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Current Topic: Blogging

Blogging: a crash course on introspection
Topic: Blogging 4:35 pm EDT, Jul 22, 2007

Fifteen years after David Sedaris began baring his soul in magazines and on public radio, a new generation of writers has emerged, galvanized by the Internet. Much of their work is highly revealing, exploring relationships and other emotional material. But if this seems endemic to our voyeuristic culture, the larger question is why so many writers want (or need) to expose themselves.

Blogging: a crash course on introspection

A Call for Manners in the World of Nasty Blogs
Topic: Blogging 10:09 am EDT, Apr  9, 2007

It's funny when people think of online discourse as different, somehow set apart.

Chief among the recommendations is that bloggers consider banning anonymous comments left by visitors to their pages and be able to delete threatening or libelous comments without facing cries of censorship.

What's the driver? Why now?

Kathy Sierra, a high-tech book author from Boulder County, Colo., and a friend of Mr. O’Reilly, reported getting death threats that stemmed in part from a dispute over whether it was acceptable to delete the impolitic comments left by visitors to someone’s personal Web site.

And this:

Since last October, she has also had to deal with an anonymous blogger who maintains a separate site that parodies her writing ...

... a blog for a limited audience ...

"It makes me feel like I live in Iran."

A Call for Manners in the World of Nasty Blogs

Scaling Down
Topic: Blogging 3:06 pm EDT, Mar 18, 2007

In a hallway conversation at a recent conference, David Weinberger interviews Michael Schrage, of the MIT Media Lab. There, the topic is search.

Here, the topic is blogging.

Blogging may be more democratic, but it's also likely to be less read. There is a point when there are simply too many blogs.

David Weinberger announced on National Public Radio that he would no longer be reading many of his friends' blogs. Who has the time?

"A salad bar that is five miles long is as useless to me as one that is 3,000 miles long because I am getting all the salad I can eat in the first 15 feet," Weinberger said.

This calls for a Simpsons reference:

Homer: Look kids! I just got my party invitiations back from the printers.
Lisa: [Reading the invitation.] "Come to Homer's BBBQ. The extra B is for BYOBB."
Bart: What's that extra B for?
Homer: It's a typo.
Lisa: Dad! Can't you have some other type of party, one where you don't serve meat?
Homer: All normal people love meat. If I went to a barbeque and there was no meat, I would say 'Yo Goober! Where's the meat!?'. I'm trying to impress people here Lisa. You don't win friends with salad.

Audio here. (Also, it feels good to know I'm not the only one.)

Weinberger also has a new book, Everything is Miscellaneous, due out in May. He gets blurbs from all the right digerati authors: Anderson, Dyson, Johnson, Wales. Publishers Weekly found the book full of "intriguing but not exactly helpful epigrams." The obligatory book-blog should give you a sense. The abundance of meaning and The abundance of worthiness and the new relevancy both seem to sync nicely with my recent investigations.

Scaling Down

That Which We Call a Blog...
Topic: Blogging 1:49 pm EST, Feb 18, 2006

Talking about MemeStreams, the founder of Technorati explained, "what is so interesting to me is how exciting, informative and witty these blogs often are."

Awww, shucks.


Shills wanted:

Epic Records, a Sony BMG imprint, "is looking for skilled, motivated interns to promote artists on social networking sites like MySpace, Purevolume, Facebook and others."

Stay tuned; I'm thinking about creating a new MemeStreams account.

That Which We Call a Blog...

Why We Gather
Topic: Blogging 6:19 pm EST, Jan 15, 2006

Want to be heard? Enter: Gather. Everyone is passionate about something. It's part of what makes people tick, what moves and motivates them. We call it your "beat." Really into jazz? Historical fiction your passion? Know the best way to peel grapes? From the conservative to the unconventional, all content, all personalities -- everyone and everything is welcome at Gather. So share what inspires you. Meet others whose interests overlap with your own, or learn something new. Anything goes, from ideas to music. Your unique voice will be heard through the articles, images, reviews, or audio you publish on the very things you know and love. What's your beat?

Unlike the wide world of random blogging, Gather categorizes your thoughts by topic. Other members can easily find, enjoy, comment on, and rate your contributions. By the same token, you'll find people you deem interesting with just a keyword or two as you search articles for compelling content.

I would like to introduce the 2006 MemeStreams theme song. Sing it for me, Gwen:

You never know, it could be great
Take a chance cause you might grow
Oh, ah, oh

What you waiting
What you waiting
What you waiting
What you waiting
What you waiting for

What you waiting
What you waiting
What you waiting
What you waiting
What you waiting for

Tick-tock, tick-tock
Tick-tock, tick-tock
Take a chance you stupid hoe

In just two easy payments, you could be at

You got your million dollar contract
And they're all waiting for your hot track

Call now! Funders are standing by!

Why We Gather

A Party Girl Leads China's Online Revolution
Topic: Blogging 11:55 am EST, Nov 24, 2005

"People have often said you can say anything you want in China around the dinner table, but not in public. Now the blogs have become the dinner table, and that is new."

Happy Thanksgiving!

"The content is often political, but not directly political, in the sense that you are not advocating anything, but at the same time you are undermining the ideological basis of power."

A Party Girl Leads China's Online Revolution

57% of Teen Internet Users Create, Remix or Share Content Online
Topic: Blogging 12:13 pm EST, Nov 12, 2005

American teenagers today are utilizing the interactive capabilities of the internet as they create and share their own media creations. Fully half of all teens and 57% of teens who use the internet could be considered Content Creators. They have created a blog or webpage, posted original artwork, photography, stories or videos online or remixed online content into their own new creations.

