Even Thai bureaucrats blog

December 13, 2006 at 5:18 am 2 comments

Khun Paiboonsanma6.jpg

Ju (Mindshare regional team, Bangkok) writes:

Government organizations and related figures aren’t likely to be associated to blogging, especially those in developing countries with large rural populations where a rigid hierarchy is still in place, where the government and its staff are not exactly known for transparency.

But, according to bizpunk.com: “Paiboon Watanasiritham, Minister of Social Welfare and Human Security in Thailand, has been blogging since 2005. He is currently in his sixties. His blog is very influential as it provides citizens with an easy, virtual access to the Minister. He tries to blog once a week and his topics range from social development to issues on morality.”

Khun Paiboon’s blog resides on a local platform called gotoknow.org. Gotoknow.org was conceived locally as the brainchild of two professors of the Prince of Songkhla University, to share knowledge among those in the knowledge management field. The initiative was later taken up by the Knowledge Management Institute and it community of practice expanded to include professors, bureaucrats, students, and researchers. The network grew further to a point where new blogging platforms had to be developed to support new members: learners.in.th was developed for those professors and students who used Web 2.0 concept for teaching and learning, and researchers.in.th was created for researchers was created for researchers in various scientific fields to store and exchange findings.

Going through the blogs, I was struck by the heavy local feel. Most of the members belonged to second-tier universities, some in Bangkok, mostly in the provinces. I couldn’t understand what exactly was going on in their world, but could sense that the bloggers were actively interacting with each other. For this reason, I felt the community to be quite active and close-knit, with professors and students responding to each other’s comments in a fun, informal manner (very rare in my days of uni).

While the level of influence of Khun Paiboon’s may be open to discussion, this goes to show that the blogging phenomenon can only be considered under the local context within which it emerges, and the community of like-minded people that it creates. It follows a similar pattern as that of the wife-bloggers in Korea, who ‘share recipes, provides information on baby care, best schools, and stores, according to Richard Edelman. It confirms Pew Internet’s comments that ‘blogs are as individual as the people who keep them’ and that ‘ most bloggers are primarily interested in creative, personal expression.’

The existence of these pockets of communities is undeniable, but the question remains: how can these communities fit into the branding world and vice versa? These are just some ideas:

  • Engage them as media vehicles
  • Collaborate with them to create new content
  • Help extend their network reach to other similar communities (and therefore create an even bigger audience for the brand)
  • Seek solutions from them, such as for product development or advertising
  • Find ways to enrich their community culture

Thanks to Sunit Shrestha for the background on Gotoknow.org

Entry filed under: korea, media general, thailand.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Thawatchai Piyawat  |  December 14, 2006 at 3:31 pm

    The “local platform” that runs the sites mentioned here is called KnowledgeVolution.

    It’s a Ruby on Rails application. We release it under GPL as we hope that organizations in Thailand (or other countries if interested) can have a site like our sites in their intranets.

    We develop it as a knowledge management system, not a blogging system.

  • 2. Achara Masoodi  |  December 15, 2006 at 3:59 am

    Dr.Thawatchai, thank you for the clarification. It’s a really innovative project and I’m glad that it’s supported by state entities.

    Could you please help explain to us further as to the difference between a knowledge management system and a blogging system? Also, is it just meant primarily for state organizations or equally for the private sector?

    It’s a really interesting initiative and it would be great to know more. Thank you!


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