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10 Steps into the Spanish-Speaking Blogosphere

» 10 Steps into the Spanish-Speaking Blogosphere [ 05/02/07 ]

The Knight Science Journalism Tracker

» The Knight Science Journalism Tracker is a new blog that bills itself as "peer review within science journalism". Science writer Charles Petit summarizes the science news stories of the day with a focus on how it was reported, good and bad. That's blogging in its most classic sense, and it's a really smart use of the form.  [ 04/26/07 ]

Online Reputation Monitoring

» Here's a primer for businesses and organizations that want to take a more active role in tracking their reputation on the Internet: Online Reputation Monitoring Beginners Guide. (via sew [ 04/25/07 ]

Negative Intelligence

» Jorn (feeling that "weblog" is the least interesting of the bunch) has posted a list of terms he has coined over the years. I love his concept of negative intelligence—the internet phenomenon where bad ideas drive out good—a concept he proposed in 1996.

[W]hat I notice on netnews is that negative intelligence rules almost everywhere-- newsgroups are great sucking black-holes of negative intelligence, where the greatest bigots have the loudest voices, and the greatest say...
The way people get smarter, generally, is by looking at multiple points of view, and letting these pov's 'debate among themselves' in the most even-handed manner possible. But in newsgroups, people who try to lay things out evenhandedly get massively squelched....

You may wish to substitute the term "political blogs" for "netnews" as you are reading this. (1) Comments  / [ 04/25/07 ]

William Hertling's Blog Posting Strategies

» William Hertling has come up with a terrific list of strategies for those who find that they have trouble finding the time to blog. Highly recommended. (1) Comments  / [ 04/12/07 ]

Cake Tourism

» Fabulous. Cake Tourism: Eating cake around the globe. I strongly recommend they try the Dutch Apple Pie. (And who says there aren't any new ideas for blogs anymore? ) (via jh [ 03/15/07 ]

Seeking Education Blogging experts

» A query: Who is doing the best work right now on blogging in education? (6) Comments  / [ 03/07/07 ]

Bloggers on Blogging: Trine-Maria Kristensen

» My latest Bloggers on Blogging interview is with Trine-Maria Kristensen, a Danish blogger and co-founder (with Reboot's Thomas Madsen-Mygdal) of Social Square. We talk about the importance of blogging for businesses, the impact blogging will have on journalism, and the moment when she "got" weblogs.

People from all over the world, forming an open network right there in front of me, speaking to me—even listening to me if I had something intelligent to say. Wow!

  [ 02/22/07 ]

How professional writers and political hacks changed blogging for the worse

» In light of the recent resignation of the Edwards bloggers, Garret Vreeland offers a thoughtful perspective on the culture of blogging—both what it was and what has changed as partisans (for whom making a point matters more than being fair) and professional writers (for whom editing is writing) enter the stage. A good read, highly recommended.

A side comment: What are politicians to do? Thoughtful, evenhanded analysis simply doesn't drive traffic as effectively as outrageously stated opinions. It's unlikely that political campaigns will even be able to identify the bloggers who can provide them with good thinking, good writing, and comparatively inoffensive archives, since their more strident brethren will be the ones at the top of everyone's blogrolls.

Some of these standards will inevitably change. Too many people are living online now, and that means a paper trail. No one is always at their best. At the same time, I hope it will start to dawn on some of the newcomers that they are publishing, and lead them to moderate accordingly.

A second comment: Hiring these particular bloggers was the equivalent of hiring Molly Ivins to write for your campaign—except without her years of experience, and without the filter of the editors who taught her how to moderate even brash opinions to appeal to the broadest possible audience. You might have loved Molly Ivin's writing, but she was at her best speaking truth to power, not speaking on behalf of the powerful. (3) Comments  / [ 02/19/07 ]

Reaping what the political blogosphere has sown

» Wow, does Reid get this right.

It's your right to express your political opinions in the harshest manner you can muster, dump ad hominem all over your opponents, and cuss at will. It's your blog, and your right to try and make a difference with how ever many read it in whatever way you please.
This is the price. When you can really make a difference, it will come back to bite you....

Update: Rafe weighs in: Your permanent record(2) Comments  / [ 02/14/07 ]

John Foraker Swings, Misses

» I often speak to business audiences to help them understand the value of interacting with blogs and other online media. So I was happy to see John Foraker, CEO of Annie’s Homegrown, dive right into the fray in response to a recent Salon article which attacked one of his products.

And then I read what he wrote.

It's not that the letter he reposts in Megnut's comments is so filled with marketese. Sometimes old dogs can learn just one new trick at a time. It's that he appears to think blog readers are stupid:

On our product boxes we recommend using lowfat milk for the healthiest product that, when prepared, contains fewer calories (280), less total fat (4 g) and less sodium (550 mg) than Kraft, which can contain up to 380 calories, 15 grams of fat and 740 milligrams of sodium per serving.

