Teddy Roosevelt was the first national candidate to master the use of newspapers. Mass circulation papers were new at the time.
Kennedy was the first national candidate to thrive on television.
Howard Dean is the first national candidate to build his candidacy using the internet, as cited by the Washington post.
The party mainstream doesn't get the point yet.
The Washington post article cites skeptics who "argue that a strategy relying on scores of largely unknown, undirected Internet supporters cannot work in a television-driven era that favors well-funded candidates."
The Democratic party mainstream sees the internet as direct marketing medium (think spam) that raises funds for mass marketing.
"Democratic National Committee Chairman Terence R. McAuliffe said the DNC's e-mail list has grown from 70,000 to 1.4 million in a few years and will be a major focus of donor development. In a single appeal last week, the DNC raised $100,000 online in a day. In addition, the DNC is testing an "e-patriot" program, aimed at mobilizing activists, and will launch it to more than a million online Democrats this week."
The Dean campaign thinks of it differently. We have the largest grass-roots organization in America right now, and we are going to try to utilize it," said Dean's campaign manager, Joe Trippi. "If television took the grass roots out of politics, the Internet will put it back in.
Phil Agre, publisher of the Red Rock Eater newsletter, UCLA professor, and long-time writer about democracy in the internet age, has written an essay on social skills and citizenship.
This article is a frustrating blend of insight and blindness.
In it, Agre argues against the overly theoretical tradition of political theory, which describes democratic practices based on ideas of civic virtue, but doesn't mention the practical skills required to organize politically.
The essay has a good critique of the myth of deliberative democracy, in which citizens debate issues publically in the town council, vote, and decide the issue. Public deliberation is a part of democracy, but public debate is a late stage in a long process in which ideas are defined and socialized, and the terms of debate are negotiated behind the scenes.
Because deliberation is a limited part of the democratic process, Agre says that the main role of the internet in a democracy is not just to deliberate, but to help with the process of issue advocacy, in which "issue entrepreneurs" spend time "identifying and researching emerging issues, distributing analyses of current events to an audience, organizing events, and networking with other entrepreneurs in the issue lattice."
The article is setting up a false dichotomy here. At some point, advocacy needs to begin with deliberation. The people who develop and distribute propaganda start, at some point, by thinking, discussing, and deciding what that propaganda will be. The deliberation is richer with more people participating.
Overall, the article duplicates the flaw that Agre perceives in other works of political theory. Nowhere does the article mention an election campaign, or the process of passing a bill into law -- atomic elements of the political process.
Also, the article expresses a naive preference for individual political entrepreneurs, who organize around issues. The article doesn't mention fundraising, corporations, or interest groups -- the main plot and characters in the U.S. political process. (Consider the recent FCC ruling that reduced limits on media concentration; the commissioners of the FCC, who are routinely wined, dined, and entertained by the media industry, blithely ignored over 700,000 voter comments).
Agre is shocked that the discipline of political science is separated from the practice of politics, yet he commits the same sin himself. The article's bibliography cites a few historians and dozens of social scientists, but not one politician or political activist.
If the academic paper genre requires writers to cite only other academics, no wonder the ideas of political theory diverge so far from the real world.
via Cosma Shalizi. And thanks to trackback since I'd forgotten the source of the link.
..is the headline of Tom Friedman's column today in the New York times. "Says Alan Cohen, a V.P. of Airespace, a new Wi-Fi provider: "If I can operate Google, I can find anything. And with wireless, it means I will be able to find anything, anywhere, anytime. Which is why I say that Google, combined with Wi-Fi, is a little bit like God. God is wireless, God is everywhere and God sees and knows everything. Throughout history, people connected to God without wires. Now, for many questions in the world, you ask Google, and increasingly, you can do it without wires, too."
Well, almost. The canonical description of a monotheistic deity is "omnicient, omnipresent, and omnipotent." (Pagan myths, by contrast, would have pretty boring plots if the gods knew everything and were all-powerful)
Google comes pretty close to "all-knowing" and "omnipresent" with wireless internet access. But omnipotent, nope. Google doesn't cause anything to happen, so it's clearly not all-powerful.
