Comments: Blogs, wikis, 'voice' and accountability

You mentioned the security agencies looking into the use of blogs and wikis as internal communication and information development tools. From the Jay Cross piece you link to you (or from the URL below) you can access "The Wiki and the Blog:
Toward a Complex Adaptive Intelligence Community" by the CIA's D. Calvin Andrus.
Definitely worth reading if you have not already, and with a relevance well outside its intended audience.

Posted by Seb Schmoller at December 18, 2006 5:26 PM

Thanks, Seb. I've now read the paper. Two paragraphs jumped out at me, in connection with what I wrote above:

"One of the Wikipedia‚Äôs strengths is also a weakness — no points of view. Much of the self-corrective knowledge that exists in the intelligence community exists in personal points of view. Currently, there exists almost no official outlet for points of view in the intelligence community. A healthy market of debatable ideas emerges from the sharing of points of view. From the ideas that prosper in a market, will arise the adaptive behaviors the intelligence community must adopt in order to respond to the changing national security environment. Not all good ideas originate at the top." (page 16)

… which I pretty much agree with, and,

"The Wiki and the Blog are complimentary [sic] companion technologies that together form the core workspace that will allow intelligence officers to share, innovate, adapt, respond, and be — on occasion — brilliant. Blogs will cite Wiki entries. The occasional brilliant blog comment will shape the Wiki. The Blog will be vibrant, and make many sea changes in real-time. The Wiki, as it matures, will serve as corporate knowledge and will not be as fickle as the Blog. The Wiki will be authoritative in nature, while the Blog will be highly agile. The Blog is personal and opinionated. The Wiki is agreed-upon and corporate." (page 18)

… which I think is a rather rose-tinted view of wikis. It makes it sound as though, once you have a mature wiki, everyone agrees on it, genuflects to its authority, and we all live happily ever after. The struggle to arrive at an agreed-upon, authoritative account of Classical Music — not a field that changes as fast or as radically as security and intelligence — suggests this may be easier said than done.

The paper gives the example of Wikipedia being updated with medal winners from the Olympics. Such nitty-gritty facts are what wikis are good at. More issues seem to arise when it comes to interpretation of a broad range of facts from a strategic point of view (which is important in the intelligence field), such as "What role do the Olympics play in international relations, and how can we augment the positive elements of this role?"

Posted by David Jennings at December 19, 2006 3:18 PM
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