Luis, a member of our team, wrote in the team blog, â€œI like to use the blog to capture passing bits and blurbs of information that I know could be handy to all of us, but for which it is hard to find a right category.â€
He is certainly not alone to want to use a blog in that way. Even if the right category is hard to find, associating one with every burst of insight would make them easier to retrieve them when they will be needed in another conversation.
So whatâ€™s the â€œrightâ€ category, anyway? Why is it hard to find? Maybe it’s because: â€œOne thing that I have found (and this is universally applicable) is that my method of organizing topics is different than everybody else’s. We all structure the world differently,â€ says John â€œK-Logâ€ Robb in an interview published in We Blog: Publishing Online with Weblogs.
Discussion groups, forums, and boards failed to unleash the full power of connected minds. Too much meaning and context go unrealized when in order to publish that insight, we have to put in a topic that may not be the right â€œcategoryâ€ for our idea by the next day. So itâ€™s not only that â€œwe all structure the world differently.â€ I and I are also structuring the world differently, depending on the moment of structuring and categorizing, and my interests, intellectual evolution, even moods in that moment.
Good blogging software give its individual users the freedom to add categories later, add multiple categories, even to trackback categories. But what about a team or a community of practice? What tools do blogs have to support the emergence of shared meaning through collaborative taxonomy building?
Not much, at least not much that I know of. The only tool that Iâ€™m impressed by is Drupalâ€™s taxonomy module is an extremely flexible classification system that allows for multiple lists of categories for classification (controlled vocabularies) and offers the possibility of creating thesauri (controlled vocabularies that indicate the relationship of terms) and taxonomies (controlled vocabularies where relationships are indicated hierarchically).
Itâ€™s â€œtaxonomy syndicationâ€ feature opens probably even more possibilities for collaborative meaning making, the foundation of coherent action in networks of bloggers and their communities. I have not yet tried it but am very curious.