Saturday, June 13, 2009

Blogging process: an iceberg example

In a previous post I used the analogy of an iceberg to describe processes in an enterprise. In this post I will illustrate it by a simple example.
The example is not about Enterprise processes. It describes a simpler single actor processes set: Writing a blog post such as this post.

As far as this post is concerned the scope is limited to professional blogging. Analyzing personal blogs or generalizing the analysis to all blogs types is beyond the scope of this post.

Blog Posting Process simplified
It looks like a very simple process composed of two steps:
  1. Writing a blog post
  2. Publishing a blog post
The writing step is composed of few activities: titling, writing, spell checking, adding hyperlinks and images etc.
Publishing looks like a one click activity.
Even in the simplistic description above, we missed one important activity: choosing a topic to write about. It is less formulated activity than the other activities, so it is easy to ignore it while analyzing this process.

The hidden parts
The significant hidden parts of the Blog Post Writing Process may be discovered if we will look for the purpose of writing a professional blog.

The purpose could be earning money from readers' clicks on advertisement or showing his expertise in order to open new business opportunities.
It could be a combination of the two purposes described above: earning money from readers' clicks and opening new business opportunities.

Whatever purpose is behind the blog writing process, maximizing the number of relevant readers is the means for achieving this purpose.

The Business Process of maximizing the relevant number of readers is included in the iceberg part below the waterline. This process is a lot more complex than the process of writing a blog post.
Publishing is not enough the blog writer may use some of the following internal methods for achieving that goal:
  1. Adding an RSS or Atom button
  2. Adding a followers list button
  3. Adding hyper links to external content such as books or articles he read, other's blogger's posts etc.
  4. Adding hyper links to other posts in the same blog
  5. Tags usage in order to include the blogs hyper link in search results.
  6. Readers' comments and discussing these comments.
Internal method in this context is a method of changing the blog's Web page.
Behind the cited above methods as well as behind other methods are hidden less formulated processes.
External processes and methods may supplement the internal processes and methods.

Examples for such external processes:
  1. Social networks notification – Notifying to your connections in Social Networks (Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter etc. No need to notify your Plaxo connections. Plaxo automatically uses RSS and includes it as part of weekly updates).
  2. Commenting on other blogs posts and adding an hyper link to your post
  3. Opening Group discussions in groups like Linkedin groups or Facebook groups. The number of members of such groups could be thousands; so many people will be alerted.
  4. Distributing to your personal distribution lists.
  5. I also add a short message to my e-nail messages including last post's title and hyper link.
As a result the simple one click publishing sub- process could become a complex process including a sequence of undocumented activities.

BI Process
This is another low visibility process.
It is not enough to publish a post and perform internal and external processes aimed at expanding the number of readers it also should be measured. Like in any other BPM implementation a Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) is required.
This process is a Business Intelligence (BI) like process: Producing reports and analyzing them. Google Adsense reports and optimization e-mail messages are the tools used for the reporting and analyzing process in Blogger.

However, different reports and activities could compose the BI Process.
The BAM like process is complemented by a Business Process Optimization (BPO) like process.
If needed, the blogger performs a process of optimization including activities such as template change, advertisement format and location change, Layout changes etc.

Conclusion
Even the simple Blog Posting Process, is not as simple as you imagine. Expect for many hidden under the waterline iceberg's parts in more complex enterprise processes.

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