Jeff Jarvis, over at BuzzMachine has written a thoughtful link-rich manifesto on the future of journalism, blogging and information dissemination in general. Yes, I know that sounds vague. The reason for mentioning it here is that I believe it has implications for how large organizations receive input from and about their environment (competitors, customers, partners, government, etc.), and how they process, analyze and share it. Call that the "corporate journalistic process" - for lack of a better term. And no, this is not about corporate newsletters; it's much bigger than that.
Paraphrasing Dave Winer (if not the very first blogger, then certainly one of the first), Jarvis opines that: "either everyone is a journalist or no one is", going on to note that:
Today, the journalistic organization invests in acquiring information, aggregates, selects, edits, vets, presents, and distributes. Can these functions be performed outside the journalistic organization? Yes. Do they have to be? No. Should they be? Well, you'll decide that. Right now we have people fretting over just those questions: Can journalism be saved? I think that's the wrong question. Maybe we shouldn't save the old way. Maybe, now that we have new opportunities, we should find a better way. The right question is: Can journalism be improved? Can journalism be expanded? Can journalism be exploded?
The whole piece is worth reading. What I was thinking about as I read it was how the structure of larger organizations can tend to select, channelize and 'spin' for consumption much of the information that's available about the external environment (aka, competitive landscape.) Some of the major drawbacks of that limited process mimic the flaws now becoming apparent in journalism (aka, public information flows.) To lift from and modify Jarvis: Can the collection, consumption and analysis of corporate information be improved? Can it be expanded? Can it be exploded? And what are the business benefits of doing so?
The answer is clearly 'yes', and many are already working on it. Social networking is one angle. Prediction markets are another. Some of the more enlightened experiments in the 'not-dead-yet' phenomenon of knowledge management may also qualify. Corporate blogging is yet another - one of the most direct, but only a catalyst to larger things, as the activity we call blogging can come in many different guises and hasn't really settled down. Readers just tuning in, or who don't think this is real may want to look back at this post I made last Monday on blogs and 'flat' information flows in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Incomplete thoughts, I know. More to follow as I ponder.