Next to the seminar and reception with Howard Rheingold we enjoyed last Thursday afternoon we also joined a more small scale workshop with Howard Rheingold on Friday morning. Our little Blogwalk group made up about half of the audience I think.
In a group conversation setting we discussed several topics. One of the more interesting things to me was when Howard Rheingold showed us the tools he uses in his personal information strategy. For the bloggers in the room there really were not many surprises. RSS, BlogLines, Del.icio.us, all with actual screenshots, came up. He stresses weblogs as his community filters for information. Most people I talk to blogs about seem to think they’re publications, sources next to other sources like papers, where I see them as conversations. Howard spends some 4 hours in the morning engaging with his on-line community and sources of information, after which he spends the afernoon writing. He does keep an eye on IM and e-mail in the afternoon though.

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What struck me is how little we actually talk about our info-strategies, and info-diet, and the tools we use for it. Especially tools can be almost a secret thing in organisations that have rigid rules to what people are allowed to use on their desk- and laptops. My laptop is stuffed with different tools, most of them Open Source or freeware, that did not come with the pre-installed proprietary environment. My company is ok with it, but does not expect me to ask for support on the stuff I install myself. If my colleagues are convinced of the value of a tool, it will be added to the standard provided and serviced mix of tools we use however.
Talking about how we do things, hunt and gather info, filter stuff, feed it into our workflow, pick the relevant items to act upon etc. is something we should do a lot more I think. Anyone who wants to compare notes?

6 reactions on “Howard Rheingold on Information Strategies

  1. Ton, that’s an interesting point you raise – What kind of knowledge work routines are “out there”? Which partial routines are shared, which are idiosyncratic? How do different tools yield similar routines, how do different people integrate the same tool in different routines?
    To me, there seem to be some connections to Lilia’s/Aldo’s work on blogging practices; I also think it was in their paper that I found the reference to a paper by Christine A. Halverson (2004): The Value of Persistence: A study of the creation, ordering and use of conversation archives by a knowledge worker. (pdf)
    It’s a detailed account of the work routines of a particular knowledge worker, focussing on the way he’s integrating different technologies and tools to manage conversations with different parts of his social network. Fascinating read!

  2. Mecology revisited

    I’ve been thinking lately about the week-by-week for my spring course, and have been figuring out what the course requirements are going to be. First week, we’ll spend the time with some of the applications (MT, Bloglines, Furl, del.icio.us, et al.) th…

  3. Ton, I’ve been thinking about this too – it grew for me out of the PKM workshop and being asked “So how do *you* do manage your own knowledge?”.
    This week I started work on a new project and on the first day I drafted a blog entry about how I was organising myself to do it, planning to continue as the project progressed. I haven’t published it yet because I became a bit jittery about what I could appropriately say about the project in public, especially knowing that the client is a fairly regular reader of my blog.
    Having read your post, I think I see a way through it – to keep the focus entirely on me and my own strategies rather than the project or environment I happen to find myself in at the moment. So thanks for the inspiration and look out for some stuff on Perfect Path in the next couple of days.

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