A question that arose during the discussion of the Blog Pilot Template was how quickly the benefit of blogging would surface. After initially thinking that it would take months or that it heavily depended on the business cycle of the area where we would be blogging, we realized that after only a week that something should appear. (In looking at the notes, it seems that the group decided that this depends on the type of blogging being pursued. A form replacement should show quick benefits, whereas opinion and narrative will take longer to develop and show an effect.)
One aspect that we kept returning to while still avoiding was, "What is the business value?" We were working from the assumption that Manager has approved the trial, but in talking about metrics of a pilot, you have to know what you expect to gain. Ideally, you can make a rational pitch to simplifying a process or providing history. There is also the longer-term goal of transforming the business to a sharing-oriented culture. Do you advocate this goal, or do you watch to see if it appears and cheer when it does? How involved does one need to be in nudging the system in the desired direction?
I think this discussion connected back to the morning discussion of how one creates value out of their own blogging. "How do you monetize social whuffie?" For individual bloggers, they are writing about their passions. Making money doing this seems almost "wrong." This led Matt Homann to equate bloggers to starving artists. This was part of a larger discussion around organizations and people and social software. (The topic was somewhat fluid: How is work changing? How does social software fit?)
We didn't discuss the idea of blogger passion during the pilot discussion, but it seems that not all employees are passionate about what they do for the company. Can they be brought into the world of "blogging" through replacment of writing activities, like status report or shift report. Does this change how you decide to pilot blogging in an organization? Or do you only recruit those people who are already passionate about what they do. Companies like Microsoft and Sun have many employee bloggers who write about their passions - at least to the external world. Are they as passionate on internal blogs? The Disney blogging experiment started with replacing shift change reports and is regarded as successful.
Then there are the culture questions that we also avoided. A number of the Expectations at BlogWalk Chicago wanted to delve into the issue of what cultures best fit with social software and similar questions. BlogWalk 4 touched on these topics, possibly in more detail than we did.
Why is this topic striking such a chord? BlogWalk obviously shook some leaves loose in my brain. And there have been some conveniently-timed articles in the blogosphere. I am also thinking about this in regard to some client work.
Just before posting: It looks like a number of discussions at the Blog Business Summit are following some of these themes as well. I realize places like Microsoft have adopted blogs internally and externally, though my mindset while writing was that this is all "brand new."