My brain is not enough! Too often, thoughts occur to me, or connections become apparent, that I very much wish to remember and use… but then along comes a flood of additional thoughts, and distractions, and minutiae, and so my moments of clarity dissolve into the infohaze.
I hate that.
Blogging can help minimize the loss of precious ideas, if used judiciously. Think of it as a personal knowledge management system“ or a “backup brain.”
I can’t claim this as my own idea. Here are some of the best writings I’ve found on this topic…
First, here’s a quote from James McGee’s weblog McGee’s Musings that I think sums up a skill set that will become increasingly vital as we all get increasingly saturated with information:
“I can’t see how organizations are going to progress with knowledge management unless the individuals in those organizations learn how to unpack what they know. Think back to the heyday of expert systems in the mid 1980s. The show-stopper was not the limitations of the AI technology (although that was an issue). It was the huge challenge in getting experts to figure out what they were expert at and make it accessible.”
Unpacking what you know means being able to move chunks of information from your brain to another storage area where you can easily access and juxtapose them, and share them as desired. “Personal knowledge management” is an ugly buzzword, but I think it’s a great idea for people who are inclined to jot down notes.
The more you know, the harder it is to keep all that information organized, and that’s one way smart people manage to forget very important things, and wind up feeling disorganized and defeated in the process. Believe me, I’ve edited plenty of white papers and articles written by top-notch experts who seem to barely know what they know!
- My Blog, My Outboard Brain, by Cory Doctorow, editor of the fabulously diverse blog Boing Boing, May 2002.
- Personal Toolkit: Three thousand communities of practice, a KMWorld article by Steve Barth, Feb. 2004.
- On a related topic, Richard McManus recently wrote a thoughtful piece on Internal Corporate Blogging, with an eye toward knowledge management potential.
- And there’s even a blog called Backup Brain, by Tom Negrino and Dori Smith. It’s great!
Right now, I’m considering creating my own private blog, that would live only on my computer. This would be where I could store thoughts, questions, and information on everything from relationships to health insurance to guitar strings, in a way that allows me to easily make connections between these disparate items. The best part is that this resource would be keyword-searchable. I’m not talking about a personal journal I already keep one, on paper. This would indeed be an idea file.
Lovely. I’ll report on this project later.