Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Blog experiment: library@esplanade

About 3 hours after my previous post, wrkshy (Tales of a Queer Librarian) posted a comment, alerting me to a similar blog experiment -- a library@esplanade blog. Wrkshy was thinking far ahead then! In case you don't know where or what is library@esplanade, click here.

Wrkshy says the blog didn't take off. I have a few thoughts to share on this (btw, it is NOT a critique -- just thinking aloud):
  1. Starting a blog does not automatically mean that it would be read. We need to promote and publicise its existence. Like, if google doesn't see it... So we need to submit to search engines/ Technorati, and pass the message around among readers etc.
  2. Having a blog is just half the equation. What makes it complete is for users to use subscribe to its newsfeeds. Otherwise the blog is just another website. The neat thing about blogs & RSS is that with RSS feeds, users are alerted to updates. The updates go to them. They don't have to go to the page to be updated.
  3. There needs to be a "voice" -- a personality -- to the blog. If not, it's just another website or online brochure. The really popular blogs out there (by teens or professionals) have a common characteristic -- they "converse" with their audience. Notice I didn't say "readers". The term "readers" implies passivity on the part of the receiver. An audience, however, can converse back by posting comments if they choose to.
  4. Wrkshy says there are no links or tags to the blog. I feel it's critical to have links and tags. If not, the blog is just another boring brochure. Blogs are about getting people connected.
Ok, I write as if I'm an expert. I'm far from one. Plenty of better advice out there. I found Blogwrite for CEOs one of the better ones.

Wrkshy, thanks for sharing. Yup, I'll get in touch with you. I think I know who you are...

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  1. Anonymous2:57 am

    First off, WOW!

    I didn't know there was a library@esplanade... it looks more swanky than the library@orchard!!

    Secondly, I agree that technology alone cannot determine the fate of a community (i.e. technological determinism). Lawrence Lessig wrote a seminal book called "CODE & other laws of Cyberspace" which attempted to map the components of social technology. In brief, there were four parts that affected any intended outcome: law, architecture (programming code on the internet), social norms, market forces.

    I myself have worked on several community projects using content management systems that I believed were ideal for particular groups, but until people realize the need for it, no one really uses it.

    One way the library@esplanade blog might work is if it were officially recognized by the library web site itself. More integration (risk-taking on NLB's part) would be needed to see this through... e.g. online access to library user accounts with blog review integration.

    More more on CODE, see http://www.code-is-law.org/

  2. Thanks for the info, Kevin. Have you published your experiences re: the community projects? I'd be keen to know more.

    BTW, anyone interested in the Lessig book, click here to check for availability in NLB libraries.


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