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April 01, 2005


juan manuel

In a recent post, I address a similar discussion in an attempt to help define Social Networks. My point of view has to do more with the amount of awareness that user has on the social network she is participating in, but I'm sure you'll find it useful in your quest.

Big Picture Guy

I found the concept of the multilogue most interesting and I thank you for hours of reflection.

A monologue is one person talking to no one in particular and, if it is someone in particular, it is usually to oneself (although, in literary form, that would be a soliloquy). In fact, a monologue is generally discourse that prevents others from participating in conversation. Either way, it is an activity that is designed for self-gratification.

A dialogue is two (some say two or more) people talking to each other. If it is more than two people, to what then would a multilogue refer? In any case, for the Latin of it, the plural of monologue should be polylogue.

A dialogue could also be a literary work written in the form of a conversation, like The Dialogues of Plato. Calling blogs works of literature would, with some noteworthy exceptions, be somewhat of a stretch. They do, however, have the feel of dialogues more than, say, diaries, since they are meant to be shared and responses are encouraged. Either way, once again, they are designed for self-gratification.

A web is, by definition, a network. Or is it the other way around? The concept of networked conversation is covered by the term blogging, more specifically, web logging. One might argue, all things considered, that the correct term for a networked conversation is weblogue. A multilogue might then be a collection of weblogues. Which would make it a portal or, perhaps, a blog roll.

Try something else. What would you call a business meeting in which everyone in the room is talking at each other, not listening to what anyone else has to say? How about parallel monologues or parallogues. My more elegant theory is that the meeting would comprise multiple monologues or multilogues for short. Either way – yes, believe me, I know – it’s all about self-gratification.

For a wonderful example of multiple monologue (or multilogue) meetings, I invite you to visit It is a one-of-a-kind blogsite that reveals the inside of a large, dysfunctional company that does well almost by default. It is a catalogue of pitfalls and pratfalls. It is a travelogue that takes you behind the closed doors of offices and factories across the continent. It is a footslog with a host of Dilbert-like characters who cannot manage to get out of their own way. Running parallel are intriguing insights to and discussions of strategic planning, branding, sales and marketing, human resources, and management in general.

It is my gift back to you: more hours of reflection.

Big Picture Guy

Troy Worman

This is a good creative exercise--attempting to form definitions and umbrella concepts under which to fit our messy activities and technologies.

The best I've come up with to embrace Blogs, Wikis, Online Forums, Bulletin Boards and Chat Rooms is Blogs, Wikis, Online Forums, Bulletin Boards and Chat Rooms.


GRATE point, Vaspers! (Sorry. I couldn't resist. ha)

Tim, the people I know who use it as a 'keep in touch' tool typically have their blog password protected, and will post pictures of places they've been, things they've seen, that sort of thing. It's generally a case of "I live across the ocean now, and here are a bunch of generic, yet interesting, types of things that I'd share with all of you, but now it's all in one place" sort of thing. It gets somewhat detailed, but not too much so. Use caution.

I should correct my earlier comment though. My biggest hurdle with corporate blogs is answering the ROI question. (That, combined with the perception of a blog being a chat room is making it difficult.)

But nothing in this comment has anything to do with the original point about terminology. And for that, I apologize.

All the best!


tim, you hit on a really good's been stated many times, an effective blog possesses a singular voice and feel. similar to any form of public communication - effective/entertaining communication draws the public.

however, as you note, if the blog becomes mired in bureaucracy or the party line, the voice is no longer interesting and the blog withers.

now, a possible remedy for a bureaucratic blog would be the comments feature. even in the most sterile of blogs, the comments can be the most interesting feature of a blog. as you have witnessed in this post and in my original comment, comments provide a 360 degree or 3D view on the original post topic. each comment provides flavor and spices up the original post (not that Jennifer's original post was bland) with alternate/clarifying views.

so, don't worry too much about bureaucracy if the comment feature is turned on and not moderated. train the users about comments and trackback. that will keep the blog flavorful...

also, no single person knows everything about blogs. maybe, there are technical experts, but i have often said that the use of blogs is only limited by your imagination. i have thought of hundreds of uses and think of more everyday. so, keep researching and you will find more and more. once in a while, close your eyes and open your mind.

btw, yes, you can password protect a blog and can also auto notify "subscribers" via pager/Blackberry, IM, SMS, email and in the not to distant future, TV via set top boxes.....see, so many things to do with blogs....

steven streight aka vaspers the grate

Ohhhhh....wait friend Tim. Don't rush into "keeping in touch with family members via a blog" without awareness of the potential dangers.

