Creating informed consumers November 01 2005
Juicy Fruit gum has a blog. At long last, those who need their daily dose of news ‘n' views about indigestible food products have a place to go.
Alphabetical order October 01 2005
Adler, who died at 98 in 2001, is chiefly remembered for two huge accomplishments: the Great Books of the Western World series, published in 1952, and the Propaedia, published in 1984, both published by the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Both attempt to give the reader a sense of how ideas connect, which is exactly what alphabetical order does not do.
The BBC's low-tech KM September 01 2005
Euan Semple heads up knowledge management for a little organization you may not only have heard of but have actually heard: The British Broadcasting Corporation. The BBC runs on knowledge, and Semple has a piece of advice for other large organizations: Social computing isn't a fad and it isn't an adjunct to a KM system. It is where knowledge lives.
When the BBC gave Semple the job, they expected him to spec out a big, expensive IT-based KM system. "But," he says, "my view is that we're a network-based, conversational type of business. I realized the best way to go was beneath the radar." Because he was in charge of the BBC's intranet, he was able to set up his own servers without asking anyone. Perhaps most important, he says, "I didn't feel like I was running it. I was just letting people get together."
An equal and opposite reaction July 01 2005
I've let my Marxism studies lapse ever since the breakup of the USSR killed all the good job opportunities for career communists, but somewhere someone talks about the dangerous period when the old guard becomes even more old-guard-ish as the forces of reform become well nigh undeniable. And that's where we are in various fronts of the digital revolution.
You can see the same basic movement in three areas: corporate Net use, the media and education.
The size of topics June 01 2005
Nicholson Baker has a lovely essay in his book "The Size of Thoughts" about, well, the size of thoughts. He asserts as if it's obvious that most are about three feet tall. Now, that's absurd of course, but Baker's essay works because it lets him talk about the thoughts that are exceptionally small and the ones that are way bigger than any of us.
Anonymously yours May 01 2005
The problem with anonymity is the word. Anonymity is so much the default in the real world--when I'm walking down the street, I have no right to demand to know who you are--that we don't even have a word for it. We use the word "anonymous" in the rare circumstances where we're expected to identify ourselves and we resist that expectation. And in many of those circumstances, we assert our right to anonymity because we're frightened or ashamed. So, "anonymity" has gotten associated with cowards hiding their faces and talking from the shadows, even though it is a right we carry around with us every day.
Trusting Times April 01 2005
The New York Times in April is relaunching nytimes.com, one of the most trafficked sites on the Web. The changes are going to embed The Times straight into the Web's content infrastructure, but, I'm afraid, its very virtues are going to make it less useful than it might be.
Blogs and the values of journalism March 01 2005
For me, the defining moment at the “Blogging, Journalism and Credibility” conference held at Harvard recently came in an exchange between Jimmy Wales, creator of Wikipedia, and Jill Abramson, managing editor of The New York Times. Abramson was responding to the idea that blogs could displace traditional news-gathering organizations. "Do you know how much it takes to run our Baghdad operation?" she asked. "One million dollars."
The virtue and vice of audio February 01 2005
I'm all in favor of podcasting. I think it's interesting, important and even cool (although having me be an arbiter of cool is like handing Donald Duck the wine menu). So why is it that I don't ever listen to podcasts?
The silence of the Web January 01 2005
I'm going to tell you something I'm not proud of. But that's exactly why I'm telling you. Here goes: I sort of kind of believe that President Bush was wired with a radio receiver during that first debate. I have zero interest in convincing anyone of that, mainly because I'm not convinced of it myself. In fact, when I realized that that was what I (sort of) believe, I surprised myself. How did I come to such a conclusion? The answer I think tells us something about how knowledge and authority are changing.