March 17, 2004

Blogtalk 2.0 proposal: Blogging at Sun 2002-2004: a case study of weblog adoption in a technology company

Blogtalk 2.0 call for paper's deadline is today.
According to the site:

The conference will be held in Vienna, Austria in July 2004 (more details coming up pretty soon)

BlogTalk 2.0 is designed to initiate a dialog between bloggers, developers, researchers and others who share, enjoy and analyse the benefits of blogging. The focus is on weblogs as an expression of a culture based on the exchange of information, ideas and knowledge. In the spirit of the free exchange of opinions, links and thoughts we wish to engage a wide range of participants from the blogosphere in this discourse.

Last year I proposed a presentation Weblogs and Portals: can David and Goliath collaborate ? but it wasn't accepted.
I guess it was a bit too geeky and not specific enough for the audience :-)

I came to the conference with my Sun pal Alejandro "portlet" Abdelnur and had a lot of fun and very interesting discussions with many participants and presenters (I'm the guy on the right on Heiko's pictures, Alejandro the second from the left :-).

This year, after one more year experimenting with weblogs, and Sun's recent interest in weblogs and RSS and push to put some serious resources on that topic, I hope I have a more relevant presentation for the blogtalk audience: Blogging at Sun 2002-2004: a case study of weblog adoption in a technology company
I hope they'll accept it this time. Comments are welcome.

Here it is:
Blogging at Sun 2002-2004: a case study of weblog adoption in a technology company

Author's last name and first name: Chanezon Patrick
Affiliations (country and name of institution or company): France, Sun Microsystems
URL: http://www.chanezon.com/pat/weblog/
Title of the paper: Blogging at Sun 2002-2004: a case study of weblog adoption in a technology company

Proposal
In this paper I will use the word weblogs for weblogs and related technologies that started to get some traction in 2002. This includes weblogs, all falvors of RSS and Atom, RSS online aggregators and desktop readers, Wikis, and some Semantic Web applications such as FOAF.

From its inception as a UNIX workstation provider to the networked systems provider it is now, Sun always had a mixed culture in hardware and software design, the software side being very much influenced by the UNIX culture.
From 2002, weblogs begun to have an adoption curve similar to the beginning of the web, in a mostly bottom up fashion, which was very well demonstrated by numerous presentations at blogtalk 1.0 in 2003.

For most companies weblog related technologies can be used in two ways: internally for a more efficient collaboration; externally to create and foster communities around its technologies, and offer a more human voice and image than classic Public Relations.
For companies producing software or software based services such as Sun, IBM, Microsoft, BEA, Oracle, Macromedia, Google or SixApart there is another dimension to weblog technologies, which is creating products or services implementing these technologies.

This case study will describe Sunís adoption of weblogs from 2002 to today, both for internal and external use, and from a product and strategy perspective. Then this history will be analysed according to different factors: company history, organizational structure, software culture, economic context, technical environment. Some of these factors are a mix of top-down and bottom-up approaches, the prevalence of UNIX culture over web culture, with the high use of email as a collaboration tool, the roots of the company as an engineers company, the economic situation of Sun and its software strategy, oriented towards turnkey scalable network based systems and java.

A comparison with other companies adoption history will be tried, based on informations available to the public. Last an attempt will be made at determining some general factors from the previous analysis that influenced weblog adoption patterns by technology companies, as well as at predicting what may be in store for the close future.

I am a only software developer with an interest in history and sociology, so this case study wonít pretend to be at the accademic-grade level of quality. However I think the personal and company experience described here can be leveraged in the future by true sociologists and historians for more complete analysis of the topic. Moreover I think the questions I raise about the impact of various sociological, economical and cultural factors on weblog adoption are important to consider for enterprises wishing to adopt weblogs today. Last the discussion about technology companies strategies regarding these technologies can be a good starting point to look at this areaís future.

Posted by chanezon at March 17, 2004 02:20 PM | TrackBack
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