Blogs are not secure private documents. They are public documents, unless you password-protect them. As public documents, anyone can view them, including identity theft criminals, stalkers, child predators, etc.

If you seriously want to use blogs as a communication vehicle between family members, I strongly urge you to consider password-protected journals.

I think most blog software programs enable bloggers to use password-protection systems.

See my post "Dangers of Personal Blogging" at my site, the URL is embedded in my name.



I guess I was getting on a rant there.

In the limited research I have done, I have discovered blogs out there serving all sorts of useful purposes. Coming from a marketing perspective, I am intrigued with using blogs for a marketing, and I look forward to working with a client who sees the value of a blog. I have two in mind right now.

One of the clients, however, is saddled with a bureacracy that would sooner or later want to make the blog part of their domain, which would kill it. Although I can see the blog working wonderfully for them, the bureacracy would not be able to keep their hands off of it.

You mentioned families using blogs to stay in contact over long distances. What a wonderful idea! My wife and I have a family of kids and grandkids spread across the Southern California and Arizona. Might be a good way to keep in touch with them.

As part of an advertising agency, I have been thinking of using blogs for each of my clients to keep in touch with them, track memos and meeting notes, and also allow other agency personnel to keep track of what is happening. Can blogs be password protected? I am sure. Just have to figure out how.

Also might be a way of maintaining a blog that works to recruit new clients.

By the way, your comment about people seeing it as a chatroom is very accurate. People who do not explore blogs can quickly make that assumption.

The more I research blogs, the more I realize I have a lot of work to do.

steven streight aka vaspers the grate

Tom Coates in his "Three things I wrote ages ago on weblogs, publishing and community..." (February 15, 2005) at his blog reminds us that:

...blogs generally involve a conversation that is happening, not just on one blog, but throughout various sectors of the blogosphere, even those sectors we don't link to, or know about.

Blogs *may* feature:

Conversation. Debates. News reports. Community-building. Expression of self, ideas, or facts. User-generated comment content. Uploaded photos and art. Audioblogging. Podcasts. Links to other online resources. Ecommerce applications. Filesharing. PDF and MP3 downloads.

"Blogging" simply means writing online content in the blog format, but usually carries additional, though not really mandatory or universal, implications, like "transparency", "intimacy", "spontaneity (little editing involved)", "candor", "links with commentary by blog author", and "comments posted by readers".

Each of us can state his or her definition of the "ideal blog" or "favorite blogging style".

Robot Wisdom is rather impersonal link logging.

Deuce is extremely personal journaling.

My big question is: "what will be the killer app for blogs? What will blogs be like in 3, 6, 12, 20 years?"

I hope they're not regulated and regimented like almost all other media. This is the great doom that may be awaiting us. Not is, but may be.



Tim, your comment intriqued me. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to have segmented blogs into only two categories. The 'ego-blog', and the 'corporate-tow-the-line' blog. I have to admit that until recently, I did the same. I know people with ego-blogs, and thus, I'd blown them off entirely.

However, I think there are many levels of blogs that are not covered by those two categories. There are blogs created as an easy way for families and friends to connect across the country (or world), blogs created to connect someone with others who have a similar interest or hobby, blogs created by people who might state opinions but use it as a way to connect with others and learn more relating to business, there are communities being formed within industries...a sort of "online association" for those who can't make it to the monthly meetings of industry associations. There's a whole other dimension happening here that can't be relegated to 'an individual's ego' or 'a companies ego'.

It is similar to the Internet as a whole. There's a lot of garbage out there, and sometimes one has to sift through it to find the gold. But there is gold to be found. And I whole-heartedly agree that the honest blog will be more likely to survive, and anything else will be sniffed out.

As to the term "multiloguing", it is descriptive and clear. But I like "social technologies" as well. The term 'social technologies' describes people using technology in a social way. A conversation between multiple users using the latest and greatest tools. But multiloguing is good.

The bigger problem I'm having corporately is how to get past the 'it sounds like a chat room' thing. You know, people who think the Internet and people talking on the Internet only means one thing. (I'll leave it to you to determine what that one thing is. ha)

All the best!

