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"I can’t think of anything that demonstrates the sovereign nature of the self better than a blog.” - Doc Searls
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Stowe Boyd is a well-known media subversive, and an internationally recognized authority on real-time, collaborative and social technologies. His new blog is Message.

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December 27, 2004

True Voice: Revamping the Tour

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Over the past few months, I have written a number of times about the True Voice projects (here, here, and here, for example).

We have had a really strong response to the 20 Questions project that forms a key element of True Voice. We have had around 200 responses to the questions from people like Robert Scoble, Ed Brill, Doc Searls, and dozens of others, and we will be assimilating the comments, and synthesizing it over the next two weeks.

Our intention with True Voice has been to get out on the road, meet with people who are struggling with these sorts of questions around the business of blogging, and to use the planned seminars as a means to interact with aspiring bloggers, either as individuals, or representatives of organizations or companies.

Last week, after wrestling with a number of opportunities for collaborating with other organizations, I decided to revamp the structure of the True Voice tour. Rather than running our own seminars in various cities, we are working with other organizations to embed the True Voice tour into other blog conferences. I am happy to say that we will be collaborating with Avondale, the folks organizing the Blog Business Summit, 24-25 Jan 2005 in Seattle.

  • We will be holding a True Voice webcast there, most likely at 12pm PT 24 Jan 2005. I will be inviting a few of the prominent bloggers speaking at the conference to address the theme of the conference: the business of blogging. Information on how to register for the webcast will be posted here at at Corante Events later this week.
  • A second True Voice event has been threaded into the conference: a session called "True Voice: The Art and Science of Blog Writing" scheduled for 4:30 pm PT 24 Jan 2005.
  • Corante readers will be getting a serious discount on attending the conference: $395 instead of the full $795. Please email me at stowe@corante.com if you are interested in that discount.

I am in discussions with several other conference organizers regarding subsequent True Voice events in February, March, and beyond. It is my hope to visit cities all over North America, Europe, and perhaps later 2005 even Asia. The format will be a combination of webcast and workshop, exploring and refining the themes of the 20 Questions project.

We are committed to the virtual workshop approach that I outlined a few weeks ago, here:

One of the key elements of True Voice is an on-going six week virtual workshop, after each seminar, where the True Voice team will work with seminar attendees on their blogging plans and content. We will be providing a free blog account for those without (courtesy of Silkroad) for three months following the seminar. But perhaps most interesting: we will review the results of all seminar attendees' workshop participation -- whether corporate, group, or individual -- and at the end of six weeks we are planning to select one of the attendees for some higher level of support:
  1. If we select a worthy corporate attendee, we will provide a no-charge day of advisory services to help them create an action plan for rolling forward with what has thus far been prototyped in the six weeks of virtual workshop.
  2. If we select a non-commercial group or organization, we will work with them as the producer of their blog: we will host it, perhaps help them find sponsors, and promote it through the Corante blog network.
  3. Lastly, if we select an individual blogger, we will offer the opportunity to become a Corante Contributor, either in a wholly new blog (such as our new city blog series), or as a contributor to an existing Corante blog.

So you have more options to get involved with True Voice and the 20 Questions project. We will be touring major cities, collaborating with the convenors of conferences like Blog Business Summit, running web casts, interviews, and embedded workshop sessions. Please stay tuned for more options and announcements.


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December 23, 2004

Basecamp: Socialized Project Management

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

A few months ago, I saw an ad in the margin of someone's blog about Basecamp, a blog-based project management solution. Being in desperate need of a means to coordinate the exploding number of projects at Corante as well as my natural curiousity for all things collaborative, I went and took a look. A few days later, I was convinced, and I signed up for the unlimited account. I now am managing something like two dozen projects at Basecamp, and I though it would be a good time to relate my experience and impressions about the technology. I also had a conversation yesterday with Jason Fried, of 37 Signals, Basecamp's developer, and he has filled me in on some future directions for the technology.

...continue reading.

Comments (3) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Technology

December 22, 2004

December 21, 2004

Several Weeks Later... Stowe's Move Back to Mac

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

As I mentioned a few weeks back, I finally was so fed up with the Windows mess I found myself in that I gave up, and reverted to Mac. A number of people asked me to keep track of how the transition went, and to publish some notes. Here's an interim report.

My new iBook G4 arrived like two days after I bought it from the Apple Store online -- too lazy and eager to search around for best price. I opened it up, turned it on and... everything worked.