"Can contain up to?" Eventually, one of Meg's commenters noticed that he had pulled a fast one:

John, let's be fair here. You are comparing Annie's made with low-fat milk to Kraft made with whole milk. The "light prep" on Kraft's is only 290 calories, 5g fat and 600mg sodium.

His response? "Shannon, you make some great points. Thanks." And then he goes on to talk about something else.

Sure, John Foraker's statement is accurate. But it's deliberately misleading, comparing a low-fat version of his product to a full-fat version of his competitor's. Falling back on "recommended preparations" doesn't cut it. His statement is designed to give the impression that, all things being equal, Annie's macaroni and cheese is noteably lower in calories, fat, and sodium than Kraft's.

It would have been so easy to say, "We believe our product is superior because it contains no artificial colors and no synthetic chemicals. We don't like to eat that stuff, and we've built our company on the idea that there are other people who don't want to, either. The high quality of our ingredients also makes our macaroni and cheese taste better, or at least we think so."

And that would have been enough.

I came away the Salon article reminded that "natural" doesn't actually mean very much when it comes to food, but also reminded that—for a convenience food— Annie's Mac and Cheese has a slight edge on Kraft because it contains fewer food additives. I came away from John Foraker's remarks knowing that he's willing to deliberately obfuscate the merits of his and his competitor's products in order to deflect criticism of his company. And he's willing to go out of his way to do that in a supposedly "transparent" form, on a blog.

I'm left with a bad taste in my mouth. And a markedly lower opinion of the Annie's brand.

John, whomever is advising you about the blogosphere, it's time to find someone who can do more than point you to the most prominent food bloggers. You need someone who can help you understand the idea of transparency and who can explain to you that on blogs, as in most of life, charm is no substitute for honesty. (7) Comments  / [ 02/06/07 ]

Bloggers on Blogging: Bruce Schneier

» I'm very pleased to present the latest in my Bloggers on Blogging series, an interview with author, cryptologist, and security expert Bruce Schneier. In it, we discuss the uses of the Internet, the synergies of public performance, and the danger of being mobbed by your readers.

One of the properties of the Internet is that it takes interactions out of their normal social context. If I were at a gathering and I saw someone who I wanted to talk to, I would see him in context. [...] The Internet lacks this context. When you send someone an e-mail, you send it into the void.

 (3) Comments  / [ 01/31/07 ]

Leah Peah interviews Rebecca Blood

» In a turn of the table, Blogger/Journalist/Web designer Leah Peterson has interviewed me as part of her excellent series on the people who blog. You folks who tried to guess at my teenage role models will find the answer here.  (1) Comments  / [ 12/08/06 ]

Bloggers on Blogging: Jason Kottke

» I'm pleased to point you to my most recent interview in the Bloggers on Blogging series: Jason Kottke. We discuss everything from blogging fulltime, to the perils of being married to another blogger, to handling flames.

After more than 10 years of publishing stuff online, I'm more or less fireproof. Which is not to say that when flamed I simply insulate myself with the belief that I'm right and the flamer is wrong (which is a maddenly common approach among bloggers); the key is not to take it personally. Maintaining calm in the face of criticism can be difficult, especially when the best flames contain real truths, and it's helpful to remember that when you read something.

 (1) Comments  / [ 08/08/06 ]

Rebecca Blood Barcelona interview

» In Barcelona, we spent one long day being interviewed by about a dozen journalists each. I believe I was featured in 3 different news spots that evening. One of the video journalists, Javier Celaya, has posted portions of our interview on the Web, in snippets. Each section is just a minute or two long, with a translation into Spanish at the bottom of each page.

When you wrote your book in 2002, did you think blogs would become such a phenomenon?
What are the negative effects of blogs?
Some blogs aspire to become journalistic mass media. Do you think that this it is the model to follow?
Let's talk now about the impact of blogs in the business world. What do these tools contribute to business?
With regard to blogs' comments, some readers think these conversations are the most interesting part of blogging, whereas others think they are irrelevant. What is your opinion?
As the author of a book, which is your opinion on the impact of blogging in the promotion of a book? What has been your experience?

Question translation thanks to Babelfish, the Apple Dashboard translation widget, and my own extrapolation after listening to the answers. (1) Comments  / [ 07/21/06 ]

Prevent hotlinking without mod_rewrite

» Web Publishers: a recipe for preventing hotlinking without the use of mod_rewrite, courtesy of the fine support staff at my Web host, Pair. Add this bit of code to your .htaccess file:

SetEnvIfNoCase Referer "^" valid_link=1
SetEnvIfNoCase Referer "^" valid_link=1
SetEnvIfNoCase Referer "^$" valid_link=1

<FilesMatch "\.(gif|png|jpe?g)$">
Order Allow,Deny
Allow from env=valid_link

Change "" to your own domain. No, I can't troubleshoot it for you. (4) Comments  / [ 07/14/06 ]

What is a blog carnival?

