Category Archives: micro-blog

Assessing the Value of Corporate Blogs: A Social Capital Perspective

The following co-authored article appeared here: 0361-1434/$26.00 © 2010 IEEE
2 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION, VOL. 53, NO. 4, DECEMBER 2010

—CRAIG BAEHR, MEMBER, IEEE, AND KONSTANZE ALEX-BROWN
Abstract—This three-phased study examines corporate blog use, specifically the impact and value of blogs on organizational social capital and knowledge sharing at Dell Inc., a global computer manufacturer. The impact of social-mediated Web 2.0 technologies on organizational social capital has received limited attention in scholarship,possibly because of the inevident connection to measurable economic value and newness of the technology. Our findings indicate the corporate blog can be used as a sustainable forum leading to a shared understanding of organizational roles, increased sense of group cohesiveness, improved work processes, and fostering of professional and personal ties between employees in the organization.

Knowledge is embedded in the collective workforce of an organization and is highly dependent on human interaction to share and attribute value to that information. With the increasing level of information a worker encounters on a daily basis, the task of capturing tacit knowledge, properly contextualizing it, and distributing it across an organization has stretched the limits of human capacity. With the emergence of participatory technologies, organizations have invested in software and web-based tools for information and knowledge capturing, sharing, and reuse. They also allow for improved interaction, collaboration, and accessibility of structured and unstructured data in varying degrees of formality. Using these tools to capture and disseminate organizational knowledge can depend greatly on the social capital of the organization, through the informal relationships, networks, and communities formed by its workers.

Many corporations are using blogs, wikis, knowledge bases, and social networking sites as routine parts of their business operations. Examples such as Jammer, Twitter, Facebook, and various Enterprise Content Management Systems (ECMs), such as MOSS 2007, that include blogging and microblogging applications are ubiquitous in today’s workplace. Rockley notes that ECMs have evolved to include management of unstructured content and data such as email, blog posts, wiki entries, and even personal profile pages of social networking sites [1]. Manovich adds that metadiscourse and metacontent, such as tag clouds and social bookmarking capabilities, have also become important parts of these technologies [2]. Collaborative authoring is also collaborative knowledge sharing—along with legacy content, we have come to expect feedback, cross-posting, discussion, and comments as an essential part of the genre.

Blogs, as social networking tools, have become widely used in social and corporate settings. Blogs are websites (often participatory) that feature regular commentary and related content on a specific subject, which is usually presented in reverse chronological order. Blogs can contain textual, visual, multimedia, and even interactive content. Blogs have been studied as social genres that allow individuals and groups to share dialog on a specific subject. Miller and Shepherd argue the social blog genre has value through its immediacy, formal features, brevity, self-expressive content, and community development and involvement [3].While the blog’s initial function was primarily social
in nature, more recently, organizations have begun using blogs as networking and information-sharing tools, internally for employees and externally for customers and vendors. In organizational contexts, corporate blogs are more focused on knowledge sharing and information reuse. They emphasize efficient information delivery to large numbers of individuals and serve as a common knowledge
base. Tørning states that this type of blog serves as a “knowledge repository for getting information and for learning processes” [4, p. 2]. Workers must intrinsically invest in this communication technology, use it, contribute to its development, and see potential value in their efforts, from either an individual or an organizational perspective. The resulting products can create social capital within an organization, which connects the value of knowledge sharing to its impact on organizational efficiency and, ultimately, innovation. From a management perspective, integration and sustainability of these information products depend heavily on measuring and proving proving their bottom-line value to the organization.

Brave New World (5): The Medium Matters

Throughout my review of the literature and my own daily experience, one theme has emerged as an umbrella over all the three aforementioned foci of research: the technology used to communicate plays a fundamental role when considering the rhetorical concept or theory to be applied.

Barbara Warnik (2005) calls for researchers in the field of new media rhetoric to propose new methods of study for the examination of electronic text rather than focus on methods that can be characterized as printcentric. Continue reading Brave New World (5): The Medium Matters

The micro-blog: Fitting response to rhetorical exigence of virtual, social bonding

Organizations harbor a specific rhetorical context, rhetorical situations based on organizational culture, expectations, norms, processes, rules, and social environment. According to Bitzer (1986) a situation is rhetorical if rhetoric can at least in part mitigate the situation’s exigence by provoking action from the audience. Bitzer assumes the rhetorical situation to be one that is objective and real and calls for rhetorical solution, i.e. the situation precedes the rhetorical response. Vatz (1973), on the other hand, contends that there is no situation before rhetoric gives rise to one, i.e. rhetoric, by making it salient in a particular way, creates a situation. The fundamental difference between these views is the interpretation of rhetoric as a response to reality versus rhetoric as the creator of reality.

