Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Most recently in the Blogging about Blogging Category

Copyright xkcd CC BY-NC

Back when I first started blogging, the standard post took about 5 min and was usually written in a hurry after I thought of something to say in the shower. If it had mistakes, I'd add/edit/reblog any fixes.

As my post have gotten longer and the institutions affected by my posts have gotten bigger, fussier and more necessary to protect - I've started becoming a bit more careful about what I say and how I say it.

Instead of blog first, think later - agile blogging - I now have a process that feel a bit more like blogging by committee. (Actually, it's not as bad as it sounds. You, the reader are benefiting from better thought through blog posts because of this process.)

When I have an idea, I usually hammer out a quick draft, stick it in a Google Doc and then invite in anyone that might be able to help including experts, my team working on the particular topic and editors and communications people. It's a different bunch of people depending on the post, but almost everything I've posted recently is a result of a group effort.

Jeremy Rubin, a recent MIT grad who co-founded the Digital Currency Initiative at MIT mentioned that maybe I should be giving people credit for helping - not that he wouldn't help if he didn't get credit, but he thought that as a general rule, it would be a good idea. I agreed, but I wasn't sure exactly how to do it elegantly. (See what I did here?)

I'm going to start adding contributors at the bottom of blog posts as sort of a "credits" section, but if anyone has any good examples or thoughts on how to give people credit for helping edit and contributing ideas to a post or an informal paper like my posts on my blog and pubpub, I'd really like to see them.

  • Jeremy Rubin came up with the idea.
  • I wrote this all by myself.

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 3.12.58 AM.png
Our website circa 1996

Thanks to Boris Anthony and Daiji Hirata for helping to upgrade and clean up my blog.

We upgraded the platform to Movable Type Pro 6.2.4. (Yes, I still use Movable Type!) Daiji and Boris got Facebook Instant Articles working inspired by Dave Winer and with the help from folks over at Facebook. (Thanks!) Boris cleaned up the design of the blog and also made it responsive - much more mobile friendly.

What's amazing to me is how well the design has held up over the years.

We (the founding team of Eccosys) set up our web server in 1993. I have a feeling this thing dated July 1, 1993 is the first journal-like thing I posted on the Internet: "Howard Mentioned me in Wired!" In 2002, with Justin Hall's help, I converted my static website to a "blog." I had a journal on my static website, but this new "blogging" thing made updating much easier.

Boris took over my blog design in the summer of 2003 and we relaunched the site in July of 2003. In 2008, we did a major redesign including a shiny new logo from Susan Kare.

It is quite amazing to me that with all of the various changes in technology, that most of the content on my website has been able to migrate through all of these upgrades. I'm also happy that keeps archives of this site with its original designs and which preceded it, although the very first versions from 1993 are lost as far as I know. The web and its standards are very robust and I hope they stay that way.


Sitting at home and looking out the window was a bit other-worldly. A snowy day in April is rare even in Boston. I seem to have gotten myself sick again. (After being mostly immune to everything for years, I've had a series of colds and flues this year. More on my theories about this in another post.)

For the last few days, Boris, Daiji and I have been following in the footsteps of Dave Winer and have been trying to get my RSS feed from my Movable Type Blog to become compatible with Facebook Instant Articles so that it would be approved. We have been going back and forth with the Facebook team who have been friendly and responsive. I THINK we finally have it working.

So here we go. If you read this on Facebook on the app, you should see the thunderbolt mark and it should load really easily.

Thanks to Dave for getting me going on this thread and to Boris, Daiji and the folks at Facebook who helped out. My Open Web feels a bit more loved tonight than it did before.


This is what this page looks like on my iPhone.

It looks like I can post to Medium from my blog using RSS by using IFTTT. I'm going to give this a try.

I like having my blog as the primary source and archive and am excited by different ways that we can then distribute/syndicate the content out.

Dave Winer just posted about his trip to the Media Lab.

He ends with:

Where to go?

In one of the follow-up emails I listed three things we could do to help the open web reboot. I had written about all these ideas before, in some cases, a number of times.

  1. Every university should host at least one open source project.
  2. Every news org should build a community of bloggers, starting with a river of sources.
  3. Every student journalist should learn how to set up and run a server.
These ideas came out of my work in booting up blogging and podcasting, and working successfully at Berkman to get the first academic blogging community going. Had I continued that work, this is where we would go.

I agree that universities can make good homes for free and open source software projects and I think we should have more of them at the Media Lab. I also know a news org or two and agree that having a community of bloggers with a river of sources sounds like a pretty good idea. And... we have a number of what I would consider are student journalists at the Media Lab and more broadly, in our network, we have many. I've always believed that everyone involved in "publishing" should know how to set up a server so agree with the third one as well.

But agreeing is easy. Now it's time to try to do something about it. That's the challenge from Dave.

PS This back and forth feels like "good old fashioned blogging." Maybe this is the trigger to start doing it regularly again. Thanks Dave.


Caroline Sinders and Dave Winer at the Media Lab Center for Civic Media on February 11, 2016

After the first Internet bubble burst around 2001 and the Nasdaq came crashing down to pre-Internet size, most of the world wrote off the Internet as having been a failure or a fad. Douglas Rushkoff said at the time, that it was just the Internet fending off an attack. I was lucky enough to still be investing at the time and was very excited by blogging which emerged from the ashes of the crashed dot-com space.

As I become familiar with the characters active in blogging, Dave Winer was one of those guys who was inspiring, aggravating, but only ignored at great expense. When I first started blogging, I learned a ton from Dave, sometimes by having him attack me for using the wrong version of RSS, but with a conviction to the Open Web and a clarity of mission that seemed almost a bit overboard when it felt like everyone was just trying to do the right thing - when many blogging platforms allowed you to export your whole blog and import it into another blogging platform and everyone was mostly working together on all kind of standards.

I've had my own strong beliefs around decentralized networks from when I was in the ISP business, copyright from when I ran Creative Commons and was on the Open Source Initiative Board, but it was only when I saw Dave just a few weeks ago that his views about the importance of the Open Web, or more precisely, the particular layer of the Open Web that Dave has been so focused on since I've known him, hit me with a big "ah ha!"

We talked about how "the walled gardens" like Facebook and at some level Twitter feed off of the Open Web and need it but how the Open Web was being torn apart from all sides. Even the somewhat reasonable sounding announcement that Google will be lowering page rank for non https: sites will push self-hosted blogs lower in the results.

It reminded me about an argument that Google Translate is trained with human-created translations and that it wouldn't be able to train anymore if the translators went out of business. On the other hand, I suppose we may have figured out better translation training by then or maybe already have. Anyway, I digress.

We talked about how a healthy system probably involves a vibrant Open Web along with for-profit companies and that this balance was important, but how we are leaning away from the Open Web right now. Dave isn't anti-platform, just anti-anti-Open Web. Listening to Dave speak at Ethan's Center for Civic Media group meeting, I realized that I needed to pay more attention to Dave, amplify his message and take some of his recommendation to heart and into action.

If you haven't been tracking him recently, I recommend you do. I think he's speaking up about an important topic and a very timely moment in the evolution of the Web.

Here's a provocative but insightful post about why NOT to post on Medium or at least cross-post to the Open Web, which caught my attention most recently and trigged inviting Dave to the Lab with Ethan.

I just arrived at FORTUNE Brainstorm: TECH and noticed that they linked to my blog on the site. (Thanks!) However, I'm having some difficulty trying to figure out what to write about or what "voice" to use.

Compared to when I blogged this event back in 2002, there are a lot of bloggers here now. Personally, I blog a lot less. Blogging had become "work" and my blog had begun to attract such a broad audience that I had to write in an increasingly self-controlled and measured voice, which was boring.

Also, the tools have changed. I get more comments on Flickr than on my blog. My Twitter feed possibly has as many readers as my blog.

I probably can't write much about the conference sitting here in my room though, so I better sling my camera and head over.

UPDATE: Twitter feed of the event.

Jump-1 JUMP系列 Photographer:老0

I landed in Beijing yesterday at 5AM from Los Angeles and am leaving today at 1PM for New York. From a logistical and environmental perspective, I think this was one of my stupider trips. However, from a content perspective, this was one of my best trips ever. I really met more interesting people, saw more interesting things and had more interesting conversations in a single day than I’ve had in a long time.

I started out the morning yesterday by giving at talk at cnbloggercon organized by Isaac Mao. I gave a talk about the sharing economy and got some interesting questions and hallway conversation about sharing in the context of China. I also got to meet a lot of the Chinese bloggers I only knew by name. Many thank for Isaac and his crew for organizing this excellent annual conference and sorry I haven’t made it over before.

Then I went to the Creative Commons China Photo Content ceremony at the National Library in Beijing. There were 10,000 submissions of professional and amateur works licensed under various CC licenses. There were three categories: Society, Nature and Portraits. Winners were chosen by a panel of judges including famous photographers, professors and other notable people. The photographs were amazing. There is a web page of the winning photographs. Don’t forget to click the link underneath the winning photos for the second place winner gallery.

While we have silly people in the West saying that for every free photo on Flickr a professional photographer loses their job, we have professional photographers in China licensing their best works under CC licenses. As far as I could tell, the amateur and professional photographers seemed integrated and supportive of each other.

After the awards ceremony, we have a workshop with presentations from an illustrious and interesting group of speakers. Overall a groundbreaking and well executed event. Congratulations Chunyan and the CC China team!

I’m uploading photos from my trip in a Flickr set. I found out yesterday that there is a Firefox Plugin to bypass the Chinese block on Flickr. Yay!

Radar, which focuses and helping groups of close friends share photos mostly on phones has added a new sharing feature. While Radar's focus is still allowing small groups to share their private moments, Radar now allows you to share those photos that you don't mind everyone seeing. They've got the necessary widgets and stuff to make this easy too.

I invested in Radar because I think that the small group co-presence sharing is different from "publishing" like this blog and that this market is still underserved. However, I do think that there are some moments we all want to share and think this shift is a good direction for Radar.

It will probably get me to use it more too since I tend to be... *cough* slightly more "open" than the average person.

Read more about it on their blog.

Taiichi Fox, who let me ride his Segway back in 2003, has started translating my English language blog posts into Japanese. It is somewhat embarrassing that I can't write well in Japanese, and I am EXTREMELY grateful for Taiichi's support. Thanks!

Photo by Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Yesterday, Veni Markovski took Paul Twomey and me to go see Ivailo Kalfin, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria. Paul is the President/CEO of ICANN (I am on the board).

First of all, The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry has now licensed all of its content under a Creative Commons 2.5 Attribution License . YAY!

The Minister also just started a blog at

It was clear from the conversation that Veni was a well known (and mostly liked) maverick who had blazed the way for open Internet in Bulgaria with the support and help of the Minister. They talked about some of the policy war stories from the past.

Here is the press release from the meeting via the Veni/ISOC Bulgaria blog:

Minister Kalfin told Dr. Twomey that the government has on the top priorities list promotion of development of information infrastructure in the country, and development of the information society. He informed the guests about the current statistics about Internet usage by the citizens, companies and government. Minister Kalfin noted the fact that Bulgaria has good traditions in the field of software. He pointed out several international IT-companies that enterBulgaria, and invest in ICT.

ICANN’s President gave high remarks on the policy Bulgaria has for Internet access and usage. He informed Minister Kalfin about the multiple business-oriented applications, and the effect of using IT in different branches of the economy.

Joichi Ito, one of the Internet pioneers in the development of blogs, spoke about the new culture and new opportunities, noting that the blogs are one of the most democratic tools for access to information.

Another topic covered was the improvement of the services about registration of domains in the .bg top level domain.

Minister Kalfin started his own blog, to be found at, where he will be discussion issues about Bulgarian foreign policy, EU membership, etc. The blog is based on open source software - Wordpress, and is the first such an initiative by a Bulgarian minister. Mr. Kalfin invited Joichi Ito to become an author at his blog - an invitation that was accepted by the famous Japanese IT-investor and blogger.

The content, published at the web site of the Foreign Ministry is now under CreativeCommons License - attribution 2.5. That puts the ministry among the firs in the world to use this license. Another ministry to use CC is the Brazilian Cultural Ministry, but it uses CC-attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivatives.

UPDATE: Test of Google Earth - This is the hotel I'm staying at -

As many of you already know, Six Apart, which I my company Neoteny is an investor in has been working for awhile to develop Vox. (I'm the Chairman of Six Apart Japan as well.) Vox is still in preview mode, but we're welcoming and asking friends to sign up and give it a try. It's free. I'm actually enjoying it a great deal and have been posting most of my stuff on my Vox site these days. It feels more personal and is a bit more group oriented than this blog. Anyway, let me know if you have any questions and let me know what you think.

Click this badge to get an invite through my landing page.

Last night was the launch party of CGM Marketing. It is a joint venture between Digital Garage, Asatsu DK, Dentsu and Cyber Communications (CCI). (Press release)

I co-founded Digital Garage in 1994. My little web/IT company called Eccosys made a joint venture with and later merged with the Garage group headed by Kaoru Hayashi. The Garage group was involved in advertising, marketing and content. We were their little Internet engine that could. In the early days of Eccosys, I had been talking to Yahoo about doing Yahoo Japan. After Softbank invested, it was clear that I wasn't going to get to run Yahoo Japan. I was offered 1% of Softbank Japan by Masa Son, but I turned it down. (Maybe I should have taken it. ;-P) Soon after, I was contacted from a friend at Infoseek about starting Infoseek Japan. We quickly shifted gears and started getting Infoseek Japan up. Softbank set up a joint venture with Dentsu, the #1 ad agency in Japan and called it Cyber Communications. They were tasked with figuring out how to sell ads on Yahoo Japan and interfacing with the agencies. We turned around and got Hakuhodo the #2 agency, Asatsu the #3 agency, Daiichi Kikaku, Yomiuri Kokoku and Daiko and created the Digital Advertising Consortium (DAC). In aggregate, these ad agencies approximately equalled Dentsu in size.

Infoseek had pioneered the idea of CPM ads, selling inventory based on impressions. At the time, none of the ad agencies liked the idea or thought they could sell it to their customers. They understood television GRP, but it was really a measurement of effect. The notion that you could sell ads by how many people actually viewed it, instead of the "value of the spot" was sort of a non-starter. We set up a study group/feasibilty study period for six months where we had people from all of the member agencies come together and talk and learn and eventually try to explain to sales teams in their respective groups. Infoseek launch around 6 months after Yahoo Japan, and we launched with a healthy rotation of ads.

Eventually, Internet ads were a big success and and CCI and DAC are now both public companies. Infoseek Japan now lives inside of Rakuten and is still one of the top portals in Japan, outliving the parent which was purchased and smothered inside of Disney.

In reflection, Infoseek and "home pages" didn't take off in the way I imagined. I thought we would have a lot more personal publishing. Instead, we ended up with big sites that were for all practical purposes, professional media sites. I had dreams of "the death of advertising" 10 years ago and had thought that personal publishing and targeted advertising would disinter-mediate some of the lying and stupidity. We didn't get that far.

So here we are - blogs, wikis, tags, Technorati, RSS/Atom, and the web looks a lot more like what I had envisioned 10 years ago. The online ad business is more innovative than its old media counterpart, but it has become mostly an inventory/sales business. So lets try this again. This time, we decided to hook up with Dentsu the #1 ad agency, Asatsu the #3 ad agency and CCI, the competitor to the company we set up to sell Infoseek ads.

Although I don't like the word "Consumer" in the "Consumer Generated Media Marketing" name, the idea behind this company is to try to take it the next step. (I wish we could use "user") At the first meeting yesterday, I said that I thought that advertising, PR and marketing would converge into "communications". That companies that created or improved good/great products would communicate with their users and that it was about getting involved in the conversation. It was not about spending money to force yourself in front of people who didn't want to hear about your message. It was also not about charging people to participate in "content". It was about people having conversation and about companies knowing when, how and where to say the right thing so that they contributed to the conversation and were welcome in it.

Clearly, the first step is to figure out things like ads that are smart about blogs, tags, time, context. It is also about treating the blogger and the advertiser equally where the ads reflected the desire of the person having the conversation as well as the desires of companies to participate in them.

I was saying all of this in a room full of ad agency executives. It is always sort of funny talking about the end of people's businesses. On the other hand, many of the senior members there were the same guys I was talking to 10 years ago trying to explain CPM and banner ads. I felt privileged to be allowed some suspension of disbelief as well as some trust that we'd try to figure out where the business was. (I don't think anyone REALLY thought that DAC was going to become a public company 10 years ago.)

I think the world is more complex than back in the Infoseek days, but we have a lot more experience and trust this time around. It was a really nice feeling shaking hands with people I hadn't seen for almost a decade - all of us very eager to work together again. This time we get to skip the phase where they think I'm crazy and jump right into figuring out the ad business around Technorati Japan, Six Apart Japan and hopefully soon Japanese Wikia. Technorati is the "secret sauce" and shiny new thing that Infoseek had been 10 years ago.

I am going to be on the board of this company, but will not run it. My role will be to bring new things to them, try to help them with their bearings and stir things up once in awhile.

Disclosures/disclaimer: I am an investor in Technorati, Six Apart and Wikia. I'm an advisor to Digital Garage. Digital Garage is the Japanese partner for Technorati and operates Technorati Japan. I am on the board of and GM of International for Technorati, I am the chairman of Six Apart Japan. I am on the board of Technorati Japan and and am involved heavily in its operation.

Some other bloggers at Brainstorm:

Ross Mayfield, Dan Gillmor, Rebecca MacKinnon, Gary Bolles

UPDATE: Diego Rodriguez is also blogging the event.

I've been deleting a ton of comment spam from this spammer recently. I took a moment to read it and realized that it is, in a nutshell, a kind of weirdly poetic rendering of the state of the Internet today.
cleavage He stared at the clock in the dashboard instead <a href="">backgammon</a> [url=]backgammon[/url] Hi Marty!.
Maybe I'm just punch from too many long meetings...

Sean Bonner has just posted an almost "too weird to be true" story about a guy who works at SmartFilter, a web filtering company that "protects children" from dirty content. They have been the target of a lot of blogging recently after Boing Boing ended up on their filter list and have been trying to be removed. It looks like the guy that they have been interacting with at the filter company is an Adult Baby or AB. (ABs like to dress up and act like babies.) Sean cites Violet Blue, a noted sex educator who thinks it is probably a bad idea for an AB to be in the business of "protecting children".

I personally don't like digging up trash on people and generally believe that people's sexual preferences shouldn't be "outed" in public. However, I think that bad filter companies really hurt the Internet and if someone's motivation to "protect children" is possibly driven by a fetish, it should probably be noted.

UPDATE: A balanced post about this from Xeni on Boing Boing.

Adriaan, who works for me at Kula and is the author of the blog editing tool Ecto and 1001, just released Endo his new aggregator/feed reader. Check it out when you have a chance.

Make sure you try smart groups and don't expect it to behave like a normal 3-pane application. ;-)

More about it on his blog.


Wired magazine writes about the so-called phenomenon of podfading: When someone stops doing a podcast.

Reasons cited for stopping podcasts:
- Boredom
- No success
- Overwhelming success
- No money

Meanwhile, the US-based National Public Radio this week reached the milestone of 13 million podcasts downloaded just six months after it started podcasting.

At the pace mainstream media is entering the new media space, will today's star bloggers and podcasters be tomorrow's roadkill?

Note: I may cross-post comments on the IHT blog and they may be reproduced in the paper for publication.

Dave has posted Part 1 of another round of his now regular State of the Blogosphere reports. Part 1 is about Blogosphere Growth.

Here is the Summary:

* Technorati now tracks over 27.2 Million blogs
* The blogosphere is doubling in size every 5 and a half months
* It is now over 60 times bigger than it was 3 years ago
* On average, a new weblog is created every second of every day
* 13.7 million bloggers are still posting 3 months after their blogs are created
* Spings (Spam Pings) can sometimes account for as much as 60% of the total daily pings Technorati receives
* Sophisticated spam management tools eliminate the spings and find that about 9% of new blogs are spam or machine generated
* Technorati tracks about 1.2 Million new blog posts each day, about 50,000 per hour
* Over 81 Million posts with tags since January 2005, increasing by 400,000 per day
* Blog Finder has over 850,000 blogs, and over 2,500 popular categories have attracted a critical mass of topical bloggers
See his blog post for pretty charts and lots of details.

As a journalist, I admit to having more than a passing interest in the future of media/publishing. For "next generation" publishing, I currently see two main technical developments...

-wireless connections for ubiquitous Internet, and

-smaller and easier-to-read screens,

...that are bringing two main social changes...

-increased trust/reliance on peer-to-peer communication, and

-a more conversational style of journalism that contrasts with the previous model (that more resembled lecturing).