» Have you heard of "blog carnivals"? They are recurring events in which bloggers submit posts on a pre-selected topic, which are collated by a carnival host. And they are on every topic imaginable: homeschooling, microbiology, personal finance, and a million flavors of politics. There's even a carnival of German-American relations. For bloggers, they are a way to promote your blog (or establish leadership in your cluster, if you organize a carnival). For readers, they are a way to read a regular selection of posts on topics that may be of interest to you. Here is a list of blog carnivals for those who want to explore further. (1) Comments  / [ 07/12/06 ]

Geoffrey Chaucer's Ocks-men, and interview

» Geoffrey Chaucer is planning his new work, a title that will be set around a new group of superheroes, The Ocks-menne.

Noble heroes from al estates of the kyngdom aren broughte togedir by Professir William of Ockham, yclepede PROFESSIR OCKS, who beth confynede to a wheelchayre syn that daye longe agoon when he dide soore wounde hym selfe wyth a deadlie razor of hys owene makynge. He doth seeke oute folke wyth speciale poweres of magicke, who shal kepe reson and justice in the reaume. Thei do fighte ayeinst the evil JOHANNES GOWERE (who hath no powere othere than to produce boredom, the whiche ys dedely enogh).

You'll also enjoy reading this recent piece: Geoffrey Chaucer hath been interviewed.

What has been your worst blogging experience? Johannes Gowere tryinge to messe up my game.

(via jch(1) Comments  / [ 06/19/06 ]

International Webloggers Day

» Today is International Webloggers Day [ 06/14/06 ]

Bloggers on Blogging: Fred First

» If you've followed the Pocket for a few years, you probably remember the day I introduced you to one of the original "weblogs of place", Fragments from Floyd. Well, Fred First, proprietor of Fragments, has just published his first book, and he graciously agreed to sit for my latest Bloggers on Blogging interview. Fred is a terrific interview subject—thoughtful and eloquent and funny—and we discuss everything from the rewards of blogging to the insecurity involved in becoming a writer. I know you'll enjoy it.

I would never have thought of myself at all as a writer before the blog. I anguished terribly over calling myself a writer in those early blogging months, though I knew that was where I wanted to go. And I found some peace by telling myself this: "If a man carries a gun into the woods looking for game, he is a hunter, even if he comes back with nothing in his pouch. In the same way, you are a writer."

  [ 05/17/06 ]

Bloggers on Blogging: Not Martha

» I'm pleased to introduce the latest in my series Bloggers on Blogging: Megan Reardon, better known to most people as Not Martha. We talk about crafting, fear of writing, frustrating photography, and the many uses of blogging.

What appealed to me in general was the personal voice of blogs at that time. They were like zines, but they made sense. And they were like being allowed to read someone's diary. At that time in my life I was discovering the post-college lack of meaningful communication with others, and weblogs as they were being written filled in where intimate conversations had been diminishing.

  [ 04/28/06 ]

Smithsonian Museum Blog: Eye Level

» Eye Level is a blog produced by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. "Using the museum’s collection as a touchstone, the conversation at Eye Level will be dedicated to American art and the ways in which the nation’s art reflects its history and culture."  [ 04/12/06 ]

Superpatron: Library patron blog

» As you know, thanks to the library bookmarklet, I've fallen in love with libraries in the last year (and saved a ton of money on books!). So I was interested to find Superpatron, which calls itself "a weblog for library patrons who love their libraries, who take advantage of everything they have to offer, and are always on the lookout for great ideas from libraries around the world. It's like Friends of the Library for the net."  [ 04/06/06 ]

~C4Chaos Interviews me

» In a turn of the table, ~C4Chaos has just published an email interview with me. We talk about everything from how I got into blogging, the many ways blogging has affected me, and my philosophy of life. It's part of his very interesting B-SCAN series, "a series of interviews with bloggers... are 'consciously' aware of the impact of blogging on self, culture, and nature, "integrally informed" or otherwise."  [ 04/06/06 ]

On Political Blogging

» What Does it Mean to be 'Political'?

The words "politics" and "political" have been so degraded and defiled that maybe it's just as well Beebo doesn't want to call us "political" but, in my opinion, we are all political writers. Indeed every act of personal reflection (however minute) followed by the public speech act of opining to the universe is a political act. It is why freedom of speech is so fundamental (and so frightening to the fascists).