Google's omniscience is missing a few attributes, if you look a bit more closely. Google knows everything about the present, and a lot about the past. But it doesn't report query results for in dates the future.
Another canonical attribute of divine omnicience is wisdom. Is Google wise? The top search result for enterprise application architecture is Martin Fowler's book on the subject, which seems like a pretty good call to me.
Google will also tell you all about Jennifer Aniston, too.
The wisdom of the answer depends on the wisdom of the question.
It's plain that the dinosaurs of the recording industry have completely lost touch with reality," said Fred von Lohmann, EFF senior staff attorney. "At a time when more Americans are using file-sharing software than voted for President Bush, more lawsuits are simply not the answer. It's time to get artists paid and make file-sharing legal. EFF calls on Congress to hold hearings immediately on alternatives to the RIAA's litigation campaign against the American public.
The Seattle blog portal sparked some reflections about what makes a metablog successful.
Seattle's blog portal, and the Austin metablog, come out of existing communities. People want to read other people's posts.
The TopicExchange for the Clickz Jupitermedia Weblog in Business Conference was successful at gathering posts from the conference. I remember the aggregator for Kevin Werbach's Supernova conference last year was excellent, too.
They were successful because there was a community of people, in the room and outside of the room, who wanted to follow people's takes on the conference.
Thought that the Sam Ruby wiki should have a trackback aggregator; looks like TimA may have got to it already.
* A real-time event with people following in-person and remotely, or
* An active project, where people are working individually and together, or
* An ongoing community, where people are blogging individually and want to stay in touch
Beautiful design, blue-green, very Seattle feel, lovely map, and seems like a nice community.
via Anita Rowland on #joiito.
At the JavaOne conference, Sun launched Java.net, the first commercial developer community to incorporate wikis and weblogs (disclosure: Socialtext consulted on its design). Ross Mayfield covers the announcement, here.
The communities take different approaches.
JavaBlogs.com is a classic metablog -- a portal which aggregates Java-related blogs using RSS feeds. The organizing unit is an individual java developer with a weblog.
The organizing unit in Java.net is the development project. Sun wants existing development projects to affiliate with Java.net, and gives them a set of tools including mailing list, weblog, wiki, and cvs.
So far, content is produced using an editorial model: articles from O'Reilly, plus bloggers who are invited in. Any Java developer can sign up to join a mailing list. But you need to join a particular project, or be invited to blog. Java.net also plans to use RSS to aggregate content from other communities.
The discussion on the Java.net and JavaBlogs shows some classic tensions between a commercial software vendor, which wants to support a community of developers, and developer community, who self-organize, and want support from the commercial vendors.
It will be interesting to see how the communities evolve. Will there be syndication and federation techniques that bridge communities in different locations, or will developers choose affiliations?
Meanwhile, this is a strong sign of commercial interest in the value of weblog and wiki tools in supporting developer communities.
As with the hybrids between independent blogging and traditional journalism, the interesting question isn't the "purity" of any model. It's the process of evolution at work creating new variants. The most compelling new variants will survive.
The Tipping Point is a catchy book that explains how social epidemics work.
* epidemics don't spread gradually; instead, there is a tipping point that turns a small trend into a mass phenomenon
* small changes can have big results in the outcome
* several types of people: salesmen, connectors, mavens; play important roles in catalyzing epidemics
The exposition isn't rigorous but the writing is memorable. Gladwell has lively stories and catchy names for the roles people play in spreading epidemics. Stories about Sesame Street and Bernhard Goetz provide colorful illustration for the idea that small changes have a big results.
The lack of rigor bothered me less than it bothered Peterme. The book has footnotes, so readers who want more rigor can go find it.
One peeve with the book is that Gladwell questions common theories of gradual social change; yet takes the cultural constructs of our society for granted.
* people want to be "cool"
* fashion trends begin with the self-expression of outcasts and are popularized through the efforts of mass marketers
* teenagers inevitably experiment with dangerous activities like drugs and smoking
These things are socially constructed. Many of the problems of teen culture can be explained by a social structure where teens can't do anything useful, and forces them to "spend years cooped up together with nothing real to do."
