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Doug Kaye's thoughts on web services, web hosting and managed services.

Good News and Bad News. It's more than ironic that on November 28, we learned that, "Macys.com since early summer has more than doubled the rate at which it converts site visitors into buyers." [Source; InternetWeek] Then, only two days later, that "Federated Plans to Slash About 100 Jobs As It Reins in Bloomingdale's, Macy's Sites." [Source: The Wall Street Journal]
Posted Monday, December 03, 2001 4:36:56 PM   

Official Blogging Policies? Olav Schettler suggests a formal blogging policy within organizations. "It all boils down to a considerable level of responsibility on the side of the loggers and trust on the side of the employer. It would be all important to create an atmosphere of trust, e.g. by explicitely creating an official blogging policy which may become part of everybodies work contracts." This is with regard to employees creating public work-related weblogs.

Good idea or bad? On one hand, it smells of the formality and hierarchical thinking that's antithetical to blogging. On the other hand, someone who's clued in might be able to write a good one. So what belongs in a blogging policy?
Posted Monday, December 03, 2001 2:05:25 PM   

Metadata vs. Categorization. The metadata discussion continues. Vanderwal says on elegant hack, "The use of metadata in a blog would be to classify information to find that snippet of information again and/or to find related information."

If metadata is to work it must be consistent. That, in turn, means a taxonomy defined at the outset. Anytime you add a field or a value, you orphan items that were previously posted that should have been so tagged. That is, unless you want to go back and re-tag everything. Therefore, metadata works best when the taxonomy is relatively static. Keywords and other free-form metadata are the least valuable because of their inconsistent application.

For instance, if I blog an announcement of a new product from some startup company, neither the name of the product nor the name of the company will yet exist in multiple-choice metadata. They're too new. Besides, full-text search will find them just fine. What should I enter as keywords? "It?" "Ginger?" "Segway?" Let the search engine deal with these at retrieval time. That's why God invented computers. Should I tag this with the "New Product" label? That won't help much six months hence.

On the other hand, if I know there are people who want to learn about new products, may be I should publish a "New Products" category--a channel, if you will, to which all such people can subscribe using RSS. And they can subscribe to similar channels produced by others. Metadata is necessary in the old world without hyperlinks and syndication--the world of Weinberger's Heroic Documents. It doesn't work well in the hyperlinked world of weblogs.

Let's try something. Post here or send me some examples where metadata for weblogs results in retrieval results which are sufficiently superior to those one would would obtain with a good full-text or neural-net search that they justify the increased costs of (a) entering the metadata, and (b) the associated decline in use due to the deterrent effect of requiring metadata.
Posted Monday, December 03, 2001 2:04:53 PM   

Louis Rosenfeld is Frustrated. Louis, who wrote the book on Information Architecture, wishes the metadata pendulum would settle down. [Source: Bloug]

Eric Snowdeal thinks Blog the Organization sounds interesting, and Jim Flanagan has a link to this site.
Posted Monday, December 03, 2001 2:04:07 PM   

Is Jakob Nielsen Clued In? A year ago--before I got started on the Blog the Organization book, and before reading "The Cluetrain Manifesto", I might have agreed with him. But I've come to realize how backwards the ideas are in this interview with Jakob Nielsen regarding Proper intranet design. I've quoted some of Nielsen's ideas that are most antithetical to weblogs in the workplace. Read the whole interview then post your replies. Nielsen: right or wrong?

"...the information that goes onto the site needs to very carefully planned. It needs to be ruthlessly edited, and re-written too, to ensure that it serves the needs of the employees. It’s not just a repository for information, it’s a repository for the right information in the right format...Invest very heavily in a content strategy and good writers if they really want the intranet to be a success." [So much for Personal Publishing!]

"If you put the wrong thing up there it can instill negativity, make people think that you’re amateurs, naïve or ignorant. And it makes an enormous difference." [Do I detect a fear of taking risks and making mistakes?] "You need professional content developers. They are essential."

"A committee is absolutely necessary for this type of project to ensure that you are covering all aspects of the business and the employees needs." [Wait...didn't we just spend 200 years learning this doesn't work?]

"So simplicity is absolutely key. To get this right you need to put in an awful lot of time." [Hmmm...what's wrong with this picture?]

In response to "How do you know if you've got it right?"] "Organisations should have study groups of ten, twenty people being monitored in their tasks to see the gains they are making." [Uh oh! It's Big Brother again.]

"You need to have people working to common templates, common goals and you must ensure that nobody goes off and starts doing their own thing." [Heaven forbid we should have our own ideas!]

"You have to keep hold of your intranet and keep it continuously evolving." [You will evolve whether you like it or not!]

"If they let go of it, it can very quickly turns into something resembling a bowl of spaghetti - twisted, convoluted, complex, messy." [Sounds just like a web to me.] [Source: Tomalak's Realm]
Posted Monday, December 03, 2001 2:02:45 PM   



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