Back then I was often laughed at for blogging. Few people in the business world saw their power. So much has changed in 10 years and more and more people are using blogs as powerful knowledge sharing tools but we still have a long way to go.
Here is a slightly modified version of an article I wrote for Inside Knowledge Magazine in 2006 on blogging and RSS feeds. I was using Bloglines as my RSS Reader then but it died a death a few years later and today I use Google Reader.
It is interesting to note how I called blogs by their full name "weblogs" - a form of the word that is rarely used today. And in the early days there was the concept of a knowledge-log or k-log - a term that never did catch on. My blog is still called the "Gurteen Knowledge Log"
I discovered weblogs back in 2002 when a colleague suggested I take a look at them. At first I stumbled across the mass of personal weblogs that held little interest for me but then I found a single weblog that changed my life.
It was unusual for a weblog in that it was co-authored by three people: Dan Bricklin, Bob Frankston and Dave Reed. I knew all three of these gentlemen from my days with Lotus Development in Cambridge Mass. Dan Bricklin was the inventor of the spreadsheet VisiCalc back in 1982; Bob Frankston was his co-developer and Dave Reed was the Chief Architect for 1-2-3 in the late 80s.
Here were three exceptionally bright, talented people blogging about the development of the Internet - they were sharing their thoughts, musings and ideas out loud. Instantly I saw the value of weblogs as knowledge sharing tools and by the end of the evening I had developed and integrated a weblog into my own website!
Back then I used to tell people about weblogs and their potential whenever I had the opportunity but few took the time to listen or understand. After one talk I gave on weblogs at a conference, a member of the audience was overheard to say "We have been blogged and klogged to death by David Gurteen." To which his friend replied "Yes he really ought to get a life." I still chuckle about this today.
But in the intervening four years more and more people have come to see the power of weblogs as powerful social tools - tools that allow people to share, learn and collaborate. But I am still shocked at people's head-in-the-sand mentality at times. Recently when I mentioned weblogs to a senior manager he replied "Oh you mean the ramblings of the ill-informed". When I explained their power I was greeted with the response "But how do people find the time to read them; never mind write them. They need to get a life".
But it's not about lack of time - we are already overloaded. It's about a lack of understanding of their benefits and prioritising our time accordingly. I subscribe to thirty or so RSS feeds - news channels that get pushed to my own personal "newspaper" each day. Some of these feeds are from the BBC and other mainstream media but many of the feeds come from weblogs and websites.
My RSS reader keeps me informed of all the things that are important to my professional development. The information obtained in them I could find no where else - not in books, magazines, newspapers or TV. I keep abreast of new products; new technologies and new ideas. I simply could not do my job without them!
So I still find it surprising when I come across against such resistance to weblogs and RSS readers. Too many people, to my mind, are prejudiced against them without ever taking the time to really understand what they are really about and their benefits.
You don't have to write a blog to benefit. Find an RSS reader such as Google Reader and start to subscribe to just a few of the millions RSS feeds on the web. Very soon you will wonder how you ever survived without it
Credit: Inside Knowledge Magazine 2006, David - Get a Life! by David Gurteen