Mass marketing is a modern invention; do the same dynamics apply to pre-modern social trends: the spread of religions, technologies, languages?
This reaction isn't a criticism of the book. It's a compliment that the book is so memorable that it invites readers to think about whether its ideas apply in other domains.
Part of Boucher's message was disappointing.
Boucher advises the recording industry to invest “real money” in a marketing campaign for the concept of copyright law. “$100 million is peanuts to them, and they’ve got the best communicators in the world. They need to be on TV and radio, with performers selling the value of copyright – it’s not a complicated message, but word is not getting through. People think it’s an antiquated notion, but the industry can explain why people should get paid for their work.”
We don't just need advertising about copyright law.
We need public interest education about fair use. Customers have fair use rights to back-up, timeshift, space shift, copy snippets, and more.
As one of the proponents of the Digital Media Consumer Rights Act, which asserts these fair use rights in federal law, Boucher should be advocating public education about fair use as well.
Orrin Hatch has been catching hell around the blogosphere for advocating that the RIAA should be able to destroy the computers of customers it thinks are stealing.
If we're legalizing vigilante justice, why stop there? Lessig suggests that along those lines, we should be able to "bomb the offices of stock brokers thought to be violating SEC regulations. Or bulldoze houses of citizens with unregistered guns."
Tim Appnel clarifies what he meant yesterday:
What I meant to say (and did rather poorly I suppose) is that a wiki does not sufficiently facilitate discussion over time or communicate reason for the change nor does it alert me to the change which may change the context of the collaboration elsewhere. I have to really dig for it. (Perhaps this is just my experience with MoinMoin the wiki Sam Ruby is using.)
Part of this social process, not technology.
Several classic wiki pages on techniques for effective wiki-based conversation:
* How to Converse Deeply on a Wiki
* How to use Thread Mode in a Wiki
* Soft Security
It seems to me that some of the small confusions can be cleared up (and are being cleared up) with these types of techniques. For example, a person who disagrees with a sentence shouldn't change the meaning of that sentence, but should add a signed comment. When discussion converges, create a new document in Document Mode, not Thread Mode.
I agree with you that it's good to use wiki with other communications tools. In a membership group, it works nicely to have the back-and-forth conversation in email. In this case, the community is open and ad hoc, so the public modes (wiki and weblog) are a good fit.
Completely agreed that email notification would be useful. I don't know if MoinMoin has that feature or not.
It looks like the discussion on the wiki is percolating nicely.
Tim Appnel is somewhat concerned about the use of the wiki; because people can edit the pages, he's worried that people will go into loops, changing the meaning of content.
But a well-formed social process can assuage that concern.
It looks like they're doing a good job abstracting the discusion, and using the data model diagrams to express emerging concensus.
This is a good example of using the different modes in a decision cycle.
* Start with people bouncing ideas back and forth using a mailing list or weblogs
* Use the wiki to converge the discussion. Generate a prototype document and build shared definitions of concepts and terms
* Use individual weblog posts to explore particular ideas in depth, and link back into the discussion
* Once the wiki conversation has reached agreement, use the document as the starting point for the next phase of action.
SimpleTracks is a hosted application that lets people without trackback send entries to a metablog.
Perry de Havilland makes the not-very-interesting point that an individual weblog is not democratic. Of course, a single weblog represents the view of its writer or writers. Within the framework of democracy, a weblog is a vehicle for free speech, which helps citizens articulate ideas and make up their minds.
Following up to the de Havilland article, Jon Lebkowsky talks about the role blogging can play in a deliberative process among citizens.
Blogs help generate broader discussion of ideas. But discussion doesn't inherently lead to convergence and decision-making. Therefore, we need to have explicit processes for leading discussions to...
* reach conclusions that bloggers can use to advocate within the political process.
* form constituent groups, who can actually aggregate influence, advocacy, votes, and (in our corrupt system), campaign contributions.
Hiawatha Bray of the Boston Globe caught two themes of the Jupiter conference: blogs as marketing, and blogs as self-expression, and is convinced that they will cancel each other out.
