This blog was launched on 1 November 2006. It seems appropriate to use this anniversary to reflect on how this blog has developed over the years.
I originally envisaged that the blog would primarily have a dissemination function, describing and discussing significant developments in the information landscape. However over time I found that I was using the blog as my open notebook to keep a record of activities I had been involved in and my observations and thoughts on developments. The use of the blog as an open notebook was partly for my own benefit: the writing process has helped me to reflect on my thoughts as well as helping me to ensure that I will be able to revisit the ideas in the future – indeed many ideas initially described on the blog have subsequently been reused in my talks and my papers. The open approach using this blog has also provided an opportunity for others to comment on the thoughts and ideas, which again has helped me in developing these ideas. I also hope that this open approach has proved beneficial to the readers of this blog who may share similar interests.
This open approach to development and sharing is now central to much of my work. Posts on this blog and slides I host on Slideshare and Authorstream, for example, are provided with a Creative Commons licence and, as mentioned recently, I try to make use of event amplification technologies in order to ensure that remote audiences can benefits from events I speak at even if they aren’t physically present.
I have argued previously on this blog that development projects should be encouraged to be open about their development work. This might include not only publishing information on decisions they have made and details of the successes – and failures – but also encouraging discussions on such issues in a more open environment that use of a mailing list provides. Using a blog environment can provides ease of access and engagement which is not available when reports are published on Web sites or sent via email. I have tried to use this blog as a way of demonstrating the benefits of openness, seeking to achieve cultural change for those who make be reluctant to adopt an open approach to development work.
Is this approach working? From the usage statistics for this blog it would seem that the approaches taken on this blog is helping to continue to attract readers: this month has been the busiest ever, with an average (at the time of writing) of 311 daily views in October. In addition the blog has also been shortlisted for a national award organised by Computer Weekly (and there is still an opportunity to vote).
But although I know that there are significant numbers of readers who have posts delivered via email I don’t have a clear idea of how users read the posts and the platforms they use. And more importantly I don’t have the bigger picture from the readers of their thoughts on the contents of the blog and the approaches taken.
Back in the August/September 2007 I carried out a survey of the blog. Three years later it is now opportune to revisit that survey, so I invite readers to complete a brief survey, which has just four parts: 1) how you access the blog; 2) your engagement with the blog; 3) the contents of the blog and 4) other comments.
Thanks in advance.