On 1st March 2007 I published a post on FireFox – The Researchers Favourite Application?. I had expected this to be an uncontroversial posting, so I was surprised when Mark Sammons, a Sys Admin at Edinburgh University, stated that “Simply put, Firefox is not Enterprise-ready enough to be considered for migration from IE“. Mark gave a full explanation of the difficulties on large-scale deployment of FireFox and his reservations were echoed by Phil Wilson.

Mark commented on these discussions on his In-Cider Knowledge blog in a posting entitled Blogging On The Intranet – The Real “Killer App” of Blogging? :

I recently got into a discussion about the deployment of Firefox with Brian Kelly from the UK Web Focus blog. The discussion was quite interesting in that me and him were coming at the topic of Firefox from totally different angle – but it was interesting because we both listened to the others’ viewpoint, understanding where and what our areas of expertise in this field were.

I would very much agree with this sentiment; this, after all, is surely what blogs are about. So I was fascinated by Mark’s alternative interpretation:

However, what interested me is that this sort of issue that is raised within the University where I work yet the conversation isn’t happening.

He went on to add:

One of the most significant barriers that I see is that blogging is very transparent, very outward-looking, all posts are in the public domain. This seems an ideal scope for the conversation but the reality is, people will temper their language if talking to people outside of the organisation, temper their views to more “official” viewpoints. This does not match the ideals of what blogging was mean’t to be. I wonder if blogging confined to people on the intranet might be its real “killer app”.

My view of blogging is very much about openness and transparency. This, after all, reflects my role as a national Web adviser, with a responsibility for dissemination and engagement with my user communities. But am I guilty of assuming that an approach which may work for those with responsibilities for liaison with the wider community will also work within a organisation? I do, of course, see arguments and debates which take place within my institution, often on mailing lists. And I wonder whether blogs have a role to play in these debates – and the extent to which the culture and best practices which are being developed for public blogs will be applicable for blogs within an Intranet.

Thanks, Mark, for this insight. Does anyone have any experiences in the use of closed blogs? And might this be a way of addressing the concerns raised by Sheila Webber in her recent posting on Webbed or Websceptic: You Decide. – rather than a debate on the relative merits of blogs versus more traditional publications, might not blogs have a more important role in encouraging internal debate and discussions?