"It's a clever way to give Internet companies a human face. But is it really blogging? Sure, the corporate weblogs use the same technologies, but their hearts are not really in it. The best blogs don't just deliver authoritative information; they resonate with the personalities of their creators."
"Just as e-mail, born as an academic convenience, is now a marketing
tool for human growth hormone, the blogs are bound to go commercial. Who
knows? Maybe a few will even get it right. There are good TV
commercials, after all."
These stereotypes aren't much like the top work-related public blogs
(Mark Pilgrim, Jon Palfrey), where articulate professionals converse
with peers and build reputation with articulate essays on technical
subjects. Nor are they like the real-life intranet blogs in the IT
departments of Verizon and the State of Connecticut, in which employees
manage projects, talk with internal customers, and brainstorm about
managing through a reorganization.
Bray caught the hype and missed the reality.
Emerson among the Eccentrics is a biography of Ralph Waldo Emerson and his cadre of Transcendentalist friends. It's one of the better non-fiction books I've read in a while.
Emerson among the Eccentrics had been on my reading list since reading reviews of the book 1996. I had always wondered about the historical context of those writers. Emerson and Thoreau wrote self-confidently about self-reliance; where did they fit, economically and socially? Hawthorne's allegories were set in the bleak Puritan past; was his life like the distilled misery of his work?
Having lived in the Boston area for a dozen years, I also wondered about cultural geography; were there aspects of 19th century Concord that could be detected in late 20th Century Cambridge/Somerville?
Cousins of the English Romantics who traipsed through the English countryside at the dawn of the industrial revolution, the Transcendentalists saw divine spirit in the hills and streams. For recreation, they strolled in the woods of Concord, spent weekends on Monadnock, took strenous vacations climbing Katahdin in Maine. My friends in Boston, inveterate weekend hikers, were their direct spiritual descendents, though REI and AMC have commodified the experience in the interim.
19th century Concord was more civilized than Thoreau's sketches but much more rural than contemporary suburbia. The transcendentalist crew kept serious gardens, where they grew a substantial amount of their fruit and vegetables. Planting and weeding and harvesting, pests, storms and freezes play a notable role in personal journals; though various efforts at full-time farming, such as the Fruitlands commune, and the Alcott's farm failed notoriously.
Intellectuals in their native habitat
As Digby Baltzell wrote in the classic Puritan Boston, Quaker Philadelphia, New England had a strong intellectual tradition. The cultural tradition -- and contrast with the Mid-Atlantic states -- was clear to me when I moved to the Boston area after having grown up in suburban Philadelphia.
Mid-19th century America hadn't yet developed the culture of professionalism that would dominate the intellectual classes in future generations. The parents of the Transcendentalists were ministers, teachers, lawyers; some sailors and factory owners. Their children went into medicine, engineering, and business management.
Colleges trained young men for the ministry and emerging professions; there were no degree programs in history and literature; Germany was starting to pioneer the structure of modern academia.
The Transcendentalists descended from a Puritan age, where preachers held crowds spellbound with hours-long sermons. After leaving the Unitarian ministry, Emerson made a living as a secular preacher, traveling the country on lecture tours. The Transcendentalists grew their own journals for a while, then found publishers in New York and Boston, in emerging literary venues like the Atlantic.
There were distinctive 19th century institutions, the Atheneum (private library) and the Lyceum (private adult education club), that provided venues for amateur and semiprofessional teaching and learning. Intellectuals like Margaret Fuller and Bronson Alcott supplemented their income with this sort of private education.
So, New England intellectuals who make a living on the public lecture circuit, writing essays and occasional books, are working in a local tradition.
The transcendentalists seem to have existed in a mileu of genteel financial struggle. Their social equals were judges, politicians, and business people. They occupied a snootier social rung than farmers and tradepeople, but the Concord crowd seemed less exclusive than than the famous jingle, either because they were less snobby, or because Carlos Baker doesn't notice, perhaps because the Brahmins still ran the show without competition from the Irish, Jews, and other uncouth immigrant populations.
It was difficult to make a living as an intellectual and writer, but it was possible. Carlos Baker shares Emerson's bias about responsibility for making a living and taking care of family and friends, and implicity compares the transcendentalists along this axis.
