Those darn bloggers, making the news environment better. I don’t have the full paper handy, but I can link to Serena Carpenter’s abstract:

The presence of a diversity of information offers citizens access to a range of ideas, expertise and topics. In this study, a measure of content diversity was created to determine whether online citizen journalism and online newspaper publications were serving this function in the USA. Based on the findings from a quantitative content analysis (n = 962), online citizen journalism articles were more likely to feature a greater diversity of topics, information from outside sources and multimedia and interactive features. The findings suggest online citizen journalism content adds to the diversity of information available in the marketplace.

Serena Carpenter, “A Study of Content Diversity in Online Citizen Journalism and Online Newspaper Articles,” New Media & Society, published online February 9, 2010.

Keep on blogging!

I’m moving my dissertation posts and pages to a new domain (fun with Drupal!), so this thought is just moving jitters, right?

I just had the kind of thought that should make a doctoral candidate’s blood run cold: what if my whole thesis is an oxymoron?

I’m looking at the South Dakota blogosphere as a manifestation of self-organizing social knowledge management. And just now I thought, wait a minute: where’s the management? No one tells bloggers what to write, or when, or how much. No one hires or fires bloggers. And no one has to read any of what the bloggers write.

Can knowledge management just happen?

cross-posted from the Madville Times… because this is too stinking cool for me to maintain any scholarly detachment!

Holy flipping cow! Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, just commented on my blog! On Saturday, I posted on the seeming difficulty of making the Semantic Web (technology for embedding machine-readable meaning in Web content) work on a large scale. I may be biased against Semantic Web technology based on a course I took on it this summer that left me thinking, “Wow, this is hard!”

And then along comes Tim Berners-Lee, MIT professor, director of the World Wide Web Consortium and World Wide Web Foundation, and long-time explainer of the Semantic Web to tell me I may have Semantic Web all wrong:

There is an interesting reason for which Semantic Web does scale: that it has interesting scale-free properties. Or rather, the world has interesting scale-free properties and the Sem Web technologies allow one to take advantage of. It doesn’t require a ruling elite, just everyone doing their bit, in different contexts, which then are stitched together at the edges. See http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/Fractal#tco and compare that to the models used by previous systems.

I feel like I just got an autograph… and didn’t have to ask for it! I’ll never wash my blog again!

And anyone who says blogs are a waste of time promoting mindless jabber that leaves us teetering on the edge of cultural catastrophe is flat wrong.

Here’s more from Berners-Lee on Semantic Web technology:

…and a longer (58 minutes!) interview from MIT.

I had an e-mail conversation with a new enrollee in our doctoral program last week. Along with answers to her questions about courses and exams, I offered this bit of advice about writing and blogging. It certainly applies to my experience here at DSU; I think it may generalize to all graduate programs where students have to crank out lots of scholarly prose. (more…)

Stardate 2258.42… four uh, four, whatever. Acting Captain Spock has marooned me on Delta Vega, in what I believe is a violation of Security Protocol 49.09 governing the treatment of prisoners on-board a starship.

—James T. Kirk, personal log

Acting Captain’s Log, Stardate 2258.42. We have had no word from Captain Pike. I therefore classified him as a hostage of the war criminal known as Nero. Nero, who has destroyed my home planet and most of its 6 billion inhabitants. While the essence of our culture has been saved in the elders who now reside upon this ship, I estimate that only about 10,000 Vulcans have survived. I am now a member of an endangered species.

—Spock

Suppose you’ve just been marooned on an ice planet. Or better (?) yet, your captain has been taken prisoner, your home planet and nearly every member of your race has been annihilated, and you’ve assumed command of one of the last remaining starships in the sector. Do you pause to post to your blog?

In Star Trek, Kirk and Spock do it all the time. Captain’s log, personal log, medical log… evidently Starfleet must drill the value of knowledge management into cadets’ heads as rigorously as warp mechanics and the Prime Directive. When Starfleet personnel pause mid-adventure to make a log entry, they aren’t just providing some director narrative cover; they are producing audio blogs that provide useful insights on organizational practices for future reference. Even the personal logs, which are not meant for anyone else’s eyes, serve as personal knowledge management, helping officers gather and organize their thoughts verbally to help them process the events that taking place, deal with their emotions, and conduct an internal dialogue that may help them reason their way towards solutions of their daily Kobayashi Marus.

But even the best-laid knowledge management plans can go awry. After all, how do you explain Kirk’s log files on the Khan incident not being available to the Reliant crew? Just one little hyperlink—or an improved SPARQL query—could have averted that whole nasty fracas over Genesis.

Reading about Lou’s SPN dissertation and defense (Nash, 2004, pp. 124-125), I encounter Lou’s word multilogue and his desire for authenticity and connection.

Why was I drawn to the South Dakota blogosphere? Because for the first time, I could hear my state’s voice, South Dakotans speaking in their own voices about the life and the places I know. They were placing (are placing) this multiloguing (multilogical?) voice online, on an even footing with the professional media, which can never make South Dakota sound as authentic as the amateurs, in the original sense of the word, writing for love. I could hear South Dakota as more than a rare condescending mention from a national news reporter (clearly detached, sounding surprised to even be mentioning South Dakota, and almost always mispronouncing if not mislocating our capital).

And I could join them. Welcome to the conversation.

Nash, R. J. (2004). Liberating Scholarly Writing: The Power Of Personal Narrative. New York: Teachers College Press. 

A student e-mails and asks whether you have to download any software to use WordPress. Good question! Here’s my semi-informed answer:

Short answer: No, there is nothing you have to download to use WordPress.

Detailed answer: There are two versions of WordPress available. (more…)