You can see the changes already having a concrete effect, with U.S. news magazines responding to the Internet -- in part by cutting back their foreign staff and editions.

What other broad forces (social or technical or others) will lead the next generation of publishing?

(I cross-posted this conversation on the International Herald Tribune blog)


It is now official! The IHT blog has been launched.

Check it out.

Comments on the IHT Blog may be used in a column that will run in the International Herald Tribune's technology pages - print and Internet - if we get enough good comments.


Currently in rural southern Ireland and unable to connect to my Gmail account.

Problem could be Gmail server overload with so many people on holiday or it could be the slow dial-up connection.

It has been interesting, however, to see how I quickly turned to my blog as a form of communication to reach the outside world.

As someone who is a relatively recent convert to blogging, it reminds me of the adage that once you go digital, you never return to analog.

Having been a sceptic about blogs, I am now a convert. This is a new medium of communication that will be integrated into our lives over time.

In that vein, the BBC had an interesting piece on Digital Citizens.

Exciting to watching the emergence of digital socialization!

Videopodcasting seems an obvious candidate to take off in the next 12 months, but any thoughts on what other new aspects of digital socialization will emerge in 2006?


English was already the lingua franca of science, business and academia. Now English appears to be fast emerging as the media language of choice. Al Jazeera is preparing to debut a 24-hour news channel in English. A TV station in Russia also started English broadcasting this month (but got hacked down).

Recently, an ex-FIFA sports official praised the French newspaper, L'Equipe, for some of it's hard-hitting doping coverage, including revelations about Lance Armstrong. But, he added, they just don't get the same notice because their reporting is in French.

His implication: If news is not in English, it didn't happen.

Have you seen any examples of growing use of English in media or backlash against it?

Disclosure: This question is asked in preparation for writing a story for the IHT, so I may get back to you for follow-up.

I'm sitting in a car on the way home from the airport after arriving in Japan from New York. I had a 14 hour plane trip where I caught up on email and wrote some reports. As it has been noted, the frequency of my posts (as well as the number of blogs I read) has decreased significantly since I started playing World of Warcraft. Originally I was attributing this entirely to the addictive nature of WoW, but I'm wonder if I'm also slightly bored.

I'm an early adopter type and I'm not asserting here that I represent any normal person. Reflecting back on my personal early days of blogging, there was something nifty and cool coming out every week. Blogrolls, facerolls, Technorati, etc. My traffic was growing, blogs were becoming global, and it was all new... at least to me.

New things continue to be developed, but more and more of the work seems to involve growing pains like scalability, oversized communities and integration of "normal people" as we cross the chasm. Also, the new consumer Internet bubble is attracting attention from non-participant investors. This is an important part of making blogs a truly ubiquitous phenomenon, but it definitely feels more and more like real work.

When I was in Helsinki visiting Nokia a few days ago, I playing with my phone waiting in line and in cabs. It dawned on me that what I really want is better moblogging. Now, when I am in front of a computer connected to the Internet, I'm mostly immersed in IM for business or Warcraft for fun. When I am mobile, I have idle time that I could spend reading blogs and writing to my blog. I guess this is a sign that, at least for me, blogging has moved from my primary online activity to my idle time filler. However, considering how much idle time I have with my phone, I think I could still blog at a relatively consistent rate. Also, I wish there were better ways to read and write when I am with my computer without a connection.

Anyway, I'm going to have to think about how I can have more moblog... Also, maybe my site needs a redesign too.


Recent thread on the types of blogs highlighted something that bothers me: The term Blogging has hit the use-by date.

Face it, the word "blog" does not have a beautiful sound.

More to the point, however, there are so many types of blog-like interactions that it is way too generic.

In the thread we arrived at three styles of blogging (they can be mixed in a single blog, of course):

1- Talk - distributed conversation that reaps ideas

2- Inform - links to interesting things

3- Opine - Puts forward viewpoints

Sam Tresler highlighted many uses for blogs:

- Organizational

- Personal

- Business

Can anyone think of a better term than blogging to describe what we are talking about?

Calling Abbi in the studio to coordinate...
Abbi from the Situation Room emailed me just as I was about to leave Croatia asking me to join Rebecca MacKinnon on a segment for the Situation Room today. (This is the second time. The first time was in August.) We just finished recording. It will air on CNN Domestic 7 PM Eastern Time on Saturday and 1 PM Eastern Time on Sunday. Rebecca talked about global voices and I talked about blogs being conversations. Nothing new to readers here, but felt good having a chance to say it on CNN. I also quoted Thomas Crampton's post about how the IHT only gets 30 letters to the editor while we often get more comments on blog posts.

Abbi who runs the segment that we were in reads our blogs and is totally into blogs and new technology. CNN is lucky to have her. Her segment has a refreshing style and is something new... something we didn't have last year as far as I know. At least some of the main stream media is working well with us. I just realized that I was on CNN talking about what Thomas from the IHT was saying on my blog. Holy MSM remix. That's a lot of progress from last year... at least from my perspective.


In studying blogs I have come to notice there are relatively few styles of postings.

In descending order of difficulty, they are:

Conversational: Asks for a response, implicitly or explicity. Often gets no responses but occasionally it hits a home run with a great discussion.

Informational: A "neat-o" style of posting that tells information but does not really encourage discussion. These tend to get links without comment. BoingBoing, Engadget, etc are very successful blogs of this sort.

Polemical: A posting that takes a strong opinion. These tend to get both responses and links. The responses, however, tend to be opinions. Can be dull unless you use it like a drunk leaning on a lamppost: More for support than shedding light.

Additions and comments welcome


Interesting post on the blog of PR man Richard Edelman about the future of media.

Extracted highlights:

* The largest 50 Web companies are attracting 96% of the ad spending on line.

* 9.5 million homes in the US now have TiVo or another digital video recorder. 64% of DVR users skip all ads and an additional 26% skip through most ads. The number of homes with DVRs is expected to triple in the next five years.

* Every dollar coming out of print advertising revenue for newspapers is replaced by only 33 cents online.

Changes to the media landscape are dramatic. I think many in the media industry have not yet internalized these numbers.


Dear All,

As happened in previous posting, I am happy to revisit the issue of my guest blogging on Joi's site.

Why blog with Joi?

As Joi mentioned, I am trying to fast-forward into new media. Whether covering war, disease outbreaks or eathquakes, I always head for the frontlines.

The frontlines in blogging include the readers of Joi's blog. Great ideas have emerged in discussions here on how to combine blogging with more traditional media.

If you want to shape traditional media's interaction with bloggers, please join the discussion. If not, excuse us and rest assured that I will not be here forever (see next question).

How long will I blog here?

I blog here at Joi's invitation and would never impose on his kindness. I will be launching the first-ever blog-based column of the IHT in the coming months and will migrate the bulk of my postings over to that blog over time.

Is someone here paid by the International Herald Tribune?

Absolutely yes! I am a full-time employee of the IHT/NYT and have been for more than a decade. (Details at Other than my salary, no money changes hands.

Back to topic: Blogs and Traditional media

Funny self-observation: Just realized that in my postings I have dropped the Posted by Thomas Crampton in favor of By Thomas Crampton. That makes my online byline similar to my print byline.

Also, my blogging style has changed over time. Specific quesitions get more useful responses than general ones broad ones. You need to know what you are looking for.

What other tips to encourage discussion?


What options to refer to bloggers quoted in the International Herald Tribune blog-based technology page column?

- Shorter references make it easier on the reader
- Longer references make it easier for readers to track the person making comments and encourage the conversational-style that will hopefully develop

BUT Hyperlinks are not yet possible in the printed edition (sadly).

So options include:

- Use only the first name of the blogger (as many comments appear)
- Use the Blog/web address
- Include first name and blog address
- First name, blog address and a qualifying reference (author of XX book, etc)

What would make people more likely to participate? Concrete examples preferred.

PS: In preparing for the blog-based column for the International Herald Tribune I have spent vastly more time brainstorming and discussing issues here in Joi's blog than inside the newsroom. Thanks!


Been asking around the newsroom of the International Herald Tribune as to why we don't have a podcast of our best story of the day.

Problem: We don't have the in-house expertise right now to do podcast editing, but we came up with the concept of dial-in podcasting.

Business idea: Our far-flung reporters - and others eager for high quality podcasts - would call in their stories from the field (like we used to do to the recording room) to a high quality editing service that would splice together the best version and put a standard intro on the start and finish of each podcast. The podcast would then be automatically posted on our website. (Sounds ripe for an enterprising outsourcer!)

Any ideas?


Looking for a model to follow in the IHT blog project and want to figure out what works.

The Guardian newspaper has a tech blog (check out their pipe-smoking tech editor).

But Technorati ranks Boing Boing the most popular blog by far. (Kudos, guys!)

Why do you read Boing Boing?

a - The frequent postings (up to 33 in one day, by my count)
b - The focus of stories?
c - Boing Boing should improve by . . .
d - Blog X is better than Boing Boing because . . .


Funny clash of perspectives in the International Herald Tribune newsroom!

In planning for my blog-based column, I chased down the actual number of letters to the editor we receive each day.

We receive at the IHT roughly 30 letters per day, of which 10-15 are usable, the letters editor said. We end up publishing roughly six.

Historical footnote: We formerly only accepted letters via post, then we accepted fax letters (by early 1990s) and now we almost exclusively receive letters via email.

For a daily newspaper printed in 31 print sites around the world and distributed in more than 150 countries, 30 letters per day struck me as very low, but several colleagues thought it was "a lot".

I sometimes get more than 20 responses - many publishable - for a single posting on this blog.

Once the blog-column is up and running I will be interested to see how many letters to the editor we can inspire. (For the newspaper as a whole, not just for the column.)

If you feel strongly about an article or issue, the email is and please mention this blog so we can get a sense of the level of blogger input.


Pitch to the editors of the International Herald Tribune about launching the paper's first blog-based column went well!! (Incorporating many of the ideas from this blog.)

Sounds like I might be the first-ever official blogger of the IHT.

Still wrestling with a variety of details - technical and editorial - for version 1.0. It will be rudimentary to begin with (and quite labor intensive for me).

Thanks for further ideas and I will be counting on readers here participating through this blog (or directly on the IHT site.)

How would you prefer to give submissions:

a- I edit them from a blog-like discussion?

b- People have a limited space (100 or 50 words) to give their take on something?

10 Most Powerful Women in Blogging


8. Joi Ito of Technorati ( ) has her hands in a lot of Web 2.0 companies, some you might not even know about yet. This makes her damn powerful. Often times the one you don’t know that well is the most powerful. My personal favorite because she seems to help people get shit done.


Sorry about having a ambiguous name, but I'm not a woman. I've been mistaken for a women by various bloggers, but this is the first time I've made it on a 10 most XYZ Women in ABC list. ;-P

via Jeff via Gothamist


On Monday the Tech editor and I will pitch the blog column idea to the top editor of the International Herald Tribune.

Great suggestions when we discussed it here earlier.

Current thinking:

The Column: Of about 700 words will appear occasionally (until we can be sure quality is high enough) in the tech pages of the newspaper.

The Title: Lessons Learned; Digital Conversation; Any other ideas? (Actually, any other ideas might be a good name!)

The Form: Could be broken into three sections of roughly 200 words or one long column if interesting enough.

The Content: Would come from you. Best, I think, to ask people to submit 100 words on a given topic. That would enforce tight writing and avoid the impossible task of trying to summarize a blog discussion. People could submit multiple items, but none longer.

The Ideas: Would come from you. But the topic would need to stay relevant to the issue of technology, since that is where the column appears.

Any thoughts? I need a strong pitch for Monday morning!!!


In France bloggers have been investigated by police for inciting the riots.

Also, my audiocast on the riots for the New York Times website. (My first podcast-style effort)

Blogs and sms messages were apparently used to coordinate violent action on a large scale.

What should authorities do?

Is there an alternative to censorship?

My Technorati ranking has become #104 and I've officially fallen off the Technorati top 100. Powerlaw, schmowerlaw. If you don't blog often or maintain a stream of interesting content your ranking will quickly drop. Even at a lower level of output, my ranking has gone from my previous 40's and 50's to below 100. Obviously blogs that continue to be interesting like Boing Boing keep the #1 position, but the amount of churn at the lower levels is encouraging. Although I didn't conduct this experiment on purpose, it's interesting data. On the other hand, it would be interesting to see how much sheer number of posts vs interesting posts can increase rank and traffic. More posts means more pages to view as well a higher likelihood that someone will link to you.

Kevin Marks
20 million served

Technorati passed 20 million blogs today. The 20 millionth was Les CE2/CM2 Anquetil, a blog from an elementary school in Reims, France, in the heart of Champagne country. They started the blog to celebrate running 2 miles in a Relay Marathon.

That's a lot of blogs. I wouldn't say "20 million can't be wrong" (because history tells us otherwise) but blogging is clearly more of a trend now than a "fad".

Posted by Thomas Crampton

Tech editor of the International Herald Tribune seems open to publishing a column of blog-generated ideas.

I need topics of interest our newspaper's readers (wealthy global audience of frequent travelers with diverse interests in politics, economic and culture).

Conversations on this blog that might work have included my postings on Global Sociology of Online Shopping or Joi's post on ideas for new inflight software.

Input welcome on:

Layout - should it be in blog-style or reworked into a newspaper format. I tend to prefer reworking it, but my editor liked the idea of experimenting with a new formatting that might resemble an online chat.

Topics - Ideas for topics that would get the best response and interest our readers. I prefer things that are less about tech-issues than about ideas that may relate to technology.

Writing form - should it be written from a blog or could it be compiled on a wiki-style platform? This would require me to lay out the format and ask for people to help filling it in, but if someone has some appropriate social software platform, it might be fun to test the concept.

Online communities - A futher thought on the above concept is that it may be fun to involve specific online communities in writing guest columns. This would mean asking for the communities - friendster, asmallworld, openbc or another one. The idea would best to use a community with a particular purpose or outlook rather than a generic one. That would allow us to explore how these communities are different. Anyone senior enough at one of these communities should feel free to get in touch.

Posted by Thomas Crampton

Interesting venture launching in a few weeks by a group of Mainstream Media journalists in a blog. It is called Pajama's Media and has contributors from a number of mainstream outlets.

I think a cooperative blog is a good model - style - and would like to explore those possibilities myself. Seems to me the key is finding the right mix of people and then letting them loose.

My company - the International Herald Tribune and The New York Times - is not moving into the blog sphere as quickly as I would advocate.

That said, some colleagues are blogging on their own: Howard French in Shanghai, for example. Don't know of others.

Dave has new numbers about the state of blogs based on Technorati data. He has his presentation from Web 2.0 online as well as a lengthy blog post. Interesting stuff. Take a look.

I remember someone telling me a story about the delivery of the first copy of MS DOS to Japan. (I don't know if this story is true, but it's a good story.) The shipment contained a copy of DOS on paper tape and a blank roll of tape. They taxed just the blank one because the one with DOS on it was "used".

So... Does this make a "used comment salesman" and Six Apart a seller of "new comment space"?

I'm of course mostly joking, but I think this represents two completely different views on the "media" business. You can sell the blank media or "used media". Either the comments are the product or the ability to create comments is the product. This is what separates the professional world from the amateur world... But good amateur can exceed crappy professional in quality. Production and distribution are becoming lower cost, and two opposed views of the world are colliding harder. Clearly, clever people have managed to arbitrage/manage both of these models, but they surely produce very different types of laws, processes and world-views.

Posted by Thomas Crampton

Inevitable with the narrow-casting of magazines that Germany now has a magazine about divorce.

Reminds me of the launch of a magazine in the US for gay parents. (Apologies for this being a Times Select link.)

These magazines, Rosenkrieg along with And Baby magazine, show how publishers often miss obvious socioeconomic groups due to prejudices or oversight.

Both gay parents and divorcing couples are willing to pay large sums of money for information relating to their situation and there are many advertisers keen to hit those demographics. For years, however, no magazines addressed those issues.

Be interesting to compare the categories of popular Blogsites with the available publications to see where the low barriers to entry of Blogs has discovered a demographic ripe for a glossy publication.

This once again shows the strength of interacting with consumers (readers) during conception of a project.

Posted By Thomas Crampton

Blogs have lowered the barriers to entry into the marketplace for ideas: With what implications?

It formerly took powerful ideas (Marxism, Buddhism, Democracy) or those backed by capital (ie: printed in publications) to galvanize large audiences.

Now anyone, of any age, anywhere with Internet access and time can put their ideas into the marketplace.

The result is that not only do Blogs/Internet open the way to easily transmit mediocre ideas (such as this posting!), but they also open the way for a new style of collaborative thinking. (Will we start seeing idea mergers and hostile idea takeovers? - to absurdly follow the market analogy.)

This new marketplace brings certain strengths and weaknesses.

Will it increase ideologies or weaken them?

Seems clear it would de facto support a pro-technology ideology. Bloggers may find they resemble one another in some ways more than they resemble people in their own countries.

That said, large groups of people can have both intelligence and a mob-mentality.

Will Blogs/Internet change our methods of thinking?

Apologies again for my semi-hiatus from blogging. I've reached level 40 (I now have a robo-chicken mount) on World of Warcraft and have completed (ahem) 80% of my research. One of the things I've been thinking about while not blogging is... blogging. A number of people have asked me to help new bloggers by giving them advice. In retrospect, I was giving people very specific advice based on my personal style. I thought I'd share some of the tips.

1 - You're probably stupid - Well, maybe not stupid, but at least ignorant. Often you are the last one to figure out that you're not as smart as you think. Assume that someone will think you're stupid and will kindly point this out in the comments. Preempt that by assuming you're stupid and uninformed. In other words, be humble and don't try to write something conclusively smart-sounding. Start a discussion where someone smarter than you can step in easily.

2 - You need help thinking - Focus on the parts that you can't figure out. Ask people to help you think. Most of the people who comment on my blog are helping me think. In other words, don't say, "Blah blah blah. I'm an authority. Now talk amongst yourselves while I go pat myself on the back." Say, "Gee, I'm not that smart, but here's something interesting I'm noodling on. I've gotten this far on these pieces. Help me out here... someone?"

3 - Take a position - Wikipedia is about neutral point of view. Blogs about points of view. You can always admit you're wrong later, but posts that don't have a point of view are boring and people are less likely to comment. "Here is what people are saying about Web 2.0" is less interesting than "I think the word Web 2.0 is stupid." However, remember rules 1 and 2.

4 - Link - Read other blogs a bit before posting. Link as much as possible. Try to participate in the conversation instead of soap-boxing.

5 - Write early write often - Don't wait for your ideas to be completed. When you have some inspiration, get it out of the door quickly. Update the post or write new ones as the thought or story unfolds.

Having said all that, I don't follow my own rules. Like this post and the last post... But this is the advice that I would give myself.

As the Web 2.0 bandwagon gets bigger and faster, more and more people seem to be blogging about it. I am increasingly confronted by people who ask me what it is. Just like I don't like "blogging" and "blogosphere", I don't like the word. However, I think it's going to end up sticking. I don't like it because it coincides with another bubbly swell in consumer Internet (the "web") and it sounds like "buzz 2.0". I think all of the cool things that are going on right now shouldn't be swept into some name that sounds like a new software version number for a re-written presentation by venture captitalists to their investors from the last bubble.

What's going on right now is about open standards, open source, free culture, small pieces loosely joined, innovation on the edges and all of the good things that WE FORGOT when we got greedy during the last bubble. These good Internet principles are easily corrupted when you bring back "the money". (As a VC, I realize I'm being a bit hypocritical here.) On the other hand, I think/hope Web 2.0 will be a bit better than Web 1.0. Both Tiger and GTalk use Jabber, an open standard, instead of the insanity of MSN Messenger, AOL IM and Yahoo IM using proprietary standards that didn't interoperate. At least Apple and Google are TRYING to look open and good.

I think blogging, web services, content syndication, AJAX, open source, wikis, and all of the cool new things that are going on shouldn't be clumped together into something that sounds like a Microsoft product name. On the other hand, I don't have a better solution. Web 2.0 is probably a pretty good name for a conference and probably an easy way to explain why we're so excited to someone who doesn't really care.

While we're at labeling the web x.0. Philip Torrone jokingly mentioned to me the other day (inside Second Life) that 3D was Web 3.0. I agree. 3D and VR have been around for a long time and there is a lot of great work going on, but I think we're finally getting to the phase where it's integrated with the web and widely used. I think the first step for me was to see World of Warcraft (WoW) with its 4M users and the extensible client. The only machine I have where I can turn on all of the video features is my duel CPU G5. On my powerbook I have to limit my video features and can't concurrently use other applications while playing. Clearly there is a hardware limit which is a good sign since hardware getting faster is a development we can count on.

