Current Events

Reading vs. Scanning, Browsing vs. Searching

A common objection to blogs is that because the medium is so easy to update and the cost so low, too much unedited drivel makes it online to make the material useful as a source of business information. I have to say I don’t mind people speaking their mind in an unedited stream. I describe it as viewing the raw feed from a network news show, the satellite uplink where you get to see the anchorman get his nose powdered during the commercial break.

To me, the rough edges, where you see the process behind the production is an important part of the context. To those that view these edges as irrelevant and something that should be edited out of sight, I say that any skillfully-crafted search statement should be able to cut right by these distractions.

The internet is messy. It’s not about finished pieces – it’s about works in progress. When Usenet was my the source of information, my kill file was my friend, it helped me filter out irrelevance. Navigating through a site map or other navigational aid is becoming a paradigm of the past. Now it’s all about using search engines used as scalpels to get right to the point. This is why search engine marketing has become such a hot business.

I read magazines, I browse newspapers. I search the internet, I scan the results. I really don’t browse the internet anymore. If there’s a lengthy piece I want to read, I print it.

Which leads me to my last point. I saw the piece about blogging on ABC Nightline last night and the one good point they made is that as links are propagated to the second and third degree, they drift further from the original point and the linking process twists original context much like a phrase gets misinterpreted in a game of telephone.

How do we keep necessary context while also allowing people to drill down past it?


Monday Morning Read In

Elise Bauer has published an update to her overview of blog tool market share and has determined that:

– the number of blog sites has grown 120% in six months,
Six Apart, (my employer) with the acquisition of LiveJournal, has the largest market share of blog sites,
– It’s impossible to measure the business market which sits behind firewalls,

Elise admits that using Google and Technorati for your research tools is crude at best but it’s the best guess out there and this report is the best report out there since Forrester’s, Blogging: Bubble or Big Deal? When and how businesses should use blogs last November. The two reports together make a compelling case for why businesses should be blogging and which tools they should use.

Current Events

Udell on the definition of Blog

Jon Udell hits the mark again. I should be packing up for our big move up to the city (starting from January 3rd we’ll be at 548 4th Street in San Francisco) but got distracted reading an old InfoWorld column where Jon talks about the definition of blogs. A blog is more than the simplistic definition provided by Merriam-Webster. It’s true power comes from the network to which it’s connected.

By way of analogy, consider a dictionary definition of a telephone: “an instrument that converts voice and other sound signals into a form that can be transmitted to remote locations and that receives and reconverts waves into sound signals.” That’s fine if you already know what a telephone network is, but the definition doesn’t work on its own. Just as telephones are meaningful only when connected to the telephone network, so blogs are meaningful only when connected to the blog network.

The Network is the Blog

Spot on.

Howard Stern on Blogs

Robin Quivers asks "What’s a blog?" and Howard Stern rails on. In typical New Yorker fashion, he cuts straight to the point and says:

"If you’re not making money as a writer or an artist, it’s not a career, it’s a hobby"

BusinessWeek on Blogs

Commenting on the nascent growth of ad supported weblogs, BusinessWeek says that Madison Ave. is beginning to notice:

Don’t expect a repeat of the dot-com rush that inflated the Web bubble of the late 1990s. "This is a long game, with lots of ebbs and flows," says Henry Copeland, founder of media-buying firm BlogAds. Blogging isn’t about to lead to vast wealth anytime soon, says Copeland, but he does expect "more money to [flow to] more authors as smart advertisers bypass publishers and pay authors directly for their audiences." 


A picture is worth a thousand comments

We’ve all seen how the comments section of a blog can sometimes turn into a pile-on of epic proportions. In this thread, an innocent travel snapshot sparks a metaphysical debate over hidden political and social symbolism. Six days later, the original poster tunes back in and posts "
Have you all lost your minds?"

Playing with WYSIWYG


Having fun with the new TypePad interface that lets you create and edit posts using a new GUI Graphical User Interface. It’s really cool! You can read all about it here.

Somtimes a bumpersticker is better than a blog

Chris Shipley writes on her experience trying to use blogs to move opinions and gain awareness on a local political issue. Conclusion? For local politics, the old methods do work better, for now.

And in the last week, my No On Q blog has had 178 hits, six comments, zero trackbacks. In that same time, I’ve received no fewer than eight pieces of mail in support of Measure Q and four postcards from the No headquarters. More yard signs on both sides of the issue are going up around my neighborhood. I’ve reached more people leaving No On Q pamphlets at Starbucks in the morning.


How News Gets Made

What a week! Amidst all the excitement of Web 2.0, we announced that we raised $10 million in funding. A couple of us went to Kokkari, arestaurant downtown, to celebrate when Mena realized that she forgot to post her perspective on the announcement. Ben fiddled with the Bluetooth connections on the phone and the laptop at one point juggling two Powerbooks until he got things working.


Blogs on Jeopardy

As a self-titled weblog about the intersection of media, technology, and finance, the appearance of Blogs on Jeopardy cannot go ignored.

I’m off to Web 2.0 tomorrow. Look me up if you’re there.