At this point, I will introduce an additional view regarding the birth of a rhetorical situation: Continue reading The micro-blog: Fitting response to rhetorical exigence of virtual, social bonding

Corporate Blog and Micro-blog perpetuate social knowledge

“Context determines what we are willing to accept as knowledge” (Gregg, 1984).

Social knowledge is the result of the reciprocal relationship between rhetoric and the community in which it occurs. The blog and the micro-blog promulgate social knowledge by looping the rhetoric of the thought community, i.e. the organization, back to the community by providing the members of the community a forum to speak to one another.

A continuously strengthened common paradigm, one of the three dimensions of social capital, as defined for my research, will be reflected in the ongoing rhetorical activity, which, in turn, will strengthen the common paradigm. A contextual filter, based on the organizational culture and the existing common language and understanding of processes renders the rhetoric used in the blog and micro-blog comprehensible and meaningful. The blog, mainly controlled by the organization’s leadership and the micro-blog, predominantly controlled by the employees, Continue reading Corporate Blog and Micro-blog perpetuate social knowledge

Mini-Poll: Your Main Reason for Using Twitter (or Yammer)

Micro-blogging: Extreme Knowledge Sharing in the Cloud – Why it works

Introduction

#mumbai

The hashtagged live tweet feed reporting on the ‘08 attacks on 2 luxury hotels in Mumbai, India, marked an extraordinary development [140 characters]

… in knowledge and information capturing, sharing, filtering, archiving, in the evolution of many-to-many communication, in the phenomenon of knowledge brokering, and in micro-journalism. Generated by thousands of ordinary citizens, on location in Mumbai and all over the world, and viewed and proliferated by millions, this micro-blogging feed outpaced CNN by 20-30 minutes in reporting the latest developments on the scene. Images and videos, mostly taken with ordinary cell phones, were uploaded in real time and viewed instantaneously. Hospitals’ calls for blood donations, down to the specific blood type and the phone number to call, cascaded in an ever faster growing waterfall down my computer screen. Tweeted and exponentially retweeted, this massive quantity of droplets of information began to form a new type of flowing narrative made up of unfiltered, uncensored, unedited, microscopic-details in eye-piercing focus. Micro-blogging, erstwhile a trickle, had become mainstream. Twitter, the micro-blogging tool, that made the #mumbai live feed possible, experienced a 758% user growth in 2008. Continue reading Micro-blogging: Extreme Knowledge Sharing in the Cloud – Why it works

Impact of the Corporate Blog on Social Capital

ATTW Presentation Abstract

Co-authored with Dr. Craig Baehr, Associate Professor, Texas Tech University

This study critically examines the results of a series of recent studies of corporate blog usage at Dell, Inc., a global computer manufacturer. The studies explore ways to assess the impact of blogs on organizational social capital. The corporate blog was introduced as one tool within a wider communication and collaboration-enabling Web 2.0 technology infrastructure, serving as a medium to capture and archive tacit knowledge, network, and share this collective knowledge, and to create a discussion-based community. Blog users were highly trained knowledge workers in geographically dispersed areas, including those in different time zones, remote employees, and those on frequent business travel. This kind of research is becoming increasingly important to organizations using participatory technologies to collect, share, and reuse information in innovative ways and to explore methods of measuring the social capital and the overall net value that these technologies create for organizations. To date, the impact of Web 2.0 technologies on internal organizational social capital has received little attention, possibly, because of the less evident connection to measurable, economic value for the organization. Our findings recommend innovative and practical ways of looking at measuring organizational social capital as a form of ROI. Defying easy measurement, social capital requires multiple indicators used and derived from the organizational context in which such a system operates. Measuring basic analytics such as page hits, time stamps, and number of posts only skims the surface of assessment and value of these products. Rather, this research advocates the use of a more holistic approach that considers this broad range of indicators, including structural, relational, and cognitive factors, which can lead to a more comprehensive assessment of social capital.