Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Blogs Vs Email

What are the pros and cons of Blogs and Emails?

Everyone knows how to use email so we tend to do that automatically even when email may not be the best tool for the job.

Email is good for notifying everybody but often there is a broadcast which includes people who may not need or want to know. Knowlege workers face a deluge of email. Business documents must be sorted into folders. Each recipient must duplicate the time and effort of the others.

Email is mature technology with plenty of features and options but the easiest choice is often not the best choice. Email was once the only option but with the growth of the WWW, there are a variety of services which can complement or replace email depending upon what needs to be done.

A Web log, or Blog for short, provides new and interesting possibilities. A Blog is a journal with the most recent entry, or post, at the top of the page. There are now millions of Blogs on the WWW. Most are banal experiments but many contain interesting and valuable material. So how Blogs help the over-emailed knowlege worker.

The first step is better teamwork. Get together and brainstorm when information is best emailed or put in managed documents. Look for items that require notification and those that can be read when it is convenient. Here are suggestions for items that can be Blogged:-

  • minutes of meetings for a project
  • list of persons not at work today
  • progess reports for a project
  • reports of visits to customer sites by a service person
  • what I learned this week
  • ideas: how can we be more efficient?
  • write about anything that happens in a sequence

Unlike Email, a Blog does not pester anyone. A person who is interested in the content of a Blog can read it at his convenience. Moreover, if he wishes to be notified of an update, he can subscribe using RSS, known as real simple syndication, which gives automatic notification. If he grows bored with the Blog, deleting the RSS link will terminate the nuisance.

Conclusion: Some combination of Email, Wikis, Blogs, and other services can reduce the information overload of knowlege workers. Managing information flow results in less work than using Email alone.