Michael McLaughlin

This is a great topic for discussion.

Blogs, like other technologies continue to bring people together, rather than keeping us apart. And the social impact of the blog/web/forum phenomenon is only just emerging.

So terms like "social engagement frameworks" seems a bit too clinical to capture the humanity underlying the tools we're now using to communicate with each other.

I think you've got a great term now...multilogue. It's descriptive of what's happening, it's human and it's clear.


OK, I am still new at blogs, but here is my two cents.

The name is not as important as the significance of what's happening.

Blopging is an evolution, just like almost anything else (yeah, I am reading "The Origin of Brands.") And just like anything else, the strong survive. There are a lot of 'ego blogs' out there -- people who just want to hear themselves think. But the really good blogs evolve into people who really have something to say. Give them a soapbox, and away they go. A few of these 'ego blogs' made the transition, and we evolved. You get some feedback, a give and take, and the blog starts to get more visits, more input.

Soon people find out that blogs are a force. They became another way for the individual to make a statement.

The individual finds that they can address just about anything through the blog, including the products and services they use and consume. There is a website called Pretty soon it will be a blog (if it isn't already).

Business gets involved because they realize that the consumer has a new tool to communicate. The consumer has more power. The smart ones realize that they need to become involved at the blog level.

Blogs are the tool the consumer has to even the playing field. They can now address corporate America on a one-to-one basis. The smart corporation or business realizes this and responds in-kind.

Kudos to Bob Lutz at GM for his blog! He understands the value of the tool. When business participates in a blog with the consumer, the blog has arrived.

But it will also becoome apparent who has an honest blog, and who has a corporate blog that merely espouses the company line. It will become apparent who has a committee of bureaucrats controlling what goes onto the blog, versus those corporations who have the courage to maintain an honest blog and which companies maintain the humility to learn from it.

If you want to come up with a new term, make it a term that describes the corporate blog that gets so bogged down in bureaucrat-ese that it becomes like so many other corporate messages -- just a blob.

The challenge is keepin' it real!

Tom Asacker

Is passing notes in school a dialogue? Is an email or a blog "conversation?" I don't think so.

I would downplay the social and interactive nature of electronic communication. Simply refer to it as what it is: an exchange of ideas or opinions via the Internet.

steven streight aka vaspers the grate

I'm glad you're attempting to form definitions and umbrella concepts under which to fit our messy activities and technologies, Jennifer.

The best I've come up with to embrace Blogs, Wikis, Online Forums, Bulletin Boards, Chat Rooms is this:

"web content creation tools"

One thing about blogs, since Blogger and push button publishing and similar software, is...

"the democratization of web content creation"


"the universalization of online voice"

I'm a bit more sympathetic toward personal blogging now that I realize how it is anti-totalitarian, pro-freedom, anti-passivity.

Blogging is the opposite of mute reception of unilateral, non-interactive message dissemination.

Very deconstructive and disruptive. Yes.

Now anyone can express ideas, feelings, beliefs and share them with the entire world.

Viva La Vox


yes - I am with you on this...I like it. It is actually giving a name/brand to internal communications and gives the message of engaging in a mutual conversation with a variety of methods. Something like this will help address a multi=dimensional internal comm strategy that includes - written, technology, visual, etc.

Bruce DeBoer

It's tough to describe networked conversations such as blogs and forums so we give not participants that "ah ha" moment. I usually get a blank stare that screams, “I don’t get it”.

It’s the linked nature of the expanding web and it’s benefits that seems to be so hard to grasp. Social Technologies, Mulitlogue, networked conversations all come close. I’d be willing to use any one as the definition becomes ubiquitous and helps be erase the furrowed brow of my clients.


hmmm, will have to think about this.

why is a new term needed? to me, internally or externally, a blog is conversing. It can be a monologue (like my posts), it can be a dialogue or it can be a "multilogue".

to me, blogging is 3 dimensional conversation or 360 degree conversation. blogging allows for conversation between 2 people and via comments, allows for altenative viewpoints/discourse. it may not be "social", but it can most definitely be networked.

maybe, that's the real term for blogging "networked conversation". in fact a book project called 100 Bloggers talked about "networked conversation".

does this help?

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