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All you need to know about blogging that you can’t be bothered to research for yourself because you’re too busy blogging …

Fig. 1. Passion at work: Blogging practices of knowledge workers (2009)
by Lilia Efimova
Doctoral thesis published by Novay.

I’ve come to this thesis for a number of reasons:

I’ve been blogging since September 1999, sometimes obsessively so, such as the couple of Blogathons I instigated in 2002 and 2004 where participants had to post 1000 words every hour on the hour for 24 hours – words were meant to be written during the previous 60 minutes. Three of us made it to the end.

I’ve posted regularly since 1999, with several years never missing a day – that’s the diary writer in me. We created ‘circles’ in Diaryland a decade before Google used the term for those with 100, then 500, then 1000 posts.

I know of one blogger from that era who is still there, plugging away ‘Invisibledon’. 

I’ve written on a theme, typically creative writing, parenting, swim coaching and e-learning.

And added to this typed up entries from diaries. There are some 2 million words ‘out there’.

My credentials therefore are as a participant, as a player.

Perhaps I am too close to the hubbub to see what is going on?

I blog as a means:

  • To learn
  • To collate
  • To share
  • To test and practice my knowledge (or lack of … )

Fig. 2 It helps that I’ve kept a diary since I was 13. Blogging since 1999. On WordPress since 2007.

I’m used to gathering my thoughts at the end of the day or logging them as I go along. And learnt that a few succinct sentences is often enough to bring back the day. My first blog was NOT assembled in ‘reverse chronological order’ – I posted to a set of 32 themes. It works better that way.

  • One diary covers my gap year working in the Alps.
  • Another diary covers a few weeks of an exchange trip to France.
  • A third covers a year with the School of Communications Arts.

I personally value blogging to form a  writer’s journal and as a student’s journal, particularly over the last three years during which time I have successfully completed the Open University’s Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE).

  • I read everything I can on blogging. 
  • I’ve just read this engaging PhD thesis by Lilia Efimova. 
  • She is Russian, works in the Netherlands and writes perfect English.

Her supervisors were:

Robert-Jan Simons
Robert de Hoog

My interest is twofold – blogging and methodology, as I am doing a postgraduate module on research (H809 : Practice-based research in educational technology)

The methods used (Efimova, 2008. p. 1):

  • Use of unconventional research methods
  • Cross boundaries
  • Define and defend choices

Blogging can support a variety of knowledge worked activities to:

  • articulate and organise thoughts
  • make contact with people interested in the same topics (like minds)
  • grow relations with other bloggers
  • work on a publication

Caveats

  • personal
  • crossing boundaries passions and paid work, private and public.

I read ‘Uses of Blogs’ for the second time. Edited by Dr Axel Bruns and Joanna Jacobs. I had a OU Library copy so bought another through Amazon. A book on blogging that only exists in print. I far prefer eBooks. I’ve posted on that elsewhere. (Versatility, notes and highlights in one place, search and having as Lt. Col Sean Brady described it a  ‘university in my pocket’).

My take on blogging – who does it, is based on Jakob Nielsen’s 2001.

I can’t find figures that suggest that this has changed in the general population, though research with undergraduates might give a split of 5/35/60. The problem is, what do you define as a blog? And can your really say that someone who posts once a year, or once a quarter is blogging at all?

Fig. 3 For everyone 1 person who blogs, some 90 don’t and the other 9 are half-hearted about it. (based on stats from Nielsen, 2006).

According to Nielsen (2006) most online communities show a ratio of creation, commenting and simply reading of 1% – 9% – 90%. With blogs, the rule is more like 95% – 5% – 0.1%.

Introduction

I agree with Efimova that we learn from the edge. We come into everything as an outsider.  She cites ‘legitimate peripheral participation (Lave & Wenger, 1991) and moving from being an outside in a specific knowledge community to a more active position. I would John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid. (2007)  Awareness, as a starting point of this process, comes through exposure to the ideas of others and lurking at the periphery (observing without active participation), learning about professional language and social norms. Efimova cites (Nonnecke & Preece, 2003). I would add Cox (1999).

As the thesis more reason to blog, or reason not to are offered. Efimova also commits to looking at blogging in the workplace, amongst Knowledge Workers. Efimova (x.p )  In 2000 we used the term ‘infomediaries’  people who dealt in information and knowledge on behalf of others.

Worker use of blogs to

  • develop ideas and relationships
  • inspire conversations
  • work on specific tasks

Early adopters experimenting with the medium. Here I think a full consideration of the diffusion of innovations (Rogers, 2005) would be beneficial too. Efimova offers some ideas from Gartner, though without offering the self-explanatory chart that I offer below.

Fig. 4 . Gartner mid-2005 projection (Fenn & Linden, 2005)

I know of all three company types. Whilst a very few at A can be hugely successful, the safest approach is to come in at C – as Virgin do, time and time again, letting others make mistakes. On the other hand, for example in e-learning, if you aren’t willing to behave like a Type A you may find your clients start speaking to companies down the road. Ditto advertising and social media.

