I make absolutely no secret about the fact that I dislike email. I’ve been on a quest for years to reduce the amount of organizational work happening in email … it just is not a good platform to manage the type of ongoing discourse required to arrive at decisions and get things done on a daily basis. I would much rather see teams of people using a platform like Yammer to make work happen … but that is a post for another day. The screenshot below is of my inbox showing new SB You site registrations. Now that is an inbox I can get behind!
As we are seeing some growth in the pilot of SB You, I wanted to reflect on why I feel it is so important for a community to have a platform the powers simple publishing … in doing so, I was drawn back to the post I made right as I was working at Penn State to spin up the original Blogs at Penn State project. At that time I was trying to move people to see that we weren’t talking about blogging per se, but instead about personal content management and simple publishing. From a post on May 25, 2006 I shared this observation,
So, when is a blog not a blog? When you brand it as a personal content management system. Think of the power then … you want to blog, publish, take notes, turn in papers, or do anything in an e-model? The personal content managent system can do it and it can do it so it is stored, managed, searchable, accessible, and easy.
The really interesting part about that post in my mind to this day are the comments … imagine at that time, people still commented on blog posts instead of clicking “Like or +1” links. What is striking to me is that the text came alive with the addition of the voices of the community. It was an important illustration of what that original project would become for us at PSU — a platform for digital expression. Trust me, we didn’t know inherently it would become that, but it did.
Fast forward to today and I am hopeful that our own steps into SB You will bring as many amazing opportunities and surprises as our students, faculty, and staff begin to write, share, and collaborate in a digital space. Even as the world has shifted from blogs to social networks of all types I still think a platform like SB You is a critical piece of the fabric that can bring a community even closer. If this happens it will become a public and living illustration of the collective intelligence this campus has. So, when is a blog not a blog? I think when it becomes the place that each of us individually or collectively can create, curate, share, explore, and engage each other.
One of the reasons I love seeing blogging communities in higher education is because it gives me a chance to see the collective intelligence of that community come together.Even after only a couple of weeks, there are blogs popping up on SB You nearly every day. We’ve not done any marketing and have really kept things quiet so far as we kick the tires and figure things out around here, so to see people playing along is really very cool. To keep up, I’ve created a new Feedly account and have been adding new SB You blogs as they are being created. The only thing I was I could do was share this SB You collection like you could back in the days Google Reader.
I am already seeing this emerge as something very positive for the Stony Brook community in general. I can only imagine how interesting it will get as we move into the spring semester and faculty start using blogs in their classrooms! I always loved seeing what people at Penn State were doing with their university blogs and I know this will be the same kind of thing.