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Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Weblogs and Competitive Intelligence

My current work requires that I gather competitive information about IT, business and e-learning in community colleges. Obviously, I am an avid Google user and weblog reader. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sell very well to senior management to propose strategic directions based on texts of uncertain reliability. So I have to rely on more “academic” publications to justify my recommendations. The problem is that I almost never discover new trends or ideas by reading scholarly publications. By the time they get published they are often outdated and, more importantly, authors who want to publish have to be way too careful in expressing their ideas. Academic texts are expensive, lengthy and… boring.

Tired of this nonsense, I have started to aggregate weblogs related to my employer’s field. And I am getting some interesting results:

1. My searches are more effective because weblogs help me identify interesting ideas that I can refine afterwards using Google and academic publications.
2. By being more spontaneous, weblogs are more provocative. However, this spontaneity comes at the price of exaggeration and inaccuracy.

Bloggers often write about weblogs and generally think it’s THE solution to the knowledge bottleneck. My opinion is that it is an interesting new tool that can help us make a better use of more traditional resources. I will try in a near future to “sell” some recommendations justified with weblog reviews. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Personal opinions are not a noise to evacuate. Since reality is only perceived, opinions are its very essence.

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