Two million weblogs and counting...

Helsinki University is now offering a blogging environment, with integrated RSS aggregation (Finnish only) to teachers, professors and faculty members. Janka wonders why this thing is driven by the Social Sciences faculty, not the CS faculty. Me, personally - I don't wonder at all. If you look at the whole phenomenon from a CS point of view, it is damn near trivial. The technologies are nothing new, even RSS for all its purported complexity is actually something even a well-educated highschooler can grasp in just a few minutes.

CS-wise, there is nothing really interesting in blogging. You can write your own blogging software relatively easily (I know, I've done it).

But blogs, wikis, Orkut, LinkedIn, email, news - it all ties together in a bigger sphere commonly known as Social Software. Software that's better because of the people who are using it[1]. And that is what makes the whole phenomenon far more interesting - the people in it. Not the technology.

I think this is the main difference between the old-style CSCW and the new, lighter content management systems (weblogs and wikis): the name CSCW already tells you that it is about "Computer Supported Cooperative Work". Work is mostly not about people. Work is about making money, so that you can have a life outside the company - support your kids, have fun, travel, whatever. Social software is about making it easier to do the stuff that you are earning the money for. To do the stuff that you care about.

That's the key reason why the new, "Computer Supported Cooperative Being" (CSCB), is working and spreading rapidly. Technorati is tracking nearly two million weblogs now. This study suggests that 44% of adult internet users in the USA have already contributed something to the vast archive of the Internet. And this in the ten years that the Internet has really been accessible to the general public.

No, with masses like this, I don't wonder at all about why the Social Sciences faculty is interested in blogging.

[#1] Matt Jones.




Comments

No, Janne, I'm not wondering why it's not driven by the CS department, I'm wondering why a very specific group of people associated with the CS department and generally toying around with all kinds of ways of using the internet in teaching has not even mentioned weblogs as one way, let alone encouraged people to use them when the social sciences staff has already gotten this far.

Sorry about being unclear about this.

--Janka, 09-Mar-2004


No, I got it. I was trying to point out that the CS way of thinking in general is not relevant with the weblog way.

There ain't nothing challenging - it's about apps, not technologies.

--JanneJalkanen, 09-Mar-2004


Though actually, on second thought... It could also be that this CS group is completely clueless. It's really, really hard not to hear about blogs these days...

--JanneJalkanen, 09-Mar-2004


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