Second Life (SL) is sort of the next step in development. Instead of trying to control all real-money and real-world relationship with things in the game like Blizzard does with WoW, SL encourages it. SL is less about gaming and more about building and collaboration. However, SL is not open source and is a venture capital backed for-profit company that owns the platform. I love it, but I think there's one more step.

Croquet, which I've been waiting for for a long time appears to be in the final phases of a real release. Croquet, if it takes off should let you build things like SL but in a distributed and open source way. It is basically a 3D collaborative operating system. If it takes off, it should allow us to take our learning from WoW and SL and do to them what "Web 2.0" is doing to traditional consumer Internet services.

However, don't hold your breath. WoW blows away SL in terms of snappy graphics and response time and has a well designed addictive and highly-tuned gaming environment. Croquet is still in development and is still way behind SL in terms of being easy to use. It will take time for the more open platforms to catch up to the closed ones, but I think they're coming.

Web 3.0 is on its way! Actually, lets not call it Web 3.0.

Posting by Thomas Crampton

Time for some reflection after more than a month of blogging here courtesy of Joi.

For my part, I have found Blogs are different from journalism because:

Involvement: In blogging you engage and try to spark conversations, not lecture. You succeed by getting feedback, not by writing something conclusive. A successful posting is a work in progress.

Timing: Not so important as I thought it would be. When I blog about a news article that I wrote three days earlier, the conversation takes off as if it were new. In that way, Blogs are more like a cocktail party conversation.

Tone: Blogs are more informal and personal. You are forced the kind of self-references that most news organizations try to beat out of journalists from birth.

Opinions: Blog postings work best with strong opinions in them. This is problematic for a journalist because we are supposed to avoid that. You can often get the same effect, however, by asking sharp questions.

Length: Postings are never longer than a few paragraphs and often broken into bullet point style (like this posting)

Reporting: I have not yet done any primary reporting in order to write a Blog posting. The most I do is look up things on the web and riff off knowledge or experience I already have.

Simple and quick: Blogging takes far less time than I expected. Since it is asynchronous communication, you can log on once or twice a day or take part more actively. Very much enjoy checking in with old postings to see how the conversation has evolved.

These thoughts came yesterday in London while participating at a conference organized by Accountability on a panel hosted by Michel Ogrizek, vice chairman of Edelman, the other panelists were David Weinberger of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School and John Lloyd of the Financial Times.

The audience and other panelists raised many great points - some of which I have plaguarized above - and we could only conclude that the interface between Blogs and journalism is a hot zone that will be fun to watch.

Additions and critiques to this list welcomed!

Dan Gillmor's in town and having a bloggers meetup at the Apple Store in Ginza from 20:00-21:00 on the 26th of September. I'm going to be out of town, but if you're around, it should be a lot of fun.

More info here.

I find Japan to be extremely "faddy" and the media and consumers tend to jump onto new toys very quickly. Trends tend to die very quickly as well. Things that you are excited about only temporarily are often referred to as "my boom". For example, you might say, "blogging is 'my boom' right now." There are now television ads about blogs. The other day I heard a radio commercial where they read out the URL, but added that you could post comments and send trackbacks. Yes. Trackbacks. I have yet to hear a radio commercial in the US on a normal major FM show (maybe there are some) asking people to send trackbacks a site. It wasn't even a geek site. I think everyone here is finally jumping on the bandwagon.

That's why it's not strange when reports constantly ask me whether I think blogging is a fad, assuming that this "fad" will disappear along with the tamagocchi and pokemon in due time. Many reporters still look at me a bit skeptically when I try to explain that it is a trend, not a fad or some cool new toy. Watching the Japanese consumer machine trying to devour this one will be interesting.

Having said that, I'm sure many people outside of Japan also feel that blogging is just a fad.

Powered By32
Boris just upgraded this blog to Movable Type 3.2 which just came out. It has a bunch of new features and is very stable. One important new feature is advanced community management that deals with comment spam. Anyway, for people who have been waiting to upgrade, I think it's time. The upgrade is pretty easy and free for current licensees of 3.x. The new license also allows an unlimited number of blogs. If you need help, Boris is helping people out (for a fee).

Disclosure: I'm an investor in Six Apart and Chairman of Six Apart Japan.

Susan Crawford is doing a great job blogging FOO camp. Better than any notes that I'm taking...

Hilary Rosen [WP], the former president and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is guest blogging over at Lawrence Lessig's blog.

She follows Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, on the slate of excellent guest bloggers during Larry's summer vacation.

A blog is created every second, according to the BBC which cites Dave Sifry / Technorati.

I have tried very hard not to delete comments, even if they are abusive. I believe in free speech and don't like the idea of censorship. However, I've recently received numerous requests from readers of my blog to address the issue of abusive and hateful comments.

Here is the rule. If you have something to say, say it without racial slurs. Otherwise, I will consider deleting it. If you post a comment which does not contribute to the conversation or is completely off-topic, I will delete it.

And a special rule for Mr. ICANN Troll. Please limit your criticisms of ICANN to posts about ICANN. You're always saying the same thing and I already get your point. Any random "ICANN sucks!" posts on non-ICANN related posts will be deleted. This also applies to the "Kill Japs!" and "Japs suck!" comments. I will leave them on Japan related topics, but will delete them from unrelated topics.

I will generally tolerate abuse against myself or entities I'm involved in more than abuse against other people commenting or other companies and groups of people.

Have I left anything out?

Dennis Howlett brings up a good point. Do US visa requirements for journalists cover bloggers? Foreign journalists visiting the US, even from friendly countries, have to obtain a special "I visa". This is a rule from 1952 (according to Slate) which hadn't been enforced until the Department of Homeland Security took over INS in March 2003. According to the same Slate article, "at least 15 journalists from friendly countries have been forcibly detained, interrogated, fingerprinted, and held in cells overnight—with most denied access to phones, pens, lawyers, or their consular officials."

This is something to consider before declaring ourselves journalists or having others do so. I have a basic question for anyone who understands this policy better than me - why is the US singling out journalists for special visas? Maybe the answer to this question will help shed light on whether DHS would consider a blogger a journalist.

via Loic


From the US State Department web site:


A citizen of a foreign country, who wishes to enter the United States, generally must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. The type of visa you must have is defined by immigration law, and relates to the purpose of your travel. The "media (I)" visa is a nonimmigrant visa for persons desiring to enter the United States temporarily who are representatives of the foreign media traveling to the United States, engaging in their profession, having the home office in a foreign country. Some procedures and fees under immigration law, relate to policies of the travelers home country, and in turn, the U.S. follows a similar practice, which we call “reciprocity”. Procedures for providing media visas to foreign media representatives of a particular country, consider whether the visa applicants own government grants similar privileges or is reciprocal, to representatives of the media or press from the United States.


Under immigration law, media visas are for “representatives of the foreign media,” including members of the press, radio, film or print industries, whose activities are essential to the foreign media function, such as reporters, film crews, editors and persons in similar occupations, traveling to the U.S. to engage in their profession.


Other examples include, but are not limited to, the following media related kinds of activities:

* Primary employees of foreign information media engaged in filming a news event or documentary.
* Members of the media engaged in the production or distribution of film will only qualify for a media visa if the material being filmed will be used to disseminate information or news. Additionally, the primary source and distribution of funding must be outside the United States
* Journalists working under contract- Persons holding a credential issued by a professional journalistic organization, if working under contract on a product to be used abroad by an information or cultural medium to disseminate information or news not primarily intended for commercial entertainment or advertising. Please note that a valid employment contract is required.
* Employees of independent production companies when those employees hold a credential issued by a professional journalistic association.
* Foreign journalists working for an overseas branch office or subsidiary of a U.S. network, newspaper or other media outlet if the journalist is going to the United States to report on U.S. events solely for a foreign audience.
* Accredited representatives of tourist bureaus, controlled, operated, or subsidized in whole or in part by a foreign government, who engage primarily in disseminating factual tourist information about that country, and who are not entitled to A-2 visa classification.
* Technical industrial information- Employees in the United States offices of organizations, which distribute technical industrial information.

When I enter the US with my Japanese passport, I use a visa waiver that asks me if I am coming to the US on business or as a tourist. Even if I am a businessman, if the purpose of my trip is for tourism, I am supposed to check the tourism box. So I would assume that even if bloggers are considered journalists, if the nature of your trip is not to engage in "news gathering" then you're probably OK. On the other hand, I suppose if you're going to the US to cover the President's speech, maybe you're getting close. I also wonder if bloggers who are not professionals would be considered "news media representatives/employees". Does anyone have a more informed opinion?

UPDATE: From a friend of a friend in the US State Department

The "I" visa category for journalists is really an employment-related category - it allows professional journalists to pursue their work as "representatives" of foreign media while in the U.S. I don't know that we have yet addressed the issue of bloggers. I think the key question is whether they would be receiving pay for their work in the U.S. or not. A blogger who represented an e-journal, for instance, might fit this description. Otherwise, they would travel on regular B-1/B-2 visas.

Dan Gillmor and crew have announced HonorTags. This builds on his citizen journalists pledge, but is basically a way to tag posts to describe context and role of the author. Currently they have: HonorTagJournalism, HonorTagProfessional, HonorTagAdvocate, HonorTagPersonal, HonorTagFiction, HonorTagUnTag. They are soliciting feedback. Maybe I should suggest HonorTagJoker.

Chris Anderson has an interesting article about the massive parallel culture on the Internet in the context of the Long Tail. He posted the picture Anil wearing the Goatse t-shirt in the New York Times interview as an example. I was looking at the list and one that I had somehow missed was "More Cowbell". (It's sort of the opposite of stealth disco.) Thanks to Google, I was able to find a video of the original skit. (The link to the mp3 on The Cowbell Project page was broken.)

The Contagious Media Showdown targets this genre, but I wonder what it is that ends up becoming a pandemic in its virality. I guess it's something that is sort of stupid, but gets funnier and funnier the more you repeat it.

I think that the "shared culture" aspect of it is important. It has to be simple (stupid) enough so that almost anyone will think it's funny or at least silly. I notice this with topics on blogs as well. Deep and well researched posts will often receive thoughtful comments, but it's the short 3-paragraph form that seems to consistently be the most read and linked. I don't think it's necessarily a good trend, but it's sort of the blog version of the TV sound-bite - the attention-span of the average blog reader.

I know that a lot of people sit around and think about memes a lot so I may be treading old ground, but I think it's interesting that non-geeks are getting sucked in and these shared ideas create some sort of community bonding that moves faster and at a larger scale than in the past, but still remains nichey and obscure...

UPDATE: Noticed the Wikipedia Cowbell entry has a reference to this skit.

At the Internet Association Japan meeting yesterday, the folks from Impress gave a summary of their 10th annual Internet survey.

Impress 2005 Internet White Paper
There are 32,244,000 broadband households which is 36.2%.

There are 70,072,000 Internet users.

72.5% of people have heard of blogs, up from 39% last year.

25% of women in their teens and 20's have blogs.

9.5% of Internet users use RSS Readers.

46.5% of Internet users have decreased spending in physical shops because of online shopping.

29.6% of offices have wifi up from 10.7% last year.

2.8% of companies have corporate blogs and over 50% express no intention of ever having corporate blogs.

5.5% of companies have corporate web pages for mobile phone users.

I took notes based on a verbal presentation so there could be some mistakes. If anyone notices any, please let me know.

UPDATE: PDF of press release summary of white paper. (includes charts / Japanese)

Dan Gillmor has started posting 1 minute sound clips. It's an interesting form. One "Minute with Dan" is less than 1MB and short enough to listen to while browsing through your daily feeds. It's not "save it for my train ride" size. Also, probably for people who don't know Dan's voice, it will create a voice behind the words he writes.

I also noticed that VoIP in various forms on my Mac have caused me to be in an environment where I can listen to audio as my default. One year ago, I had sound turned off 90% of the time. Now I have it on 90% of the time...

A Minute with Dan: Bad Behavior

A Minute with Dan: Graduation Day

Hoder, our favorite Iranian blogger is going back to Iran. He needs our help to get there as well as possibly keep him out or get him out of jail. See his blog for details.

Thanks to Jin Ho, Heewon, Goo Dong-Eon, Xenix, Qho, Young Wook, and BK for a very interesting dinner discussion and explaining the Korean blogging scene to me.

Korea is reported by the OECD to have the highest high-speed Internet penetration of any nation. Korea has an extremely vibrant gaming, blogging, mobile phone and youth culture scene and I was eager to find out more about what was going on. I scribbled a bunch of notes over coffee during the day and over dinner. Please excuse any errors since I have not been able to fact check everything. If you could point them out and let me update them, I would appreciate it.

According to articles in the press, there are 5-6 million blogs. These are not to be confused with hompy. Hompy (a derivative of home page) are personal home pages with photo albums, guest books, avatars, background skins, and background music. There are approximately 10 million hompy pages. In a city with a population of 10 million and a country with a population of 45 million, that's quite impressive. Companies seem to be making money selling background music and items for hompy pages. Most of the posts are focused on photos and one line comments on pages of friends. They are generally closed communities and are focused more on real-time presence-like communication rather than diary or dialog.

Cyworld, which sounded like the leader for hompys has a feature they call "scratch scrap". This allows you to copy/paste content from other web pages easily to your hompy. On of the problems that I see with this is that this simple built-in feature does not provide a link back to the original source. It is rumored engineers who designed this left and joined Naver, one of the leading blog companies and created a similar feature for them. Generally speaking, it sounded like people don't link very much. They are still mostly plain html and not css + xhtml. There seemed to be some trackback implementation, but it is not yet as widely used as in the US or Japan. As far as I could tell, none of the blog systems used any of the standard APIs, and some had RSS feeds. Blogs and hompys don't seem to be pinging any pinger sites, which makes them nearly invisible to the outside world. In addition, many sites block search engine bots from crawling hompys and blogs.

It appears that one of the biggest problems is that there are several 800 pound gorilla type portals that remind me of AOL during it's powerful years. They try to create walled gardens of users. With millions of bloggers and hompy users in each community, they are focused more on integrating inside of their portals than open standards or linking across portals. There are some independent blog services and aggregators, but they still seem to be focused on community and somewhat inward facing networks. A not-so-visibile majority of blogs in Japan and the US are also this way, but the public facing citizen journalist or pundit-style blogs seem to be very sparse in Korea.

One of the reasons might be due to the success of OhmyNews. I visited OhmyNews as well, and they are truly an online newspaper powerhouse. You can read about them in detail in Dan Gillmor's We the Media, but they are a edited news website with droves of citizen journalists who submit articles. They have courses in writing for the citizen journalists, tip jars that people can pay them through, editors to help with the important stories, lots of influence and visibility and offline community activities. I can imagine that someone who had something political or pundit-like to say might easily choose to write for OhmyNews than to start a blog. This doesn't describe everything, but I'm sure that OhmyNews has attracted a fair number of the potential media blogger types.

I still have a lot to learn but the incredible difference in the blogging scene and the apparent happiness with what the people had considering the widespread adoption made me wonder if the Korean blogs would ever look like American or Japanese blogs. (Many aspects of the Japanese blogging scene seem to be following in the footsteps of the US blogging scene, albeit with some differences.)


4- jaz @ June 2, 2005 10:43 AM

hey joi. the function is called "scrap," not "scratch"
what it allows you to do is to display a particular post from someone's mini-hompy (cyworld) - if the permission setting of that post is set to "allow scrap" - not from just any website. there's a watermark-like feature that goes with it, which displays the original author's name and the link back to the origianl mini-hompy.

Sorry about the error. I was told however, that most bloggers and hompyiers didn't cite or link. Someone said that the big portals encouraged because it allowed all of the content to be searched inside the portal, rather than offsite. Does anyone have any more information on this?

I just heard an excellent presentation by Krishna Bharat of Google News. He explained how Google News works. It basically crawls news sites, finds "story clusters", ranks the sources, figures out how prominently each source is running the story, figures out whether its a big story or a little story, figures out geographic references, and builds the pages for the various geographic and language editions. He was talking to an audience of editors so there were many questions about how the "editing" process worked and many people couldn't seem to believe it was algorithmic. Some people seemed afraid that Google News would replace them. The point that he made and was clear from the process that he explained is that it uses the decisions that the editors of the various media make about what story to run and where in deciding how important a story was. It was basically aggregating the decisions of the editors, not replacing them. Without the editors and the "front page process" Google News couldn't decide what story to lead with. At least in its current form.

The derivative conclusion you can come to is that Google News is just amplifying or reinforcing systemic biases in MSM editorial and NOT helping to address these issues. I think this make Google News very news media friendly and also provides an opportunity for bloggers and projects like Global Voices to still have a very important role. I guess that if Google New started incorporating more of the alternative press, they could shift the bias.

During the discussion, Dan Gillmor pressed Krishna for more transparency on the algorithm and the list of sources and I seconded the motion.

Some good notes of the sessions on the editors blog.

You thought I had blog-block? Actually, my autoblogger was just broken.

I just read through my daily dose of blogs in my aggregator and scanned the email from people asking / telling me to blog stuff. I realized that there are a great number of things that I would have posted to my blog a year ago, but I won't now. I have argued a number of times that this is my blog and if you don't like it don't read it. However, as I read criticisms in the comments and on other blogs about what I write, I have become increasingly sensitive about what I say here. The criticism is often valid. "Check your facts before you post." "Read before you write." "Don't be so self-obsessed." "That was stupid." "The tone of your post was offensive to me." "So this guy posts every time he's 'off' to somewhere new. Is he boasting about his travel?" I know it shouldn't, but these voices yap at me in my head and cause a kind of chilling effect. I fear that my jokes will be misinterpreted and the irony lost. I fear that someone will take offense. I fear that a post will sound boastful.

Of course, this is just a rehash of an old discussion of collapsing contexts, but I find myself struggling with this bloggers block more and more these days. I find myself hanging out on the IRC channel chatting about things that in the past I would be blogging about. I definitely feel like my blog is going edgy to broad and boring.

What do you think? (And to be clear, I'm not fishing for compliments here.) Do you think I should post silly and sometimes no-so-well-developed posts or do you think this rigor of taking more responsibility and being more politically correct is a good thing? In a way, this bloggers block could be viewed as a developing bloggers ethic in my head and something normal and good.

Dan Gillmor has just launched his grassroots journalism site. "Bayosphere ...of, by and for the Bay Area."

Congratulations Dan!

Rebecca MacKinnon has started doing daily summaries of Global Voices oriented stuff on blogs all over the world. They're really great. They're on the Global Voices blog and are also a separate category if you just want to see the Daily World Blog Updates.

Gillian Caldwell, the executive director of WITNESS just left for Sierra Leone with Angelina Jolie to deliver recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) to the government. WITNESS is an important effort using video for human rights advocacy. (I blogged about it in more detail in Sept 2003.) In Davos in 2004, Ethan and I cornered Gillian and tried to get her into blogging. At the same time Ethan and Gillian tried to get me interested in Africa. (Since then I've been to Africa once and have two more trips planned this year. Note that Ethan is the key connector here.)

Last week, Gillian emailed me and told me that she was going to blog this trip. With a bit of scurrying around and some quick design help from Boris, Gillian got her blog running just as she was running out the door. I'm looking forward to reading her reports from Africa and hope that she gets addicted to blogging so I can live her amazing life vicariously through the blog.

Safe travels and congratulations on the blog Gillian.

Technorati Tags: ,

I just visited my friend Tom Crampton, a reporter for the International Herald Tribute, who just moved to Paris. Today was his first day in the Paris office. He showed me the computer system that gave him access to all of the stories and pictures filed by reporters and photographers all over the world. The computer system also had all kinds of databases including the news wires. The stories had "slugs" which were the shorthand names of the stories named after the actual lead slugs they used to use. Some had notes that said, "DO NOT SPIKE" which comes from the spike that editors used to have on their desk that dumped stories were spiked onto. These slugs were printed up onto "skeds". They let me sit in on the editorial meeting where all of the editors got together and discussed what stories might lead and which stories ended up on the front and second pages. Many of the stories hadn't been written yet. What was interesting was that, at least during the this meeting, there was a lot of non-verbal communication. There was clearly a lot more thinking than talking going on. It was the sound of NPOV.

It is definitely unfair to compare this process to blogging, but there were similarities. I scan my news feeds in the morning. Then I look at what other blogs are posting. Then I think about various things that might come up during the day that I might blog about and decide what if anything I will blog. It's a lot about timing, context and a larger narrative.

Some of the issues about what to lead with and what to balance with remind me a bit of the Prix Ars Electronica jury process (which danah just blogged about) where we chose 1 Golden Nica, 2 Distinctions and 12 Honorary Mentions from 400+ nominations.

