Publish/subscribe organizations 21:51 on Wednesday

I haven’t been left alone by Tommi’s comment on writing about what is interesting 2.0 at the moment. So here’s something along that vein:

Feeds are the plumbing of web 2.0, and provide computers and people with all kinds of publish/subscribe possibilities. Seeing the value in subscribing to feeds about topics of personal interest is a no-brainer for most, as feeds allow you to keep tabs on stuff that you wouldn’t or couldn’t otherwise follow.

But — perhaps surprisingly to the most 2.0 geeks out there — I don’t think feeds have taken off too well inside businesses, although they could provide tremendous value as an information delivery mechanism.

The probable problem is that for feeds to be adopted inside businesses, enabling technology is not enough, but a culture change is needed. Everybody is used to cc:ing everyone else in all kinds of FYI stuff. Everybody is even more used to ignoring most if not all of those emails.

Organizations should forget that email mindset, and become publish/subscribe organizations, where anyone can get any (well, probably almost any) information by subscription. It will become the responsibility of the interested party to stay on top of things by subscribing, and people will have better control of the kind of information they need to do their work.

Perhaps the information publishers inside companies will even be encouraged to make their output more interesting, rather than emailing everybody 40-page documents to “check out quickly, just in case”.

Nevertheless, it would be interesting to see how a publish/subscribe model would change an organization. It definitely matches the networked organization model, but does it help or reinforce the problems of such organizations — such as concealing who has power inside an organization — remains to be seen.

One Response to “Publish/subscribe organizations”


  1. Tommi Says:

    Cool post, Niko.

    I guess the Pub/Sub Culture is on its way to spread even to larger conglomerates. As long the publishers withstand the temptation to include Facebook-like QUIZZES in their channels. :P