Emerson was able to a decent living as free lance writer and public speaker. Family money helped, but wasn't enough to live on alone.
Hawthorne struggled to make a living as a writer, wrote children's books and took various white-collar jobs or the money, and occasionally assistance from friends to make ends meet, finding financial success as a novelist later in life. Bronson Alcott (Louisa May Alcott's father) was a dreamer and a professional conversationalist who never had quite enough practical skills to make a living.
While Thoreau, in Baker's narrative, is less of a idler than the self-created myth, Ellery Channing, really does come off as a slacker. Channing frequently left jobs at random times, took vacations when his wife was pregnant, and didn't fulfill his early literary promise either.
For talented women, the gates weren't open wide, but they were open. Margaret Fuller and Louisa May Alcott supported themselves as writers and editors.
The social idealism of the New England intellectuals, who advocated abolition, women's suffrage, nature worship, and various sorts of utopian living, of course, has a direct line of descent through various generations of liberal thought and practice, including John Muir's environmentalism, beat slackerism, and 60s civil rights activism and communal experiments.
The earnest idealism of the next generation New England social reformers was lampooned in Henry James The Bostonians. The spiritual descendents of the transcendentalists are still earnestly planning social reform.
The Puritan-descended Transcendentalists seemed (at least in Baker's treatment) to err in their sexual experiments on the side of celibacy rather than libertinism. Emerson extended friendship to the female intellectuals of the circle, and kept those relationships platonic (despite the occasional jealousy of his wife.) Nathaniel Hawthorne contrasted liberating passion to Puritan moralism; but was married and happily monogomous in life.
Thoreau was rebuffed in one proposal of marriage, declined another proposal, and had emotional friendships with men, but there's no evidence he was anything but celibate.
Margaret Fuller had extravagant crushes on Emerson, and various other friends of both genders, but was persistently rebuffed, until her marriage, in her late-30s to an Italian petty nobleman. Fuller had some sort of physical relationship with one suitor in her 30s, and conceived a child with her Italian lover before they married (it is not completely clear whether they ever had a ceremony); but they were accepted as married by their peers. Exceedingly tame, by Byronic standards.
Whitman, who met the New England crew, frequented a Bohemian circle in New York, and a working class gay community, with norms rather different from the chaste New Englanders.
The mid-19th Century is on the far side of the chasm opened by modern medicine and modern technology. Emerson lost a young son to scarlet fever; Ellen, Emerson's first wife and Thoreau both died of tuberculosis; people were sick often, early death was common. Louisa May Alcott's health was ruined by the mercury treatments given to cure typhoid; calomel may have been part cause of Lydian Emerson's lifelong invalidism.
The train came to Concord in the middle of the century, replacing the stage coach to Boston. Train travel allowed Emerson to criss-cross the country on lecture tours. The pace of life was faster than the revolutionary era, when it took weeks for letters to cross the US, and months to cross the Atlantic; but much slower than today, when Concord is a suburb of Boston; email and phone calls bridge distance instantly. The slower pace of life facilitated hospitality and leisure travel. Friends visited for weeks or months. Vacations lasted months (if you had money, and could afford vacation).
In summary; traces of Emerson's New England could be seen in the New England I lived in, though has the world changed tremendously.
Emerson's "Self-Reliance" was a spiritual concept; it meant that a person should find and trust the divine spark within. Despite occasional rhetoric about solitude, Emerson was enmeshed in a world of family, friends, and work. He supported his mother, invalid wife, children, and mentally ill brother with his writing and public lecturing. He encouraged his friends to settle in Concord, and socialized often with his friends in town, and frequent visitors.
Emerson's sociable yet distant demeanor troubled the people in his life. His first wife died young of tuberculosis; his second wife and closest friends complained that he was always somewhat aloof. Emerson maintained his trademark optimism despite experience of suffering; two brothers, his beloved first wife, youngest son died young. Emerson's optimism contrasted oddly with the chronic illness and depression of his second wife, Lydian.
