Look Back At the Last 5 Years in Blogging? That’s not a bad idea, and it’s what Mashable Josh just did. He did it well enough that I won’t summarize his summary, so that you’ll have to read it for yourself.

I will, however, add a couple of points. First, I’d emphasize the rise and fall of blogging more than Josh did. I’d say that, over the last couple of years, blogging has become part of social media, which also includes Facebook, Twitter, etc. Blogging is not currently the social media leader in terms of numbers. The number favour connection, rather than content, in that they show Facebook uber alles. (Yes, I may be exaggerating here.)

Then there’s the matter of the A-list bloggers. I’d say that some of them have chosen A-list-ness over blogging, in that they have turned their blogs into media properties, with most content coming from employees, contractors, or guest bloggers. Pete Cashmore of Mashable is an example. I don’t begrudge such people their semi-retirement from blogging, and I certainly don’t object if their media properties make enough money for comfortable retirement, but I sometimes miss their blogging.

I myself have been blogging since 2004.

Drupal Earworm

May 20, 2010

I didn’t realize until this morning that there is a Drupal song. It is infuriatingly catchy, so don’t listen to it and then claim I didn’t warn you.

I found out about the Drupal song from a post by Dries, who can claim much of the responsibility for Drupal, but can deny any direct responsibility for the song. It is an earworm: a song or other music that repeats compulsively within one’s mind.

The sequences Acquia-Buytaert and Drupal-Earworm compelled me to write the following. Social media addiction compelled me to incorporate links.

A is for Acquia, founded by Dries;
Buytaert’s his last name, pronounce it with ease.
C is for CMS (rather weird term);
Drupal‘s a CMS, subject of worm.
Ear’s where the worm lives,
Forget it I cannot.
Got to stop rhyming,
Halt it here, dammit!

I should note that the above alphabet rhyme, like all of the content at Changing Way, is under a Creative Commons Attribution license, and so can be completed, augmented, adapted, mashed up, etc., as much as you want as long as you attribute.

Drupal and WordPress are often compared. Here’s a summary of my summary of a comparison between the two platforms: WordPress is easier to get started with; Drupal has the advantage when it comes to more complex sites.

That was two years (and two weeks) ago. A lot has happened in those years, and early 2010 is a particularly busy and important time for both communities: Drupal and WordPress. If I had to provide a soundbite (blogbite? tweet?) right now, it would be: Drupal and WordPress are becoming more similar.

The best example of convergence from the Drupal side is Drupal Gardens, the slogan for which is: “Building Drupal websites just got easier.” It was indeed easy to establish a little outpost of the Changing Way empire at Drupal Gardens. ChangingWay.org runs on WordPress.com, of which Gardens is the Drupal counterpart.

Gardens runs on version 7 of Drupal. I love this line from Jacob Singh about developing Gardens on that new version, rather than on version 6: it’s like playing Jenga on a cocaine addled elephant riding a skateboard being jabbed in the ass with a hot poker.

WordPress is also in the midst of a new major release. In fact, this very post is a fringe member of a current and ongoing series about WordPress 3.0. Much of what’s in 3.0 (e.g., multisite) is already in Drupal.

The above account of convergence between Drupal and WordPress is very broad-brush. But it’s also about as long as I like a single post to be.

Comments – especially yours – are excellent for filling in gaps. They are also excellent for asking questions, and for offering me inducements to write more detailed comparisons of Drupal and WordPress and the communities and organizations behind them…

Tumbling Toward Freemium

March 24, 2010

Tumblr is a microblogging service (which I first covered about two years ago). It’s recently become freemium: the basic service remains free of charge; there is a cost for premium features.

I’m very interested the freemium model and how it is implemented. So are others, if the excellent discussion on my recent post on freemium at WordPress.com is anything to go by.

Posts on Tumblr premium themes at Mashable and at TechCrunch are positive. Comments following each of those posts is more mixed, with some indicating a preference for rival microblogging service Posterous.

At Tumblr’s own site, there was of course a blog post about the new themes. “They cost between $9 and $49 (most of which goes right into the pockets of the brilliant designers behind them).” Some theme designers also posted about their new premium Tumblr themes (e.g., WooThemes).

