How can blogs be used? What are their benefits? These lists, compiled by George Siemens in his article The Art of Blogging, are not new. But they are useful ones to keep in mind.
As an emerging tool, blogging uses have still not been completely explored. Some current uses:
- Communication, Self-expression, Self-marketing
- Campaigning/social reform - see Tara Grubb
- Community building
- Customer service - see Blogging Goes Corporate
- Experience tracking - A K-log Pilot Recap
- Interactive journalism - see Instapundit
- Knowledge sharing and knowledge management - see Bottoms Up KM Development
- Learning - see SchoolBlogs
- Storytelling - see Grassroots KM Through Blogging
Besides those listed above in "Uses for Blogging", benefits of blogging include:
- Democratization of information. In classic models, knowledge flow was 'stopped' and administered by news sources (paper, magazines, TV). Ideas in keeping with current zeitgeist or political agendas received top billing, while unpopular (though necessary for innovation and social transformation) ideas were ignored.
- Barrier elimination. Society is about barriers - actual or unspoken. For example, I don't run in the same circle as Bill Gates - a socio-economic barrier (at the absolute minimum!). In society, this generally means that I do not have the benefit of Mr. Gates' wisdom...blogging, however changes that. Opportunities now exist to hear regular thoughts from people like Ray Ozzie, Mitch Kapor, and Larry Lesig.
- Free flow. Any idea can be expressed...and accessed by any one. The process of blogging separates good ideas from poor ideas. The process itself has built in quality control - try that in traditional media!
- Fostering the fringe. Ideas are evaluated based on merit - not on source of origin.
- Filtering. Ideas with merit are filtered through various blogs. Significant thoughts or posts receive multiple-links and spread viral-like across the blogosphere.
- Multiple perspectives. One-sided perspectives of newspapers are replaced by passionate debates exploring virtually every facet of an idea or concept.
- Real time. Discussions and interactions happen right NOW. Waiting for tomorrow's newspaper or radio program seems like an eternity compared to real time blogging.
- Links and connections. The complexity of an information heavy society requires specialization. Yet specialization is futile if a process is not created to link specialties. Blogging serves this purpose extremely well. Disparate fields of interest and thought are brought together (and dissected) in the machinations of bloggers.