Efimova talks of the  ‘peak of inflated expectations’ and the ‘trough of disillusionment’.

Fig. 5 Evaluation criteria for this research

This is where I need to put in a good deal more scrutiny. Whilst I don’t question the validity of the approach, I do wonder if a more ‘scientific’ approach would have produced something more revealing that observation of 34 work related blogs – which is how this thesis plays out. We wander into the questionable arena of informal interviewing and participant observation as central way to generate ‘ethnographic data’.  This smacks of anthropology to me. Of social anthropology. But perhaps such qualitative techniques are as valid, and may be the only way to study subject if you are going to take the challenge of researching it at all.

The best answer I have read and give myself now when asked, ‘what is a blog?’ is to say ‘electronic paper’. That is how broad it has become, in 2001-2002 a handful of us in Diaryland set out and shared our standards:

  • A minimum of 250 words
  • Post every day for a least a year.
  • Fact not fiction (unless expressed as otherwise)


At the time it was rare to post images and you wouldn’t and couldn’t include video. Today a blog might be a stream of images or streamed video. It can be multiple users too, posting on the hour for a year in a team of six if they wish, which can be the way Andrew Sullivan (2013) posts to ‘The Daily Dish’ which gets a million views a month.

Efimova uses a technique called ‘triangulation’ to help validate her research – this is the use of multiple sources and modes of evidence to make findings stronger, by showing and agreement of independent measures, or by exploring and explaining findings (Miles & Huberman, 1994; Schwartz-Shea, 2006).

i.e. Triangulation by study – studying blogging practices from three perspectives using a variety of methods.

She also used ‘data triangulation’ – including in the analysis different types of data ( e.g. text and statistics), data sources and data collection methods. So including non-elicited data (Pargman, 2000) from public sources (e.g. weblog text) as well as recorded interviews.

I can’t fault Efimova (2008) introduction to Blogging

‘Since their early days, weblogs have been conceptualised as personal thinking spaces: as an outboard brain (Doctorow, 2002), a personal filing cabinet (Pollard, 2003a) or a research notebook (Halvais, 2006). In fact, the first academic publication on blogging (Mortensen & Walker, 2002) discusses uses of blogging in a research context, particularly in relation to developing ideas, and the weblog of its first author, Torrill Motensen, has a telling title: “Thinking with my fingers”.  I soon discovered that a weblog worked well that way, but also that this “thinking in public” provided an opportunity to show how ideas, my own and those of other bloggers, develop over time.

Pacquet 2002 discussed the use of blogging in research.

Fig. 6 Number of weblog posts per month

Blog analytics are mystifying. We count the undefined.

What is a blog?

What is a blog post?

A group of us asked these questions in 2000 then got on with it. We had our guidelines to post at least 1000 words every day, with no post less than 250 words. We did this as others flooded online and in the race to have 100 or 500 posts would put up a random string of letters and post every few minutes. As it become feasible and easy to post images was a picture worth a thousand words?

Was it still a ‘blog’ in our sense of the definition if it had no explanation behind it. And in my case, by storing by category not date in defiance of conventions could what I do still be called blogging?

And if used to archive diary entries was I now an archivist?

Looking at the fall-off in posts in Efimova’s blog I also see that when things get more interesting, when there is more to say – we post less. From an earlier generation I stopped keeping a diary when my fiance and I moved in together.

Had I found what I was looking for?

Around this time, 1998, Ellen Levy featured in the Washing Post for keeping a ‘blog’ (not called this) for a year – writing up business meetings and how attended, even adding photos. She struggled to post when she was ill. Over time knowing when we fall ill can start to explain why. And if, as we can now do, our daily life is captured automatically, is that a blog? To what degree must the blogger select, frame, write and edit what they have to say rather than a device, like your own CCTV camera hanging around your neck does it for you?

Fig. 7 Using a Weblog to store information  (Efimova 2008. p. 58)

To understand the mind of the blogger should we look at the reasons why people in the past have kept a diary? Or is keeping such a record, a journal simply one strand to something that has become extraordinarily multifarious? The 17th century diaries of Lady Anne Clifford and Samuel Pepys, the 20th century diaries of Anne Frank, Virginia Woolf and Anais Nin, the audio-cassettes of British MP Tony Benn …

Surely to say you want to study blogging in 2013 is akin to saying you want to study printed matter in the 17th century. That the field is too diverse. In a way we have gone from the mechanical era of print, to the organic era of the blog. Even to study one facet of blogging, such as the business or corporate blog,  would be like studying the ecology of a meadow in order to understand the interplay between different plants and creatures.

Efimova speaks of ‘sense-making’ (2009. p. 70)

‘As with writing, blogging is not simply formulating in words an idea already developed in one’s mind. It is also about connecting, developing and redefining half-baked ideas. When writing, I often go through the weblog archives to explore connections with what is already there. Reading and rereading what I wrote before shapes and changes what I’m about to write: I often find something unexpected or see patterns only in retrospect’.

And others some reason to blog … and just one reasons not to.