I think that the price is for use of a theme at Tumblr forever (but someone please correct me if it’s on some other basis, such as annual). The Tumblr theme garden now includes a premium plot.

I looked for the Tumblr support forum to gauge the reaction of the Tumblr community. I couldn’t find one, so I looked in the FAQ. No mention there. To my surprise, no mention either of the ad policy, since that’s one of the perennially hot topics at WordPress.com.

I filled out the email support form with my questions. Email support is impressively prominent at the Tumblr site, and the response was equally impressive in terms of speed and of actually answering my questions. There is no official support forum. AdSense is allowed, with a couple of caveats.

In closing, I’ll throw out a more general thought about freemium: or rather, I’ll post it, hope for comments on it, then do some more thinking. There are two types of freemium service.

  1. Here’s a free service. By the way, here are some premium features you can pay for and use if you want.
  2. Here’s a service. You pay to use it. But here’s a very limited version, so that you can try it out for free.

Most freemium services are of the first type. Of firms providing the second type of freemium service, the most prominent is 37signals.

I welcome your comments on this post, on the freemium model, and on how it is used at Tumblr and elsewhere.

Good post title, huh? I didn’t make it up. I copied it. It’s fine for me to copy it, as long as I give proper attribution. Even if there were no such thing as fair use, it would still be fine for me to copy “Music Journalism is the New Piracy.”

That’s because the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Tim Jones, who posted under the same title at the EFF’s blog, placed that content under the Creative Commons Attribution License. That’s the same license I use for this blog, by the way. Tim’s post is about the recent deletion of six music blogs at Blogger, which is owned by Google.

Although the takedowns were made in the name of stopping piracy, the deleted blogs do not appear to have been hotbeds of illegal file-sharing… In at least one case… accusations of copyright infringement were almost certainly incorrect.

Tim’s post links to a list of web hosts that cherish free speech. I wasn’t previously aware of the list, or of any of the hosts on it, so I thought it worth remarking on.

Platlication

January 2, 2010

Platlication is a new word, and a new blog. The word combines platform and application. Think Twitter as an example. It’s an application, in that you can go to Twitter.com, and tweet and follow away. Twitter is also a platform, in that applications can be built on it.

Hanging on to the Hub

December 13, 2009

Having left Boston, do I still need the Globe? I certainly value some of its content. But I no longer need to visit the paper’s main page frequently.

I’ll follow links to Globe content from various places, notably Largehearted Boy and Universal Hub. LHB, a music and lit blog, is based in the deep south (of the USA), but frequently links to Globe content. A recent link goes to an article on collecting music in the age of downloading.

UH is very much a Boston blog, curated by Adam, a former near-neighbor who I never had the pleasure of meeting in real life (although we were in the same room at least once). The most recent post at the time of this writing proclaims today Malls Suck Day at the Globe, on the basis that there are three articles comparing malls to downtowns, with the comparisons being in favor of downtowns. It’s good to see that the Globe isn’t pandering to its mall-based advertisers.

Social Media Thanks

November 26, 2009

Who or what are you thankful for in social media? asks Mashable Ben. I’m thankful for sharing, which is vital to social media in so many ways.

So much of the software is free/open source. So many of the web services are free as in freemium. So much of the content is shared via creative commons. So many people share their knowledge to help others via support forums and other channels.

New Blog: Android Icon

November 13, 2009

android_vectorAndroid Icon is my newest blog. This android is the starting point, but there are other droids to look at…

If there is a support group for people who can’t stop starting blogs, please let me know.

Twitter Lists: Journalism Becomes a Real-Time Job is the title of a very recent post by Pete Cashmore, Mr Mashable himself. My real-time reaction to it was that real journalism is not a real-time job, since it requires fact-checking – and maybe even thought.

Perhaps I was reacting to the post title, when I should have been reading the post itself. After all, the post title is about one-third of the maximum length of a tweet. The post is pretty much a pointer to Pete’s CNN.com article, in which he discusses “a new breed of editor: the real-time Web curator.”

Curator: that’s a word I see more and more these days. It has scholarly, thoughtful connotations. I’m not sure it fits well with real-time.

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