Blogs versus Department Meetings
| Peter Klein |
A friend recently became economics department head at his university. He created a blog as a partial substitute for, and potential complement to, meetings.
I hate department meetings, which inevitably are scheduled at some time when most people are tired or distracted. Once there, much time is wasted by people who are slow in expressing themselves, or in discussing issues about which we haven’t had time to think or gather the information necessary to decide something. For any individual, some of the discussions are boring or irrelevant and a waste of time.
I have been trying to use the blog to handle most issues that do not require a quick decision or a real, face-to-face dialog. . . .
I am having at best moderate success because some of my colleagues refuse to visit the blog on anything like a regular basis. I am trying to make things easier for them. A successful change was to introduce a “recent posts” sidebar like you have on O&M, so my colleagues can quickly see what, if anything, is new since they last visited the blog.
I suggested setting up a “favorite posts” or “critical posts” section of the sidebar (somewhat like our “Most Popular” section). Of course, some departmental issues — personnel matters, for example — are too sensitive to discuss even on a private blog. But many of the usual items can perhaps be handled easily.
What suggestions would you offer? More generally, how can blogs, wikis, and similar tools increase office productivity by substituting for meetings? (Of course, some people will always prefer meetings.)