  1. Somewhere to “park” emerging insights until the moment they are needed. Efimova (2009. p 75)
  2. Doesn’t require much effort
  3. Somewhere to park ideas
  4. Reading and engaging with others to become aware of issues and themes
  5. Topics accumulate and connections grew and things become clearer.
  6. A set of sense-making practices
  7. “Everyday grounded theory” Efimova (2009. p. 75)
  8. Connecting multiple fragments
  9. Getting into the writing flow
  10. Strengthened by readers’ feedback
  11. A channel for distribution
  12. Publication additional motivation to document emergent ideas
  13. A legitimate place to share thinking in progress
  14. -ve when the need is to be extremely selective and focused. Efimova (2009. p. 80)
  15. To collect in one place the fragmented bits relevant to my thinking Efimova (2009. 3.5.4)
  16. Clusters of conversations
  17. Conversations unfolding
  18. A personal space and a community space simultaneously.
  19. A personal narrative used to articulate and to organise one’s own thinking. (conversation with self. p 90?) around 4.3
  20. An example of hypertext conversation. Efimova (2009. p. 129)
  21. Weblogs provide a space that helps both to develop one’s own point of view and discuss it with others.
  22. Bloggers present their ideas to the world, readers learn from them. Efimova (2009. p. getting things done. staying in touch)

This would make a good topic for debate.

And if I post multiple entries on my personal life is this content less of a blog when it is locked, then when made available publicly or in a limited way by password?

Eight functions of corporate blogs are offered (Zerfab, 2005, Juch & Stobbe, 2005)

  1. Public Relations
  2. Internal Communications (knowledge transfer and contract negotiation)
  3. Market communications:
  4. Product blogs
  5. Service blogs
  6. Customer relationship blogs
  7. Crisis blogs
  8. CEO blogs


Fig.  9 Conversations with self. Efimova (2009)

To mean something plotting ‘conversations’ requires annotation and even animation for it to start to make sense.

It is also very difficult, even unrealistic, to isolate activity on a website from other forms of synchronous and asynchronous ‘conversation’ – the dialogue in a forum, through email, even on the phone or Skype. This is why as a metaphor I return to the notion of an ocean, in which all these digital assets, this ‘stuff’ is floating around, mixed up by the currents of search engines, micro-blogs and social networks, churned by new Apps, software and kit and made dynamic as it is remixed, shared and transformed through translation, borrowing, plagiarism or mash-ups.

In this way an ocean of content is thrown into the cloud, circulated and recycled like a virtual water-cycle.

Others will see it differently, many talk of an ecosystem, of something organic going on. Would a zoologist or ecologist make more sense of it? Or a biologist, mechanical engineer or psychologist? Some of these questions, and this eclectic mix of folk have been gathering at the University of Southampton for the last three years under the umbrella title of WebSciences – a cross-disciplinary faculty that works with computer scientists and educators, with the health sector and social sciences, with the creative industries, geographers and historians. It’s as if a mirror has been held up to our off-line world and by translation, as Alice through the Looking Glass, transformed the real and explicable into the surreal and the unexplainable.

The history of blogging at Microsoft, Groundup from 2000 to 7000 internal and external by 2005. What it brought and what was hoped for:

  • Humanizing the company.
  • Visibility to its author (Efimova 2008. p. 187)
  • Recognition as an expert
  • Communicating about product
  • Reader expectations and visibility-related risks shape the content. Efimova 2008. p. 191)

‘Employee blogging creates tensions by crossing boundaries between work that is paid for, regulated and controlled, and personal passions that enhance it, passions that could be recognised and appreciated at work, but couldn’t be easily specified in a job description.’ Efimova 2009. p. 199)

For 11 months I worked in a business school in social media.

My efforts to support those who didn’t blog to do so, or to encourage those who said they blogged to post something more often than once a quarter or a couple of times a year failed. If they had wanted to be journalists or politicians and got up on a soapbox they would have done so in their youth. They saw no individual value or purpose to it so wouldn’t. As academics they have readers and their pattern of research and writing is long set. Some do, some don’t. Some will, some won’t. And it would appear that those inclined to share their point of view online are just a fraction of the online population, and just a fraction of that population who read blogs – i.e. 1% (Nielsen, 2006)

‘On the downside, blogging requires an investment of time and effort that could be a burden. Although potentially useful, work-related information in employee weblogs is highly fragmented and difficult to navigate. Although the visibility of bloggers, their work and expertise, can have many positive effects, it may also result in undesired communications overhead, time spent dealing with high reader expectations or with taking care of negative effects.’ Efimova, 2009. p. 200)

  • Lack of control of the company’s message
  • Dependence on personalities
  • Challenged hierarchies and communication flows

Efimova (2009. p. 201)

  • To illicit passion for knowledge (Kaiser et al., 2007)
  • Change the image of the company in the eyes of others (Kelleher & Miller, 2006)

It’s easy to blog, so more should do it.