About 21 million or 87% of those ages 12-17 use the internet, according to a survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The results highlight that this is a generation comfortable with content- creating technology.Teens are eager to share their thoughts, experiences, and creations with the wider internet population.

Some key findings:

* 33% of online teens share their own creative content online, such as artwork, photos, stories or videos.
* 32% say that they have created or worked on webpages or blogs for others, including groups they belong to, friends or school assignments.
* 22% report keeping their own personal webpage.
* 19% of online teens keep a blog, and 38% of online teens read blogs.
* 19% of internet-using teens say they remix content they find online into their own artistic creations.

57% of Teen Internet Users Create, Remix or Share Content Online

The never-was influence of the NYT columnists
Topic: Blogging 12:10 am EDT, Oct 13, 2005

Decius wrote:

The graph tracks blog mentions of Paul Krugman, Thomas Friedman, and David Brooks over the past month.

This is a really neat graph. What is even more neat is that you can make your own graphs for any keyword!

Ho hum.

Are these graphs statistically significant? It seems not especially meaningful to use "percent of all blog posts" as the Y axis for this particular graph. You need more data to make sense of this.

There is definitely a trend in this graph, but it isn't necessarily the one that is implied by the title of the post.

It could be that the absolute number of Friedman posts has stayed exactly the same over the past month. Instead, we've seen an incremental growth in the total number of posts.

If you do a least squares fit to the Friedman line, it looks like there's been about a 50% drop in the percentage. In other words, in early September, Friedman was mentioned in approximately 6 out of every 100,000 blog posts In early October, it's down to 3 out of every 100k posts.

What this says to me is that Friedman was a blip in the blogosphere before, and he is a blip now.

Look at terms like katrina and rita over the last several months. Now there's a meaningful graph. Or consider mentions about the SCOTUS nominees.

I could make a chart comparing louis armstrong and thomas friedman, and if you look at the period from 3 September to 3 October, you could just as well talk of "the waning influence" of Louis Armstrong.

If you compare johnny cash and thomas friedman over the last two months, you'll find that Thomas Friedman has about as much "influence" on the blogosphere as the late Johnny Cash. Interestingly, you'll also find that a curiously large percentage of the peaks and valleys coincide on the two graphs, suggesting that other factors are at work. The same can be said for sheryl crow. In other words, garbage in, garbage out. This isn't exactly a well-groomed data set.

The never-was influence of the NYT columnists

particletree · The Importance of RSS
Topic: Blogging 9:48 am EDT, Jun 18, 2005

The pace of information development is forcing internet surfers to skip the eye-candy for the luxury of skimming.

Here enter the noteworthy blog, whose tagline is "Pick up the pace. Skip the click-through."

And so imagine my surprise when I started reading from news services that Google created Personal Pages to compete with Yahoo’s portal services. I think the analysts have it all wrong. I don’t think Google really feels threatened (or has ever felt threatened) by portal strategy.

This is definitely true. During Eric Schmidt's interview with Charlie Rose:

Rose: And a lot of people said that's why I go to My Yahoo. That's what My Yahoo delivers for me. And here you come wanting them to come to you first. Because if they come to you first, you hope they'll stay with you for a while because they'll read your ads.

Schmidt: Again, people didn't understand what we announced. We did something different but everybody confused it with something else.

Back to the Hale article:

In the race to find what deserves face-time, services like in combination with the rapid adoption of web apps like kinja are making Google’s search seem very, very slow.

Have you tried Kinja? It looks pretty cool.

If you want to see a good example of what I’m talking about, check out Gataga, a bookmark search engine that’s powered by social bookmarking services and an RSS feed for every search.

particletree · The Importance of RSS

RE: Welcome to the Los Angeles Times Wikitorial Page (Public Beta)
Topic: Blogging 11:36 am EDT, Jun 17, 2005

Decius wrote:
I really don't think this is going to work. This is an idea whose time hasn't come.

I tend to agree. I don't think the technology is here yet. Literary types will be highly critical of this idea. An editorial built this way will either have no voice or contain such a cacophonous jumble of voices as to be considered psychotic.

A wiki is the wrong tool for a collaborative editorial. It crudely combines too many discrete steps to be manageable, especially at scale.

What's needed is:

1) collaborative position finding and group formation. Active participants need to be able to express approval or disapproval on a statement by statement basis. Like-minded people must form groups and work together to find the most effective way to express their sentiments. In the wiki format, it's all one global group; the edit history is full of blues and reds cyclicly rejecting each others' changes, and collective progress is made fitfully, if at all. This step is best executed by a small core team for each point. Passive participants at this stage are selectively expressing their approval of statements, and this information is available in aggregate to the editors.

2) narrative construction and storytelling. Editors use the output of the thought circles to build an editorial. They are not allowed to change the words, although some expression is possible here by means of juxtaposition and choices about sequencing, inclusion, and omission. Again, a small number of skilled editors can fulfill this role. Passive participants at this stage express selective approval of the assembled articles. Based on data from the group formation stage, automated link structure analysis enables participants to easily find editorials they are likely to approve (or disapprove) strongly.

3) mind share visualization. Readers explore the space of competing editorials, annotating the constituent statements with approval or disapproval. As the reader provides this input, she navigates the space of editorials; with each new rating, an alternative editorial is displayed based on an automated search for the closest match from among available editorials.

RE: Welcome to the Los Angeles Times Wikitorial Page (Public Beta)

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