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Current Topic: Blogging

US FTC tells advertisers to disclose blog payments | Reuters
Topic: Blogging 5:59 pm EDT, Oct  5, 2009

Companies and advertisers must let consumers know about any money or free products they give to bloggers as payment for their endorsement, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Monday.

Cory Doctorow's world just blew up.

US FTC tells advertisers to disclose blog payments | Reuters - 'Just Another Political Blog'
Topic: Blogging 12:43 pm EDT, May 28, 2008

Congratulations to the ThinkProgress folks for winning Best Blog at the Sidney Hillman Foundation Journal Awards.

I dig my day job. - 'Just Another Political Blog'

A Call for Manners in the World of Nasty Blogs
Topic: Blogging 1:58 pm 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."

I'm interested in how "anonymous comments" is defined by these folks. This is one of those areas were many people lack an understanding of how the Internet actually works. For instance, MemeStreams doesn't allow "anonymous comments" in that you have to make an account, but it is certainly possible to have an anonymous account. We do ask for age, real time, and whatnot, mostly do to COPPA. But nothing is stopping people -- here or anywhere else -- from using anonymous proxies and other methods to protect their identity. People do so here, and we are friendly toward that, to the degree they are not abusing the system.

Banning "anonymous comments" isn't really something that is possible, or a good idea.

A Call for Manners in the World of Nasty Blogs

Josh Wolf: Journalist or Activist? - Kevin Sites
Topic: Blogging 10:19 pm EDT, Apr  7, 2007

This article by Kevin Sites (who reports from Yahoo these days) contains an interview with Josh Wolf conducted previous to his recent release.

Sites caries a high level of credibility and relevance in regard to the debate(s) that surround Wolf. In November of 2004 while embedded with a Marine unit, he filmed a soldier shooting an unarmed and wounded combatant. (article) Here is that video, followed by commentary from a three start military official.

I spoke to Wolf by telephone while he was still in prison a few weeks ago and asked him if his advocacy made him selective in what he videotaped at the protest. Would he turn off the camera to protect his friends? A partial transcript of our conversation follows [link to full interview in story].

Kevin Sites: If there had been a situation where you saw a protestor beating up a police officer, or you saw them committing arson, would you have shot that?

Josh Wolf: I wasn't there to shoot that.

Kevin Sites: No, but would you have shot that?

Josh Wolf: That's a question I would have made in that moment...

Kevin Sites: Well, that's what I want to ask you. If I asked you to take sides, if I asked you to take a side of journalism or activism, you know, which side are you taking here? Because you're asking for the protection of journalism yet you're also seeking to be an activist.

Josh Wolf: Would you not say that Thomas Paine was an activist for the Declaration of - or the independence of America and also...

Kevin Sites: But I would say that he would not be claiming to be journalist, he would be claiming to be an activist. That's all I'm asking you to do, is take sides. Are you claiming to be an activist or a journalist?

Josh Wolf: I don't. I see that advocacy has a firm role within the realm of journalism.

Kevin Sites: Right, but as an advocate, you have to be willing to allow yourself to be jailed and expect the consequences of your actions. As a journalist, you're asking for certain protections, you know, from those consequences. That's why I'm asking you, you know, which side do you want to step on at this point.

Josh Wolf: My role is to uncover the truth to deliver to the public. That is my number one accountability.

Kevin Sites: But that truth is through, as you said, a prism of your own political convictions.

... [ Read More (0.1k in body) ]

Josh Wolf: Journalist or Activist? - Kevin Sites

BuzzLogic: The Science of Influence
Topic: Blogging 12:07 am EDT, Mar 19, 2007

At BuzzLogic, our mission is to apply the science of influence to the world of social media. This requires keen insight into dynamic conversational networks, a methodology premised on the idea that influence is in and of itself dynamic, and an ability to identify which participants in conversations are gaining or losing influence over time.

This is very different than “blogger A-lists” or other imprecise measures that can identify only who is popular, but not who is influential. And it is very different from the brand monitoring and analysis services that can describe what a small sample of bloggers was thinking a few weeks ago, not what is happening right now.

Only BuzzLogic brings both clarity and confidence to action in social media. BuzzLogic’s service enables brand and product marketing managers, corporate communications professionals, market researchers and customer service managers to actively monitor conversations that are taking place around their company, brand, products or competitors. They can quickly identify who the most influential participants of a conversation are. And they can engage with them to offer an alternative point of view, amplify key points or set the record straight. Once they are participants themselves in a conversation, they can then follow, track and understand the impact of their actions.


BuzzLogic: The Science of Influence

Alberto Gonzales on Bloggers
Topic: Blogging 7:00 pm EST, Jan 18, 2007

Decius writes:

This is infuriating.

Feingold, who today flat out called the program illegal and who last March... went on to attack Gonzales for a speech he made in November, where he said that critics of the government's warrantless wiretapping program believed in a definition of freedom that was "superficial" and a "grave threat to the liberty and security of the American people."

Feingold took issue with that and asked who in the country actually believed that terrorists should not be wiretapped.

Gonzales said he knew that it wasn't Democrats and his real targets were blogs, where you can find people who don't see that the government is trying to protect them.

Unfortunately, this is the closest thing I can find to coverage of this hearing. Transcripts do not seem to be available. If anyone has the exact quote from Gonzales, please post it. I DO have the exact quote and context for his statement in November.

