BloggerView #6: Mónica André

There’s been a while, almost 6 moths, since my last bloggerview, last February, but it’s an initiative that I want to keep alive. So, this week bloggerview is with Mónica André, the author of “B2OB – Barriers and Opportunities to Organizational Blogging”, available at http://b2ob.blogspot.com/. On her blog, like it’s description says, she talks about organizational blogs and their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats on today’s organizations. Enjoy her bloggerview.

1. When did you start blogging? What were the main reasons that take you start blogging?
Mónica André (MA):
By 2002, I had been following conversations about blogs in Knowledge Board (www.knowledgeboard.com) and started reading some members’ blogs to try and understand the potential they where talking about. I’ve joined to my readings some papers that where starting to appear in conferences and journals. My interest was growing and I started my first blog (blogtese.blogspot.com) in July 2003.
My interest at first was exploring the tool as a means of keeping information resources for (at the time) ongoing research about «the role of information in expatriation cycle». It acted also as an extended communication channel with my thesis supervisor. Soon it became the extension of my geographical limited conversations about the potential use of blogs in organizational settings (b2ob.blogspot.com), when the majority of bloggers in Portugal seemed only concerned about audience numbers and impact of blogs in the mediascape.

2. What were your reasons to christen your blog as you did?
MA:
The names of those two blogs reflected the starting point for their creation. Blog da Tese for research purposes and not directly related with blogging and b2ob was short for Barriers and Opportunities to Organizational Blogging (latter I understand that by having call it b2ob was sometimes misleading: people thought that it was about business to business).

3. Do you have any specific goals or objectives you want to achieve with your blog? What are they?
MA: Maintaining the blogs is a way of scanning the environment and bringing distance closer. Mainly it’s a way of acknowledging what others are doing, having the opportunity of engaging in conversations about topics that interest me, being found by people who have same interest and/or overlapping interests, and sharing with others that might have interest in the same topics as a way of growing and being part of a wider community, regardless of geographical constraints.

4. In your opinion, what role could blogs play in the future, for instance at companies?
MA: The future of blogs is the present of the visionaries. In some companies the future of blogs is already here: they trust their employees, they understand that it’s nothing they can impose nor restrict. People always had conversations but the kind that where out of the organizational systems. Now blogs, an ever growing simpler tool, give the companies the opportunities to see what the conversations are about and to bring it inside the organizational infosphere. Within the conversations, the narratives of skills, of networks, and of knowledge needed to make the organizations constant adaptations to the environment in order to innovate.

5. What do you think will be the future of blogs over the next couple of years?
MA: We are assisting to the massification of additional web tools with individual and social characterists (web2.0), the growing offer of free server space, the growth in worldwide interaction, and the improvement in communication and information infrastructures allowing the needed mobility between people/information and physical/digital boundaries. Blogs are fostering dissemination, empowering and making each one of us responsible for what we do (and for what we don’t). The future is not homogeneous: for some it will mean widely use of blogs, for others it will mean new infoscapes, for others it will be the windows that allow the crossing between physical and digital worlds… We still have a lot to understand about the opportunities and uses of blogs and they sure do not seem to be in a descendent phase!

6. How many feeds do you have on your news aggregator? What news aggregator do you use? Why?
MA: I scan around 200 feeds, divided by blogs, library items, Associations, papers, and news. I’ve been using Bloglines because it satisfies my needs. I’ve tried others but didn’t see added value to justify loosing my history of marked entries in the feeds.

7. What do you think about RSS? What role do you think RSS can play in future, for instance in the relation between government and citizens?
MA: At the individual level, in order to have time for scanning, I could not find time to visit all the sites (and databases searches) I needed to feel the pulse of my interest fields. So it allows easy collecting, analysis and editing of individual information needs.
At the organizational level, allows for easy collection, analysis and editing of disperse information for the organizational information system. It’s also less intrusive than mailing lists that keep overloading mailboxes and are difficult to get to when individuals need to recover the information they know they have.
Like other normative rules it has the benefit to keep playing an increased role in the dissemination of information according to rules that can be setup by the user (organizations, individuals or automation), to allow for faster scanning and to bring the information we want to us.

8. What do you think is the most important thing happening in the Web, now? Why?
MA: The shift from content on the web, to people on the web. They are adding the needed face to the creators of the information. The more people express their interests in a visible way, the more they grow trust. They are crossing the digital to meet, they are organizing events, they are helping each other, they are organizing in spontaneous ways, and they are participating in the shape of the web.

9. Beside blogs, do you use other social software, like Flickr, Del.icio.us, Diigo, LinkedIn, or any other?
MA: I’ve been trying out many other social software and tools, and keep a list of some of them at del.icio.us. I use them in an ongoing need according to the situations and projects I’m involved in. In my canvas (blogs) you can see that some of them are used (flickr, del.icio.us, bloglines, skype, and technorati). I value some of them more than others. LinkedIn is one of those that I found that I’ve been using much less, and Orkut I quit going in there. I guess it’s because they are closed spaces that I associate with the organizational confine settings.
In the project teams I belong to, there is a growing (although reluctant) use of social software. I guess it is because some team members’ skills where not grown out of using some of them in their daily routines, and it becomes a too big effort to learn them just for the project sake.

10. In your opinion, what role could blogs, wikis and other social software play in the future, inside organizations?
MA: They will allow for a interweave information space ecology.

Next week, don’t miss André Ribeirinho, author of blog.delaranja.com.