If you are reading this blog, you probably have a pretty good idea about what a blog is. However, you may not be familiar with the term micro-blogging. Here's a definition of the term from the Wikipedia:
Micro-blogging is a form of blogging that allows users to write brief text updates (usually less than 200 characters) and publish them, either to be viewed by anyone or by a restricted group which can be chosen by the user. These messages can be submitted by a variety of means, including text messaging, instant messaging, email, MP3 or the web. The most popular service is called Twitter, which was launched in July 2006 and won the Web Award in the blog category at the 2007 South by Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas.
Twitter is an example of micro-blogging on steroids. Here's how Twitter describes itself on its home page:
Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?
Micro-blogging is a first cousin to social networking web sites like Facebook that enable one to connect to friends and colleagues. With micro-blogging, you can quickly input and communicate "what you are doing" by email, IM, or text messaging. Now I don't know anyone past 40 who would either want to provide a running description to others what he or she is currently doing or could identify a friend who would be interested in knowing that information. But stick with me for a minute. Twitter is wildly popular.
Let's focus on micro-blogging and co-workers, as noted above. Let's say that you set up a circle of them as a micro-blogging group, both at work and around the country. Let's further say that your micro-blogging updates were not of a trivial nature (e.g., "I have a bad cold today") but addressed specific challenges or problems at work and you were turning to colleagues for their ideas and solutions -- tapping into their experience base. Let's further propose that the most interesting or challenging questions or solutions in some specific area (e.g., lab computing) were submitted by one member of the micro-blogging group to a blog such as Lab Soft News as comments. Micro-blogging + blogging could evolve into a global professional support network to which problems could be escalated and solutions could be shared on a very broad basis. Such is the power of large-scale networking and the web for addressing work-related problems.