Some people will argue nothing could justify the government being able to intercept conversations like the ones the Program targets. Instead of seeing the government protecting the country, they see it as on the verge of stifling freedom.

But this view is shortsighted. Its definition of freedom – one utterly divorced from civic responsibility – is superficial and is itself a grave threat to the liberty and security of the American people.

As Justice Robert Jackson remarked in the case Terminiello v. City of Chicago, “The choice is not between order and liberty. It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either. There is danger that, if the Court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact.”

The central quote was decontextualized and passed around in the media. Of course, you can find crazy people on the Internets, but the people out there who "will argue nothing could justify the government being able to intercept conversations like the ones the Program tagets," and I have never, ever seen anyone make that argument, but they are clearly too far and inbetween to constitute "a grave threat to the liberty and security of the American people."

Gonzales is almost Chomskesque in his careful use of language which simultaneously means many things and nothing. If you support the idea that the executive need not get court approval for domestic surveillance, what you hear... [ Read More (0.2k in body) ]

Alberto Gonzales on Bloggers

Pew: 14 Million Online Political Activists in U.S. Today | Personal Democracy Forum
Topic: Blogging 3:52 pm EST, Jan 18, 2007

That translates into about 14 million people who were using the 'read-write Web' to contribute to political discussion and activity," the study's authors Lee Rainie and John Horrigan write.

Pew's findings again suggest that the much-feared "Daily Me" balkanization and creation of self-reinforcing echo-chambers doesn't appear to really be a problem. Folks online are probably exposed to as much, or more, information that challenges their point of view as anyone else.

This is a good run down of the results from the Pew study.

Pew: 14 Million Online Political Activists in U.S. Today | Personal Democracy Forum

Seventh Annual Weblog Awards
Topic: Blogging 9:19 am EST, Jan  8, 2007

Nanochick wrote:
I think its about time that the Memestreams Community and the people who work hard coding Memestreams in their free time get the recognition they deserve. Therefore, I have nominated memestreams for a "Weblog Award", and I hope others in the community will do the same.

Thanks Nano! I don't think anyone has nominated us for a Bloggie before. Frankly, if everyone who regularly reads this site nominates us, we stand a reasonable chance to get past the first round. That would certainly be fun. Apparently you can nominate a blog to multiple categories. I think "Best Community Blog" and "Best Kept Secret" are probably the best two for us, but I won't discourage other nominations. :) Just do it quick. Voting closes on January 10th.

Seventh Annual Weblog Awards

A New Campaign Tactic: Manipulating Google Data - New York Times
Topic: Blogging 12:49 pm EDT, Oct 26, 2006

Fifty or so other Republican candidates have also been made targets in a sophisticated “Google bombing” campaign intended to game the search engine’s ranking algorithms. By flooding the Web with references to the candidates and repeatedly cross-linking to specific articles and sites on the Web, it is possible to take advantage of Google’s formula and force those articles to the top of the list of search results.

The project was originally aimed at 70 Republican candidates but was scaled back to roughly 50 because Chris Bowers, who conceived it, thought some of the negative articles too partisan.

The articles to be used “had to come from news sources that would be widely trusted in the given district,” said Mr. Bowers, a contributor at (Direct Democracy), a liberal group blog. “We wanted actual news reports so it would be clear that we weren’t making anything up.”

Each name is associated with one article. Those articles are embedded in hyperlinks that are now being distributed widely among the left-leaning blogosphere. In an entry at this week, Mr. Bowers said: “When you discuss any of these races in the future, please, use the same embedded hyperlink when reprinting the Republican’s name. Then, I suppose, we will see what happens.”

The popular news page on Technorati indicates that enough blogs are participating in this to make the target stories some of the most widely linked in the blogosphere right now.

File this under information warfare case studies... I made the prediction awhile back that we would see a rise in politically motivated Google Bombing at key times.

Update: Chris Bowers, the organizer of the google bomb, has posted a statement for the press.

A New Campaign Tactic: Manipulating Google Data - New York Times

DefenseLINK News: CENTCOM Team Engages 'Bloggers'
Topic: Blogging 3:47 pm EDT, Aug 18, 2006

McNorton said the team contacts bloggers to inform the writers about any given topic that may have been posted on their site. This outreach effort enables the team to offer complete information to bloggers by inviting them to visit CENTCOM's Web site for news releases, data or imagery.

The team engages bloggers who are posting inaccurate or untrue information, as well as bloggers who are posting incomplete information. They extend a friendly invitation to all bloggers to visit the command's Web site.

The team's motto is "Engage," and Flowers and others work with more than 250 bloggers to try to disseminate news about the good work being done by U.S. forces in the global war on terror. The effort, officials here said, has reached more than 17 million online readers.

"We were given the mission to do electronic media engagement," Flowers said. "The idea was put forth that so many people are getting their news from online sources that we would be remiss if we neglected that audience."

Flowers is one of three people who read blogs and try to drive Internet readers to the CENTCOM Web site, where readers can learn more about operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

"We don't go in there and get into a debate," he said. And officials here are quick to point out that they are not policing Web sites. They are simply offering bloggers the opportunity to get raw information directly from the source.

One of the members of this team is Army Spc. Patrick Ziegler, who has recently created a MemeStreams account.

DefenseLINK News: CENTCOM Team Engages 'Bloggers'

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