After years of headaches with balky drivers and bass-ackwards installation headaches ("please do not connect the device to the PC until you have installed the software") it has been a joy to connect devices to the iBook (like my iPod, or the Airport Base Station) and have it just work as you'd like.

However, there have been some transitional headaches:

Move2Mac
This program, which supposedly helps transfer files from a PC to a Mac in a "smart" way, really didn't do much. For example, it didn't transfer my Windows iTune files to the Mac iTunes folder. I subsequently imported the music using iTunes. But the program did move my zillions of files over. The program is sort of a one-time thing; if you subsequently want to move other docs over, you may wind up copying everything again. I would rate this like a C+ at the best.

Office for Mac
I really needed Word, Excel and (maybe) Powerpoint, but Entourage is *not* Outlook, it's something else altogether (not that I like Outlook that much... I had just gotten used to it, and it would have been nice to simply move over my Outlook files).

After fooling with Entourage for a few minutes -- the project management tools looked intriguing -- I started to think that the app has a kitchen sink feel: too much in here, too many mode changes and view changes. So I boosted, and imported the email folders into Mail, and I lived happily ever after.

Ditto with regard to iCal and Addressbook.

Bluetooth
One of the things that attracted me to th eiBook was Bluetooth, so I bought a new cell phone, too, a Sony Ericsson T637, which is a cool bluetooth phone.

I had seen a similar phone in use by Michael Jones of Userplane earlier in the year, and when his phone rang the iBook Addressbook popped the card of the person calling. Cool. And I got it working in just a few seconds, although there are a few annoyances:

  1. The Addressbook app has to be running, and
  2. You have to manually turn on the bluetooth communication each time you start up the Addressbook app.

The truly arduous task turned out to be getting the phone set up to connect the iBook to the Internet via GPRS. However, this is really a knock against Cingular, who don't make this information accessible anywhere. For the reference of those who want it, this tidbit from MobileWhack saved me:

Pair the devices, and when your setting up the connections settings, your user name is "WAP@CINGULARGPRS.COM" and the password is "CINGULAR1" (yes, all in caps). Use the CID string *99*# I work for Cingular, and have an ibook that I use to connect all the time. Oh yeah and in the PPP settings under System Preferences, make sure your using the modem script "Nokia Infared". [although I used "Sony Ericsson Infrared"]

So now I can use the phone as a modem, directly connecting to the Cingular data network: no other ISP involved, and no wires!

Gush, iChat, and Newsfire
I have used Gush as IM client of choice on Windows for some time: a great multi-headed client with a lot of great features, including an RSS reader. Alas, it lacks a certain something on OS X: namely, I can't cut and past from the IM windows! This makes it basically unusable until that is straigtened out.

So I fired up iChat, which is a pretty cool little app, especially if you are using iSight (which I am). But this means that I am not in touch with MSN, Yahoo, or Jabber folks at the moment, so I may need to take a look at Proteus.

And that also means I needed to get ahold of a different RSS reader, so I am giving Newsfire a try. I had grown accustomed to the style of Gush, so I am finding the shift difficult.

All in all, it has gone just about as well as could be expected -- leaving aside the fact that just around the time that my Fujitsu's DVD drive stopped working, that was followed by my wireless router going sideways, along with my refrigerator, washing machine, and garage door opener all breaking down. Mercury must be going retrograde or something.

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December 20, 2004

Virtual Property Market Gets Real

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Posted by Marc Eisenstadt

Project Entropia property
Think MMORPG's (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) are kids' play? Think again. And I'm not talking about the games market being bigger than the film industry (for the developers that is), which is interesting enough. I'm talking about Joe Player starting to make serious moolah from a combination of extended play (after all, time is money) and shrewd investments. For example:


BBC News | Technology | Friday 17th December 2004

[from "Gamer buys $26,500 virtual land"]

A 22-year-old gamer has spent $26,500 on an island that exists only in a computer role-playing game (RPG). ... The land exists within the game Project Entropia, an RPG which allows thousands of players to interact with each other. Entropia allows gamers to buy and sell virtual items using real cash, while fans of other titles often use auction site eBay to sell their virtual wares. Earlier this year economists calculated that these massively multi-player online role-playing games (MMORPGs) have a gross economic impact equivalent to the GDP of the African nation of Namibia. ...

[The buyer] will make money from his investment as he is able to tax other gamers who come to his virtual land to hunt or mine for gold. He has also begun to sell plots to people who wish to build virtual homes.



