Relative Merits of Email and Blogs

From Scoble, a link to a blog by a Microsoft researcher chronicling a discussion on the relative merits of email and blogs. Some good thoughts there, like this one:

My conversion occurred when a grad student in the midwest who I didn't really know invited me to look at her blog a year ago and I came in early one morning and did so, spending about two hours going down her blog, reading comments, leaping from those to examine the blogs of the commenters, looking at the comments on their blogs, looking at the use of graphics on the blogs, following links to web pages they thought were cool, and so on. After two hours I thought I had incredible insight into this whole dense network of people that spread across the country. One link took me to a blog of someone on Capital Hill, and another hop and I was reading a blog in which a MS contractor was discussing how he was going to sabotage the jerk of a manager he worked for. Although most of his site was under a pseudonym I found his name and sure enough found him in the address book.

There is no conceivable way I could have learned so much about a group of people in two hours sitting in my office using any other technology. Clearly unique. And it was not difficult to see how powerful something like it might be in work settings.

The underestimated strength of blogs is the chronological ordering. The single voice, the public visibility that leads to more care in most blog construction, the feedback are all significant too, but they are remarked upon. Human beings have a tremendous ability to reason instantly and unconsciously about information organized chronologically. If something is 3 months old, we know what kind of information is probably still relevant, what is less likely to be - the shelf life of information is very variable. Also, if something was mentioned two weeks ago and we are wondering how to interpret it, if it has NOT been mentioned in posts since, we may put a different slant on it for that reason, we know certain paths not taken. It is subtle and we are incredibly skilled at it. Our lives are organized chronologically, most novels and films and biographies are, and so on. Many Shares do not make document creation dates visible, a big hindrance.
From Lili's Weblog : Blogs vs Email... discussions in MSR
Referenced Fri Oct 22 2004 07:23:44 GMT-0600

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