Over the last couple months, we've had a number of people[#1] come into the office to give Clearspace a test drive.  We watched while they explored the application  and asked questions. When asked what they thought of just the blogging[#2] part of the application, almost every person said that they liked the individual and team blogs but then said something like, "but blogs are just opinions," insinuating (and sometimes explicitly saying) that white papers, knowledge base articles, wiki documents and forum posts are more valuable and authoritative in a corporate environment than blogs are.

 

I'll be honest: I took it personally every time someone equated blogging with being nothing more than opinions and navel gazing because I think blogs are more valuable and more authoritative than all the white papers, knowledge base articles, wiki documents and forum posts in the world combined[#3]. Am I exaggerating to get your attention?  Yeah. But if you're one of those people who falls into the "blogs = just opinions" camp, consider these broad brush strokes:

 

  • Blogs are authoritative +because +they're transparent. Blogs are generally written by a single person or a small group of people, all of whom you can read about by going to the "about me" or "about us" page on the blog. If the "about us" page doesn't cut it, you can go and read the other blog posts to get a sense of the blogger's background and interests.  Finally, you can use a tool like technorati[4|#3] to see what other people think about the blog. So when you read a blog post, you know who's standing behind it. Conversely, white papers and knowledge base article are faceless and opaque: no one person is standing behind the document saying "this is true."

 

  • Blogs are valuable because they are written by people for people.  White papers, powerpoint presentations, knowledge base articles and wiki documents are written by companies for companies.

  • Blogs are valuable because they're about subjects people care about and take seriously. It's an environment that allows for self-expressionnot like the rest of the applications you'd find in Microsoft Office orack!--things that they have to write about to complete their monthly knowledge base quota.

  • Blogs are widely read because they're not white-washed, corporate-speak. People prefer the truth, it's why a lot of them have stopped watching mainstream news. There's more truth in The Daily Show.

 

What does all this have to do with Clearspace?  Tune in next week for some hot blogging screenshots.

 

By the way, my name is Aaron. I'm an engineer on the Clearspace team and I have a blog.