Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Blogging from hospital

No, not me fortunately!

I have a friend whose two-years old son was admitted to hospital with a rare auto-immune disease. He needed a lot of blood transfusions. The friend asked me to open a blog for his son so that he could share all information with everyone interested. Which is what I did. I added an email subscription feature, because most readers would not be familiar with RSS readers. They did not want comments online. They posted daily, or even twice daily, and included videos too. It made it a lot easier to pick up conversations on the phone, because you already had an idea whether there had been good or bad news lately. I felt better prepared to phone while knowing the latest news. The boy is back home now and doing fine. Now and then there is still a blogpost with some news.

The blog made communication with a wider group much easier for the parents than emails, because it is not a push, but a pull medium. They would not have sent daily mails to a wide group. With the blog, even not-so-close-friends would send each other the URL, so that they could read and follow the ups and downs and decide how often to read. It was also good, to have an online space where all information could be found, and you could scroll down to compare the writings with earlier accounts.

The interesting thing about this story for me is that he knew enough about weblogs to be able to use the tool (amongst others by reading my blog I guess). Yet, he never had the urge to start his own blog. I'm the last person who thinks that everyone should blog by the way. But when a situation occurred where a blog could be useful he was able to see its application. Had he not known enough about weblogs, he would probably not have been able to see this as clearly as he did. So that's what technology introduction is about for me: making sure people know enough about the available tools so that they can design their own application for the tool when the situation calls for it.

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