed to say that we frankly didn't 'get' what was so innovative about this newfangled 'Web' thing, given the capabilities of what had already been built."

Of course what does make blogs different from Lotus Notes is the fact that content can be shared through an open standard, RSS. This also means that there are a whole bunch of non-proprietory blogging products out there that make the provision of self-publising tools very cost effective. No doubt this has contributed to the take up of blogging inside and outside the firewall. However, in the corporate world at least, revolution it isn't!

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