Should we be surprised/alarmed/outraged/thrilled by this? I'm not sure. In the bigger scheme of things, it is undoubtedly a sad reflection on us all that greed and frenzied buying take place on this scale, in a world of poverty and need. But let's keep things in perspective. In the lesser scheme of things, there is nothing unusual about this at all. My shares in (say) Yahoo! are no more real to me than (say) a deed to some virtual property on Project Entropia. I've never 'seen' nor 'touched' either of those things! Are shares in a real company based on a sounder analysis? Maybe, maybe not. I've seen tiny shacks (changing room / cabanas) on the seafront in the South of England sell for five- and six-figure sums, reflecting merely what the property market will bear -- and that in itself can of course be a very volatile market. Like Pokemon cards, Dutch tulips, or, indeed, MMORPG property.

Comments (4) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Art & Entertainment

December 18, 2004

Of Power Laws & The Pod Squad

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Posted by Gregory Narain

I was listening to the GeekNewsCentral Podcast from December 14th and he made mention of something that crossed my mind a few times relating the governing Power Laws of social software/movements/revolutions.

As a refresher, let's first get a definition for what exactly the Power Law is:

Clay Shirky
[from "Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality"]

Power law distributions, the shape that has spawned a number of catch-phrases like the 80/20 Rule and the Winner-Take-All Society, are finally being understood clearly enough to be useful. For much of the last century, investigators have been finding power law distributions in human systems. The economist Vilfredo Pareto observed that wealth follows a "predictable imbalance", with 20% of the population holding 80% of the wealth. The linguist George Zipf observed that word frequency falls in a power law pattern, with a small number of high frequency words (I, of, the), a moderate number of common words (book, cat cup), and a huge number of low frequency words (peripatetic, hypognathous). Jacob Nielsen observed power law distributions in web site page views, and so on.

We are all so used to bell curve distributions that power law distributions can seem odd. The shape of Figure #1, several hundred blogs ranked by number of inbound links, is roughly a power law distribution. Of the 433 listed blogs, the top two sites accounted for fully 5% of the inbound links between them. (They were InstaPundit and Andrew Sullivan, unsurprisingly.) The top dozen (less than 3% of the total) accounted for 20% of the inbound links, and the top 50 blogs (not quite 12%) accounted for 50% of such links.

We have an interesting opportunity now, as we see the rise of Podcasting, to actually watch and observe exactly the types of pound this initially flat piece of metal into the oh-so-familiar curve.

So back to the thoughts that got me onto this. Last night I was explaining to a friend that currently, the Podcasting space is still relatively new and the requirements of those that want to "succeed" (apply any definition you want here) in a significant way is maximized if they can dig in now.

Adam Curry is widely identified as the "Podfather", the guy that got it started. I know from hearing Adam and Dave Winer speaking, most recently on the Trade Secrets Podcast, however, that it was more a collaboration between the two of them. As a result of this founding role in the process, Curry is also quite often called upon for interviews and articles on this new toy, as his probably should be.

The dilemma for other Podcasters, however, is the Pod Squad. The Pod Squad is a group of Podcasts that Curry "runs with". Collectively, they seem to provide extensive cross-linking between each other and hardly ever skip an episode without mentioning each other. Naturally this serves to reinforce the reputations and listenership of all the members of the squad.

Now I won't presume to judge any of the content in the Pod Squad (though I think it is good stuff on the whole). Unfortunately, the Pod Squad is not everyone (the Podosphere if you will), but instead this small group. To the hard working, aspiring Podcaster, however, the Pod Squad can also feel exclusionary just as much as it serves as a point of inspiration. Ask most Podcasters if they would like to be on the "inside" and surely they would agree.

But the problem with the Pod Squad is not that they've formed a group that works together. The main issue is that the leader of the group also is the most quoted. As a result, when Curry's quoted and people research who he listens to, they tend to find the others in the top.

I certainly don't think this is particularly deliberate (as in Adam is trying to only see certain people succeed). It is, though, a tell-tale sign of the Power Law starting to curl. The main question now is, "Is it too late?"

I would argue that it's most certainly not and would not discourage anyone from trying out Podcasting. The scary part, however, is that this curve seems to be accelerating towards its destined form very quickly. There are going to be many more stars borne from Podcasting and I recommend anyone who wants that should start yesterday.

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December 17, 2004

Henshall Ecstatic About Skype 1.1 Beta

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Stuart Henshall is raving about the new Skype 1.1 beta which has both group chat and new voice mail service that has a decidely social flavor. [Note: As a new, happy, Mac OSX user, I can't play. I guess I could run it under Virtual PC, but...]