  • low-threshold creation of entries
  • a flexible and personally meaningful way to organise and maintain them
  • opportunities to retrieve, reuse and analyse blog content
  • opportunities to engage with others.
  • fitted in while working on something else
  • providing a way to keep abreast of others ideas
  • capturing ones’ own emergent insights
  • clarifying matters for a public
  • over time ideas on a topic accumulate and connections between them become clearer.
  • feedback from readers turns blogging into a sense-making practice
  • eventually an ideas is ‘ripe’ and ready to become part of a specific task.

Efimova (2009. p. 208)

The reality, if Nielsen (2006) has got it right, is that only a tiny fraction of any population want to go to the trouble or has the inclination to post something. Better that those with something to say and a voice to say it do so that everyone is obliged to express themselves online. I liken it to cooking on holiday. I disagree with obliging everyone to cook on a rota, for some it isn’t a chore, it’s a joy and if they do it well encourage them. With the proviso that others make their contribution in other ways – laying on the entertainment, doing the drinks … it’s what makes us human?

Conditions for a weblog ecosystem Efimova (2009. p. 232):

  • Scale and reach
  • Readership
  • Visibility
  • Feedback
  • Lowering thresholds – a tool for everyday tasks
  • Making it accessible
  • Crossing boundaries

Ecosystem suggests that blogs exist in something organic – they do, the Web is fluid, shifting and expanding. What value would there be in studying blogs in a way that is somehow ‘scientific’ as if blogging were a natural, evolving feature? Like trees in a jungle?

What other metaphors might contribute to such understanding and how, if at all, can they be justified in research?

Could I look at the Web as a water cycle, as oceans with clouds, as currents and climate? Or is this shoe-horning systems we understand in part to explain one that we do not? Is it presuming too much to look for a natural rather than a machine model for the Web and where blogs fit in?

FURTHER LINKS

Plant CPSquare : communities of practice in the blogosphere.

REFERENCE

Bruns, A. (2006). What’s next for blogging? In A. Bruns, A & J.Jacobs, J (eds) Uses of Blogs (pp. 247-254). New York: Peter Lang Publishing.

Brown, J, & Duguid, P 1991, ‘Organizational Learning and Communities-of-Practice: Toward a Unified View of Working, Learning, and Innovation’, Organization Science, 1, p. 40, JSTOR Arts & Sciences IV, EBSCOhost, viewed 15 February 2013.

Cox, R, McKendree, J, Tobin, R, Lee, J, & Mayes, T n.d., (1999) ‘Vicarious learning from dialogue and discourse – A controlled comparison’,Instructional Science, 27, 6, pp. 431-458, Social Sciences Citation Index, EBSCOhost, viewed 15 February 2013.

Efimova, L. (2009) Passion at work: blogging practices of knowledge workers. Novay PhD
Research Series 2009 (www.novay.nl.dissertations)

Halvais (2006) Scholarly Blogging. Moving towards the visible college. In A. Bruns, A & J.Jacobs, J (eds) Uses of Blogs (pp. 117-126). New York: Peter Lang Publishing.

Kaiser, S, Muller-Seitz, G, Lopes, M, & Cunha, M n.d., ‘Weblog-technology as a trigger to elicit passion for knowledge’, Organization, 14, 3, pp. 391-412, Social Sciences Citation Index, EBSCOhost, viewed 15 February 2013.

Kelleher, T, & Miller, B 2006, ‘Organizational Blogs and the Human Voice: Relational Strategies and Relational Outcomes’, Journal Of Computer-Mediated Communication, 11, 2, pp. 395-414, Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 15 February 2013.

Lave, J. & Wenger, E (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Miles, M.B. & Huberman, M.A.  (1994) Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.

Mortensen, T & Walker, J. (2002). Blogging thoughts: personal publication as an online research tool. In A. Morrison (ed.)., Researching ICTs in Context. InterMedia report 3/2002 (pp. 249-278). Oslo.

Nielsen. J. (2006) Participation Inequality: Encouraging More Users to Contribute. (Accessed 16 February 2013 http://www.nngroup.com/articles/participation-inequality/ )

Nonnecke, B. & Preece, J. (2003). Silent participants: Getting to know lurkers better. In C.Lueg & D. Fisher (Eds.), From Usenet to CoWebs: Interacting with Social Information Spaces. Springer Verlag.

Pargman, D. (2000). Method and ethics. In Code beges community: On social and technical aspects of managing a virtual community. Department of Communications Studies, The Tema Institute, Linkoping University, Sweden.

Pollard, (2003) Blogging in Business – The Weblog as filing cabinet. How to save the world, 3 Mart 2003.

Seely-Brown, J.S and Duguid, P. (1991) ‘Organizational learning and communities-of-practice: toward a unified view of working, learning and innovation’, Organizational Science, 2 (1): 40-57

Brown, J.S.  (2007) October 2007 webcast: (accessed 16 Feb 2013 http://stadium.open.ac.uk/stadia/preview.php?whichevent=1063&s=31 )

Schwartz-Shea, P. (2006). Judging quality. Evaluative criteria and epistemic communities. In D. Yanow & P. Schwartz-Shea (Eds.), Interpretation and Method: Empirical Research Methods and the Interpretive Turn (pp. 89-113). M.E. Sharpe.