Amen.  [ 03/30/06 ]

Certes, I oghte to get outte more

» All right, you English nerds: Geoffrey Chaucer hath a blog. I can almost read this. (via rw(3) Comments  / [ 03/29/06 ]

News-blog survey

» Alastair Chivers is a fourth year student at Robert Gordon University in Scotland who is looking for respondents for his survey for creators and readers of journalistic weblogs, that is, blogs that primarily link to news articles. If you are reading this site, that is you.  [ 03/29/06 ]

It's all so Meta-tastic

» Scott Rosenberg responds to Monday's post The Real Threat of Blogging. I was not clear in that post about what I thought Rosenberg got wrong (his characterization of the evening's tenor). In fact, I agree with most of his thinking in that post and in today's. I've tried to clarify my own position in comments to his post today.  [ 03/22/06 ]

10 Tips for Corporate Blogging

» When I met Jeremiah Owyang last August, his company didn't have a blog, nor did they want one. Thanks to his efforts, 6 months later they did. He has put together an outstanding and very practical 10 Tips for Becoming a Corporate Blog Evangelist. If you're interested in convincing your organization to start a blog, print this out and pin it to the wall of your cubicle. And then add Jeremiah to your daily rotation. His blog is full of insight and practical advice on the emerging field of corporate blogging. (1) Comments  / [ 03/21/06 ]

The real threat of blogging

» Salon's Scott Rosenberg recently attended a Berkeley CyberSalon on the topic of elitism in media and blogging and came away with the feeling that it was a rehash of the tired blogging vs. journalism argument that has been going on since 2003. But I think he has it wrong.

The dichotomy in the argument he describes isn't "blogs vs journalism". The unspoken premise underlying this argument is that books and articles are published commercially because they represent the best writing that is available. But that's not the way the publishing business works.

Publishers are interested in printing books and articles they can sell, nothing more, nothing less. When publishers evaluate a book proposal, they don't ask if the work is true or original or insightful or well-written. First and foremost, they ask themselves if they can sell it. If they don't think they can, they pass. If they believe there is a market and that they can effectively market the work, they buy it.

Magazine editors pass on well-written articles that don't fit with the focus of their publication. Editorial boards pass on well-written book manuscripts in genres they believe they cannot sell. Conversely, there are a lot of marginally-to-poorly written books on the shelves (The DaVinci Code, The Left Behind series, some genre fiction all come to mind). The Weekly World News is not noted for its superb journalism, but it apparently sells well enough to maintain a stable of advertisers.

So that's the false dichotomy. Blogs are threatening to a certain type of writer not because they allow mediocre writing to flourish — the commercial market already does that. They are threatening because they unequivocally demonstrate that commercial publishing does not necessarily represent the best writing that is available. (12) Comments  / [ 03/20/06 ]

How To Save the World Reading List

» The How To Save The World Reading List (July 2004) is Dave Pollard's list of 56 books and articles that "forever changed my worldview, and my purpose for living." Update: April 14, 2006. Here's an updated list containing 80 books and articles. (1) Comments  / [ 03/15/06 ]

Schneier in DaVinci Code

» In reading the DaVinci Code, I was pleased to see cryptology expert and fellow blogger Bruce Schneier name-checked on page 199 (though some think in an entirely superficial way.)  [ 03/03/06 ]

Coolest. Blogroll. Ever.

» I just found this page in my referrers, and it's still true: Coolest. Blogroll. Ever [ 02/16/06 ]

four things

» Dave, you rascal.

Four Jobs I’ve Had

  1. Boat builder's assistant.
  2. Actress.
  3. Administrative Director for a non-profit media arts center.
  4. Nanny.

Four movies I can watch over and over

  1. The Iron Giant
  2. The Fellowship of the Ring
  3. Persuasion
  4. The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Four TV Shows I Love to Watch
(I don't watch very much TV.)

  1. Arrested Development
  2. Battlestar Galactica.
  3. 1940s House. (At least, I did love it at the time.)
  4. ummmm....

Four Places I’ve Been on Vacation

  1. Kyoto, Japan.
  2. Sydney, Australia.
  3. Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
  4. Black Rock City, Nevada.

Four Favorite Dishes

  1. Brown Rice Risotto.
  2. Red Beans and Rice.
  3. Beet Borscht with Sour Corn Rye Bread.
  4. Vegetarian Cassoulet.

Four Websites I Visit Daily

  1. Google
  2. Dangerousmeta
  3. 43 Folders
  4. Cool Tools

Four Places I’d Rather Be

  1. Seattle.
  2. Ohio.
  3. Victoria.
  4. With my husband.

Four Bloggers I’m Tagging

  1. Jessamyn West (or here?)
  2. Jesse James Garrett
  3. Jorn Barger (or here?)
  4. J'Alan Nelson

There are no books on this list. Why is there no reading on this list?

Four Books I Recommend

  1. 1491, Charles Mann
  2. The Red Tent, Anita Diamant
  3. The Thurber Album, James Thurber
  4. Perfection Salad, Laura Shapiro

  [ 02/13/06 ]



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