I snagged a copy of tomorrow's IHT Japan edition which is just now being printed. I will be able to read tomorrow's paper on my flight back to Japan, which seems pretty cool.

I talked to the editors about blogging and explained that I'm a big fan of the IHT and thought a lot about how bloggers can work together with MSM and what we could do to transform their business model and preserve their craft.

Chilling Effects has posted the Cease and Desist letter that I received from I know a number of other bloggers have received this letter. Take a look at their analysis if you've received this letter. Chiling effects has done a great job explaining it. Since I received the letter, some email has been exchanged with the lawyer and I extended on olive branch on a forum to a employee, but I'm still not sure exactly where their threats stand at this point.

Had a wonderful time yesterday at Les Blogs in Paris and enjoyed meeting all of the new people as well as old friends. I haven't been to many blogger conferences for awhile so I found the presentations and discussions a good way to catch up on what people were doing and thinking. Thanks for organizing this Loic.

Take a look at the lesblogs tags on Technorati and Flickr for pictures and posts from the conference.

I'm off to Tokyo today for some meetings and eventually a few days off next week.

Tomorrow I will be going to Paris to attend Les Blogs the day after tomorrow organized by Loic. Many friends will be there. I'm looking forward to it after going mainly to conferences outside of the blogging community these days. Wired News has a nice article on it.

The Stanford Center for Internet and Society filed an amicus brief today which I signed together with a number of others. Go CIS!

Amicus Brief Asks for Legal Rights for Internet Journalists

CIS filed an amicus brief today on behalf of The First Amendment Project, Internet journalists and bloggers and others asking the court in the Apple v. Does case to treat online publishers the same rights as their colleagues who publish in more traditional formats. Download file


Rape, Torture, and Lies An ongoing Canadian saga has a sad new twist today: photojournalist Ziba Zahra Kazemi was likely brutally tortured and raped before her death in Iran in 2003. Arrested after a demonstration, the official Iranian line has been that her death was an accident due to injuries from a fall. The ER doctor who treated her has now spoken out, after being granted refugee status in Canada. Wikipedia has an excellent outline of the entire story.

Hoder ponders what he should do to prevent similar treatment when he returns to Iran. What sort of pressure can help prevent governments from doing such terrible things? Can we help protect Hoder? Hoder says that credentials from a Canadian magazine would help. Can someone help him out?

Blogads has done another survey of blog readers. This year the sample size is 30,079.

via Loic

Dave Sifry has a three part series of posts about blog statistics. (Part 1 - Growth of Blogs, Part 2 - Posting Volume, Part 3 - The A-List and the Long Tail). I've posted some of the charts below. More information and charts on his blog.





Thanks to some help from Boris, I have moved the moblog resource page to the wiki. Apologies to everyone who had sent me changes and additions. I had been unable to edit my old resource page because I had accidentally deleted the source files. Now you can register on my wiki and add and make changes yourself. I would make the changes myself, but I think I've lost the email that I receive in the entropy of my inbox.

The page is quite dated, but it is referenced in various places so I decided that I should keep it alive. If anyone wants to bring it up-to-date, that would be wonderful.

Xeni at Boing Boing linked to a flash movie on a North Korean site promoting vacations to North Korea. The North Korean Friendship Association was not pleased. Read the funny updates.

I recently agreed to be an advisor to Civiblog, a project to give free blogs to people working on global civil society. This ties in well with Global Voices. The project is run by Citizen Lab (home of the infamous Catspaw) and is sponsored by Tucows and the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation.
Welcome to Civiblog, a one-stop-site for global civil society. Canadian to the core — ever-devoted to peacekeeping and “globalist” foreign policies — it is our aim to showcase all communiqué in the sector, at home and abroad, onsite and by way of links and RSS syndication to partner sites. We are tapping into two explosive movements at once: 1) the growth of the citizen sector and 2) blogging, which is an increasingly popular tool with the potential to empower citizens the world over, one post at a time.
The site just launched and still needs some tweaking so feedback would be appreciated. Obviously using Technorati to show popular posts and breaking news on the top page and making blogs easier to find is on the agenda.
Tulsa paper threatens to sue blogger over posting excerpts of its stories and links to its site. Tulsa paper needs to get a clue.

Blogger Michael Bates: "I believe I have respected the World's copyrights within the fair-use exemption. Let the World name the specific articles in which it alleges that I have exceeded fair use. I have violated no law by directing readers to the Tulsa World's own website to read the Tulsa World's own content as the World itself presents it."

Hmm. Is this a job for the Media Bloggers Association?

via Rebecca

Reminds me a bit about the deep linking debate in years past, but even more stupid. Maybe a long time ago clueless people could get away with shaking their fist at fair use, but these days it just makes you look even more clueless. The Media Bloggers Association sounds like a good idea though. Maybe we can make a special hall of fame for stupid letters to bloggers.

We just had an IRC chat organized by Wikinews to talk about how bloggers and Wikinews could work together. If you don't know about Wikinews, it is an effort by the people behind Wikipedia to use many of the same principles behind Wikipedia to run a news site. They've had an early success with their scoop of the unrest in Belize.

Anyway, it was a very productive discussion. You can see the logs online. There is a page about Wikinews and Blog collaboration, but it's still pretty skimpy. A few ideas that came out:

Exchange IM addresses between active members in both communities to coordinate stories. (See page of IM addresses for Wikipedians.)

Create an RSS/Atom feed of new stories and hopefully for different tags from Wikinews.

MetaWeblog or Atom API to allow bloggers to post to some section of Wikinews using blogging tools.

Wikinews should accept trackbacks. They need someone to help write a trackback plugin for MediaWiki. Let them know if you can help.

I've gotten weird email asking me to pimp stuff for them on my blog in the past, but here's someone being asked to pimp American Express by someone saying they are a student studying advertising. He did a traceroute that showed that it might have come from Ogilvy & Mather. Ha! It's like whispering a secret to someone in a stadium wearing a hot microphone.

If it is O&M, it sounds like Bullshit Marketing. Be careful!

The term Bullshit Marketing summarizes methods where customers are not treated as empowered, smart and connected individuals, but as a dumb mass of idiots.

Via Nico

Rony Abovitz blogged that Eason Jordan of CNN accused the U.S. military of murdering journalists in Iraq during a panel at Davos. The official summary does not reflect these comments. Rebecca MacKinnon, former CNN journalist who worked for Jordon corroborates the assertion by Abovitz. Little Green Football is tracking this in detail.

UPDATE: A MUST READ update from Rony Abovitz.

Halley interviews Dan Gillmor on Memory Lane. Two of my favorite people. Dan, as usual, presents a balanced view on blogging and journalism.

Six Log
Support for nofollow

Recently, we’ve reached out to other blog tool vendors to try to coordinate information about comment spam techniques and behaviors. As part of these efforts, we’ve also begun to talk to search companies about enriching linking semantics to better indicate visitor-submitted content (like comments or TrackBacks).

The search team at Google approached us with the idea of flagging hyperlinks with a rel="nofollow" link attribute in order to alert their search spider that a particular link shouldn’t be factored into their PageRank calculations. The Yahoo and MSN search teams have also indicated they’d support this new spec, and we’ll be implementing and deploying this specification as quickly as possible across all of our platforms around the world.

This sounds like a good idea. Take a look at the whole post for more details, but your support would be greatly appreciated.
Hoder @ MetaFilter
Blogs help reform in Iran

Blogs contribute to political reform in Iran (New York Times): Former vice-president of Iran, Mohammad Ali Abtahi, said that he learned through the Internet about the huge gap between government officials and the younger generation.

"We do not understand each other and cannot have a dialogue," he said. "As government officials, we receive a lot of confidential reports about what goes on in society. But I have felt that I learned a lot more about people and the younger generation by reading their Web logs and receiving about 40 to 50 e-mails every day. This is so different than reading about society in those bulletins from behind our desks."

Now if only Japanese politicians would read blogs and learn about the huge gap between government officials and the younger generation.

Iranian bloggers have done an amazing job and I'm impressed that at least one politician is getting the message and even blogging himself.

Jay Rosen questions whether Dan Rather has ACTUALLY learned his lesson.

A Short Letter to Dan Rather

"So I kind of resent your attitude toward your numerous critics who operate their own self-published sites on the Web. They were being more accurate than you were, much of the time. I don't speak for them, but I know my own archive." Plus: Lose the spokesperson, Dan. Hire your own blogger.

Dear Dan Rather: "Lest anyone have any doubt," you said in your statement yesterday, "I have read the report, I take it seriously, and I shall keep its lessons well in mind."

I'm afraid I still have my doubts. Perhaps these would be lessened if, for example, you had bothered to spell out which lessons you saw for yourself, and for CBS News in the review panel's report.

* Was it the lesson about the deadly consequences of dismissing criticism because you think you know the motivations of the critics?
* Was the lesson that a prudent journalist ought to fear and respect the fact-checking powers of the Internet?
* Or was it that by stretching yourself thin you had stretched thin the credibility of the very network you thought you were serving by taking so many assignments?
* Maybe the lesson is not to apologize when you think you did nothing wrong.

Dan Gillmor also chimes in.

UPDATE: Jeff Jarvis has more good stuff on this.

Dan Gillmor on Grassroots Journalism
Arrogance at Apple
CNet: Apple suit foreshadows coming products.

Apple on Tuesday sued the publisher of Mac enthusiast site Think Secret and other unnamed individuals, alleging that recent postings on the site contain Apple trade secrets, according to court documents seen by CNET The suit, filed Tuesday in the Superior Court of Santa Clara County, Calif., aims to identify who is leaking the information and to get an injunction preventing further release of trade secrets. However, in filing the suit, Apple identifies specific articles that contain trade secrets, indicating that at least parts of those reports are on the mark.

This is disturbing on many grounds. Apple claims (see the end of the story) that it's not trying to suppress free speech. Bull. That's precisely what the company is doing here, well beyond keeping internal secrets.

This reeks of corporate misbehavior. I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me that Apple's only legitimate legal beef is with its employees or contractors who are leaking the information to Think Secret and other rumor sites.

I'm fairly sure of this: If the party leaking information to Think Secret had sent it, say, to the San Jose Mercury News or New York Times, and had those publications run the news, Apple wouldn't be suing them. Both have deep enough pockets to defend themselves.

This is my understanding too. Even if the source is "tainted" if a journalist receives the information unencumbered, they can print it. If this were not the case, there would be little recourse for whistle-blowers who usually are breaking some sort of contract at a local level for a higher good. Going after the news site is "pushing around the little guy" I think.

UPDATE: EFF is stepping in to help according to Boing Boing.

UPDATE with links from Donna Wentworth

EFF Is Not Representing Think Secret (Donna Wentworth)

The mistake is understandable. Here's our press release; EFF's clients are the publishers of AppleInsider and PowerPage. It's important to note that the facts in these cases are different.

Update: The New York Times has clearly written, informative coverage [reg. req.]; NewsFactor also has something solid.

Update #2: The legal documents are now up at the EFF site.
GM: a big company blogging

GM's vice chairman now has a blog. According to Neville Hobson, this is the first Fortune 100 company to do this. The interesting thing is not how revolutionary this blog is, but how ordinary it feels.

It's just a website where a guy who makes cars talks to people who buy 'em. They talk about the things car buyers might be interested in - interior trim, cup holders, SUV, insurance costs, the Saturn range, and so on.

It sounds "ordinary" and I think it's great. It really sounds like a voice. I've been trying to get the Sony execs to blog, so this is a timely example. Thanks for the link Antoin.

Good article in BusinessWeek about the future of the New York Times. (Requires registration.) The Times is facing a crisis.

...NYT Co.'s stock is trading at about 40, down 25% from its high of 53.80 in mid-2002 and has trailed the shares of many other newspaper companies for a good year and a half. "Their numbers in this recovery are bordering on the abysmal," says Douglas Arthur, Morgan Stanley's (MWD ) senior publishing analyst.


There are those who contend that the paper has been permanently diminished, along with the rest of what now is dismissively known in some circles as "MSM," mainstream media.


Advertising accounts for almost all of the digital operation's revenues, but disagreement rages within the company over whether should emulate The Wall Street Journal and begin charging a subscription fee. Undoubtedly, many of the site's 18 million unique monthly visitors would flee if hit with a $39.95 or even a $9.95 monthly charge. One camp within the NYT Co. argues that such a massive loss of Web traffic would cost the Times dearly in the long run, both by shrinking the audience for its journalism and by depriving it of untold millions in ad revenue. The counterargument is that the Times would more than make up for lost ad dollars by boosting circulation revenue -- both from online fees and new print subscriptions paid for by people who now read for free on the Web.

Sulzberger declines to take a side in this debate, but sounds as if he is leaning toward a pay site. "It gets to the issue of how comfortable are we training a generation of readers to get quality information for free," he says. "That is troubling."

What's a platform agnostic to do? The New York Times, like all print publications, faces a quandary. A majority of the paper's readership now views the paper online, but the company still derives 90% of its revenues from newspapering. "The business model that seems to justify the expense of producing quality journalism is the one that isn't growing, and the one that is growing -- the Internet -- isn't producing enough revenue to produce journalism of the same quality," says John Battelle, a co-founder of Wired and other magazines and Web sites.

Interesting perspectives. Would people pay for the New York Times online? Some. I wouldn't. They have some great stuff and I read the paper version of the IHT and the NYT when I'm offline, like on an airplane, but there are so many free sources of information and ways to get to information online that the incremental value added by the New York Times on my news consumption habits wouldn't be worth the hassle and the price. I really believe there is great value in the brand and the organization that is the New York Times, but I'm not sure what the business model is. I'm sure the world is better off with The New York Times, but how do they survive? People can make fun of bloggers, but blogs are growing and the metrics show that The New York Times is not. Is the New York Times the only "MSM" doing poorly or is everyone in trouble?

I've said this before, but I believe there is a role for MSM and that blogging is not a replacement, but rather something that can support MSM by adding more voices, view points and feedback. On the other hand, from a business model perspective, I'm not sure how blogging can help MSM. It's really an amateur revolution and it's probably going to have to look like the sometimes awkward but sometimes successful dance that Open Source does with businesses in order to be successful.

via Susan Crawford (and NOT via browsing BusinessWeek)

Sorry I couldn't say anything before, but the rumors are true. Six Apart has acquired Danga, the company that runs LiveJournal.

See the press release, the FAQ, Mena's Corner and Brad's post for more info. So I guess I better clean learn bml and make my LJ look a bit better.

Ernie the Attorney
Blogs are 'unsourced rantings' says former NY Times editor

From the 'Department of Supreme Irony' comes a statement by Howell Raines (the former Executive Editor of the New York Times) that blogging is 'unsourced ranting' (the link is to a article that links to an Atlantic Monthly article that you have to subscribe to in order to view).

First of all, Raines' statement is so completely ludicrous as to be laughable. Weblogs have a lot of shortcomings, but lack of sourcing isn't one of them. In fact, if you want to criticize weblogs you would do better to complain about the excess of linking to other sources and the dearth of original material. But the more important point is the one filled with irony. Here is Howell Raines, who lost his job at the NYT because he was at the helm during the Jayson Blair scandal, complaining about problems with 'sourcing.' You remember the Jayson Blair scandal don't you? He was a young rising star reporter who was Raines' 'golden boy' at the Times. It turned that the way that he rose quickly was by not wasting time doing the usual investigative grunt work; instead he completely fabricated stories and sources.

“Blogging is the Same as Stamp Collecting for the Semi-Retired”

I still keep running into references to New York Times’ technology reporter John Markoff’s off-handed remarks that he does a blog, it’s called “” In a recent conversation he told me that as far as he was concerned blogging is essentially the same as “stamp collecting” for the semi-retired.

We should have "funniest characterization of blogging by New York Times people" awards.

One Voice is a project lead by my friend Daniel Lubetzky. He is doing a lot of cutting edge work bringing peace to the Middle East particularly by trying to amplify the moderate voices of the people in Palestine and Israel. We have been bugging him to start a blog and he did. He's given us a scoop on his new blog.

The first-ever Get-Out-The-Vote Campaign in the Palestinian Authority, conducted by OneVoice-Palestine, is about to release a Public Service Announcement that will turn heads: it juxtaposes Sheikh Taysir al Tamimi, the Chief Palestinian Islamic Justice, and Father Attallah Hanna, the Patriarchite of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem, with Richard Gere, the film star and humanitarian. They all encourage the Palestinian people to go out and vote. Sheikh Tamimi calls it a "religious and a national commandment" to participate in the elections.

The 1 minute ad will air on Palestinian National TV as well as on local Palestinian stations during the week prior to the Presidential elections.

Dan Gillmor who recently left the Merc has a new blog called Dan Gillmor on Grassroots Journalism. Go Dan!

Bloggers without borders has just launch. Here's the first post from Jonas.

Tsunami Outreach

Submitted by Jonas M Luster on Thu, 2004-12-30 05:23.

We have found our compassion in this one. Yet, one thing remains and is badly needed, says a friend of mine who just arrived in Sri Lanka and will be contributing what he learned in eight years in Uniform. People. Not the odd-job bystander, not the “activist”, and certainly not the journalist. What is needed most, today, are qualified specialists. Demolitions experts to safely destroy dangerous structures, Doctors, guys and gals who know how to handle a syringe or a gun. The latter is needed more and more as the looting increases and food and medical supplies are being raided by black marketers.

Fortune Magazine's David Kirkpatrick and Daniel Roth have just posted an excellent article about blogging. There are interviews with the usual suspects. A lot of the stories will be familiar to heavy blog readers but it's a great summary of what's going on and a "must send" link to people you know who still don't understand blogs. Extra credit for making the article accessible with a permalink and no registration. Minus points for not linking to the bloggers they interview. Apparently the print version has lots of cool charts so I'm going to pick up the newsstand version too.

iMorpheus has a great blog called the Gokurousama blog.

Gokurousama means "Thank you for your troubles" in Japanese and it is also the name of this blog. Gokurousama celebrates and recognizes the hard work of others.
I say gokurousama when I get out of taxis, when someone as completed a chore or when I pass a gardner. It's similar to, but slightly different from another great Japanese word, otsukaresama. Otsukaresama is less about thanks but still acknowledging someone for some hard work. This is often said when toasting after a hard day of work or after working together on a hard project. Interestingly, working hard together is often considered more important than winning. This, in a way, is the backbone of the socialist work ethic that drives Japan. But I digress...

The Gokurousama blog and the pictures on it are a very good way to understand the Japanese way of gokurousama. It's also the spirit behind good service and a very nice way to show appreciation of good service. A simple gokurosama will go a long way and is much more respectful than flipping someone a hundred yen coin. iMorpheus has also started a Gokurousama flickr group and has linked the group to the blog so that others can post. You can learn more about it on his blog.

The next time you watch an old Samurai or Yakuza movie, listen for the boss say, "Gokurojyaaa" to one of the henchmen after he returns from killing a foe. ;-p

Hugh has a great post about "The Happy Troll". I've been thinking about this recently as well and I think he hits the nail on the head. This blog is my living room and if you can't behave, I'll ban you. It's not about censorship. I just don't have time to deal with all of the "Happy Trolls". Maybe I should put together a new comment policy that deals with the notion of "The Happy Troll."

Does anyone use my blogroll? People seem to like the random faces, but I have a feeling people don't look at the blogroll. I admit it's rather hidden, but it's become unwieldy.

David Pescovitz @ Boing Boing
Blog defined

Meriam-Webster declared yesterday that based on lookups in their online dictionary, the "#1 Word of the Year for 2004" is (drumroll and eyeroll)... "blog."

Blog noun [short for Weblog] (1999) : a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.

Also-rans include "incumbent,""insurgent,""hurricane," and "peloton," defined as the "main body of riders in a bicycle race."
Now stop complaining about how stupid "blog" sounds.

Pascale Weeks joined us for dinner last night. She has a French language blog called "C'est moi qui l'ai fait !". She blogs about her cooking with wonderful pictures, recipes and a very down-to-earth style. It's great seeing people like Pascale who are extremely passionate about blogging who also possess the ability to create a lot of great original content. I only wish someone would translate her blog to English... or maybe I should just learn French.

One thing for sure though... if you like talking about food, clearly you must learn French. The food was amazing and the discussions about food were very enlightening... even if dinner DID take over four hours last night. ;-)

Nice on-the-ground reporting from a blog from Ukraine - The ukraine_revolution blog.

via Loic

I just watched this the video that Jon Husband points to in comments on this blog of David Weinberger at the Library of Congress.