Sullivan, A (2013) The Daily Dish (accessed 16 February 2013 http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2013/jan/03/daily-beast-andrew-sullivan-daily-dish )

von Hippel, E. (1986). Lead users: A source of novel product concepts. Management Science, 32 (791), 805.

Weller, M (2011) The Digital Scholar : How technology is transforming scholarly practice.

Zerfaβ, A 2005, ‘Assembling a Localization Kit’, Multilingual Computing & Technology, 16, 7, pp. 60-11, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 16 February 2013.

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Why blog – 21 good reasons, 1 bad … Lilia Efimova from her PhD thesis on the subject

Reboot9 First Day 36: Lilia Efimova

 

Fig.1. Dr. Lilia Efimova 

‘As with writing, blogging is not simply formulating in words an idea already developed in one’s mind. It is also about connecting, developing and redefining half-baked ideas. When writing, I often go through the weblog archives to explore connections with what is already there. Reading and rereading what I wrote before shapes and changes what I’m about to write: I often find something unexpected or see patterns only in retrospect’. Efimova (2009. p 70)

  1. Somewhere to “park” emerging insights until the moment they are needed. Efimova (2009. p 75)
  2. Doesn’t require much effort
  3. Somewhere to park ideas
  4. Reading and engaging with others to become aware of issues and themes
  5. Topics accumulate and connections grew and things become clearer.
  6. A set of sense-making practices
  7. “Everyday grounded theory” Efimova (2009. p. 75)
  8. Connecting multiple fragments
  9. Getting into the writing flow
  10. Strengthened by readers’ feedback
  11. A channel for distribution
  12. Publication additional motivation to document emergent ideas
  13. A legitimate place to share thinking in progress
  14. -ve when the need is to be extremely selective and focused. Efimova (2009. p. 80)
  15. To collect in one place the fragmented bits relevant to my thinking Efimova (2009. 3.5.4)
  16. Clusters of conversations
  17. Conversations unfolding
  18. A personal space and a community space simultaneously.
  19. A personal narrative used to articulate and to organise one’s own thinking. (conversation with self. p 90?) around 4.3
  20. An example of hypertext conversation. Efimova (2009. p. 129)
  21. Weblogs provide a space that helps both to develop one’s own point of view and discuss it with others.
  22. Bloggers present their ideas to the world, readers learn from them. Efimova (2009. p. getting things done. staying in touch)

REFERENCE

Efimova, L. (2009) Passion at work: blogging practices of knowledge workers. Novay PhD Research Series 2009 (www.novay.nl.dissertations)

 

Blogging for knowledge management in the workplace

‘As with writing, blogging is not simply formulating in words an idea already developed in one’s mind. It is also about connecting, developing and redefining half-baked ideas. When writing, I often go through the weblog archives to explore connections with what is already there. Reading and rereading what I wrote before shapes and changes what I’m about to write: I often find something unexpected or see patterns only in retrospect’.Efimova (2009. p 70)

Fig. 1. Dr Lilia Efimova – her Phd thesis is on blogging to support knowledge management in the workplace.

  1. Somewhere to “park” emerging insights until the moment they are needed. Efimova (2009. p 75)
  2. Doesn’t require much effort
  3. Somewhere to park ideas
  4. Reading and engaging with others to become aware of issues and themes
  5. Topics accumulate and connections grew and things become clearer.
  6. A set of sense-making practices
  7. “Everyday grounded theory” Efimova (2009. p. 75)
  8. Connecting multiple fragments
  9. Getting into the writing flow
  10. Strengthened by readers’ feedback
  11. A channel for distribution
  12. Publication additional motivation to document emergent ideas
  13. A legitimate place to share thinking in progress
  14. -ve when the need is to be extremely selective and focused. Efimova (2009. p. 80)
  15. To collect in one place the fragmented bits relevant to my thinking Efimova (2009. 3.5.4)
  16. Clusters of conversations
  17. Conversations unfolding
  18. A personal space and a community space simultaneously.
  19. A personal narrative used to articulate and to organise one’s own thinking. (conversation with self. p 90?) around 4.3
  20. An example of hypertext conversation. Efimova (2009. p. 129)
  21. Weblogs provide a space that helps both to develop one’s own point of view and discuss it with others.
  22. Bloggers present their ideas to the world, readers learn from them. Efimova (2009. p. getting things done. staying in touch)
  • low-threshold creation of entries
  • a flexible and personally meaningful way to organise and maintain them
  • opportunities to retrieve, reuse and analyse blog content
  • opportunities to engage with others.
  • fitted in while working on something else
  • providing a way to keep abreast of others ideas
  • capturing ones’ own emergent insights
  • clarifying matters for a public
  • over time ideas on a topic accumulate and connections between them become clearer.
  • feedback from readers turns blogging into a sense-making practice
  • eventually an ideas is ‘ripe’ and ready to become part of a specific task.

Efimova (2008. p. 208)

Autoenthnography Or, how to write something of substance.