Thoreau comes across more favorably than the Marxist stereotype of an upper-class slacker. Thoreau was the steward of the Emerson household, managing repairs, tradespeople, orchards, gardens, and child care. (The house manager role was taken over, after Thoreau's death, by Ellen Emerson, the daughter of Ralph Waldo and Lydian.) He did carpentry, surveying, teaching, and gardening for cash and calories, wrote regularly and carefully, and kept his needs small enough to be met by his slim income.
Thoreau's cottage in the woods near Walden pond was just a couple of miles from the Concord center of town. He had a reputation as being somewhat brusque and awkward, but maintained long friendships with Emerson, Fuller, Channing, and the other members of the transcendentalist clan. Even in the years in the cottage, he was infinitely more socialized than, say, Ted Kaszinski.
Margaret Fuller, one of the book's livelier characters, was new to me. Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, and Melville were required reading in school; Margaret Fuller wasn't in the canon, though she was a leading figure in the transcendentalist circle. She was editor of the Dial, the short-lived but influential Transcendentalist publication, and was hired by Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune as the first book-reviewer in the US. Her peers thought she was brilliant, though it is hard to say why without knowing her work. Her passionate declarations of love embarrassed her restrained friends of both sexes, and Carlos Baker too.
Hawthorne in life was extremely shy, but (by the evidence in this book at least), happily married, though harried by chronic difficulties in making a living as a writer. His private writing quoted in the book was delightfully direct by 19th century standards, and funny, too. Biographical writing that portrays Hawthorne purely as a miserable neurotic take Hawthorne out of context, and underestimates the artistry in his work.
Emerson among the Eccentrics?
I don't know whether the the title was written by the book's author or the publisher. Baker's sketches reveal varying levels of mental stability, economic sufficiency, social responsibility, and political activity among the transcendental crowd.
But the portrait sketches of Emerson and his friends don't seem to be primarily about eccentricity to me. Unlike, say, the writings of Henry James, Baker doesn't provide a ground of bourgeois "normality" to show off the oddness of these intellectual idealists; nor does he have the squeamish ambivalence about the intellectual role found in James and the later Brahmin descendant, Henry Adams.
The book reveals the texture of daily life for Emerson and his friends, and places their life and work in a lively social, cultural, and political context. If you have any curiousity about the time and people, the book is well worth reading.
Heath Row transcribes a great session at the JupiterMedia conference, in which people talk about how they're actually using weblogs in business, and the affect of weblogs on organizational culture.
Paul Perry, IT Director at Verizon Communications:
I knew that a lot of emails were going around about what was going on in the industry. Sometimes I was in those threads. Sometimes I was not. The problem with cc lists is that you have to decide if the email is spam or if you've hit the right audience. I needed to find a way in which I would be fully informed but I didn't have to decide who to inform. Another problem with email is that it's gone. I didn't want to have to go into everyone's email to see what had been read or not. I also needed the right technical people to highlight what I thought was important and what they thought I needed to see....
Even very technical people who were aware of blogs didn't want to post at all until they saw other people post. I created a private space for them to post in their own private journal. As soon as they were ready to open it up to the project, they could. It was important to post and make mistakes. You need to offer a ramp that is shielded and private. I don't see any additional candor. The organization size is very large. Verizon IT is 10,000 people. It's not like we can all share and have enough interaction person to person. With an organization that large, you are open to some misunderstandings if you don't offer more context first.
Rock Regan, CIO, State of Connecticut
We've got probably 90 people using a blog to discuss the architecture of our organization. I have a liaison who deals with the 65 agencies, not just technical agencies but the business folks. It really started in my office. I'm not going to claim that I'm good yet, but I'm certainly open to ideas. How can we use this? How can this make your job better? For me, it's a critical function that's going to be instrumental in our survival. A 22% staff reduction in the last two months. We've got to do things differently....
We're beginning to see some great discussion among people who don't communicate well together. We've had some discussions recently to make some differences in core technologies that will allow groups that don't communicate well know what the other groups are doing. You've got to open up the opportunity for people to know what's going on in those different functional areas.
Social software works bottom-up. People sign up in the system (for example, by downloading an IM client and registering an ID there) and then they affiliate through personal choice and actions (I add you to my buddy list, and you decide to remove me from yours).