For an interesting take on this subject, involving a sizeable audience of (I'm assuming) senior librarian types at the USA Library of Congress, watch David Weinberger trace knowledge from Plato and Aristotle through Descartes to the clash between official objectivity and personal subjectivity, moving deftly to the power and believability of human voice on ... of all things ... blogs (especially those with comments capability, which I think must be well in the majority ;-)
More formats on David's blog. Classic Weinberger. Excellent stuff. Even the bonus seeing Derrick de Kerkhove make the introduction. ;-)

Funny anti-blog anti-Wikipedia article by a librarian Greg Hill who manages to mangle the spelling of Dan Gillmor and Dave Barry's name while trying to argue that "librarians abhor using reference sources that don't have established credibility editorial rigor..." ;-)

I don't usually like to link to stupid articles, but this one's too ironic to just ignore.

via Dan Gillmor

Dan Gillmor
UPDATE: Trudy Schuett posted an extraordinary exchange of e-mails with the Alaska librarian, who has the nerve to say he knows of "no typos or mis-statements in that column, unless they are those of the sources I cite, and every point in my column stemmed from multiple sources. As a rule, there's not enough space in a 700-word column to list multiple sources, but I can readily produce them."

No, he can't. He can't possibly produce a citation that explains misspelling my name and Dave Barry's. He might alibi getting the name of my book wrong, because he quotes an early working title that I used in blog postings here. But even there, a tiny amount of due diligence would have produced the correct title.

I worship librarians as a rule, but I'm going to make an exception in this case.

Truely unbelievable.

I remember someone posting a graphic of how an idea spreads across blogs. the image had a "gray area" of instant messenger and email that couldn't be tracked as easily. I've asked a few people who remember seeing the post, but now no one can find it. Does anyone remember it and have the URL? It's amazing that we remember it, but can't find it or remember who posted it...

UPDATE: Found! Thanks tarek! Amazing. That was less than one hour after I posted this question. I had been googling for it for a day or so.
Croatian diplomat fired over blog comments

17/11/2004 by John Tilak

The Croatian government has recalled an official from its Washington embassy after he apparently wrote on his blog that the diplomatic meetings were boring and that there was no difference between President Bush and the Democratic candidate John Kerry, according to a report from Reuters.

Third secretary at the Croatian embassy in Washington DC, Vibor Kalogjera, 25, had been narrating his experiences under the pseudonym "Vibbi".

He is said to have violated state laws on foreign affairs and civil servants.

I guess this makes sense. It's interesting to think about the line between private and public comments. I'm sure he wouldn't have been recalled for sharing these thoughts in private or with his friends. Of course posting stuff on the Internet is not "sharing in private" but if only a few people are reading it, it is effectively somewhat private. On the other hand, if you get reported in Reuters, your private conversation quickly becomes public... collapsing your context. Maybe he should have had a password protected blog.

via Francesco

Rebecca suggests starting the Blogger Corps.

Rebecca MacKinnon
Bloger Corps?

... For early blog-adopters, blogging was an end in itself. For the activist community, blogging has to be an effective means to a concrete end.

In the final wrap-up session of Bloggercon III, I suggested that socially conscious members of the blogging community (of all political persuasions) might want to organize a "Blogger Corps." Through it, bloggers could donate their time to help poorly funded activists or non-profit groups to figure out what blogging tools are right for them, set up blogs, and develop effective blogging strategies.

Count me in Rebecca. I've been doing my own share of Johnny Appleseed evangelism, but I think a more organized approach where we can share information and coordinate activities would be great. I think we should start a wiki page. ;-)

Hoder, the Iranian blogger is getting death threats.

Editor: Myself
Now they've moved to BlogSpot and have made another blog with the same name with a more precise content to backup their claims. They now have picked particular posts from my Persian blog, in which they think I've insulted the God, and other sacred concepts of Islam and therefore, quoting from a Quranic verse, I deserve to be killed.
I will be meeting Hoder for the first time at the upcoming Berkman Center's "Internet & Society 2004: Votes, Bits & Bytes" on December 10. This will be Hoder's first trip to the US. I hope it turns out to be enjoyable for him and doesn't cause him problems at home. I always have to remind myself that for some people, things we take for granted like "free speech" are life threatening activities in some countries.

Lifeblog 1.5 has just been announced and it will support blogging directly to TypePad from Nokia phones with Lifeblog. Yay! Good work gang.

via Christian Lindholm

Moblog picture by Hello Kitty
Copyright Sanrio Co., Ltd.
Hello Kitty has a blog. It looks like she's been blogging since July. Unfortunately, it's in Japanese. The press release says that it is a joint project between Sanrio and NTT Data, but according to the blog, Hello Kitty is writing it herself. She asserts that this moblog picture was taken herself. Maybe that's why she's a bit out of focus. She should have had someone take the picture for her. Anyway, welcome to Blogging Kitty-chan.

via Andrew and Springveggie

Jonas and Shelly have taken exception to the somewhat inflammatory headline "fired for blogging" in a previous post. To be honest, I stole the headline from Loic without thinking and I probably should have said "blogger suspended without pay" or something like that.

I've scattered comments around about my response to their responses, but I'll consolidate some of points here:

Accusation - Bloggers are attributing everything to blogging and being typically self-important. It wasn't about blogging, she broke company rules by posting the photos.

Response - The company rule was about using uniforms in photos. She says in the BBC interview that others had done so without being reprimanded. She did have a blog and the picture "outed" her identity and that of her employer. The fact that the blog was an anonymous semi-fictional account of a flight attendant until the photo probably didn't help. I would assume that blogging had something to do with it and the rule about the pictures was the technical reason. Also, blogs make it much easier to "post your picture on the Internet" and easier for people to find them. Therefore, I don't think it's silly to talk about blogging. More importantly, it's a good wake-up call for companies to be clear about blogging policy since more and more people are doing it.

Accusation - She broke a company rule. What's wrong with her being reprimanded for it?

Response - Companies have lots of rules that are broken every day. Companies need to think of what is in the best interest of the company and for their stakeholders. If a company does something that looks unfair or produces bad publicity, it's stupid whether it's a rule or not. It reminds me a bit about people who talk about "breaking copyright law". It's not like a speeding ticket. You don't "break copyright law". People use copyright law to go after people who are hurting their business. I think Delta should think about whether going after people who post pictures of themselves in uniform hurts their business or not and whether shutting these people down hurts them more.

UPDATE: She was fired. From the comments:

Queen of Sky @ October 31, 2004 10:41 AM

Actually I WAS fired yesterday, so Loic was correct.

The only reason given for my dismissal was "inappropriate pictures in uniform on the Web."

I have combed through Delta's HR manuals and found no rule against this.

The only rule is that they can fire you for anything they deem "inappropriate" behavior. Sounds rather arbitrary to me.

-Q of S

Delta Queen203B

The BBC talks about Ellen, a flight attendant fired for blogging by Delta Airlines

Ellen Simonetti, who writes the Diary of Flight Attendant, has been fired (BBC article) by Delta Airlines because she posted pictures of herself in uniform. Maybe a blog to protect the rights of fired bloggers should be launched ?

The images were removed as soon as she learned she had been suspended. As far as Ms Simonetti knows, there is no company anti-blogging policy.

There is guidance which suggests the company uniform cannot be used without approval from management, but use in personal pictures on websites is unclear.

I think this is a stupid decision on the part of Delta Airlines. If they didn't have a policy and didn't like it, they should have told her to take it down, not suspend her. What they should have done is not cared. I'm sure her blog would INCREASE the number of Delta Airline flyers, not decrease them. I for one now have a lower image of Delta.

UPDATE: She was not "fired". She was "suspended without pay".

The day before yesterday, I received a notice from my hosting service that I was 80% through my bandwidth limit. I replied and asked for m.m.m.more bandwidth please. Then suddenly, I was at 100% and some trigger kicked in and shut down my site. It appears to have been a flood of requests from a singe IP address. (Who would want to DoS my blog...?)

Bloghosts has been generous on their pricing and Jace who runs it has generally been fairly responsive. For some reason, I haven't been able to get any response from anyone from Bloghosts. It is very unlike Jace so I'm going to hold back my criticism until I have more facts. It could be that there is some reasonable explanation.

Anyway, thank you for the flood of emails letting me know my site was down. I'm so glad you all care. (sniff) But the real thanks goes to Jason who set me up with space on his machine (where are you are reading this now) and Adriaan for getting my blog moved over to the new machine after a 24 hour outage. Since Jason doesn't seem to mind, I think I'll hang out on this server for awhile... so move over and give me some more room Sean, Chey and Gary.

I'm going to quote David's whole post because it has a bunch of good links.

David Weinberger
Metadata without tears

Peter Merholz, AKA peterme, has an excellent article at Adaptive Path called Metadata for the Masses:

But what if we could somehow peek inside our users’ thought processes to figure out how they view the world? One way to do that is through ethnoclassification [1] — how people classify and categorize the world around them.

He takes and Flickr as examples of "ethnoclassification" (a phrase he tracks back to Susan Leigh Star),. (I am enamored of the branch of ethnoclassification on exhibit at if only because people have started calling it "folksonomy.") He looks at the benefits. Then he addresses the problems, and suggests the paths out of the forest we're making for ourselves.

Jay Fienberg points us also to Jon Udell's article on "collaborative knowledge gardening." I've also been looking at some related issues (e.g., here, here, here, here and here), but Peter has the advantage of knowing what he's talking about.

I totally agree that this "ethnoclassification" is really an amazing solution to the metadata problem. Although, as they point out, there are some problems, I think that we'll find solutions. I feeling very taggy these days. I think there should be more cross-site tag linking. Blog categories, wiki pages, music meta data, and many other things can be "tagged". TAGCON 2005! Sorry. Just kidding.

I was de-spamming my comments and I think I accidentally erased a few legitimate comments. I'm really sorry. It was truly a technical error and not an attempt to censor anything. I think I deleted one or two comments, but didn't catch the details since it was a quick click and an oops.

David Sifry has posted another cool graph of showing the number of corporate bloggers. See his blog for the details.

Dave's posted some great charts.

Chart of the number of Technorati inbound link sources plotting Big Media vs. Blogs. More info this chart on Dave Sifry's blog.

Chart of the growth in number of blogs tracked by Technorati which reflects total number of "public" blogs.

Chart of number of new blogs per day showing acceleration.

More info on last two charts also on Dave Sifry's blog.

Chart of number of new posts per day.

More info on this chart also on Dave Sifry's blog.

William Gibson is blogging again. Yay! Welcome back.

via Boing Boing

I've been hanging out a bit with part of the Wikipedia community since meeting Jimmy Wales in Linz. One thing that has struck me is that many, if not most, of the people I've met from the community who are involved in managing Wikipedia seem to be women. I haven't conducted any scientific analysis or anything, but Wikipedia seems much more gender balanced than the blogging community. I know many people point out that ratio of men at conferences on blogging and ratio of men who have loud blog voices seems to be quite high. I wonder what causes this difference in gender distribution? Is it that the power law aspect of blogs is inherently more competitive and appeals to the way men are "trained" in society? Or is it that we're just talking to the "head" of the blog curve and that the more interesting blogs are actually by women in "the long tail"? Or is it something about Wikipedia that attracts powerful women? Has anyone else noticed this or done a study on gender distribution on wikis? I wonder if this true of wikis generally? I don't think Wikipedia is a "traditional" anything let alone a traditional wiki. Has anyone noticed this on other wikis?

Jimmy "Jimbo" Wales, the REAL founder of Wikipeida, has started a blog. Yay! The domain is in the process of switching from the beta site to the real site.

category.jpg lessigq.jpg
Screenshots of Jeopardy from Thousand Robots
Larry says this isn't true.

UPDATE: Lessig blog started August 2002, Microsoft stuff was was 1998

Jay Rosen blogs about Nick Coleman's "classic" anti-blog piece Blogged down in Web fantasy. Both are worth reading, Coleman's piece just for yuks.

Jay Rosen
For me the funniest part of Coleman's column was the way he wrote it knowing he was to get ripped by the bloggers he was ridiculing. It's the Struck a Nerve Fantasy in opinion writing. I'm sure some of you recognize it.

X publishes something graceless and unconvincing, but extremely polemical. Everyone hates it because it's bad writing. Friends of the argument are not friends of the piece. So X has almost no defenders. The reactions come in. X's piece gets ripped because it's aggressive, mean and wrong.

But X walks away satisfied: looks like I struck a nerve, says X to self. And the greater the hostility back, the bigger the nerve struck!

This is exactly what Dvorak does, except he usually does a 180 at the end. Strike a nerve to get attention and dive right in. For instance, he slams blogging, then starts merrily blogging himself.

I think crumudgening is used in politics to create diversions. Some authors like Dvorak use it to get attention. Sometimes it's not crumudgening, but sincere stupidity. The problem is that it is sometimes hard to tell which unless you know the person. On the other hand...

Robert J. Hanlon
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

UPDATE: Weird... the Coleman piece just went behind a registration wall. I was able to read it just a few minutes ago without registration.

Suw Charman writes about Egogooglebombing. I sometimes accidentally do this to people with my moblog.

Hoder reports government crackdowns on reformist websites and bloggers.

Metroblogging Tokyo just launched. I'm a contributor, but I haven't written anything yet.

From Christian Lindholm who is in charge of Lifeblog at Nokia:
Lifeblog will blog to TypePad - some reflections

Our team today announced that we are partnering with Six Apart to make TypePad the preferred destination when you blog from Lifeblog.


I was wondering why so many of my favorite feeds weren't coming into my news reader and I realized (duh!) that I'm in China and Blogger and TypePad are blocked. It's one thing blogging about it from Japan, it's another thing actually being blocked and realizing how much of my world just sort of disappears. There are proxy servers, but I hear that even then, if you use one for too long, they get tracked down and blocked literally while you're surfing...

Inspired by Maciej's anti-audioblogging manifesto, I started working on an audioblogger mashup. I'm not very good at this yet, but here's what I've got so far. (1.8 MB mp3).

I'm going to keep working on this, but if anyone wants to pitch in and give me a hand... hint hint...

UPDATE: I'm taking this down because Maciej says it's freaking him out. ;-)

Maciej has posted an audioblogging manifesto about why he thinks audioblogging is a stupid idea. Very funny. He makes good points, but I'm not convinced that audioblogging doesn't have a future. Listening to his audioblog makes me want to make a mashup of all of the audiobloggers he mentions. ;-) (4.1MB mp3 / text version)

We (Six Apart) released Movable Type 3.1 today. Some important new features including a dynamic pages and sub-categories. It comes with a plugin pack which includes MTBlackList 2.0. MTBlackList 2.0 is my favorite comment spam zapper. (More on Mena's Corner.)

CNN has invited Technorati back to provide real time analysis of bloggers blogging about the Republican National Convention. Thanks CNN! More on Sifry's Alerts.

As someone who was heavily involved in introducing the theory of CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions) to Japanese ad agencies, I've been spending a lot of time recently thinking about what comes next after Google AdSense. Ross tried CPI (Cost Per Influence), trying to come up with an index that included the influence of the blogger or site where the ad was placed. This reminded me of the "branding value" or cluster value argument. Also, the idea would be that an influential blog would trigger a word of mouth diffusion. Anyway, inspired by Ross, John Batelle came up with a really cool idea. He writes about sell side ads where bloggers could copy ads that they saw into their blogs if they liked them. The ads would have information about what sorts of sites they could be posted on and other instructions. They would "phone home" to the advertiser who would pay the blogger for the impressions or clickthrus or whatever. The idea is that it would be viral and publisher driven, rather than advertiser driven. It would be set up so that the advertiser could track which site a blogger copied the ad from so that that they could track the diffusion pattern as well.

Anyway, awesome idea. Lets build it!

ecto, the blogging client developed by Adriaan at my company Kula has just released the beta of the next version which has "What You See Is Almost What You Get" (wysiawyg). This means that you can now do things like drag, drop, resize images into posts. You can also create links, change font information and lots of other stuff without looking at or dealing with html. (More info on the ecto blog.) ecto 2.0 has a bunch of other cool features. Adriaan says it should be ready for general release of the OS X version in about two weeks. Until then... gloat.. gloat...

I have been doing my blog reading and writing primarily with Net News Wire for my reading and Ecto for my writing. A simply copy paste will paste html which is a very good start for a blog post. The biggest problem is the multi-author blogs. I bugged Boing Boing about it, and they put the name of the author in the text, even though it was already in their creator tag. This makes it much easier for me because the name of the author is in the html when I copy from Net News Wire. So Brent, and other news reader developers... I have a feature request if you haven't done it already. Can you please figure out an easy way to allow me to copy the name of the author and view the name of the author in the post? Also, for people working on syndication formats, keep in mind that in the case of group blogs, the author is important and I think some of the templates don't automatically add the authors.

Adam Curry samples a portion of Halley's interview with me on Memory Lane on his Daily Source Code Aug 17 2004 - (1.2MB mp3 of relevant section). I'm talking about how I showed the chairman of NHK (Japan's public broadcast network) a video that I downloaded from Adam Curry's MTV.COM. I think this was around 1994 or 1995... It was one of the few video files on the net at the time. I used to show this video all the time and I told this to Adam when I met him at Bloggercon. He said he wanted a copy of the video and I thought I might have it around, but I looked and I don't have it. Sorry Adam! Does anyone else have it? It's a bit of Internet nostalgia and history that would be fun to have. Unfortunately, I think this predates

Warning: rambling diary style entry to follow

Jonah, a friend of Neeru and Joshua emailed me that he was going to be in Japan and wanted to talk about Eyebeam, a very cool art R&D project he is working on. He was leaving the day after I came back to Japan so we decided to meet for lunch at the airport. I printed out Andrea and Jonah's picture from Andrea's photo blog, taped it into my moleskine notebook and headed for the airport. I've been mastering the shortcuts from my house to the airport since I make the trip so often. Today, I found a new little shortcut where I take a right at the rice vending machine and cut through miles of rice paddies and skip the traffic lights on the main road. I love zooming through the rice paddies looking for crop circles until you run into oncoming traffic and have to maneuver just right or fall into the ditch. Anyway, I met Andrea and Jonah at the airport and took Jonah to have a quick bite at Sushi Iwa while Andrea made some phone calls.

The conversation was really interesting and we had an amazing number of common interests. When we were talking about diffusion patterns of ideas and links across blogs, he mentioned that he had helped a new television show use blogs. He explained that there was a new TV series called "Good Girls Don't" and he helped them set up a blog for Jane, one of the characters. How cool. He then started explaining about the character and a funny interaction she had with Instapundit. Holy synchronicity. I suddenly realized that this Jane was the same Jane who had linked to my blog post about no more alcohol until I lose more weight. I had just been reading her blog this morning totally perplexed about the most random link in my Technorati cosmos in quite awhile. I hadn't read the "about" page so I hadn't realized she was a fictitious character. Anyway, so weird, funny and... bloggy. I wish my favorite TV characters had blogs and that they randomly linked to me.

The AP reports that the IOC bars athletes, coaches from writing first-hand accounts This reminds me of the (now defunct) rule that companies couldn't report earnings and other reports on the Internet until after newspapers had time to print. This was supposed prevent an "unfair advantage" for people who use the Internet. Protecting traditional journalists by muzzling first-hand reports from athletes and coaches is so wrong and stupid.

via Smartmobs

The first ChangeThis manifestos are up. They're definitely worth reading and commenting on. I have the honor of being one of the advisors who gets to read them and make comments before they come out.

Over the years I've become quite friendly with many professional journalists. It's interesting that two of my best friends are journalists and they both have told me, "the only bad thing about becoming your friend is that I can't write about you any more." As a blogger, I don't think I have any trouble writing about my friends if I explain my relationship. The issue of professionalism aside, I think the first person tone of blogging makes it easier to write about your friends in the context of providing information. It's probably much harder or impossible to write about your friends objectively in third person.

I did an interview for NPR's summer reading series where we are supposed to talk about books to read over the summer. I ended up talking mostly about blogs. ;-) It's about a month old.

What do YOU recommend we read this summer?

UPDATE: Here are my notes on Orientalism by Edward Said, thoughts after reading Science In Action by Bruno Latour, and my short review of We the Media by Dan Gillmor.

"The New York Times is my blog" Markoff just IMed me with this funny comment from Slashdot about Dan Gillmor's We the Media. I would have gotten more defensive if it weren't so funny.
Anyway, keep laughing Markoff. Just you wait and see. ;-)

Yes... I did photoshop out the end of his AIM nickname.

Jason Calacanis claims to have discovered that for $300 to $400, you can buy an editorial on, one of the most popular blogs. In an email exchange with Jason, a sales person Gogi (who Drew, who runs Fark explains is a 3rd party ad sales rep) writes:

However, if you look at any news source, they are influenced by PR agencies, wine & dine’s and similar events. Take a look at the Graydon Carter as example #1. I challenge you to find a pure editorial voice in news today.

