Blogging is entering the mainstream – Bill Gates thinks they’re a useful business tool, so expect one of your directors to pop up with the idea of corporate blogs at your next board meeting.
Blogs are online diaries, usually collections of links, thoughts and illustrations kept by one person who wants to share information about themselves or their enthusiasms. They can be purely personal, or a day-to-day update on a business project.
Gates says that blogs are a good way to share information, both inside and outside of organisations and have considerable advantages over older forms of communication such as email (email is old now?). Emails can miss out the right people or be too imposing, and websites are too passive. People forget to visit websites, and get frustrated when they make the effort to go there and the site hasn’t been updated.
The solution? A blog with an RSS feed. Real Simple Syndication is a feed that allows stories to be pushed to other sources like news readers and even other websites. This way, changes and new information come to the reader, not the other way round.
Over 700 MS employees keep project blogs, to share information and keep others up to date on projects they are working on.
Microsoft doesn’t have a blogging tool yet – but it can’t be long before one appears, tied in with MSN, Messenger and quite possibly FrontPage and MS Project.