Traditional software approaches the relationship of people to groups from a top-down fashion. In the corporate setting, its hard to imagine a person existing without being specifically assigned membership to top-down groups: your team, your division, the budget committee and so on.
Over time, more sophisticated social software will exploit second and third order information from such affiliations — friends of friends; digital reputation based on level of interaction, rating schemes and the like. And this new software will support David Weinberger's notion of enabling groups to form and self-organize rather than have structure or organization imposed.
Jason at Blogger -- we're playing catchup. The customer base isn't web designers any longer, it's the Geocities audience. New community features, stat-tracking. Scale a community directory. "Can it GoogleScale?" "my IP lawyer and PR person wouldn't like that."
Frankston. Uses blogger, and a homegrown tool.
Bricklin. Spreadsheet automated tedious housekeeping of writing a custom programming. We're at the stage in blogging tools where Lotus 123 started to displace Visicalc. And we don't know what Excel will look like. Pictures -- that will be as important as the gridlines and formatting we got in excel.
Anil Dash. TypePad. Designed for basic users to create and host weblogs. We think the anatomy has been decided. Comments, trackback, permalinks, blogroll, images. None of our tools have kept up with managing those components. Working backward from the way people work with the format.
Michael Gartenberg at Jupiter. There are a variety of devices and platforms. Has anyone blogged on something other than PCs?
Next-generation Manila. Mail to weblog, server-level aggregation, built-in publishing. Make the interface easier to use. Radio. 2way synchronization, with multiple desktops, backups. Doing things you can only do on the client side adding a very slick mac and windows interface, instead of being inside a browser. P2P system, augment ability to publish large files form the desktop. First 10 people become resources for the next 100.
Anil. Choosing who can read what you publish? If you do that, is it a blog? Anil thinks so. Anil thinks you have a contract with your readers to update.
Doc. Blogger permalinks don't work.Jason. It was a feature -- most first blogs don't work. Actually, permalinks will work on the new platform.
Doc: wants to save pictures from home machine and serve from home machine. The cable guys have the vision of an asymmetrical web. Does blogging have the leverage to make the dream happen.
Rick Bruner: Wants Macromedia Lite for blogger. The answer is using those as front end tools, with an API. Can do this already in Radio. The HTML control is already in Trellix, there's a gecko version. Works fine. Also pastes from HTML, and Word, and Excel.
Search and replace for regular expressions, feature to flag dead links.
Michael O'Connor Clarke: What about the reading tools?
Blogging as content management. "Blogging is about voice, content management suppresses voice."
(this relates to the earlier discussion about editorial control -- traditional content management is based on editorial approval workflow -- weblogs assume no or minimal editorial review)
John Robb -- users are in charge of content -- aggregation will make content management obsolete.
Moderator -- have we had an 8-year digression into front-end markup?
John Robb -- future of blog platforms -- add features: integrate with portals, LDAP for single sign-on, administration to handle communities of weblogs, limit MP3s, virtual domains; extensibility; verticals: customer services, web application functionality
Adam Weinroth sees small businesses and nonprofits filling a gap as low-end CMS
Bill French -- Blogging is just an use case of content management -- there are others -- brochure sites; group blogs; integrate OfficeXP and post-it notes. A federation of services built on xml standards; something so agile that it looks like a chameleon in a bowl of skittles.
Summary -- The difference between this panel and the others -- this panel is about content -- the other panels were about people. The people are more interesting.
The Army created a war game, to make army service more attractive to kids. The speaker went to cover Afghanistan for this game. They created the weblog to "build relationships with their customers." The coverage was self-sensored, because of military security concerns.
At the beginning of this session, Halley told the story of how she started blogging, writing about her father's death.
Dave Winer started the the day's program, talking about weblogging and honesty.
An honest weblog from a battlefield will talk about people killing, and people dying.
I'm not a pacifist, but I am very troubled by the idea of war reporting where nobody kills and nobody dies.
To be honest, I haven't read the Afghanistan blog -- need to.
Dave Weinberger weblogs are about writing badly, and readers forgiving spelling errors and broken links.
If you're blogging the conference, ping http://topicexchange.com/t/weblog_business_strategies_conference/
Courtesy of Martin Roell.
