Saturday, June 03, 2006

Technology: RSS, tagging and back to work!

Beth Kanter calls for nonprofit tagvocates (she writes tagovates, but yeah, I think I can read her mind), to use tagging for social change, not just for personal information management. The netsquared conference had interesting sessions, I still want to check it out more through their podcasts (just don't know when!).

I've used my delicious account for a couple of months now for my personal information management (just like an archive) and it's proven very handy. To use it for team, organisations, or across organisations (in communities of practice) is new to me, and I'm involved in two experiments (one is the km4dev list on the right); one across organisations, another in my own organisation. What's very clear is that it's really hard to explain/imagine/dream up for people who have not experienced social bookmarking and/or RSS at work. As it was hard for me to imagine when I first heard about tagging.

In terms of information management for professionals: I believe RSS alone has the huge potential to bring some space back into the worklives of professionals sweating to work away their email inboxes. I have transfered three email based discussion lists into my RSS reader and that gives so much more fun and energy back to read the lists when you feel like doing so!

What happened (and I think this happens to lots of people) was that I subscribed to a discussion list in a crazy mood or because it is recommended by a colleague and ended up going through all these mails in your inbox as a 'to do list', which kills my interest, fun and creativity. I have the impression lots of professionals are now struggling to keep up with their inboxes and this duty because heavier and heavier.

Transferring more to RSS feeds (and this can be topical feeds from joint unique delicious tags tagged by colleagues too) will shift the feeling of having to read to reading when you are ready, interested and available. Much more interest driven, user-centric. Leaving professionals to do their work and not mix it with potentially distracting mails. This is a huge shift RSS/tagging can bring into the workspace.

Going back to tagging for social change: that's a whole different topic: I haven't seen how tagging could really work for social change other than bringing the right information together in faster ways? The other observation I can make so far on our tag experiments is that it doesn't foster any exchange/conversation, unless you combine it with reading your co-tagger blogs...

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