BlogTalk, Day 2

Back at BlogTalk in Vienna. The wireless network was flaky yesterday afternoon. We’ll see how things work today.

David Weinberger lists lotsa other BlogTalk blogs here.

Running notes to follow:

Rebecca Blood launches the second day keynote. She’s been doing the blogging thing longer than most, and has written one of the more well-known books on the subject.

Blogs are “participatory media,” she says, a way around established outlets. Bloggers can sift through many more sources, pulling together what may be a more accurate picture than traditional media can offer. No one expects objectivity or fairness in blogs.

Lots of varied information, but what’s “commonly known” is shrinking. It’s not just specialized knowledge, but news about specific events.

Most people got their news from just a few sources, but the web gives more choices, she says (actually most still get news from just a few sources).

Democracy threatened? Fair question. “Confirmation bias” leads people to read what confirms their own biases. Danger of group-think is real.

Henry Copeland’s BlogAds is an important experiment in the business model of tomorrow. His BlogTalk paper is currently atop that page.

He realized early that blogs were getting better traffic than newspapers’ online sites.

Self-publishing will swamp traditional publishing, and advertisers will move in the direction of that new media universe, he says. Blogs can offer what advertisers want.

He shows charts of Glenn Reynolds’ blog and Craig’s List, where the big numbers are indeed impressive. A lot of “new media real estate being created daily,” he says.

Advertisers have huge new markets to look at — too many outlets. We need new ways to organize media, Copeland says.

One is “passion” — a new dimension of media. Cites Andrew Sullivan’s money raising from readers, etc.

Hipness means little clubs that anyone can aspire to join and are visible to everyone. It’s easier to become a member of an online community than a journalist for the New York Times.

“Hubness” — combines network hub notion with hipness and business. Degrees of separation, actually networks. If you’re a hub, you are a big deal.

Advertisers need to understand this. But there are hundreds of niches, and you have to target things. Such as a movie company targeting movie blogs. It’s access to the network economy.

Phil Wolff wants to talk bullshit. Okay…


Blogs will merge with other media. He cites Wikis, mobile blogging, IM projects with blogs and much more. Danger HipTop does blogging. Game industry could get this, but posting to blogs various reports on games. Today’s skills may be insufficient; new learning required to express ourselves.

There will be non-human bloggers. Increasingly the walls can talk; will report back to us. Data from gadgets, toys, TV, etc. Shows TiVo information, equates to blog. Software and devices, with contact to real world, will inform us about things we need to know. Workplace: enterprise tools will be integrated to create RSS feeds etc. Tools report back to manufacturing people, cars to dealers.

We’ll blog things we don’t blog today. Blog++, voice to chorus. We don’t have a single voice. We are a chorus because our moods and immediate interests change.

Gabriela Avram is working on a “Diglit” blog project, a digital literacy project she calls a knowledge log. It has many contributors, but one of the key aspects is keeping an organization diary.

Early model was their own HTML, building from scratch. Then moved to blogging tools. Started in Romanian, moved to English.

Jeremy Cherfas and his colleagues at the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute are doing extraordinary, vital work. They’ve created “>this blog for marketing and media awareness.

He notes that the site’s home page is a huge download, followed by pages that are full of frames. There was a page for news releases, but it was difficult.

Hence the result: “I came to a conclusion that a blog was the answer.” (Check out the two sites and you’ll see which one works.)

The IT department was against it. So with a colleague they created a blog, and osted first comments. He notes “the feeling of success” — like “discovering word processing all over again.”

Entertaining but all-too-common story of how he dealt with IT department, which found the project “not wonderful.” He had to get permission to continue hosting the blog on his friend’s server.

What went right, he says, is that he had a prepared mind; a rogue nation view; friendly colleagues; rapid response; and they got the word out.

What went wrong: Old librarian mentality; unfriendly colleagues; resistance to novelty and empowerment.

Ulrich Van Stipriaan says it all sounds familiar. He’s trying to get out the word about the great science at the technical university in Dresden. Blogs are part of the mix.

If everyone in the Civil Engineering were to write something once in a while, he’d have what he needed. Most ignored his request. But one saw the value and encouraged it.

The blog isn’t getting much in the way of comments, he says, but it’s getting more support among faculty. He continues to send emails asking for support.

Trials and tribulations of software…found Blogger easy. This is important, he notes, because people have to find personal publishing easy enough or they won’t do it. “I don’t want to be a technician, I want to be a writer.”

Blog not published on university server. Wants simple software; didn’t want academic discussion of pros and cons at the beginning.


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