Media Influencer

helping people break out of pigeonholes since 2003

The ball o’angst

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Head Lemur writes about Microsoft’s and Edelman’s latest blogosphere’s storm in a teacup (yes, yes, of course, these squirmishes matter but after a few years of this I can’t keep up the frothing at mouth anymore):

In yet another bizzare ‘BMS’ blogger marketing scheme, Edelman PR,(the gang that can’t shoot straight) Microsoft, the OS company that has reached the tipping point and is falling over, came together and bought a bunch of Acer Ferrari laptop computers, loaded VISTA, (the straightjacket of personal computing) and sent them out to a group of bloggers.

This has been extensively covered already in the blogosphere but I loved the comment left on the post.

"Well, you could have written an e-mail to me and asked me about that."

The following is a general statement, but feel free to take it personally (that is, whoever wants to pick up the ball o’ angst and run with it):

I’m amused that in one breath, [bloggers] tout the wondrous workings of the blogosphere, which means no more calls to Tech Support, just write a disparaging blog post and wait for the cavalry to arrive.

In the next breath, [bloggers] decry the foul machinations of the blogosphere, a place where people don’t actually talk to each other privately to get the facts before writing said disparaging posts.

Just sayin’.

Excellent point, well presented. Nice to see someone having a healthy perspective on this. There are quite a few journos who are happy to accuse bloggers of being unprofessional because they would publish something without contacting whoever is causing the outrage of the day. But as a blogger, why should I contact anybody? This was necessary when only outlet for individuals and organisations was the media and the journo’s duty as the gatekeeper of the sacred cow – forgive my mixing of metaphors – was to offer opportunity to (ideally) present both sides of the story. Not that it made much difference to whatever story the reporter already had in mind, but I digress. Now anybody can put their side of the story out there. So when I blog about someone, they can leave a comment or email me or respond on their own blog. The result is a cacophony of voices competing for attention and importance. Which is what communication between humans has always been about. :)

There is an idea out there with your name on it

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Dave Winer revisits the question what is a blog. It gets asked more and more as different people join the blogosphere. He talks about his description of a blog back in 2003 where he concluded that it is not the form but the voice. I agree. The form is important in as much as it gave rise to a better way of articulating that voice (blogging software) and a better way of distributing that voice (network of other blogs). Things like comments, trackbacks, RSS and other features do not make or break a blog – they are there to improve on the communciation and distribution that is already happening. It is the quality of the voice, ideas and most importantly, the freedom and independence that is blog gives to individuals. Dave’s anecdote confirms that:

I sat next to Steven Levy the other night at dinner in NY. He volunteered that in his whole career he had never written a word that wasn’t approved of by someone else, until he started a blog. I applaud him for crossing the line. I give him a lot of credit for writing without a safety net. It really is different. Comments wouldn’t make the difference, what makes the difference is standing alone, with your ideas out there, with no one else to fault for those ideas. They are your responsibility, and yours alone.

For me, the big rush came when I started publishing DaveNet essays in late 1994. I would revise and edit, for an hour maybe more, before hitting the Send button. Once I did that, there was no turning back. The idea was out there, with my name on it. All the disclaimers (I called the essays "Amusing rants from Dave Winer’s desktop") wouldn’t help, if the ideas were bad, they were mine. But if they were good, they were mine too. That’s what makes something blog-like, imho.

The only thing I would emphasise over the individual voice is the connection between many individual voices and the variety of communication that the network of blogs makes possible.

Guess where I am?

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Update: Alright, I am in an office of a client/contact and was demonstrating moblogging by taking a picture of a painting on their wall and posting it from my Nokia phone. Move along, nothing to see here…

Blog Visitors More Affluent Than Average Web Users

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Who’d a thunked it?

Blog visitors are 11 percent more likely than the average online user to have household incomes of at least $75,000, and are also 11 percent more likely than the average Web user to connect via broadband.

I thought bloggers are time wasters, having nothing better to do then blogging about their cats and reading other blogs.. In their pyjamas. And that nobody really cares what bloggers write about.

Something tells me that this should get the marketers’ pulses racing:

The report–authored by comScore Network’s Graham Mudd and DoubleClick’s Director of Research Rick Bruner, and sponsored in part by Gawker Media and SixApart–also found that blog readers visit nearly twice as many Web pages as average Internet users, and are more likely to shop online. According to the report, 51 percent of blog visitors made an online purchase, compared to 39 percent of the all Internet users.

Bloggers brace yer’selves – you’ll have to beat them off with a stick.

Corporate blogging is like camp fire talk

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Escapable logic has a good metaphor and a point:

Around the fire, after a day of grubbing for grubs or dancing between the legs of a woolly mammoth, our ancestors didn’t harangue cavemates about how their new improved spear thrower would jump-start their sex life. You can’t fool anyone around the fire, because you’ve all been doing the same thing all day, your frailties and strengths on display.