From Richardson (2000) via Lilia Efimova (2009. p. 39)

I’ve taken the view, with a lifetime of keeping a diary and 14 years blogging that I write whatever comes to mind as I put pen to paper or fingertips to the keyboard. There is a better way:

Substantive Contribution

Does this piece contribute to our understand of social life? Does the writer demonstrate a deeply grounded (if embedded) human world understanding and perspective?

Aesthetic Merit

Does this piece succeed aesthetically? Does the use of creative analytical practices open up the text, invite interpretive responses? Is the text artistically shaped, satisfying, complex, and not boring?

Reflexivity

How did the author come to write this? How was the information gathered? Ethical issues? How has the author’s subjectivity been both a producer and a product of this text?

Is there an adequate self-awareness and self-exposure for the reader to make judgements about the point of view? Do authors hold themselves accountable to the stands of knowing and telling of the people they have studied?

Impact

Does this affect me? Emotionally? Intellectually? Generate new questions? Move me to write? Move me to try new research practices? Move me to actions?

Lived Experience

Does this text embody a fleshed out sense of lived-experience? Does it seem “true” – a credible account of a cultural, social, or communal sense of the “real”?

 

REFERENCE

Efimova.L (2009) Passion At Work : Blogging practices of knowledge workers. Novay PhD Research Series, No. 24 (Novay/PRS/024)

Richardson, L. (2000). Evaluating ethnography. Qualitative Inquiry, 6 (2), 253-255

 

 

Reading – nothing quite beats it, does it?

Fig. 1. This week’s reading – almost. I’ve got the stack by the bed too, which includes ‘The Gutenberg Galaxy Marshall McLuhan (half way through) and ‘The Shallows’ Nicholas Carr – which I read wearing boxing gloves to resist removing the pages.

Here we see:

Passion at work: blogging practices of knowledge workers. The 2009 doctoral thesis of Lilia Efimova – who, naturally, has a wonderful blog.

Spaced education improves the retention of clinical knowledge by medical students: a randomised controlled trial. (2009) B Price Kerfoot, William deWolf, Barbara Masser, Paul Church and Daniel Federman – try QStream to get a flavour of this, then read a dozen papers from Dr Kerfoot.

The Music of Business (2013) – Peter Cook. Business with rock playing. He’s an Open University Business School MBA Alumnus, former Tutor on ‘Creativity, Innovation and Change’ a module I did early in 2012.  Should be fun.

In Search of Memory : the emergence of a New Science of Mind (2006) Eric Kandel. I may not be about to study neuroscience of psychology but this may help get my head in the right intellectual space.

Delete : The virtue of forgetting in the digital age (2009) Viktor Mayer-Schonberger. Of the Oxford Internet Institute. On my second read as my interest is in memory and what I consider to be an infinite capacity to learn and gain more knowledge. I know it’s just a film but I do rather think that if we could live forever our minds wouldn’t let us down (Groundhog Day).

Using Computer-based Text Analysis to Integrate Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Research on Collaborative Learning. (2010) Wegerif and Mercer.  As part of the module H809. Already read, reviewed, dissected and taken notes.

A map to get to the University of Southampton Highfield campus from Southampton Central Station.

Your Research PhD (2005) Nicholas Walliman – I’m sure I’ve read more of this than the Kindle suggests, though it must just be very long.

Authoring a PhD: how to plan draft, write and finish a doctoral thesis or dissertation. (2003) Patrick Dunleavy. I’m following the instructions to the letter.  From these two books I’ve drawn up a ‘plan’ on a sheet of A1 paper. I need a bigger sheet, so I’ll double these up or use wallpaper backing paper to plot the detail. I’ve got my head around RefWorks and have a healthy collection of papers to read, usually picking of a couple each day.

H809 Practice-based Research in Educational Technology. Only week 2. This is making me approach anything I read with enormous care. Courtesy of Google it doesn’t take long to track down the authors – I like to know what they have written since simply to get a perspective on where their career has gone or is going. Not the guide that is recommended to judge a paper but when faced with a list of potential papers on the same topic I hope I pick out the authority based on institution and their CV.

Just read:

Evidence for Delayed Parafoveal-on-Foveal Effects From Word n2 in Reading (2012) Sarah Risse and Reinhold Kliegl – A remarkable read, even if it takes a microscope to a piece of text and how we read. Fascinating. 

While still reading:

The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962) Marshall McLuhan

The Timeless Way of Building (1972) Christopher Alexander

and about to attack

The Shallows (2009) Nicholas Carr

 

Automatically captured autobiographical metadata

W3c semantic web stack

W3c semantic web stack (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Automatically captured autobiographical metadata : Mischa Tuffield (2006)

Faculty of Engineering, science and mathematics. School of Electronics and Computer Science. Intelligence, Agents, Multimedia Group.

Supervisors: Nigel Shadbolt, David Millard.

Those who know me well will understand why this subject fascinates me – a diarist since I was 13, blogging since 1999 and recently completed a Master’s Degree in Open and Distance Education with the Open University. Over a decade ago I registered domain names like ‘The Contents of My Mind’ and ‘TCMB’ but didn’t know how to take my enthusiasm and turn it into a research project or product.