Also, its not news, its ;-) We run stories that we know are false, run satire, try not to let our personal political views affect the content and often include adult-natured items in the daily roundup. We don’t hold ourselves to the same standards as the NYT, and I would urge you not to either.

Just as we're trying to prove how "pure" bloggers are, it appears that maybe one of our own has "sold out". As Jason points out, it wouldn't have been bad if the purchased editorials were marked as advertising. I agree with Jason, that people probably would have happily clicked on them if they looked interesting. What sucks is that they didn't disclose this before.

Drew Curtis posts a comment on Jason's blog explaining that Gogi doesn't represent Fark. He says, "I am personally not interested in compromising the quality of the site, hence no pop-up ads or take-overs." but doesn't really deny the editorial sponsorship issue directly and Jason says he is not convinced until he hears from Gogi.

It's unclear at this point, whether Fark really is selling editorials and how much influence this Gogi guy has, but 1) the email from Gogi is pretty bad and 2) it would be nice for Drew to explain his policy. Some of the Fark readers commenting on Jason's blog says to cut Drew some slack...

Dan Gillmor's We the Media has hit the selves. O'Reilly, the publisher, has created a blog for it. I just posted my review on

David Weinberger video blogs a reply to Charles Cooper's article at CNET.

Charles Cooper criticizes the credentialed DNC bloggers as bad journalists and David responds. If the text of his response had been in his post, I might not have watched the video, but after watching the video, I realized that it was worth it. I keep forgetting how funny David is in full motion. ;-)

I made a BitTorrent torrent of the 11MB Quicktime version of the post. The torrent is here. I'm still trying to debug my tracker so I'd appreciate comments about any success or failure you have with this torrent. Thanks!

danah boyd has a good op ed on blogging and bloggers at the DNC on Salon. (Salon forces you to watch an ad to read it.)

This is a test message posted using Quicksilver and the Atom API Plugin.

Yesterday, I met Douglas Krone the CEO of Dynamism. (I forgot my phone at home so couldn't take his picture.) Dynamism is an awesome company that takes all of the coolest gadgets from around the world, localizes them into English and sells them on the Internet. They provide support for these devices. Most high-end gadget geeks that I know have at one time or another purchased stuff from Dynamism.

Anyway, we talked a lot about gadgets, blogs and Creative Commons. I got him to agree that it would make sense to put a Creative Commons license on his site so that people could use pictures of products and clips of his text to review products. I think that his stuff is PERFECT for blogs.

I ordered one of the low-end, but very popular iducks. ;-)

Here is the first CNN/Technorati daily blog roundup for the DNC by our very own Dave Sifry.

Loic blogs about his experience with his customers and the French blogging community. This reminds me of when I got my bumps from the Japanese diary community about two years ago for trying to push blogging in Japan. We now have a very good relationship with the Japanese Net community, but it took a lot of work on the part of my team and the delivery on a lot of promises.

I think the DNC could turn into a key moment in the discussion about bloggers versus journalists. I've generally been rather low-key on this issue, taking a position that bloggers and mass media should work together and that bloggers and professional journalists had different strengths and weaknesses. I am getting a sense that an increasing number of professional journalists are beginning to feel threatened or at least seem to be trying to belittle bloggers as a source of news.

Jeff Jarvis addresses this question today by quoting Tom Rosenstiel on the question, what is a journalist?

Tom Rosenstiel - Boston Globe

- A journalist tries to tell the literal truth and get the facts right, does not pass along rumors, engages in verifying, and makes that verification process as transparent as possible.
- A journalist's goal is to inspire public discussion, not to help one side win or lose. One who tries to do the latter is an activist.
- Neutrality is not a core principle of journalism. But the commitment to facts, to public consideration, and to independence from faction, is.
- A journalist's loyalty to his or her audience, even above employer, is paramount.
Under this definition, a lot of what we are calling media or press is not journalism and I DARE any professional journalist to try to defend any big media company of sticking to the definition above without fail.

I've been interviewing a lot of professional journalists about "What is journalism? What makes a good journalist?" They usually talk about vetting sources, portraying things accurately, and other things that any blogger who is used to being ripped to shreds in comments by their readers on their blog do as second nature. My conclusion is that much of good journalism is just common sense, and I would even assert that compared to journalists who don't write in their name, have fact-check desks to do their fact-checking and editors to fix their grammar, bloggers are much more accountable and have to take it in the face compared to their anonymous counterparts in the mass media.

Is mass media more rigorous than blogs? Remember the "Rumsfeld bans phone cameras" story that UPI and AFP ran and all the media picked up? Xeni at Boing Boing called the defense department and debunked the story and I updated my entry as a lot of the mass media were still going to press with the story. Did they print any corrections? I didn't see any. And this isn't an isolated incident. I've seen many cases where blogs have fact-checked and vetted stories that the media have just passed over.

I'm not blaming the mass media for their lack of ability be as nibble as blogs, but characterizing bloggers as a bunch of amateurs with no news value is really silly. Particularly annoying are the articles that seem to be picking a fight with the blogs. Maybe as Mahatma Ghandi said, "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." Dan, maybe you and "We the Media" better get over here before the real fighting starts.

As always, I like David Weinberger's. perspective on this.

David Weinberger
For example, after the breakfast, the bloggers were swarmed by the media. "You know one difference between you and us," said a friendly guy from NPR, "We don't applaud for the speakers." But, heck, it was Howard Dean and I'll be damned if I'm not going to stand and clap for him.

Seth Godin
Are blogs backward?

This leads me to two thoughts:
a. a lot more blogs should be posted in chronological order, like books. If you're trying to chronicle something, it makes a lot of sense to start at the beginning, as long as you provide regular readers an easy way to just read the current stuff (That's what RSS is for, right?). No, this isn't right for gizmodo. But it makes a lot of sense for someone, say, chronicling her experience in a 12 step program.

b. we need Movable Type or someone to create a simple way to create "greatest hits" pages. Not an archive, but a simple way for a new reader to read the ten posts we want them to start with, in the order we want them read, before they dive in.

I know it's weird to read a chronological blog. It's worse, imho, to leave a great blog just because the last two posts don't make sense out of context.

I think that blogs are creating a new format that people have become used to reading. Regardless of whether it is the most effective format, people are now accustomed to seeing new posts on top, stuff in the sidebar, etc. Granted that many people are reading blogs for the first time, I think that there is too much momentum to make a dramatic shift in the way we present information on blogs without a lot of confusion.

I think that making a "greatest hits" page easier to create makes sense. I personally like wiki pages for that sort of thing, but I could imagine it being built into a tool. Another thing people do is to put a sidebar section of favorite items and permalink from there.

Or maybe there is a way to create another view that allows you to read a blog from the beginning. That should be that hard.

Welcome aboard TypePad Germany. Congratulations to the Six Apart team in Europe and special thanks to Heiko.

Sifry's Alerts
Technorati and CNN

A few minutes ago CNN announced that Technorati will be providing real-time analysis of the political blogosphere at next week's Democratic National Convention. I will be on-site in CNN's convention broadcast center, along with Mary Hodder, and I'll be providing regular on-air commentary on what bloggers are saying about politics and the convention. And on Sunday, July 25, we'll launch a new section of our site for political coverage: This site will make it easy for bloggers, journalists, and anyone interested in politics to see the postings of the most linked-to political bloggers, to track the ideas with the fastest-growing buzz, and to monitor conversations in thousands of other political blogs. will link to this site, and we'll be updating the CNN site with the latest from the blogosphere.

Great news for us at Technorati and hats-off to CNN for taking this leap. Hopefully this will help people view blogging as a more "legitimate" source of news.

It's interesting to note that it was CNN which broke the big 3 TV network monopoly on news editorial by feeding local TV the raw video feeds, allowing them to edit the news themselves. Similarly, CNN providing bloggers the ability to reach the public directly may have an impact on the way media edits their news.

Obviously, incentive to just be faster, isn't better. I think we're going to get a chance to see whether Technorati authority management and the ability for blogs to fact check and manage news will be able to provide viewers of CNN with additional insight.

UPDATE: Here's the press release from CNN.

Seth Godin's new project, ChangeThis is a project to have interesting people write short "manifestos". Seth's working on creating a new form of literature. It's looks like something between a paper, a blog post and a marketing presentation with a message. It will be interesting to see how this takes off. It looks interesting to me. They have a blog, "Read and Pass".

Halley writes about it over on Worthwhile.

wtmcoverNoticed a beta version of a blog for Dan Gillmor's new book We the Media in my Technorati cosmos. ;-)

I am expecting this blog to be required reading in the same way Smart Mobs has become for me. I think this idea of having blogs to keep the ball rolling after publishing a book is a great idea.


Are Blogs Ready for Prime-Time?

June 16, 2004

...A partial profile of blog readers reveals:

* 54% of their news consumption is online
* 21% are bloggers themselves
* 46% describe themselves as opinion makers

...As Henry Copeland, author of the report and CEO of Blogads, summed up: "86% say that blogs are either useful or extremely useful as sources of news or opinion. 80% say they read blogs for news they can't find elsewhere. 78% read because the perspective is better. 66% value the faster news. 61% say that blogs are more honest. Divided on so much else, blog readers appear united in their dissatisfaction with conventional media and their rabid love of blogs."

Interesting statistics derived from a survey of of over 10,000 blog readers. Also asserts that blog readers are older, smarter and spend more money that most people think.

via Smart Mobs

Thanks to Adriaan, Jace, Boris and Kuri for updating Joi Ito's Web to Movable Type 3 and moving it to Bloghosts, the new home for Joi Ito's Web. The load time seems about the same, but the rebuild time on the new servers seems much faster so I think trackbacks and comments should not be a problem anymore. Let me know what you think.

Also, I don't have the birthday script and other things running yet, but hope to get it going soon. We switched to Adriaan's Technorati MT plugin and are making some other changes. Boris is doing some design changes too as you can see.

I arrived last night, made the mistake of eating a cheeseburger before bed and didn't sleep much and felt REALLY BAD this morning.

I crawled onto stage at Flash Forward this morning feeling very scattered and weak, but thanks to a strong topic and lots of funny movies to keep people awake, I was able to struggle through my talk. I talked about Creative Commons, Intellectual Property and the future of marketing. I channeled lots of Lessig and Godin. We did a Q&A session afterwards and I really enjoyed talking to the Flash community. Flash and Creative Commons makes SO MUCH SENSE together. The conference is extremely well organized and cool. I got to meet Stewart McBride and Lynda Weinman who really run a class act. Looking forward to figuring out some way to work with them on something...

After that, I went over to NPR and did a short interview about what I read. Blogs of course. ;-) I think the 20 min or so will be edited down to 3 min so I'm not sure what's going to end up in the interview, but I'll post a link once I know when it's going to air.

So no more public speaking until Apsen next week. Time to relax...

Scripting News
"No one was listening," said the NPR...

"No one was listening," said the NPR announcer, as she introduced the guy who posted the note on Tuesday morning about the new Edwards decals on the Kerry campaign plane. No one was listening, except for the people who were.

Clearly no one reads blogs...

I'm going to be doing a Summer Reading Series interview for NPR this week. I should list all of the blogs people should read this summer. ;-)

OK. I promise not to boast about every 1M blogs Technorati adds, but it's an opportunity to quote some interesting facts.

Sifry's Alerts
Technorati tracks 3 million blogs

On an average weekday, we're seeing over 15,000 new weblogs created per day. That means that a new weblog is created somewhere in the world every 5.8 seconds.

Of course, not all weblogs that are created are actively updated. Even though abandonment rates are high - our analyses show that about 45% of the weblogs we track have not had a post in over 3 months we are still tracking a significant population of people who are posting each day. The number of conversations are increasing. We're seeing over 275,000 individual posts every day. That means that on average, more than 3 blogs are updated every second. The median time from when someone posts something to their weblog to when it is indexed and available for searches on Technorati is 7 minutes. And we're striving to handle the load. But to be perfectly frank, it isn't easy. We've had some bugs and some outages - and for that I am truly sorry. I don't think the service is fast enough or stable enough. So, stability and fast response time is job #1, over new features and product developments. It has to work, 100% of the time.


Dave. Thanks for giving me credit for the Edwards as VP rumor link. You could have linked directly, credited only Metafilter or anything really. Actually, this is something that I struggle with every morning when I open Net News Wire and go through my news feeds. Some people take the position that it's not important where you get the link. I don't think this is true. The dilemma happens when you find links to the same interesting article on several blogs. Do you credit the first link you see? Do you credit the first person who posted it? Do you credit the most authoritative? I notice most people don't usually credit Blogdex or Daypop. You can always go to Technorati and see who first linked to it and who is the most authoritative link.

I don't think we need any global standard for link credits, but it's nice when someone gives it to you and it's something I try to do when I can. So thanks Dave.

3.5 hours until TypePad Japan is launchesd. Yay!

When writing my last entry, I remembered a question that some people ask me. Why choose the Creative Commons license that allows people to use content free for commercial use? I think people have some sort of instinctive reaction toward the notion that someone could "exploit" their work to make money. One question to ask is, will you make less money because of it or more? They have to give you attribution so more people will know about you and your work. I would rather have people copy and quote my blog without worrying about asking for permission. I would love to appear in commercial magazines, books, websites and newspapers. Yes, fair use allows these people to quote me without asking permission, but fair use must be defended in court and some countries don't even have fair use. As a practical matter, fair use really only gets you the right to hire a lawyer. The CC license allows people to use stuff from my blog without fear because they know my intention and it is clear legally as well.

The next question is, then why not make it completely free? A good way to understand this is to look at the differences between the GNU Free Document License that Wikipedia uses and the by-sa (attribution share-alike) Creative Commons license Wikitravel uses. There is some overlap and lots of nuances, but generally speaking the GNU license is more about creating an ever growing body of work which must remain free and allows commercial reprinting with limitations basically in order to allow people to charge for reprinting the document. The Wikipedia copyright page says:

The goal of Wikipedia is to create an information source in an encyclopedia format that is freely available. The license we use grants free access to our content in the same sense as free software is licensed freely. This principle is known as copyleft. That is to say, Wikipedia content can be copied, modified, and redistributed so long as the new version grants the same freedoms to others and acknowledges the authors of the Wikipedia article used (a direct link back to the article satisfies our author credit requirement). Wikipedia articles therefore will remain free forever and can be used by anybody subject to certain restrictions, most of which serve to ensure that freedom.
Wikitravel has a page on why they didn't choose the GNU Free Document License.
The GFDL was developed to support making Free Content versions of software manuals, textbooks, and other large references. Its requirements for what you have to distribute with a document under the GFDL -- such a copy of the GFDL and a changelog, as well as "transparent" (i.e. source) versions if you distribute over 100 copies -- aren't really all that onerous for large volumes of text.

But for Wikitravel, we really want to have each article redistributable on its own. Wikitravel articles can be as small as 1-2 printed pages. For such small documents, it just doesn't make sense to require people to pass out another 10 pages of legalese text, as well as floppy disks or CDs full of Wiki markup.

Consider these small "publishers" who would distribute stacks of photocopied printouts of Wikitravel articles:

• Local tourist offices
• Hotels or guesthouses
• Helpful travellers
• Teachers
• Exchange student programs
• Wedding or event planners

Burdening these publishers with restrictions meant for software documentation or textbooks would mean that they'd either ignore our license -- a bad precedent to set -- or, more likely, just not use our work.

We make our content Free so we can collaborate on this wiki, but also because we want it to be seen and used. We can't serve travellers with useful information if they can't get to that information in the first place.

A lightweight alternative

The license we've chosen, the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 1.0, is much easier and more lightweight. We think that using the Attribution-ShareAlike 1.0 license (by-sa) meets our goal of having copyleft protection on Wikitravel content, without putting an excessive burden on small publishers. All that needs to be included are copyright notices and the URL of the license; this can be done in a short paragraph at the end of the article.

The big downside of not using the GFDL is that GFDL content -- like Wikipedia articles -- cannot be included in Wikitravel articles. This is a restriction of the GFDL -- you're not allowed to change the license for the content, unless you're the original copyright holder. This is kind of a pain for contributors, but we figured it was better to make it easy for users and distributors to comply with our license.

Creative Commons is planning to issue a new revision of their suite of licenses some time in the winter of 2003-2004. Compatibility with other Free licenses is "a top priority", and we can expect that some time after that version change, articles created on Wikitravel can be distributed under the GFDL. So, even though we can't include GFDL work into Wikitravel, other Free Content authors can include Wikitravel content into their work.

In Wikipedia's case, the main use case is having it available online and I think for that the GFDL works best. In the case of Wikitravel where they would like to see their work expand into the physical world in small bits, I think the CC by-sa works well. I think they both picked the right licenses.

They point out one of the biggest problems with many of these copyleft licenses. They usually require the creator of a derivative work or the distributor to use the same license and even if the work can be tampered with, the license can not. This makes it hard if not impossible to mix with other licenses. The "share-alike" attribute in the CC license the Wikitravel uses serves this function and is similar to GPL and GFDL licenses in this regard. This is important in keeping the "spirit" of the original intent going and in the case of Wikipedia and Wikitravel which are group efforts, this is quite important. In my case, I would rather allow people who use my works to have maximum freedom so I have not included "share-alike" to my license. This allows people to mix my content with other types of licenses.

Some people have been critical about the lack of fact checking and vetting I do before I post an article or a link. I've argued that my posts are really the beginning of a discussion and not a definitive assertion or the final word. I really think about my blog as a group effort with the people who comment here.

I was reading Yochai Benkler's paper, "Coase's Penguin, or Linux and the Nature of the Firm", (which I highly recommend) and saw a reference to this from Slashdot's FAQ which I think sums up my feelings as well.

Q: How do you verify the accuracy of Slashdot stories?

A: We don't. You do. :) If something seems outrageous, we might look for some corroboration, but as a rule, we regard this as the responsibility of the submitter and the audience. This is why it's important to read comments. You might find something that refutes, or supports, the story in the main.

Agreed, a blog is a bit different from slashdot, but please. Read the comments. That's where most of the really interesting stuff goes on.

On the plane returning from Helsinki to Tokyo, I read an op-ed in the International Herald Tribune, Dare We Call It Genocide? Please click the link and read it. It's short, but an important perspective. People gloss over statistics and even vivid first-hand accounts like this in text often fail to get our attention. In fact, I remember thinking about blogging this article, but it slipped my mind after I returned to Japan.

This morning I saw Tears of the Sun starring Bruce Willis. This movie is about a heroic extraction mission in Nigeria with ethnic cleansing as a backdrop. The movie itself and its message were not that interesting, but the scene where people are being murdered and raped by soldiers struck me emotionally and created a visual image for me of the atrocities in Sudan. It sparked me to search for and post the link above.

I think it's important to realize that motion pictures and videos have an incredible impact on us emotionally. We've discussed the risks of racial stereotyping in motion pictures and some people have criticized me for citing shallow movies about important issues. It is clear that movies play a huge role in helping us (accurately or not) understand and care about cultures.

One thing I've noticed is that amateur films and flash are being used quite effectively in political jokes and commentary on the Net. There are copyright issues with many of the works, but I believe that video blogging, (or whatever you want to call grassroots video production and sharing) can play a very important role in raising awareness on issues such as the genocide in Sudan.

Maybe we need to get Witness and Passion of the Present working together if they aren't already. Ethan?

I had fun with some photoshopping last night, but this morning someone showed me a site of a photoshop-a-rama on the new MEP from Finland, Alexander Stubb. Too bad most blogs don't allow images in comments anymore. It's such a ... "creative" form of communication. ;-)

New Movable Type pricing and licensing up on the Six Apart site. Thanks to everyone for the support and feedback.

I'm at Eva Baudet's office right now helping her get her blog started. (She's writing her first post now.) She's a member of the Finnish Parliament and a member of the Swedish People's Party. She's a fellow GLT and I met her first in Davos. I've been coming to Finland almost every month these days and Eva's been educating me about Finnish and European politics. Finally I get to teach HER something. ;-)

Good luck on your blog Eva, and I hope you can keep it going!

Thanks to Boris for the design.

I'm about to leave Naples. I had a wonderful time. The total chaos of the city, the extremely warm and interesting people, the great food and the wonderful weather was just delightful. I'm sure I only scratched the surface, but I really enjoyed the Napolitan style. I only wish I could speak Italian.

I was also excited to meet all of the interesting people and the level of civil activism that could easily be sparked into an even more vibrant blogging community.

One thing that was confusing to me was that everyone says "Naples" when they're speaking in English. Why don't they say "Napoli"? Dean Martin says "Napoli", why do even the Italians say "Naples". Strange. In Japanese, we say "Napoli", "Torino" and "Milano" not, Naples, Turin and Milan.

