Tools of Blogger – chasing information in an information hungry world!

Blogging – the on world wild web

While blogging allows everyone who wants to have an opinion have one. Finding out if others share, dispute or have different view on things is harder to find out; especially if they don’t read your blog! So to help us keep track of things there have been a number of different methods and approaches developed, and further down this article I’ve listed some that I’ve found useful. But why do we want to know what other think? Isn’t it enough to be able to post or submit an article on to the web?

Well I think there are two answers that come to mind quickly, there are bound to be more.

Firstly, the function of a blog is to allow someone to publish an article, thought or opinion so that other people can read, react and respond to it – otherwise why divulge your opinion? A blog isn’t a private diary, those are fulfilled perfectly by pen and paper versions available in general stores. I wouldn’t expect a great deal of very private thoughts and feelings to be poured out on the public world wide web just in case someone felt like reading it (though I’m sure there are exceptions to this!); it more likely to be with some sort of readership in mind. A “home” blog can be a personal diary, but I think it is more a snapshot of articles to give friends and family more context about yourself and your family.

This is an interesting article discussing the contents of blogs.

Secondly, if you’re going to make a choice or decision the more information you have available then the better placed you are make a good judgement. The web has always had a primary function of allowing people to search, and research on topics of their choice. Therefore, it is natural that blogs should be treated in the same way, as a resource of information for those that find it relevant.

Since the web is a product of electronic and digital technology, it is not surprising that technology based sites, articles are commonplace, and blogs are becoming increasingly more prevailent. In general there does seem to be a hunger to understand and get to grips with what the next big thing is and how that is set to change the world. Perhaps in the world of information technology that pressure can be sensed most acutely? It’s like we’re all sitting on surf boards paddling in the shallows, trying the guess which wave is going to turn into a real breaker!

I am fairly new to all this stuff – and there is a mass of tools, addons and plugins to help you out. So how do I find out about stuff, because other bloggers are using them too, or have links off their blogs, such as….

Helpful tools for information hungry blogger

A compendium of tools
Weblog Tools
A list of commonly visited sites:
www.newsgator.com
www.Del.icio.us
www.technorati.com
www.feedburner.com
www.bloglines.com

Otherwise, search, beg, borrow etc.

As I mentioned in my 1st post the proliferation of the availability of information over the last few years is staggering. There’s stuff everywhere, and so there needs to be lots of stuff to keep tracking the changes, and with the aim collating that to an ideal of a single go to point. But in reality it’s several different places.

Examples of data collection points:

RSS Aggregators
Email Inboxs
Internet sites (government, news… read only sites – Web 1.0)
Portals (Intranets, PHP Discussions boards, Photo Hosting sites, Blog sites)
Teamrooms, and discussion databases
Instant Messaging chats and histories
Flat file directories

Perhaps it comes as no surprise you sometimes feel like you’re doing all you can to keep your head above water. Certainly in the technology arena – the pace of development has definitely ramped up in the past 18-24 months; so new articles and opinions abound. In some ways I feel that in the quest for information you become a virtual character like in MMORPGs, and your task is to equipment yourself with all right tools and characteristics to manage to enhance and deepen your knowledge more rapidly and easier than others.

Obviously on the web RSS Feeders are key to making tracking of changes possible. But to be honest, having many feeds collecting in one place makes the thought of looking through them daunting! Sometimes I feel ignorance is better – not looking then pressing “mark all read”.

I think it is fair to say that this knowledge and information management distributed mash is converging possibly… into browser based repositories and dynamic tracking hosts (RSS feeds and readers)? So how does influence the way organisations will respond and how does it reflect on the individual?

Data management and avalibility in organisations and by the individual

Lets take email, most of us have one if not several email addresses, and the documents contained in those folders are at the moment largely uncategorised and static (tagging would be good! – and is probably not far away). Thank goodness for the All Documents view in Notes and the full text index! However, email is in general a lump of documentation where finding the a specific piece of information is sometimes tricky, and flat files system are even more frustrating; compared to advanced search capabilities on-line – again an interesting article on the advances being made in search functionality.

A likely response from an organisation will be to use SOA enterprise solutions to bring the old static back-end data of legacy system into the easy accessible and available space that current collaborative technologies are pushing things. Organisations and companies have a limited data set (though sometimes storage is an issue), but at least they know the scope. They can firewall, encrypt and implement other security measures to protect data yet still aim to make available and accessible through a limited number of interfaces, and with some sort of SSO front end in place too.

However, how will this happen for the personal user and the individual? An individual’s won’t have the bulk of data to manage; but they still need to manage where things go, identity and data protection will be concern. How many of us struggle to keep a track of usernames, passwords and the email addresses to which they belong! We have a multitude of different organisations (government, financial, municipal/utility, personal choice etc.) holding varying degrees of data about us; and each time we visit or request something an identity authentication step needs to take place. I wonder how much internet traffic is user/password authentication request and response?

I guess, this has now brought me on to consider identity management and proof of identity. Perhaps I shall try and gather my thoughts on that in another post.

In conclusion, I think to make good use from this extravagance of information it needs to be categorised, catalogued and be made available. The challenge with the web is in this rapid moving environment, it needs an intelligent and dynamic system to cope with the rate and variety of output. Organisations also need solutions to bring legacy data to the same state as current data, and individuals? Perhaps individuals need to be careful at moment; in the free for all mix of the web a cohesive and federated identity system seems a long way off.

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