End of Middlemarch

There is an excellent post by Rachel on Reading Middlemarch about getting to the end of the book. In her post, she quotes Eliot’s words, which I think are wonderful:

…[For] the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who have lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

Social media forum

I’ve just returned from a day away from the office! Exciting not to be at King’s Cross? Well, yes, but I only went as far as Edgware Road — to the "Blogs and Social Media Forum", to be precise. This one-day meeting was pretty interesting, but in my case was somewhat preaching to the converted. I am still unsure whether I totally agree with the evangelism of the speakers, most of whom were talking in a business context, in recommending that companies encourage all their employees to blog — how would anything get done? The first talk was by the "Head of Blogging" at IBM, who said that 20,000 of the company’s employees use its internal blogging tool. The mind bloggles.

But it is true for sure that social media offer great opportunities for companies, for example in allowing customers to have direct access to individual employees who develop a product (relationship with trust), outside PR departments. (Of course, this works only if the product is good and the company interested in refining it according to customer feedback.) I think that the use of wiki technology for organisational intranets and project or product development has enormous potential — about a million times that of email as a communication, development and refining device. Some of the case studies presented at the conference were for big banks and law firms, so the "new web" is catching on even in these conservative zones.

As one speaker, who defines himself as an "entrepologist" (an entrepreneur/technologist!) said near the end of the day, "I have more in common with a few people in Silicon Valley than I do with my neighbours in Marlow" — because of his personal blog. What’s important is not the technology per se, as the end-user can implement it easily and cheaply, but the "social" aspects. Blogging, in conjunction with rss, certainly does allow one to quickly find other like minds, irrespective of whether they are down the road or in another continent. I was reminded of the truth of this statement when I returned home tonight, to find that two people, Minx, Queen of Cornwall, and Frank Wilson of Books, Inq. and the Philadephia Inquirer, have both been so kind as to comment on Cathy’s poetry. How wonderful, for a young teenager, to obtain such a level of feedback, made possible by the power of the "army of davids", and inconceivable only a few short years ago.