I'm off in a few minutes for the UK. Look forward to meeting the folks there.

Special thanks to Derrick and his hosts for letting me use their place and to Giuseppe for inviting me!

A post about using NoteTaker, Ecto and TypePad together. Can't wait to try it.

Thanks to all of the newspapers that picked up the somewhat embarrassingly nice article by Yuri Kageyama of AP. AP syndication is really amazing.

One thing. The article doesn't contain links to Six Apart, Movable Type and TypePad mentioned in the article.

Weblogs and Authority

This week I'll be presenting a paper at the International Communication Association Conference in New Orleans titled Audience, Structure and Authority in the Weblog Community. The paper is an analysis of two different metrics for measuring authority within weblogs:

* Blogroll: A link from one weblog to the top-level of another, (e.g., links to, or I assume this is a proxy to popularity.

* Permalink: Any link from one weblog to deep content on another (e.g. a link to I assume this is a proxy to influence.

The following table shows the top 20 for each measure. One observation is that many of the top ranked sites are community weblogs (e.g. Slashdot or Memepool). These sites play the important role of hubs, maintaining ties to more weblogs than a single person would be able to. They allow information to diffuse quickly between distant parts of the network of readership.

Blogroll Degree RankPermalink Degree Rank

A second observation is that the lists are fairly distinct. While some webloggers hold top positions in both ranks, the list diverges considerably as the position increases. While Blogrolls tend to support the weblog elders (,, etc.), permalinks suggest a different set of authors as influencers (,, etc.). Looking at the differential between the ranks in the figure below, it is apparent that as soon as the rank passes 100, the correlation between Blogroll and Permalink rank becomes less defined.

Interesting paper which has an impact on the power-law discussion. The chart shows that I'm not popular, but I have influence, whereas Anil may be popular, but doesn't have influence. ;-)
Microsoft's Gates Touts Blogging as Business Tool

Gates described to his audience, which included Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Michael Dell, Carly Fiorina, Barry Diller and other top business executives, how blogs worked and suggested that they could be used as a tool for businesses to communicate with customers.


Microsoft, which has already amassed more than 700 employee bloggers talking up its products and software in development, is embracing blogs and RSS technology because they are yet another potential threat and opportunity, said Joe Wilcox, analyst at Jupiter Research.


Instead of RSS, however, Google is also promoting a rival syndication standard called Atom.

So, we already knew that Microsoft knows about and cares about blogs. Does the fact that Bill Gates explained blogs to a bunch of people who already knew what blogs were mean anything substantive?

Scoble, can you give us the inside skinny? Is this going to turn into a Google-Atom vs. Microsoft-RSS war as the article insinuates?

via Gen Kanai

To use the requisite automotive analogy, if Six Apart were a shiny new car, I feel like I was the person who put the first dent in it, and then a couple thousand people stood around pointing and saying "It's totalled!"
It's been a hard week for everyone at Six Apart with the difficulty with the launch of the Movable Type 3 and the licensing and communications about this. Anil seems to feel quite responsible. It sounds a bit like Rummy getting set up to be the fall guy, but fine. It was Anil's fault. ;-)

Having said that, I think everyone at Six Apart feels very responsible and is working really hard listening to all the feedback and fixing the licenses and communications of them. They're sincerely trying to be "good" so I'd appreciate any slack people are willing to cut them. Also, please continue to send them and myself ideas and feedback on how we can make the MT 3 license better for everyone. Thanks!

Dave Sifry, the CEO of Technorati is coming to Tokyo next week. We're having a meeting for users and developers. Dave and I will speak and Dave will give some cool demos etc. If you are a Technorati fan, want to know more about Technorati or just want to hang out with Dave, please sign up and come. We will be charging 2000 per person for simple drinks and snacks. There will be wifi. The details are below:

5/27 Thursday, 18:00-21:00

18:00-19:00 Demo, Talk & Discussion
19:00-21:00 Reception with drinks & light snacks

Place, Tokyo 21c Club, 7th Fl of Marunouchi Building

David L. Sifry, CEO, Technorati
Joichi Ito, head of International and mobility, Technorati

2000 yen fee for participation

Deadline to apply, May 24th Mon, 18:00

Please RSVP to Kenta Ushijima. We have a 50 person limit.

Please promote this on other blogs, particularly Japanese blogs. Thanks in advance and see you there!

I will be speaking at a Conference in Naples on June 4. The conference is called: Culture Digitali: I WEBLOG E LA NUOVA SFERA PUBBLICA, or Weblogs and New Public Opinion. The Conference has a blog and here is the entry with the program.

The conference registration is not yet open, but I will blog about it when it opens.

Some of us are thinking about getting together for lunch on June 5. If you want to hang out with us, please fill out this form. Look forward to meeting everyone.

Just finished reading the Galley Proof of We, the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People by Dan Gillmor. O'Reilly is the publisher and it should be coming out mid-July. The book will be published under a Creative Commons license and you will be able to download it free for non-commercial use.

Dan is one of the few professional journalists that really understands the impact of blogs and other new technologies on journalism. It's amazing how many professional journalists I know pooh pooh blogs and keep on chugging like nothing is changing. We, the Media is a excellent book that should be enlightening and humbling for professional journalists. It is also a great guide for us little "j" journalists about what the possibilities are as well as what the difficulties will be. Anyway, it's an amazingly important book for anyone interested in journalism and democracy. It goes well with Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture and Howard Rheingold's Smart Mobs.

Most people are aware that Six Apart got a lot of feedback on the release of Movable Type 3.0 and there was a bit of confusion as well. Mena has a good post that addresses many of the issues people have been asking about.

Kathryn Cramer
Halliburton Pulling the Plug on GI Communications

A week after a scandal broke involving photos of American troops torturing Iraqi prisoners, Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown, & Root is pulling the plug on private electronic communications with the folks back home, apparently at the request of the Department of Defense.

via Jim

Oh right! If it weren't for that pesky Internet...

I haven't seen this in mainstream media so I may be jumping the gun. Anyone who finds any other information about this, please let me know so I can update.

Welcome on board TypePad Spain!

John Perry Barlow
"Kicking butt is mandatory. Taking names is optional."

So runs the headline on a current U.S. Navy recruiting ad. This may sum up current U.S. military philosophy pretty neatly, whatever the branch of service. No one from the Pentagon knows, or seems particularly interested in finding out, how many civilians we have killed in Iraq so far. I would guess it exceeds many times over the number who died here on September 11. One of the liabilities of conducting a military operation that is so heavily based on "death from above" is that, even with our surgical new targeting abilities, we are dangerously abstracted from the consequences below.

Barlow rants about the situation in Iraq.


Emily @ Smart Mobs
Dog Blog

Red Ferret's dog blog. (Thanks Anil). Peter Steiner's original "dog on the Internet" cartoon can be viewed in the Cartoonbank of the New Yorker.

My puppies are more into moblogging, and of course Bo and Pookie have recently joined Dogster.

Welcome online TypePad France!

When I have posted particularly anti-Bush or partisan views, many people have complained in the comments or by email. Some of the most intelligent comments on my blog have come from conservatives and some of the most stupid from liberals. In order to keep some of the more intelligent conservatives involved in the dialog, I've tried to generally steer clear taking strong stands on the war in Iraq and on the presidential election.

I thought about it and I've decided that this is stupid. I don't want Bush to be re-elected and I think going into Iraq was wrong. I will try to be thoughtful about how I make my assertions, but I'm going to stop pretending that I'm non-partisan. I hope that Republicans or people who do not agree with me will continue to read this blog and disagree openly with me. I have just decided that it's getting too close to the election and there is too much at risk for me to just sit here and act neutral.

You can now track who is linking to particular posts on my blog by clicking the Technorati link next to link next to trackbacks at the bottom of the post. The result is similar to trackbacks, but these links are links that have been discovered by Technorati, whereas trackbacks are links that are sent to me directly by other bloggers. Boing Boing recently started Technorati support and Dave Sifry explains how to add this to your blog. Since I don't get as many links as Boing Boing, clicking the Technorati link will often yield no results. I think we need to figure out a way to easily show how many links from Technorati, just like comments and trackbacks so people will know whether they should click or not. Adriaan's got it running on his blog using the Technorati API, but it's a bit dodgy still so I'm going to wait for a better solution. ;-)

In order to make these results more accurate, it would be great if people made a point to link as much as possible to the permalinks rather than the top level URL when referring to entries in blogs.

Alex Hung has joined forces with us to make a Windows version of Adriaan's OS X blogging client ecto based on his original client, TypeWriter. Check out the ecto for Windows page for details on the beta test.

Mena starts corporate blogging at Six Apart on Mena's Corner.





If I could so much ask, I would like to suggest others who own typepad sites and other blogs to put a note on theirs as a means to spread the word.

So until TypePad blogs are unblocked, you will all have to bear with this ugly black border around my blog.

Pass it on.

Via North Korea zone

UPDATE: I'm removing the black background because it seems to mess up some browsers and loads slowly for some reason. I have begun discussions with people who might be able to help us get unblocked. I will keep you updated if there is any progress.

I just got email saying that TypePad is being blocked in China. Can anyone else confirm this?

Umm... thanks Betsy. But I would rather have been superman. But I guess it's better than this.

My photoshopping has definitely gotten better since I've started blogging.

Lucky for MT users that images in comments are turned off by default now.

New Technorati beta launches. New looks, new features. Go to to give it a whirl.

The blogs have created another Dave. Now don't get me wrong. Some of my best friends are Daves, but we definitely have too many Daves.

Dr. Seuss
Did I ever tell you that Mrs. McCave
Had twenty-three sons, and she named them all Dave?

Well, she did. And that wasn't a smart thing to do.
You see, when she wants one, and calls out "Yoo-Hoo!
Come into the house, Dave!" she doesn't get one.
All twenty-three Daves of hers come on the run!

This makes things quite difficult at the McCaves'
As you can imagine, with so many Daves.
And often she wishes that, when they were born,
She had named one of them Bodkin Van Horn.
And one of them Hoos-Foos. And one of them Snimm.
And one of them Hot-Shot. And one Sunny Jim.
Another one Putt-Putt. Another one Moon Face.
Another one Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face.
And one of them Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate...

But she didn't do it. And now it's too late.

Six Apart announced TypeKey. It's a user login system that can among other things, help prevent comment spam. It will work with Movable Type 3.0 and TypePad.

Speaking of racial stereotypes... Here's a cartoon of bloggers writing about the the impeachment in Korea from a Korean newspaper. On the other hand, at least they're reading the blogs.

via dda on IRC

Ecto now supports It allows me now to take any URL using in a blog post and submit it to (the URL bookmark exchange) with one click from inside of Ecto (my blogging client). You can see all of these URLs under the delicious tab in my sidebar. You can also subscribe to the URLs in my delicious feed as an RSS feed.

Isaac Mao
The biggest ever block on blog in China, one of the biggest blogging service in China, has been ordered to shut down it's service from noon today.

Today I met with Nathan Grey and Michael Mitchell of the American Cancer Society. Nathan is working on building their International network and Michael is in charge of the Futuring and Innovation Center. Randall Moss, who I met at ETech pointed them my way.

My mother had cancer for decades before she passed away and my sister and I struggled much of our lives her cancer in the family and dealing with a variety of issues: financial, social, medical and psychological. I remember using the American Cancer Society web page when I was looking for help online. The idea about using blogs and social networking tools to provide more access, dialog, information and support for people who are suffering from or are helping people who are suffering from cancer is such a great idea. The idea of trying to get more people active in campaigns to push policy issues is also very interesting.

I promised to noodle about some thoughts and get back to them, but if anyone has any good ideas or links to resources or blogs about cancer that might be useful too look at, that would be great.

I already gave them the basic advice, make their site more permalink/blog friendly, ping a pinger sites when they update, try blogging themselves, etc.

Dan Gillmor's organizing a Tokyo bloggers meeting. Unfortunately, I will be in Austria, but Tokyo bloggers, please sign up and show him a good time.

Dan Gillmor
Tokyo Blogger Gathering?

Arrived in Tokyo last night for a few days. Considering a blogger gathering on Tuesday evening, probably in Akasaka. Shoot me an e-mail, or post a comment below, if you think you can make it.

Loic's going to Germany and is trying to hook up with bloggers there.

brought to you by #joiito meetupster

At risk of being labeled an echochamberist, I'm going to agree that danah has a good point in her post about echo chambers. (See David Weinberger's article for more background.) I think it is natural to communicate most with people whom you share context and I believe that if you separate strong ties and weak ties a la Granovetter's Strength of Weak Ties, there is definitely a lot of "strong tie" hang-out-with-your-friends action that goes on on blogs. I think that's natural. Most blogs are conversations between a small group of friends.

It's clear that it's fun and easy to hang out with people you like and trust and shared context allows you to relax and communicate easily. I do not think, however, that hanging out with your friends is exclusive of caring about or listening to people outside your immediate group of friends. This is especially true if you care about diversity or the pursuit of truth. The difficulty with blogs is that a variety of contexts are collapsed and the conversation with your friends, the conversation with a larger community and the general pursuit of diversity and "triangulation" all happens in the same place.

Normally, chatting in the kitchen with my family, hanging out at a geek conference and giving a plenary at an international conference are different contexts for me where I am performing a different facet of my identity and where my mind is in a completely different mode. On my blog, I somehow mix all of these together.

I think that in the real world the amount time communicating with your strongs ties is generally greater than the amount of time communicating with your weak ties. Weak ties are like transferring information across communities and boundaries whereas communicating inside of your group is more like digesting these thoughts. I suppose the question is whether talking about things among your friends tends to reinforce and amplify misconceptions or leads to greater understanding of the issues.

On the one hand, sharing context allows you to communicate efficiently and place new ideas into existing frameworks without the risk of constantly talking past each other. On the other hand, it limits your ability to "think outside the box" and a poorly organized group probably causes mutual back-patting. I think that's what the echo chamber is currently being blamed for causing. Shouldn't we recognize the fact that people will hang out with their friends and create communities and try to focus on how use these communities together with our weak ties?

I think that the project that Ethan and I are planning is an example of this. The idea is to take a group of bloggers to Africa. The strong ties allows us to have a group of people with whom we share a context so that we can support each other and work together to think about and create action based on things we see and learn in Africa. Going to Africa is an attempt to forge weak ties with a community outside. I think that without the smaller group of friends, trying to tie my Africa experience into my daily life would be more difficult and I think that going to Africa will enrich my local community with lots of new information and culture. I think the perfect balance is what we are trying to achieve.

As a child I travelled a lot, but mostly between US and Japan. I dealt with a lot of bicultural issues, but the rest of the world seemed far away. In the 90's I started going to Europe and Asia more, but it was always to "civilized" places.

Several years ago, I became actively involved in trying to reform Japan and I was allowed to be quite vocal about this. Last year, I gave a rant at Davos about how broken Japanese democracy was. Afterwards, Ms. Ogata, the former UN High Commissioner for Refugees told me that I should stop ranting as a Japanese and think more about global democracy and global issues. These words stuck with me and last year I tried to think about blogs and emergent democracy outside of the Japanese context. With the US elections front and center, the obvious place to try to apply these thoughts was the US. Having spent a year or so thinking about US politics, I realize how important the US election is, but I'm drawn more and more to countries that need more help.

I think many of us avoid thinking about or worrying about the rest of the world. We hear people talking about poverty, but it sounds like something in some far away country on a National Geographic special. Most people just don't care. To be honest, I cared, but in retrospect, I didn't REALLY care. I guess better late than never. As I prepare for my trip to Africa with Ethan and try to figure out exactly how I can contribute and what I should be studying, I'm drawn back to organizations such as the UNHCR. On the flight back to Japan, I saw Beyond Borders, a movie about relief work and the UNHCR, starring Angelina Jolie. The movie captured some of the experiences of being an activist on a global level and I watched it thinking about what drove some people to such high levels of commitment. Googling around, I found Angelina Jolie's journal from her mission to Russia last year. (We need to get her a blog...) What is really striking to me and something that I'm trying understand is the process that people go through to reach a higher level of caring for human beings outside of their immediate circle. I think that this process holds the key for some of the important contributions that technologies can make.

NKzone, the North Korean blog needs citizen bloggers to cover the Life Funds for North Korean Refugees (LFNKR) in Tokyo on Feb 22 and two human rights events in Seoul on Feb 23. If you're available, please help us out.

Bloggers will be reporters tomorrow in Iran

I'm trying to encourage Iranian blogger to go out tomorrow, the election day, and report what they see and hear in their city and blog it. I also plan to gather all posts related to it in one place either in my own Persian blog or in Sobhaneh, the collective news blog.

I also consider a place in iranFilter for those Iranian who know English to provide translations the reports that are gathered in Persian.

This can be the 9/11 for Persian blogosphere. It's the first event that potentially engages every body in every city in Iran and blogs can play a huge role in reporting the news, rumors, and all those things that traditional journalists usually miss.

Iranian bloggers do not vote tomorrow, but the blog.

Update: special page on iranFilter is now set up and it's ready for Persian bloggers' covereage on the election day. Please help us by translating whatever you find interesting in Persian sources into English.

A very important day for Iran and a chance for blogs to make a difference.

Six Apart makes Fast Company 50. Yay and congrats!

My company Neoteny is an investor in Six Apart.

Shelly asks the question "What part of you, the writer, is part of a community? Where, within yourself, does community leave off and you begin?" and says, "But I guess we're accountable to each other, and that's the most dangerous censorship of all -- it's the censorship of the commons." This is an interesting question that Shelley has pointed out to me and I have been thinking about. In the comments on Shelley's blog, Doc ties it to the notion of the "echo chamber," the effect where we're all just talking to each other oblivious to the outside world. Many people blame the failures of the Dean campaign to this "echo chamber" and point to this "echo chamber" as a problem that is prevalent on blogs. I do see the risks, but I don't think criticizing the existence of communities or friendships is the solution. I think that communities and friendship are the foundations of trust and love and I do not agree that an aggregate of facts and single voices are the solution to finding the "ultimate truth" in writing.

I believe that communities and the feeling of community are an essential part of the equation, but that the goal is to bridge many communities and try to expand one's notion of community the largest possible size.

For instance, I believe that you can feel your ultimate loyalty to your family, company, city, state, race, religion, nation, type of government or the world. I believe that by putting your loyalty at the highest level allows you to be a global citizen and helps you recognize the importance of whistle-blowers who are often betraying local loyalties for a higher good. I believe that the whole notion of civil rights is a struggle to elevate and increase the emotional size of the community we identify with.

One way to increase the size of the community one identifies with is to participate in multiple communities or to include members from others communities. This is an important part of the "caring problem" that Ethan and I often talk about. I often quote Jack Kemp who once said that, "it doesn't matter what you know if you don't care." One of the problems that mass media faces is that they can report on Iraq, Iran and Africa, but most people don't identify with the people there and they don't care. Salam Pax showed that a single blogger with a voice can increase the caring. Salam Pax is part of our community and we are proud of him and we care about him. Through his eyes, we see Iraq as part of our world and because of him, other Iraqi bloggers have joined our community.

I think the key is to understand that it's not just like a high school. In high school, there is group of friends and everyone spends all of their time concerned about being in that group or not in that group. My life is a jumble of relationships and memberships in a great variety of sometimes conflicting communities of all different sizes and doesn't feel like high school to me. As Ross has pointed out, these can be roughly grouped into three sizes. Big power-law shaped groupings, which are political, medium sized groupings which are social, and smaller groups which are strong-tie/family/close-friend groups. My sister used the word, "Full-Time Intimate Community".

The behavior at each of these levels is quite different and it is when we collapse the context that we get in trouble. Comments made between intimate friends are different from the comments that are suitable for a discussion at a cocktail party. Comments made at a cocktail party are often not suitable for a public speech. One of the problems we have on blogs is that all three of these contexts are often collapsed into one blog.

On the notion of "censorship of the commons," I guess I'd disagree with Shelley. I think censorship by a minority of people with influence over the majority is much more dangerous than "censorship of the commons." If the commons represents a general consensus of the views of the community you choose to participate in, they should have some influence over you. I think censorship is really bad when it is exercised from a position of authority, especially one that has the ability to assert such authority through force. I am personally pulled in many directions from all of the communities I participate in and these tensions are interesting and useful. I see them less as censorship and more as points of view that help me triangulate. My traditional Japanese community, my crypto/security community, my feminist friends, my liberal political community and my latte-drinking, orkut-loving, IRC-addicted community all have opinions about what I write. I think about what their opinions will be when I write and I find that this helps me look at any issue from a variety of perspectives. They are each echo chambers in their own way, but I try to escape this echo chamber not by denying their existence or their influence over me, but by recognizing them and using a combination of communities to help me and my readers triangulate.