Know I do … or nearly do.

There’s a reason to this day why I blog as ‘My Mind Bursts’.

Current reading is on the combined themes of memory support, lifelogging, augmented learning and virtual companions – there’s considerable overlap into supporting those with diminishing senses or memory with illness or old age, as well as enhancing the learning and information retrieval and manipulation process.

An infrastructure for capturing and exploitation of personal metadata to drive research into context aware systems.

  • Capture of personal experiences
  • Context aware systems
  • Multimedia annotation systems
  • Narrative generation
  • Semantic Web enabling technologies
  • A contextual log of a user’s digital life.
  • To facilitate auto–biographical narrative generation.

Towards a methodology for the capture and storage of personal metadata and is proposed as a framework for multimedia asset management.

PROBLEM

Information overload, or infosmog (Shadbolt and O’Hara, 2003)

A liberation of personal information.

  • Ease of publishing. (House and Davis, 2005)
  • Towards a web–accessibke Knowledge Base (KB)
  • Photocopain.
  • Adhereance to as many W3C recommendations as possible.
  • Semantic Web (Berners–Lee et al, 2001)

Scientific American article to assemble and integrate personal information into web accessible resources (Shadbolt et al., 2006)

Exposing information in a structured snd standard form … using Resource Description Framework (RDF) Manola and Miller, 2004)
Universal Resource Identifier (URI)
Friend of a Friend (FOAF)
Memories for Life (M4L)
Semantic Squirrels Group (SSSIG)

Image classification, content–based indexing and retrieval,
Content and context based services

  • Marc Davis (2004a)
  • Spatial
  • Temporal
  • Social

Design methods to generate narratives from bespoken knowledge bases

  • Alani et al., 2003
  • Geurts et al., 2003
  • Mulholland et al., 2004

so automatically, not hand– crafted metadata.

The Semantic Logger (Tuffield et al., 2006a)

Photo annotation
Recommender system (Tuffield et al., 2006a) and (Loizou and Dasmahaptra, 2006)
Posting of data to the knowledge database.

By virtue of knowledge integration alone, added value emerges. (Tuffield,  2006.  p. 20)

Community of practice identification (Alani et al., 2003a)

Simile Project at MIT

(As a diarist since I was 13 I came to seek a way to say enough to recall the day. I needed the trigger, not the detail. The boring stuff might not work as such a trigger).

Clustering algorithms

FURTHER LINKS TO EXPLORE

The World Wide Web Consortium

The AKT project

Friend of a Friend 

The Memories for Life Network 

The Semantic Squirrels SIG

The Semantic Logger Downloads Page 

The Semantic Logger

Simile Project

3RDFizers

Open Knowledge Project

Google Maps API

The Flickr API

Wikipedia Categories

Work undertaken my Marc Davis at Berkeley provides insight into how context can be combined with content to aid the identification of faces inside photographs (Davis et al., 2006).

FURTHER RESEARCH

I am proposing the design of a human centric personal image search and browsing task, similar to that undertaken by Mor Naaman (Naaman et al., 2004). This is presented as a manner of evaluating the utility of the various asset management. The results of this experiment is intended as a contribution to the identification of useful automatically captured metadata to aid memory recall.

REFERENCES

T. Berners-Lee, J. Hendler, and O. Lassila. The Semantic Web. Scientific American, 284(5), May 2001.

Marc Davis, Michael Smith, Fred Stentiford, Adetokunbo Bambidele, John Canny, Nathan Good, Simon King, and Rajkumar Janakiraman. Using context and similarity for face and location identification. In Proceedings of the IS&T/SPIE 18th Annual Symposium on Electronic Imaging Science and Technology Internet Imaging VII. IS&T/SPIE Press, 2006.

J. Gemmel, G. Bell, R. Lueder, S. Drucker, and C. Wong. MyLifeBits: fulfilling the memex vision. In MULTIMEDIA ’02: Proceedings of the 10th ACM international conference in Multimedia, pages 235–238, 2002.

J. Gemmell, A. Aris, and R. Lueder. Telling stories with MyLifeBits. ICME 2005, 8: 6–9, July 2005.

Carsten Rother, Sanjiv Kumar, Vladimir Kolmogorov, and Andrew Blake. Digital tapestry. In CVPR ’05: Proceedings of the 2005 IEEE Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR’05) – Volume 1, pages 589–596, Washington, DC, USA, 2005. IEEE Computer Society. ISBN 0-7695-2372-2.

L. Sauermann, A. Bernandi, and A. Dengel. Overview and outlook on the semantic desktop. In Proc. of Semantic Desktop Workshop at the ISWC, 2005.

N. Shadbolt and K. O’Hara. AKTuality: An overview of the aims, ambitions and assumptions of the advanced knowledge technologies interdisciplinary research collaboration. AKT Selected Papers 03, pages 1–11, 2003.

Nigel R. Shadbolt, Wendy Hall, and Tim Berners-Lee. The Semantic Web: Revisted. IEE-Intelligent System, 21(3):96–101, May 2006.

