Saturday, 22 March 2008

Is blogging still "cool"?

The idea of rebranding what a blog is called is very insightful for me, and I'll share a short story that I hope lets you understand why.
I was talking to my friend about blogs, why I read them and why I continue to write one, and she was totally on the side of "why would I care to read other people's rants?"
I realized then that she associated blogging with ranting, something you see happen with many new bloggers in their attempts to generate content. This probably led as well to the creation of at least one award for "worst blog ever" at the Blogger's Choice Awards.
This doesn't qualify all blogs though. Those I choose to read, like Seth Godin's blog and the blog at Employee Evolution, tend to have very good food for thought. When blogging myself I also make a concerted effort to take the time to research a bit what I'm writing about. This I've found really helps keep me on topic, and keeps a blog post from being a rant.

When asked to describe a blog, "online journal" is a term I've often used. After reading this article I realized that I was being a very bad advocate of the craft of blogging. The term I was using is just as associated with "boring" as "blogging" was to "ranting" for my friend.

We now have to ask, are we seeing an expiry of the "cool" factor of new terms like blogging?
Will terms like "Twittering" become associated (if they aren't already) with ranting as well?
I know "Facebook" is fast becoming associated with spam among many of my friends because of its proliferation of unwanted application invitations.
One of the biggest false associations that permeates the local Trinidad industry is that "IM'ing" is associated with time-wasting, although I have personally been part of teams at leading companies where tools such as instant messaging are a critical component to daily productivity.

On the matter of rebranding blogging though, is trying to find a new name for blogging really addressing the root problem?
I think creating a new name for blogging may be the start of an approach, but the association of the word, and keeping it associated with positive things, will be the real challenge for any team taking on this challenge.

India to vote against OOXML, how feel you now TTBS?

For those who don't know,,India is THE powerhouse of IT outsourcing and have probably the largest base of knowledge workers in the world who could give proper technical opinions on whether Open Office XML or OOXML should be made an international standard for electronic documents format.
I am not saying the Trinidad knowledge worker community could not do the same analysis given enough time and adequate dedicated resources. I just was not satisfied that it would be done before the voting deadline.
Recently the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has decided to vote against the proposal to have OOXML as a standard alongside the Open Document Format (ODF).

The fact that the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS) intends to take an opposing stance to India on the OOXML debate now gives it the responsibility to be prepared to defend this position adequately if there is a serious debate about it and they are called out by India or any other opponent. Failure to do so would hinder seriously firstly our credibility as an independent decision maker and secondly our maturity and readiness to hold our current voting status.
This is something I strongly believe we were not prepared to do and why I believed the abstain recommendation of the TTCS was in fact the correct position to take. Countries like the United States, who intend to vote in favour of making OOXML an ISO/IEC standard can do so because they are in the position to engage in healthy, intelligent and facts-based debate about the topic.

I hope the TTBS board's advisory members who made happen the OOXML change of vote from "abstain" to "in favour of" are ready to ante up with more than Microsoft-given facts, facts which have an even heavier list of counter-arguments against.