Thursday, November 10, 2005

Gahmen Bloggers Meetup, GBM

Well, it happened!
Hmm. I actually felt super inexperienced at the gathering. Here was this whole bunch of people who were super experienced and super well read about other blogs and about blog technology.. Gone for BlogAsia and seen each other at various blog events.. hahaha.. I'm just some amateur blogger who had an evening free to go to the meeting. Still, if there's one thing that came out good it's that I got exposed to see more of the blogging world.

The interactions between the people were very interesting. The topic that generated more discussion was how government can use blogs to spread information. See, if a group, not necessarily government, could be a Madison Ave firm wants to advertise a product, wants to spread an idea through the blogosphere, what can it do?

Without going into the other models, I'll just share what I carried away from the session. This isn't what was agreed on ( don't think there was any agreement. Like any good meeting, there were techies, bureaucrats, cynics, visionaries, and facilitators present. Precisely the ingredients to end up back at square 1).

Use the democracy of the blogs. There's no need to generate alot of content yourself. Instead, find people who are already writing the content you want on their own. Link them up through a metablog, ask them to link you. As you continue to do so, more resources become available, and anyone who stumbles into one of these will also be able to find more resources through your linkage.

It's like Google actually. It ranks a site based on who it links, and who it's linked by. When a whole bunch of sites link each other, it's a sign that all these sites think each other relevant to a particular topic. And searchers who go to one of these sites can quickly navigate to a whole bunch of others. Basically, what you do with your metablog is to link up a whole set of sites around a central idea (like Uniquely Singapore or Hush Puppies) and make the whole lot more powerful at once.

Come to think of it, Google should write a filter for IE and Firefox. You google a topic, get a bunch of sites, and visit one of them. There's links there right? The filter color codes the links for their rankings under your previous Google search, so that you can see which of the links are most relevant.


Ivan Chew said...

Not so much the "democracy of the blogs" (though your view isn't wrong) but to use the propensity for blogging / bloggers to generate conversations and dialogue. That, I think, is a crucial element of good governance among other things -- dialogue. It's not so much for government agencies to create blogs but for government agency employees to be able to blog and engage other bloggers meaningfully.

Zim said...

Hm. To engage meaningfully in terms of normal blogging life, or in terms of work? The former's probably more easily acceptable to everyone, but it's our work areas which are more of our expert areas and where we can really engage people more meaningfully right?

Ivan Chew said...

I meant more of the latter -- in our capacity as govt employees. I, for one, would like to keep my private life as it is. If I blog, it doesn't mean I start telling the whole world everything that I do outside work.

Zim said...

You mean like me? Heh..

Well, to clarify a bit more. Seems like two main lines:
a) Blog as individuals who also happen to be government employees, but about work areas. We're free to discuss whatever's not confident, share some of the viewpoints and what we think personally of them, even if they're not the govt line.

b) Blog as government employee. Where we have to take the government line, except possibly where it's been agreed there is space for disagreement and we want to canvass public views.

c) Some amalgamation of (a) and (b), with government identity but freedom to ignore the government line.

Seems to me like you're talking more of (b) or (c)? I think (b) was part of what we discussed that day, how we might be viewed as "fake" and simply a government mouthpiece.. And with (a) and (c), it may not be a blogging issue so much as a more systemic/holistic concept of the government employee.

Actually, thinking about it, seems like blogging as govt employee might come off better at the promotional side ( Heritage, Tourism, NLB, etc) than on the policy side, simply because one's a much less controversial area.
And in any case, it would be nicer plus more acceptable to think of our librarians, tourism and heritage promoters, as guys who aren't just doing a job but love what they're doing. Leave the arguing to the policy guys to do off-line, and let the promo guys do the nice parts of being sincere, enthusiastic promoters of things they love.