UK Web Focus

Innovation and best practices for the Web

No, You Don’t Need to Blog, Tweet, …

Posted by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 27 October 2008

I’ve discussed potential benefits of a variety of Web 2.0 services including blogs, wikis, Twitter, use of audio and video, etc. over the past two years on this blog.  But it strikes me that a reason we can encounter resistance to use of new technologies is that people think that they will have to use them.  I personally don’t think everyone should blog, use Twitter or make use of Second Life, for example – a point I made recently in a video blog post.  Rather I feel that the early users of such services and the enthusiasts should be willing to explain why such technologies can provide benefits to others, but not mandate their use inappropriately.  And the role of managers and policy makers should be to provide an environment in which the diversity of tools which are available can be used to support a diversity of tasks and a diversity of user preferences.

The problem, it seems to me, is the attitude of “I don’t see the point – therefore you should be doing it either” – although I suspect that in my cases the unspoken fear is “I don’t get it, and I’m worried that if I don’t oppose it I’ll be forced to do it“. Perhaps the tensions are between the positions of “I want diversity, you need convincing and he wants things to stay the same“.

On the other hand if you decide that you don’t want to blog, tweet, make use of wikis, etc. and you are an information professional, how employable will you be if you decide to change jobs?

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7 Responses to “No, You Don’t Need to Blog, Tweet, …”

  1. codegorilla said

    Hmmm… as a blogger and a twit (sorry a twitTER), then I’m happy to be told that these activities improve my chances of gainful employment if I choose to move on :)

    On the other hand, the fact that I choose not to talk about work on the internet should have no bearing on my ability to create scalable, secure, and accessible services.

    (and I wouldn’t expect to share my personal blog, my personal tweets, or my hobbies, with work: would you want to read about the intricacies of rebuilding a V8 engine; or the struggles to fit a 3″ lift-kit to a 1984 Range Rover?)

  2. Hi Brian. I broadly agree that those that don’t engage with the technology are going to find it difficult to work with it when it becomes mainstream.

    On the other hand though at the moment we seem to be going though a period of ‘one size’ fits all with a lot of institutions choosing large monolithic systems that don’t really suit the emerging Web.

    I believe that will change, it will have to if the UK wants to remain competitive and attractive to future students but the educational culture is slow to change. So I think the non-bloggers and Twitters are safe… for now :)

  3. I’m not completely convinced that opposition is driven by fear. I suspect it is more likely to be driven by a concern that blogging, twittering etc is not ‘real work’. And sometimes, of course, it isn’t.

    Like spending twenty minutes chatting to a colleague – this could be work, or you could just be catching up on last night’s TV. Even in the latter case it isn’t necessarily bad for productivity, and the right kind of atmosphere in an office is good for productivity – but it is a balance.

    If I were to analyse how much of my twitter consumption (and production) was strictly work related, I suspect I’d find it wasn’t a particularly large proportion. However, Twitter connects me to a community who share some of my professional interests, and so is useful I think.

    One of the issues with this kind of activity on computer rather than physically is that it is harder to track in a casual manner – and I think this worries people. It is relatively easy to note who spends longer standing around having a chat – but much more difficult tell who is doing what on their computers.

    At the end of the day I think it all comes down to good management – which isn’t about trying to account for people’s hours, minutes and seconds, but about having productive staff – which you can tell by what is produced. Trying to ‘manage’ by controlling what people can or can’t do is unlikely to be any more successful in the virtual world than in the real one.

  4. Ian Edelman said

    Twitter, blogs, wikis or other web 2 technologies are only a means to an end, not an end in themselves. I don’t think it’s resistance to implementation, but not yet finding compelling reasons to do so.

    I choose not to use twitter nor receive any postings, as I haven’t found any that are of either personal or professional interest. The same applies to Facebook or Second Life. Nor I have I found any practical application for them in my current role, though I will admit to writing a work blog, and dammit, now I’ve even started replying to blogs.

    Most of us delivering online information know what the options are… that we’re not early adopters shouldn’t make us unemployable.

  5. Billy said

    Hi Brian, you make a fair point about the fears of those who don’t use online social media as part of their work, but I think your last paragraph also highlights how fear can be a motivating factor for much online output – ‘I’ve got to blog/tweet to prove I exist’.

    Billy

  6. [...] this is my response to the comment made on this blog recently in which a software developer argued that “the fact that I choose not to talk about [...]

  7. [...] by Brian Kelly (UK Web Focus) on 24 January 2009 Although I don’t feel that everyone should necessarily publish a blog, make use of Twitter or, indeed, give presentations [...]

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