A political version of Slashdot

Slashdot.org was the original blog. Before the term was first uttered, Slashdot was a place where anybody could open a topic on something to do with technology and others could comment. The software that makes it work has been freely available for others to use. In many ways, Slashdot (motto: “News for nerds. Stuff that matters.”) paved the way for today’s blogosphere.

Today, Slashdot.org has opened an adjunct community dedicated to the discussion of politics. “With the US Presidential Election coming up, we’ve had a lot of story submissions that we would like to post, but they don’t fit very well on the Slashdot main page,” writes… Read More »

Participatory employee communications

The Northwest Voice is the epitome of participatory journalism. As reported in EContent, this newspaper—both print and online—is produced entirely from voluntary contributions submitted by residents living in Northwest Bakersfield, California. Today, Steve Rubel reports on an IBM effort to determine how quickly vandalism on Wikipedia is identified and corrected. The result: pages are restored to their accurate state in about five minutes.

Th Wikipedia and the Northwest Voice are two examples of participatory communication in which the audience is also the author. In the case of the Bakersfield newspaper, people living on the ground… Read More »

A small step toward the adaptive workspace

First I read Stephen Wildstrom’s Business Week column (subscription required). Then, driving home from SFO, I saw a billboard advertising it. With two references in one day, I figured I had to try it.

“It” is Blinkx, a free download that provides you with instant online research assistance. The product is new and, in some respects, still in development, but it shows tremendous promise as an early entry in the adaptive workspace category. The adaptive workspace is an emerging set of products that will try to anticipate your information needs based on what the system knows about what you’re doing and delivering relevant resources. It… Read More »

Missing the broadband boat

Sad to say, but the organizational communications profession is way behind the curve of a major technology shift. The first time, around 1985, desktop publishing replaced gallies and rubiliths and waxers. The profession didn’t see it coming. Rather than plan its use, we were confronted by departments publishing their own crappy newsletters just because they could. The writing was often atrocious and an 8-1/2 x 11” newsletter featured six columns and eight fonts. It took years to rein it all in.

The Internet was next. Communicators were cranking out one-way, top-down publications while the IT department built the earliest Web sites. In… Read More »

Throwing out the baby with the bathwater

A federal appeals court decided on August 19 that the Grokster and Morpheus—two of the more promiment file sharing networks—were legal. In the face of that ruling, the only thing left for the Recording Industry Association of America was to advocate a law that would overturn the 9th Circuit’s ruling. Leave it to the RIAA to suggest outlawing an entire technology in order to keep people from abusing it. It’s like shutting down the Internet to keep spammers from spamming or outlawing telephones to keep drug dealers from setting up deals.

Nevertheless, the RIAA has found an ally in the U.S. Copyright Office, which is promoting the Induce… Read More »

Work is social

More than 21% of Americans—about 11 million people—use Instant Messaging at work, according to research conducted by those hard-working folks at the Pew Internet and American Life Project. The increased use of IM in the workplace (and in general) is partly a reaction to spam, which has rendered e-mail less desirable than it once was.

But with workplace IM comes the inevitable productivity complaint. The Pew study found that 40% of those using IM at the office send personal messages to co-workers and 33% to friends and family, while only 21% said they sent both personal and work-related messages.

My profound reaction to this (and to… Read More »

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