I knew I would not be able to compete with the other bloggers in covering the content of ETech so I focused on photos. I've finally uploaded most of the decent photos here. I took the photos with my Canon 300D. I used a 55-200mm telephoto zoom lens which helped me be more invasive and catch people off-guard. It looks more like a collection of snapshots of my friends than anything resembling photojournalism. For some real photojournalism, take a look at the World Press Photo awards.

This is not interesting unless you're tuned into the blogsphere sit-com so I'm posting my thoughts on my Live Journal.

Russell says:
Interesting conference - too bad I wasn't there to get a longer impression, but boy it seemed like there were some serious pecking orders there.
And someone else I know there said this via IM last night:
You are missing some good conferences this week here, although I have come to the conclusion that a lot of the bloggers are pretty pompous.
I'm not sure what to make of that. Pecking orders? Pompous? It bothers me, I guess.
That's odd. I haven't noticed pecking or being pecked. Pompous? Nothing more or less than I would expect. I wonder if I'm missing something? I'm generally fairly sensitive about this sort of stuff. Anyone here at ETech have any specific examples?

I DO think we're talking about blogging too much, but pecking?

Via Yusuf

photo_library_3208Yesterday, Jeff Jarvis introduced us to the Iranian blogger, Pedram Moallemian. Pedram blogs at the eyeranian. He is one of the outspoken Iranians who blogs in English and help us understand what's going on on the incredible number of Persian blogs. He explain that the Persian blogs can be traced to the short explanation written by Hoder at explaining how to use Blogger in Persian. There are now over 100,000 Persian blogs. Most of the blogs are about politics and sex as well as other things like poetry. The suppression of free speech in Iran is one of the explanations for the number of Persian blogs, but the notion that one short page of Persian documentation for Blogger starting this incredible trend is also very important. Many countries and languages probably just need a small seed to create an emergent cascade of blogging adoption.

Jeff writes about an arrested Iranian blogger who was recently freed. Great post with links to other interesting posts about Iranian blogging.

Is this an interesting question? What's the difference between a journal, a diary and a blog?

Sifry, "Blog this link." Cool Amazon hack. Dave whipped it together at 2am last night after a chat with John Battelle.

The cosmos that shows the people who have just blogged the link is here.

"Do you know about power laws? Well fuck it, I've got the data."

An interesting point David made was that there are a huge number of blogs with 4 links.

Rebecca, from CNN, who is now at Harvard on sabattical, has just launched a new blog about North Korea. It's an cool experiment in blogging/journalism by someone who has a lot of on-the-ground experience covering difficult topics like this.

This is an experiment in interactive, participatory journalism. And in the new age of internet web-blogging, we are ALL journalists.

NKzone is NOT a conventional news or information website. Our members will build NKzone collectively with unique, personal, and (whenever possible) first-hand insights about the world's most mysterious country. Please approach this site not as a "viewer" or "reader", but as a "participant" and "contributor." NKzone is non-partisan. It seeks to generate interest and debate about North Korea. It seeks to include many clashing views. It is not advocating a particular cause, other than the desire that people be better informed about North Korea.

Rational Ignorance

Academic life is ruining the internet for me. An example: Today I read Joi Ito’s wandering entry on money, economics, and physics, and the first thing I thought of doing was to post a bibliography of all of the reading that should have been done before that post was made. And then I realized that posting such a bibliography is the equivalent of shouting at the television. It doesn’t matter what I say about it. The TV (and the internet) can’t really hear me.

Lago reacts to an interesting point that I in fact pondered yesterday before posting my thoughts from my lunch with Seth. Is it better for me to post my superficial musings with Seth in the one hour that I had before I needed to move on to the next thing, or do I scribble them in my notebook and write a more rigorous treatment with references. I decided, as Cory often says, that my blog is my notebook and that even though many of my thoughts were half-baked, it was better to write early/write often than to back burner the thoughts and probably never get around to posting them.

If you read on in Lago's post, he does raise a very interesting way to look at the trade-offs of shallow vs rigorous. What is the cost of rigor and is it worth it?

I am not an academic. I am an extremely busy businessman who happens be lucky enough to meet quite a few smart people from a variety of fields. As one good friend has told me, my primary purpose is to connect people. It probably adds more value to society for me to spend one hour getting two people excited enough to talk to each other than to sit and ponder a notion by myself. My blog is not a rigorous treatment of the topics that I'm interested in, but rather a collection of links, questions, thoughts and points of view. A great variety of people read this blog and I'm sure that just about any professional thinker in on any topic I write about will find my treatment of the topic rather superficial. The question is to me is whether this is valuable or whether my lack of rigor could actually be a disservice to the discourse.

Getting back to my last post... I actually did think about spending the weekend dragging out my old notes from Hayek, Coase, Arrow, Chandler, Shannon, Mauss, Simon, etc. and digging into my memory and trying to tie all of this together. Instead, I posted a my rambling thoughts because I knew I'd never do it if I put it off. Also, I realize that I will never be able to compete directly with full-time academic and that it is not my position to answer these questions in a rigorous way. I suppose that if I can end up getting Seth, an economist and a rabbi to sit down and chat about world views over dinner at some point, I will have served my purpose.

I don't want to ignite a academic vs non-academic flame-war here. I'm just trying to point out, as Lago does, that we are all making decisions about how much to study in order for us to make the right decisions. I don't have the time or the ability to do "all of the reading that should have been done before that post was made." Having said that, I would encourage people to post "a bibliography of all of the reading" since I am interested and so are many other people.

Ethan and I will be leading a discussion called Emergent Democracy Worldwide at the Digital Democracy Teach-In in San Diego on February 9. Ethan has posted a critique of Jim Moore's Second Superpower and my Emergent Democracy paper. He asks some important questions. One of the questions, which gets developed more in the comments is what made Salam Pax successful? One of the most difficult things that the we face is getting people to care about people in developing nations. Somehow, Salam Pax was able to get Americans to read his blog and get them to care in a way that statistics and objective reporting could not.

Salam Pax wrote English like a native, he was relatively well off, he shared a cultural context (his music, his humor) with his American audience. What else? Will a Salam Pax of Congo emerge? Ethan talks about the current small percentage of privileged elite who currently blog and how this is not representative. I think that Salam Pax is also not representative of the average man in Iraq. From a practical perspective, I think that we are going to have to start by finding a small number of interesting and articulate translator/bridges in each of the developing nations. These people, like Salam Pax, will most likely come from privileged positions, but if they, like Salam Pax strive to recruit more bloggers and help provide voices to those who are less technically or otherwise not currently capable of expressing themselves, this is a start.

I think the two key pieces to work on first are to report on issues in under-reported regions and to help people care about issues in these regions. As Jack Kemp once said, "It doesn't matter what you know, if you don't care." Salam Pax was able to help many Americans care and know more about Iraq. How can we seed this in other countries and increase the scale. Iraq is much wealthier and advanced that many developing nations and it is unlikely that there is a Salam Pax in every country that needs a voice. I'm looking forward to talking to and discussing with Ethan and others who are in or work in developing nations to try to think of ways to make the technology more accessibly and their voices more interesting to the rest of the world.

Ethan's post is quite long and he asks many other questions that are quite important, so I suggest you read it. I thought I would highlight just this point for now.

As a former student, I sure wish I had had (via Seb) when I was in school. I would have had a lot to say and I would have felt justified. Maybe I wouldn't have had to start our underground newspaper. On the other hand, I can see how this might be abused. There are some thoughtful comments from many people about the "Adopt A Reporter" idea over on PressThink. This is not a new issue, but an old issue that continues to accelerate. As Loic points out, blogging helps you manage your own identity instead of leaving it up to others. Having said that, any notion that you can "control" your identity is a myth.

Over at Chanpon, someone blogged about a teacher from my high school who passed away. Some students posted some allegations in the comments. Obviously, since the teacher was dead, he couldn't defend himself. On the other hand, the students obviously felt justified and there are very few opportunities for students to speak up about their teachers. We ended up removing the entry and the comments. It was a very difficult decision, but we did what we thought was right. Blogs and other forms of publishing come with a great deal of responsibility and it is very difficult to judge what is right and wrong. That is why we need to think about justice and how we can make the institution of blogs and the Internet just. The technology influences what we can do and how people use it. Having said that, just as with politicians, we get what we deserve. Unless we have a strong sense of justice and speak up, we'll end up with bad technologies in the same way we end up with bad politicians.

Version 1.0 of ecto, the blogging client for Mac OS X has just been released. It was written by Adriaan Tijsseling who works for me.

What "version 1.0" means is that you can now pay real money for it.

PS In case you were wondering, this is a shameless plug.

Three chief executive officer participants at the World Economic Forum prepare public Internet blogs about their experiences in the ultra-exclusive retreat of the world's wealthy and powerful. Seated from left to right Loic Le Meur, CEO of Ublog, a Paris-based blog company; Yat Siu, CEO of Outblaze, a Hong Kong-based email service company and Joichi Ito, CEO of Neoteny Company Limited, a Japan-based venture capital firm.

No... I'm not about to punch Loic. My fist is an expression of our solidarity. -- Joi
Thomas Crampton's article in the International Herald Tribune about us blogging Davos just came out. The IHT may be a good blog, but it sure does take a long time to post articles...
Thomas Crampton @ IHT
With bloggers inside, Davos secrets are out
Tell-all accounts proliferate on the Web

DAVOS, Switzerland This year the barbarians were not protesting at the gates of the World Economic Forum; they were inside and blogging.

The World Economic Forum has posted a pdf summary of the blogging panel. As usual, the tone isn't the same as what I experienced and they got most of what I said, but I think my emphasis was a bit different. I hope Loic gets his video transcript up so you can decide interpret it yourself.

billmon at Whiskey Bar is blogging from Davos. I wonder who he/she is. I looked up "Bill Mon" and last name "Billmon" in the directory and I couldn't find a listing. I couldn't find his/her real name on the blog either. Is Whiskey Bar a pseudonymous blog by a professional journalist?

Thanks for the link Abe. I think billmon is presenting an interesting view. I'm focused primarily on hanging out with people I like and going to sessions that I'm interested in so billmon's view is probably a good way to see another side of Davos.

I've been invited to be say something at the Social Computing Symposium at Microsoft. I'm looking forward to hanging out with some of my favorite people. (Maybe the first opportunity for me to speak at the same conference as my sister too...) I'm REALLY interested in what Microsoft is thinking about this space, and it appears that they are doing a lot of thinking.

Introduced Thomas to Sergey. Joi helping his fellow "journalist"...
Thomas Crampton is a fellow GLT and journalist for the International Herald Tribune. I've been hanging out with his a lot this trip, trying to learn more about how journalists work and think. For instance, I asked him about how he deals with issues such as global warming where it is so difficult to understand the first sources and we have to rely so heavily on experts and reports which often conflict. I've also been watching how he interviews people and teases out quotes and threads and focuses his discussion in a way that tries to gather evidence for a story that's developing in his head while at the same time keeping open opportunities for new ideas. (Just like good bloggers do. ;-) )

He's now working on a story about bloggers and he's been interviewing the bloggers at Davos. He's been asking a lot of questions about how we view ourselves, our ethics and what blogging means. It's very interesting on many levels because I'm interviewing him about journalism, he's interviewing me about blogging and I'm watching him interact with people, efficiently gathering information to construct a story. I'm looking forward to seeing how Tom's article turns out and how he manages to take the spaghetti of conversations and turns it into a piece of journalism.

In the process of developing the story about blogs, he quickly picked up the importance of Google and asked me to introduce him to Sergey. We both asked him questions about Google and blogs and I am happy to report that Sergey thinks that blogs may highlight some general issues with page ranking that need to be dealt with to continue to increase the accuracy of page rank, but that he didn't seem to think that blogs were "noise" or that they were getting artificially high page rank. Sergey didn't seem think think that blogs should be treated any differently than any other type of web page. This concurs with the opinion that Larry Page gave me the when I asked him about this last year.

So sorry Andrew, it doesn't look like blogs will be filtered from Google any time soon, and until the media starts to become more permalink friendly, I think the role of blogs in providing information and opinion on the Internet will continue to increase. The good news is that I realize that the questions that many bloggers are asking themselves about ethics and justice are the same questions that editors and journalists are asking themselves.

UPDATE: I was walking with Tom and got a few choice quotes from him. "Reality is good. It's earthy." And in response to my comment about whether I should pull my punches on journalists, he says, "no, poke 'em in the eyes." ;-)

Yesterday was the blogging panel at Davos. Jay Rosen was the moderator and the panelists were Orville H. Schell, Loic Le Meur, yours truly and Hubert Burda. You all already know Loic and Jay I'm sure. Orville is the Dean of the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and was at the Media Leaders discussion the day before too. He's got some great perspectives and his positive and insightful view on blogs was encouraging. Hubert Burda is the CEO of Hubert Burda Media, one of the largest media conglomerates in Europe and I was extremely impressed by his positive and open view on blogs and media. In other words, we had a great panel.

Jay kicked it off by saying that we were going to ignore the official title, "Will Mainstream Media Co-Opt Blogs and the Internet". ;-)

I explained that blogging meant a lot of things. There was the technology of blogging, the act of blogging and what journalists were talking about most of the time. I explained the power-law and asserted my position that the head of the curve, or the more popular blogs, were like an amplifier and that I agreed with many people who believe that the "tail" or the more personal blogs was where most of the interesting stuff was going on. I talked about Ross Mayfield's layers and the idea that a lot of interesting sources could be filtered by special interest groups, through a social layer and to the amplifier where maybe they can connect, merge with mass media to a certain extent. Because of the the media orientation of the panel and the audience, we decided to focus on the impact that blogging had on journalism and media.

Loic said he thought blogging was like "open sourcing" himself. Which I thought was an interesting way to look at it. He used his metaphor about how he thought blogging will do to the traditional media what Napster did to the music industry. He clarified that he meant that it would allow people to share information peer to peer instead of going through traditional distribution. The difference was that people could more easily create content for blogs than music.

Mr. Burda had a lot of great insights and talked about how collapsing business models and changes were all part of the game and that he and the others needed to let go and adapt. He made a point that he would be interested to see more blogs focusing on things like science instead of typically popular stuff like politics.

I think we all agreed that the ability for blogs to talk with and become one with the audience was key.

What was interesting was the number of people from the mass media in the audience who still seemed to think that blogs were either just poor quality news or that bloggers were just wannabe journalists. One person from a newspaper said that she thought blogs would just become incubators for journalists. I (emotionally) asserted that the mass media and blogs were not the same. Many bloggers (such as myself) are blogging, not for the money, but for a passion which embodies what I believe is part of the heart and soul of journalism. We are not encumbered by the pressures of advertising, marketing and the burden of having to sell print media. It's insulting to think that all bloggers just want to be journalists for print media. I pointed out that big media had a role and that their ability to protect their journalists from litigation and to fund particularly expensive investigations and stories was something we can't do, but the notion that we're just little versions of them was absurd.

Jay chimed in and pointed out that blogs are much more similar to the spirit of the "freedom of the press" referred to in the US constitution. IE citizens with presses.

I'm on a narrow band connection so I will add links after I get to a wifi connection.

Everyone in Davos is a CEO or some other fairly senior title. I've found myself introducing myself at sessions as "a blogger" much/most of the time. It still amazing me how few people know what blogging is. Calling myself a "blogger" seems to be the fastest way for me to get the "what is a blog" discussion going. ;-)

Chatting with Ethan of Geekcorps and Gillian of Witness conspiring to blogifying developing nations and organzations doing human rights work.

Ethan and Gillian are educating me on doing human rights and technology work in developing nations and I'm trying to help integrate blogging into their work. The stuff that they're doing is SO important, I think it's a great application for the blog amplifier.

Ethan's convinced me to visit Africa. Geekcorps sends geek volunteers into developing nations to work on technology projects. Ethan was an Internet entrepreneur turned social entrepreneur.

Gillian has been an activist her whole life, first as a high school Amnesty International chapter leader, then as an attorney, then as a investigative documentary producer. Just listening to her talk about all of the things she's done is so inspiring and is making me feel like a couch potato blogger.

The Media Leaders Community session was a closed session with the CEOs and editors from the top media organizations. The representatives were all people who struggled with the issues of running a media business while trying to maintain editorial integrity. A variety of regions and organizational structures were represented including TV, magazines, newspaper, for profit and non-profit.

The session was held in a circle and was broken into two session. I was one of the few "outsiders" who were invited to participate, my chance to open my mouth was the second session. the first session was, "The Double Life and Information Ethics: The Challenge of Managing News and People" and the second session was, "Rethinking the Net – Internet Media Strategy, Wireless, Bloggers and Others."

Generally speaking, the media leaders talked a lot about the struggle to maintain editorial integrity in a world of increasing government and advertiser pressure. Clearly, the business of running media companies conflicted in many ways with editorial integrity. There was some debate about whether embedded journalism in the war was a good thing or a bad thing and the role of TV, photojournalism and print. One the one had, the need for TV to have images caused them to jump at the opportunity to send in cameras with the troops. It was argued that the good media were able to use these assets without compromising their editorial integrity while others clearly were unable to retain their integrity.

It was interesting hearing about how important the hiring and mentoring of journalists was and how difficult it was to find serious journalists. Last night I had dinner with some serious journalists who covered war, pestilence, and other hard-core topics in very remote regions and was impressed by their vision and ethics. The ability for editors to find, vet then manage these journalists appears to be an art.

Everyone seemed quite enthusiastic about the Internet as a "good thing" but people were not sure about the business model.

People started talking about how they were measuring traffic and that's when I jumped in and talked about how traffic was a second order or third order analysis and that looking at who was linking to articles and who was linking to them and what they were saying was much more interesting than traffic.

I gave my standard rant about how the first person voice of bloggers can help people care about the issues and "assets" in under-covered regions can help the resource issues that media companies face.

They talked about the "noise" of the Internet and the brand of print media, but I explained that there were many ways that blogs managed reputation and that these tools continued to become more refined. I explained that some blogs played the role of journalist providing new content in specific focused areas, while other blogs provided the editor role with a broader focus linking to other blogs and media sites. I talked about triangulation and how choosing a few key blogs as your entry into your view of the Net was a very good way to get a balanced view of the traditional media, something that the point/counterpoint media currently has difficulty providing.

I explained that many of the media sites in other countries were receiving more visibility in the US and other countries from bloggers linking to them. I explained that media sites could do things like permalinks, trackbacks, ping pingers, syndication and other things to make them much more blog friendly. Being friendly with bloggers was going to be essential for them, I opined.

I think that I was generally well received and I think many of the participants will be reading blogs and looking at aggregators tonight.

I'm in a meeting with the WEF Media Leaders. Its a few dozen people consisting of the editors-in-chief and CEOs of a variety of major media organizations from around the world.

I'm going to talk about the role of blogs and how we might work together. I'm going to talk about how blogs can address the issue of getting people to care about about things by providing a voice to people who don't have a voice and can provide additional resources, which seems to be one of the issues that many of these media companies have.

I will also try to talk to the big media companies about designing their online presence to be more blogger friendly.

I'll try to post notes here. The rules for this meeting are "off the record for background and not for attribution unless explicit permission to quote is granted by each speaker concerned."

I've also gotten the opportunity to hear some of the concerns that are facing these media leaders today and will summarize my notes later.

The new Technorati beta site is up. It's really fast.

Sorry about the terse post. I'm in Frankfurt airport about to board a flight to Zurich. On PowerBook-bluetooth->Nokia 6600-gprs->T-Mobile.

Now that I'm awake from the hotel spam. I guess I should channel my annoyance into at least one more blog entry.

Comment spam is becoming more "sophisticated". Originally, my policy was to erase stuff that linked to commercial sites if they didn't add to the dialog in the comments. Now comment spammers are actually trying to contribute to the discussion, but still leaving links to their commercial sites. It is much harder to identify as spam. Only by looking at the site that is linked do you realize that it's probably spam.

This is sort of the social equivalent to hanging out at someone's party and handing out flyers for penis enlargers at the end of the party.

The problem is, I've always had people who post on my blog partially to promote themselves and their own sites. There are some borderline sites that the spammers are promoting that don't have to do with pharma, sex or gambling. So where do we draw the line?

The new version 2.661 of Movable Type has a feature that allows you to throttle the number of comments from a single IP address over a certain (configurable) time period. It also causes a redirect before linking to the web page of a commenter. (Prevents google juice from being transfered to commenter.) These features are like banning flyers at parties or only allowing a person participate in one discussion at a time at a party. I think this will help, but the question turns into a question that we are faced with in real life. What do we do about people who are blatantly self-promoting in a context where you are allowing anyone to speak freely?