This is another in a series of case studies from people I interviewed in 2005 about their blogging efforts. Now as we move to 2013, I find it interesting to look back at the early days of business blogging. I will only include cases from people who are still blogging now. These cases have not appeared on this blog before
Christina Pikas is currenlty a science and engineering librarian in a special library, as well as a doctoral student in information studies. She continues to write the blog Christina’s LIS Rant. Christina originally started her first blog after hearing Steven Cohen, who writes the blog, Library Stuff, speak at Maryland Technology Day. She wanted to see for herself how easy it was and quickly became hooked. She created her first science and technology blog, On Christina's Radar, to highlight advancements in science and technology that she thought might eventually be of interest to her organization. It is still up but no longer active.
Christina’s original goals were to keep track of where she read things, try to say why she thought the new thing was important, and to add context. Very quickly after this Christina realized that she did not want to put items on library science in this blog so she started Christina's LIS Rant, the one she continues today. In this blog she writes about library and information science, as she says, “I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, freedom of information, open access publishing.”
After some serious campaigning, she also started an internal blog in 2005 to track recent articles by authors where she worked. Christina was responsible for a physical kiosk, but most of the authors do not have time to visit their physical location so she thought an electronic version would be better.
The blogs exceeded Christina’s original goals. She found references to her blog on other professional sites, sometime without a link. Christina was able to sort back through the archives and look up sites of interest. On the negative side, there are no categories on Blogger, the tool she used at the time, and the search engines didn't work that well. Sometimes, she ended up re-finding information.
Christina’s felt that the voice on her blog changed now that she knew that she had readers. She knew this and thought its added objectives like providing instruction or informing her audience of community news. At the same time, she continued to write mostly for her own knowledge management and had not changed the personal nature of her writing. She had seen other blogs where the style changed once they developed a readership and she wanted to avoid this. While her primary objective remained personal knowledge management, she also felt, the public nature kept her honest.
Christina’s major source of content came from targeted environmental scanning for herself and her organization. She also browsed a lot of feeds, the covers of their print journals, got TOC alerts, got subject alerts from fee-based databases, read mailing lists, got electronic newsletters. Etc.
Christina tried very hard to not just parrot what others were saying. She had a lot of original content. With that said, she was not really marketing her blog. Christina is used her blog primarily for personal knowledge management so any conversations that arose or readership that she gained were icing on the cake.
Christina used other blogs as filters. For example, Randy Reichardt of the University of Alberta, STLQ, is an engineering librarian who regularly read mailing lists that she was not part of and reported back on key issues. Christina trusted that he would catch anything important so she didn't have to wade through the pile of e-mails. Sometimes, Christina saw an e-mail conversation on the listserv or the news article, and didn't initially get it's importance. Once she read Randy’s view on it then sometimes she would comment. Christina used the library science blogs to point out new technologies and resources, too.
Christina offered the following advice to others thinking about starting an organizational blog. Start out with it just on your intranet, build trust, then make an external one. Pick a software that's expandable and that has an active community. Get buy in from all levels. You have to make the business case for it and build excitement from the bottom. You have to involve team members in your plan and show your supervisors how it can serve the team, the organization, and your clients.