Faced with information overload what do you do? Read everything, read nothing or get organised?

Fig. 1. George Siemens on how he manages information on the internet

From the University of Athabasca blog ‘The Landing’.

I’d express it differently. I’d visualise concentric circles, a whirlpool or spiral. Perhaps a Catherine-Wheel? I have kept a diary since 1975 and a blog since 1999. These serve multiple purposes – by default I am the family archivist. My own interest is in the ‘Digital Brain’ – how to enhance memory recall, idea creation, problem solving and knowledge sharing. I think each person needs to find their own behaviour. Just as my desk is tidy, with things in drawers, a shelf or in the bin, my wife’s study is (from my perspective) akin to the bin – nothing ever comes out that goes in. We dare not mess with each other’s spaces.

I blog the lot. I use the blogs as e-portfolios – tagged and titled the stuff is there. As soon as possible I blogify this content into a thought, or flesh out and credit any notes. I aim to avoid copyright by holding such content locked, citing stuff I do use and writing a good deal of fresh content myself.

I never believed in the chronology of the blog. Even in 2001 my blog was sorted by theme, not year or month or day. Once I got to 500 entries I added an ‘Enter@Random’ button and expected each entry, even if written daily, to stand alone. I’d learn from keeping a diary what a bore those can be unless you can find the juicy bits i.e.  titles, tags and themes.

I’m currently on a journey of reflection through 33 months of studying with the Open University – some 2000 blog posts maintained as an e-portfolio, student’s diary, activity-collator, assignment preparation, shared reflection, community-chat, journal, student socialising mind-dump.

A self-constructed resource that like the Livingstone Daisy opens its petals when I shine a light on it – I thought I could pick through key educators, authors and influencers from this in an hour or so, I find it is taking days. Then again, picking through 500,000 – 1 million words (wild estimate based on my blogging habits of the last decade).

I rarely look at my diaries and never reread for at least 15 years. The process of uploading to a blog sounds like a retirement activity – but I’ll never retire. A tin box and bury them in the garden then?

Diffusion of innovations

Uncertainty is the degree to which a number of alternatives are perceived with respect to the occurrence of an event and the relative probabilities of these alternatives.

One kind of uncertainty is generated by an innovation defined as an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or another unit of adoption.

An innovation presents an individual or an organisation with a new alternative or alternatives as well as new means of solving problems.

However, the probability that the new idea is superior to previous practice is not initially known with certainty by individual problem solvers.

Thus, individuals are motivated to seek further information about the innovation in order to cope with the uncertainty that it creates.

Information about an innovation is often sought from peers, especially about their subjective evaluations of the innovation. This information exchange about a new idea occurs through a convergence process involving interpersonal networks. The diffusion of innovations is essentially a social process in which subjectively perceived information about a new idea is communicated from person to person. The meaning of an innovation is thus gradually worked out through a process of social construction.

 

 

PREFACE

 

REFERENCE

Rogers E E Diffusion of Innovations (2005)

 

A gem from Rogers’ offered here as a point of discussion

The diffusion of innovations according to Roge...

The diffusion of innovations according to Rogers (1962). With successive groups of consumers adopting the new technology (shown in blue), its market share (yellow) will eventually reach the saturation level. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

Getting a new idea adopted, even when it has obvious advantages, is difficult. Many innovations require a lengthy period of many years from the time when they are widely adopted. Therefore, a common problem for many individuals and organisations is how to speed up the rate of diffusion of an innovation.’

 

FAILURE

 

‘The rate of adoption of the innovation did not reach a critical mass, after which the diffusion process would have become self-sustaining.’

 

P5

 

DIFFUSION

 

The process in which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system. It is a special type of communication, in that the messages are concerned with new ideas. Communication is a process in which participants create and share information with one another in order to reach a mutual understanding.

 

Diffusion is a special type of communication in which the messages are about a new idea. This newness of the idea in the message content gives diffusion its special character. The newness means that some degree of uncertainty is involved in diffusion.

 

UNCERTAINTY

 

Uncertainty is the degree to which a number of alternatives are perceived with respect to the occurrence of an event and the relative probability of these alternatives. Uncertainty implies a lack of predictability, of structure, of information. Information is a means of reducing uncertainty

 

INFORMATION

 

Information is a difference in matter-energy that affects uncertainty in a situation where a choice exists among a set of alternatives (Rogers & Kincaid, 1981). A technological innovation embodies information and thus reduces uncertainty about cause-effect relationships in problem solving.

 

INNOVATION

 

An innovation is an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption. P12

 

The perceived newness of the idea for the individual determines his or her reaction to it. If an idea seems new to an individual, it is an innovation.

 

NEWNESS

 

Newness of an innovation may be expressed in terms of knowledge, persuasion, or a decision to adopt.

 

DANGER

 

Of being ‘innovation-orientated’ rather than ‘client-orientated.’

 

REFERENCE

 

Rogers, E, E. , (Diffusion of Innovations. 2005)

 

 

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