During most of our history, there hasn’t been much conversation except camp fire talk, and I’m not sure we accept any talk that doesn’t pass the camp fire test. It’s a tone that’s almost impossible to fake, and it’s certainly the only tone that one willingly endures for more than a few minutes. Camp Fire Talk is part of us, grafted onto our nervous system so thoroughly that speakers stray from it at their peril. We all know what it is and, better, what it isn’t. Blogging is forcing us to remember how to do Camp Fire Talk.

Blogs are so constant and frequent and informal that we’re being forced at last to drop the stridency and expert tone and false eloquence that orators, and their progeny, corporate communicators, have felt obliged to use.

This makes much sense. The balance is shifting because ‘communications’ are becoming it is a two-way thing. The broadcasters are not the only once with the platform, message and the media, the audiences are finding means to talk back and occassionally it’s not a pretty sight. I like the camp fire comparison because it brings out the positive aspects of two-way communication – an ability to have a conversation, revival of informality that can bread credibility.

So gather around the camp fire, put down the clubs and start telling your story…

Camp_fire1

Bob Lutz: To blog or not to blog?

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General Motor’s ‘executive’ blogger, Bob Lutz is giving an insight into his experience with blogging in Information Week. He talks about the importance of unfiltered conversation, showing the bad with the good  as a means to buildling lasting credibility. Sounds familiar?

His concluding advice is obvious given the success of the Fast Lane blog:


To me, the blog is a way for GM to be culturally relevant. It allows us
to be on the leading edge of new technology while getting our strong
views out there about our cars and trucks. So far, response has been
outstanding, with more than 5,000 visits and 13,000 page views a day.


To any senior executive on the fence about starting a corporate blog, I have a word of advice: Jump.

Heh, told you so.

For those who can’t get enough of Bob Lutz, here is an interview he gave to AutoWeek.

via NevOn

The Blogosphere: Uniter, Divider, or Both?

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Michael M. Rosen ponders the blogosphere at the first anniversary of his writing for Tech Central Station and concludes without exaggeration that the experience has changed his life

My education has transcended simply writing articles.  The
interactions between reading and writing, between online and print, and
between visual media and talk radio have crystallized for so me — as
well as for many Americans — the paradigm shift in how we receive and
process information
.

The ability of individuals to publish their ideas, argument or simply their diaries,  has started one process. With proliferation of content, technology and tools to monitor, track and sort the information are being developed, as I write. All this has been happening a few years, a short time in the offline world but an era in the fast and furious world of blogs. It is enough to start observing the dynamics of the publishing and distribution explosion and see where its social impact may be heading.

…on
the one hand, the Web’s elaborate smorgasbord can differentiate even
the subtlest of interests; on the other, it can aggregate people, who
are ordinarily divided geographically, temperamentally, and
socioeconomically, around these interests. In essence, the web’s most unifying traits are simultaneously its most divisive.
Of course, pretty much the same thing could be said about any content-neutral technology.

Yet the Internet has accelerated this
aggregating-polarizing tendency so significantly that it arguably
qualifies as a difference in kind, not simply in degree.

I often react badly to people saying that internet is ‘just another channel/medium/network’ and we should be getting too excited. It is like saying a car is ‘just another way of transport’ ignoring the enormity of its impact on how it affects a range of activities and makes entirely new ones possible. The best thing about the internet is that its basic unit is the individual and sothere are endless permutations of ideas and results from their interactions. The blogosphere is just an early expression of this.

No escape

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TV screenshot.
TV screenshot

Tonight I sat down to watch a bit of TV – a change of screen is supposed to be good for you – but, alas, after a perfectly old-fashioned black & white French film Les Amants, I switch channels and what do I find? CNN’s pannel discussion on blogging! Sigh. So in the spirit of the evening I post this from my mobile while still watching the debate…

English Cut above the rest

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English_cutNow this is a fabulous blog! English Cut is a blog by a bespoke Saville Row tailor writing about suits and… tailoring and whatever else he feels like. He uses it to promote his bespoke craftsmanship and, by Jove, he’s got it.

The blog is full of interesting information about bespoke as presented by someone who knows a thing or two about it. I have learnt about the different between straight and crooked suit jacket, which has nothing to do with the character of the wearer.

Thomas also gets to make his argument for the high price charged for bespoke… this is what blogs were made for. He is travelling – the US in June, Paris in July – and provides details of his journeys with the option of making an appointment. How on earth could this have been done before blogs came along? Perhaps with a help of an expensive PR agency, but inevitably loosing that personal touch and straightforwardness that I am sure transactions with Thomas have.

Carry on, tailor.

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