Blogging in the marketing mix
Beth Goza, Microsoft "the only blogging strategy a marketing department should have is no blogging strategy" I started my blog as a person, because I love technology. Blogs personalize giant corporations. It's about people being passionate -- you can't force people to do it. They should be allowed to be controversial.
Blogs are anti-pop-ups -- anti-invasive
How do you overcome the fear of your PR and legal team?
"Does a blog need personality?"
Michael O'Conner Clarke -- the act of linking is an act of personality. Blogs don't need to be dramatic. If you're a CEO and think what you're doing is good and right, then let your employees go and get out of the way.
"Offer top 3 customers the ability to have a blog".
"Marketing departments have shied away from having conversations with customers for many years."
"When is it time to retire a blog?" "When no-one is reading it"
How to measure success? "Technorati is the best thing that's happened to blogs".
Is blogging the death of the pitch?
Beth Goza is the person who flew the bloggers out to Microsoft. "They're influential, and we want them to know about what we're doing." "You need to treat bloggers with the same level of respect as other sources."
A pitch is education.
"I don't want someone to educate me, I want to learn."
Rick Bruner reads blog for content and personality, not ranting.
the genre difference between personal and business blogging.
Gartenberg says that business weblogs are different from personal weblogs -- "you shouldn't put the cheesecake recipe online"
Dave Winer thinks people should put cheesecake recipes online.
Does blogging subvert the corporate hierarchy?
Dave Winer tells the story of someone at Harvard who criticizes the administration's perspective on the DMCA.
Is blogging journalism?
"Blogging is the same as journalism." People question this -- are reader comments a different sort of editorial feedback.
Is blogging commentary, not reporting?
"Disclose your interest, never say something untrue."
The dangers of employees blogging
"You have to trust people."
Halley -- "how much truth do businesses want to have?"
Should every company have weblogs -- "like asking, years ago, should all employees have email"
"If your employer is approving all posts, that's not a weblog"
Michael Gartenberg talks about Jupiter's experience with weblogs -- it's interesting because he's talking from experience, not just reciting theory.
He gives the good answer about the complaint that weblogs are ego-driven. All publishing is ego-driven.
"People renew the service because they read the weblog."
"Hype is good, we're putting on a conference."
"Blogging can get you fired"
Sam Ruby, who works at IBM: weblogs will subvert the corporate hierarchy
Adina: Is it going to be like the telephone? (Where early telecom executives wrote memos deploring people's use of the phone for trivial personal conversation?) Or is it going to be like radio, where the corporate oligarchy took over the medium, early in its history, by buying the law.
I'm in Boston for a few days, for work and play.
Looking forward to hearing more good examples of things people are doing with social software in the real world.
And then going to the BostonBlogs dinner. And then going back to Austin.
This weekend, I've been staying with friends in Somerville, meeting their four-month old baby, who has a charming smile, squeaks like a mousie, and falls asleep to James Brown and Stevie Wonder.
Reading their their books (Emerson Among the Eccentrics).
Receiving visitors on the porch, in the 59 degrees damp chill, because our friends are deathly allergic to the resident cat. (Ah, Spring in New England).
In Jamaica Plain, getting a photo tour of a trip to Kyoto (elegant pictures of cherry blossoms, gardens, and temples; grisly tales of vengeance and treachery.)
For folks who don't know, I lived in Somerville between 1987 and 1999.
In Somerville and Cambridge, the only public wireless I've been able to find is the T-Mobile service at Starbucks. If I'm missing some good public wireless, please let me know.
My hosts have WiFi, but there's a problem with sending outgoing mail. So I can send webmail, or queue mail, and head over to Starbucks.
Austin seems extensively unwired by comparison.
(This is the entry I mean to post in Austinbloggers, not the earlier one)
The rabbis of the Talmud were troubled by the evil and cruelty they saw in the world.
So they tracked down the evil inclination, and locked it in a cage. And the world was peaceful for a while.
After a few months, people started to complain. Hens had stopped laying eggs. No children were being conceived. No new houses were built. No new fields were planted.
So the Rabbis opened the cage, blinded the Evil Inclination in one eye, and let it free.