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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Blogs, Social Networks and LinkedIn Answers

I received a great question from someone relative to my last post - Required Reading for Training Managers where I continue to suggest the benefits of blogging (see Blogging - I'm Pushing Harder Now and Top Ten Reasons To Blog and Top Ten Not to Blog for recaps of much of this). The question was:
What is your assessment of the relative benefits of pure blogging vs LinkedIn Answers and other social networking platform-based discussion venues?
I consider LinkedIn Answers to be quite a different animal. The way I use LinkedIn Answers is to ask specific questions (never open ended or partially thought out the way I do in a blog) that I want to get specific answers or find people with expertise who I can't seem to find by searching LinkedIn normally. This question goes only to my network and then also out to the rest of the world who look at Answers. It's a great way to get help on specific inquiries. But, it's just that.

For example, the question above would probably be okay in LinkedIn Answers, but you might want to change it a bit to be more specific.

LinkedIn Answers is limited in time and does not create any kind of sustained conversation. But it does work across both your own and your indirect network.

Social Network based discussions (for example a Ning network) act like communities. I've had several posts talking about the differences of conversation in communities and those via blogs (network-based discussion). I'd look at:
There's a fair amount to consider around the differences. To me blogging is a great engine for network-based conversation and continuous learning. You likely can use a community the same way, but most people don't.

Likely looking at how to Learn and Network with a Blog ways to promote Blog Discussion
and Types of Blog Discussions are also good pieces.

It still comes down to a personal style, commitment level (to sustained learning).

But Wendy and Karyn will tell you it has high value for them. Of course, we all know they are both pretty weird.


Anonymous said...

Pure blogging versus LinkedIn answers? Blogs are more accessible but are also lost in a huge sea of blogs. LinkedIn provides a certain level of filtering as far as content providers and may be slightly more valid.

Blogs allow a certain freedom for the authors whereas LinkedIn may be inhibiting to some. And blogs can have personality (for whatever that is worth).

But blogs also paint a picture of a person's beliefs and are somewhat holistic in that regard.

Answers on LinkedIn are more collaborative in nature.

They both have their place.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Tony!

This is an interesting topic, especially considering the forum that it is in.

I feel that it is a lot to do with personal preference - what works best for an individual. This may seem obvious, and while it might be said by someone who holds my opinion, that this is not something that you can reasonably discuss (in a blog post) this is not true.

What is unreasonable, however, is expecting such discussion to develop without bias and then try to draw useful conclusion from it.

One might as well arrange for a discussion in a pub on the merits of not drinking beer and then try to draw useful conclusion from it.

It is not difficult material to draw conclusion from such a discussion though. What is difficult is getting any real usefulness if the intention is to find out about personal choice/preference from a group of people with genuinely diverse backgrounds, likes and dislikes.

It is a trait of human behaviour to enjoy the comfort zone, which is likely the reason why civilisations lived through hundreds of years without much real change in lifestyle, technology, or even language development. History is full of examples like this.

So while you and I may feel comfortable about entering into a blog-post discussion, there are many who don't. These aren't ignorant people I refer to here. They are people who have the potential to yield useful information, possibly transformational information, but we will not necessarily learn from their input because they won't input, at least, not on a blog.

Different strokes. . . etc, seems to be the axiom here.

Ka kite
from Middle-earth

Anonymous said...

Hi, on LinkedIn, people might already know you in person through meeting you and adding to networks, or they will have formed an assessment of you based on your profile information - so any information you provide as a LinkedIn question or answer will be 'assessed' in the light of that picture of you that they have.

On a blog, if someone has not met you they could form an entirely different picture based on some profile information, your blog style and content (and for someone who has 'connected' with you through LinkedIn only, they might be less likely to get an idea of what you are really like, compared to reading a few posts on your blog). One of the reasons I blog is to talk around my work with areas that I'm really interested in, rather than about my work - I do this from time to time, but others may prefer doing both more regularly.

I guess people are more likely to collaborate on a specific question or issue through an 'answers' tool because it could be quick and more relevant to their area/s of work. I agree with what others have said here too

To be honest, I found questions / answers tool on LinkedIn useful, but there are other answers tools and I would prefer more answers aggregation (maybe aggregation tools of some sort) so that anyone regardless of profession can see the question and answer it as appropriate - I think it opens up more innovative possibilities. For me, Google answers isn't it (algorithms to decide what questions are important - for me, no thanks !) any more than any other answers tool, just more about allowing the complexity of multiple answers tools but finding a way of presenting it to the world so people can sift through and answer ones they want as they want.

Anonymous said...

"we all know they are both pretty weird"

Oy! I resemble that remark!