Bray on 3 Years of Blogging at Sun

Tim Bray identifies five upsides of the blog site that’s accessible to any Sun employee to write about anything. I particularly like the last of them.

The morale-boost has been tremendous. Right at the moment, less than 10% of the workforce are actually committed bloggers to the extent of posting once a week or more; but the uplift from knowing that if you have something to say, it’s OK with the company for you to just go and say it to the world, that’s huge.

The downside: “it’s hard to come up with one.”

The snappy closing line (also quoted by Justin, whose post pointed me to Tim’s): “I’m pretty sure that in another half-generation or so, a company that doesn’t do blogging is going to look weird and maybe a little shady.”

Intro to RSS Video

Would you like a simple, concise and charming introduction to RSS? If so, check out this rather lovely video from the folks at Common Craft. Its actual title, RSS in Plain English, doesn’t do it full justice. It’s visual enough that I think that it would still be worth watching if you don’t speak English, or if you have to have the sound off.

By the way: I still think that RSS should stand for Relatively Simple Subscription; I saw the link to this video in the WordPress.com forums; and yes, I did use RSS and charming in the same sentence.

Blogging for $ (Boston Globe)

Today’s Boston Globe includes an article on Blogging for Dollars. A summary (some blogs make significant money, most don’t) doesn’t do the article justice, since there are a few ways in which it went beyond being an entry-level account for the great unblogged. First, there are some numbers I don’t think I’d seen.

As the number of blogs has exploded to more than 57 million today, the blog ad marketplace has also surged — from $100,000 in 2002, to an estimated $36.2 million in 2006, according to PQ Media. Blog advertising is expected to grow to $300.4 million in 2010.

Second is a quote that surprised me when I first read it, and noted the source. “A lot of the blogosphere does not make sense if viewed from the point of view of a business model… Blogs remain, I believe, primarily conversational.” That’s David Weinberger, noted for (among other things), his association with the Cluetrain thesis: “Markets are conversations.”

Third are references/links to bloggers and blogs such as the following: Darren Rowse, the writer behind problogger.net; Adam Gaffin, blog master at Boston community news website UniversalHub.com (and fellow Roslindale resident).

BostonNOW

BostonNOW is a new free daily newspaper launching this year that will incorporate both traditional and citizen journalism. It sounds like a cross between Universal Hub, which is where I read about BostonNOW, and Metro.

I’ve already granted permission to use content from this blog, under the condition of attribution. That’s not specific to BostonNOW. It’s granted to all by the Creative Commons license I use.

Steve Jobs and Blogging

Arik Hesseldahl of Businessweek’s Apple blog said that Steve Jobs should blog. Then he said it again. Shel Israel agrees with Arik, and I’m sure many others do too.

To me, blogging doesn’t seem to be Steve’s style, in that said style is at odds with at least two important characteristics of blogging. One is frequent posts, the other is a conversation with readers. Steve seems to be more about telling the world stuff, and having it be a big event when he does so, rather than about having an ongoing conversation.

Then there’s the other frequently-made point: that a real Steve Jobs blog wouldn’t measure up to the fake thing.

Explode: New MyBlogLogLike Service

MyBlogLog appeared in the sidebar of my previous blog (and it’s still there). It doesn’t appear here, partly because of MBL itself, partly because of my sparse sidebar policy.

If I were looking for social sidebar stuff, I’d give Explode a try. It provides a JavaScript widget, which can’t be used here at WordPress.com (or at MySpace or Vox or…). It also provides the thing you see in this post. For further discussion, see the post at TechCrunch.

MyBlogLog

I used MyBlogLog on my previous blog, and thought it was pretty neat. I don’t use it here. That’s partly because I checked the MBL widget and found it used JavaScript, which is not allowed here at WordPress.com. But it seems that you can use MBL on WordPress.com after all.

Then there are a couple of things that make me less keen on MBL than I was a month or two ago. The first is ease of spamming. Techcrunch reported a demonstration of this by Michael Jensen. My own email box is starting to show evidence of MyBlogSpam.

The second is that MyBlogLog WILL be moving to Yahoo IDs for login purposes. This doesn’t make my life more complicated, since I use a couple of Yahoo services already. But one of the things I liked about MBL was that it was independent of any one blogging tool or provider. I’d like to see it using OpenID rather than, or even as an alternative to, Yahoo ID. On a related note, it’s annoying that the spam email I get from Yahoo-owned MBL is not caught by my Yahoo email spam filter.

Having said all that, my main reason for not using MBL here is that I like my Simpla theme, and don’t want to make it less simple. Hence the sidebar content is sparse, and will remain so.

Yahoo Pipes: Currently Clogged

PipesMy feed reader this morning was full of Pipes: several of the blogs to which I subscribe included enthusiastic posts about Yahoo Pipes. For example, Read/Write Richard describes Pipes as an RSS remixer.

Richard refers to posts he made a couple of years ago. Pipes seems a little different from what he was foretelling then, though. It’s not the kind of end-user friendly tool he was writing about in 2005. It may turn in to one, although I doubt it. He also anticipated that Google (i.e. not Yahoo) would be the front-runner, along with… PubSub.

I suspect that Richard and others are right to be perky about Pipes. I am not, at least not yet. I tried using it at work this morning, and found it slow, unintuitive, and prone to giving strange error messages. I tried it on my laptop just now, and found that Pipes is “clogged” due to heavy demand. I’ll give it another try later.

In the meantime, thanks to Darwin Bell, Flickr, and Creative Commons for the photo.

Web Identity, ClaimID, Technorati

As someone who has multiple blogs and other web-things, I’ve long thought that it would be good to have one identity. By that I mean at least two things: a userid/password spanning the web-things; and a page linking to my various web-things.

This post is about the latter. I’m currently using claimID. If you click on the link (or, currently, the link under the “About” heading in the sidebar) you’ll see links to this, other blogs, and other web-things. The trouble is, I can’t “verify” most of those links. In particular, I can’t provide to claimID, and hence to people visiting my claimId, that I really am the author of this blog. The claimID verification process requires that I place code in the header of the web page, and WordPress.com won’t let me do that.

Technorati, on the other hand, does let me “claim” this blog by including a chunk of code in a post. So, by pasting in the provided code that links to my Technorati Profile, I can convince Technorati that this is my blog.

So why not just use Technorati for my ID page? First, it doesn’t set out to do what claimID does. That’s not a criticism of Technorati. Second, its record for doing what it sets out to do is rather spotty. That is a criticism. Now, let’s see if it’s currently deserved…

Corporate Blogging Typology

Brian Oberkirch provides such a typology, and Shel Israel provides a link to it.

As I read Brian’s post, I decided that:

  • Of the types of corporate blogger he identifies, I find “Company Evangelist” the most interesting. I agree with Brian that the best example is, or was, Microsoft-era Robert Scoble. My favorite current example is also from Microsoft: Don Dodge.
  • I’ll draw Brian’s post to the attention of the students in the Blogging and Business course I’m currently teaching.