Really enjoyed reading Clay Shirky’s speech, “A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy”. Mentions that most weblogs are not group-forming and mostly used to broadcast. Which is fine and good but less revolutionary than their supporters would have you believe. Lowering the barrier to publishing can be a great thing but doesn’t tap into the value creation of group forming networks.
Most blogging technologies support loose coupling between community participants in the form of links. Unfortunately they are more dynamic then are often thought, as the recent John Robb story examplifies. And comments are not that frequently used successfully. Dave, the grandfather of blogs, turns them off. (Likely to avoid the other “Slashdot effect” which is the reducing of discussions to that of the worst comments.) In terms of group forming, Livejournal does a better job than most although it seems to be aimed at a 16 year old (physically/mentally) audience.
For the brainstorming of an upcoming project, some friends and I have been using a weblog to record our discussions and pointers to useful web resources. So far it has worked very well. It is as easy for us to use as email, but automatically catalogs the conversation. This isn’t group forming and likely wouldn’t scale smoothly but for this type of collaboration it has been a strong fit.