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Technology | Telecommunications

Ray Ozzie and Jeffrey Citron: Telephone Companies Don't Get It

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

In the middle of a softball interview by Gartner's Tom Austin, Ray makes an interesting point about how stupid the current phone system is because it doesn't include presence, when it easily could:

Ray Ozzie
[from The Gartner Fellows: Ray Ozzie's Interview]

Notification and awareness is one of the most interesting uses of wireless devices that has yet to emerge. We're moving into a world of pervasive awareness, where you can control the publishing of awareness of your location, "projecting" to others your interruptability and the modes of communications that you find the most useful at the moment. For example -- when you're driving and have your hands on the wheel, you'd rather suggest to others that they call you rather than "texting" or emailing you. Or maybe they should just let you concentrate.

Projecting your interruptability to others might be really easy if we integrated our handheld wireless devices with our varied communication services. Take, for example, the phone. Why isn't it possible -- without navigating a million menus [which I guess means running an IM client on your phone] -- to slip a little button on the side to select one of four desired presence or interruptability states, customized to you: I'm in a meeting; I'm available to my "intimates"; I'm available for any interruptions; or "do not disturb". This state could be easily published by your wireless operator, through Web Services, to the on-line buddy list of your IM or email programs, or directly to other people's phones.

The rest of the interview honestly baffles me: a lot of looking back at the trends that have brought us to today, but not very much on where Groove might be heading. My current sense is that Groove has wound up in a niche -- a relatively big one, I grant -- supporting mobile groups that don't share a common server, such as the ad hoc interagency groups working in Homeland Security, but who need a secure file sharing platform. But honestly, the Groove add-on tools are a joke, and I can't fathom why Groove doesn't interoperate with other IM networks. With the lovey-dovey relationship they have with Microsoft, you'd expect at least MSN interop. These limitations -- along with the small market penetration -- makes using Groove relatively unattractive for anyone not in exactly the sweet spot for the product.

But the comments about phones and phones companies missing the boat on presence brings to mind something that came up in a phone conversation I had earlier this week with the CEO of Vonage, Jeffrey Citron. I had emailed him about the concept of an acquisition of Vonage by one of the established instant messaging networks. Initially, my interest was driven by the idea -- the power of fusing together the largest VoIP telephone company, with over 350,000 North American users with a public instant messaging network. He very carefully said something like "It would be inappropriate to discuss those rumors." Hmmm. That piqued my curiosity, of course.

But the discussion that followed was me trying to steer him toward IM integration, and him studiously staying away. We discussed the recent Viseon videophone announcement, and I pointed out that millions of webcams have already been sold, and are already running on PCs: why not build a desktop client for Vonage that leverages those. Citron argued that the quality of the webcams is uneven; well, sure. But there they are, and people use them already with the various IM services. So maybe its a strategy of not building stuff that your likely acquirers have already built?

On the otherside, taking use of smarter devices -- like a Vonage phone box that would use wifi or bluetooth to talk to portable or cell phones in range -- looks like something that is coming together. We may still have to fiddle with the menus -- there won't be a 'present and available' switch to satisfy Ray -- but we are getting closer, slowly, to a seamless integration of telephony and instant messaging. Although the stupid phones companies have blown the obvious advantages they had, and are leaving it open for the Vonages and Microsofts of the world to take it all over.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Technology | Telecommunications

Hugster, MeetUp, and Activism at The Edge

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I have been using Basecamp to coordinate project work in Corante for the past few months. I haven't stopped long enough to refelct on it. but I intend a longish piece on that over the Xmax break.

The fine folks at 37 Signals -- who built Basecamp -- are getting ready to launch a new project, called Hugster:

Jason Fried
[from 43 Things "Hugster" Preview (Signal vs. Noise)]

This is essentially a real version of a Goal Page. A Goal Page lists the goal ("get an apple powerbook" in this case), some of the people who want to do it, other things that these people are doing, and then weblog-comment-like entries from these people about this thing they're trying to do. On the right there's also a list of people who have done it and whether or not they'd recommend doing it.

And then there are the ads.

Looks like an interesting experiment in social tools. The goal angle intrigues me, on a social activism level.

Which reminds me: the best thing about the Votes, Bits & Bytes conference at Harvard last week was (after the time spent with the wild and funny Halley Suitt) was the presentation by Scott Heiferman, Co-Founder and CEO, Meetup.org. The initial concept grew from his reading Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone, and the desire to counter the hollowing out of American civic life. Meetup has been growing explosively, and not primarily in the political domain which is about 15% of all meet-ups. The photos he showed of groups meeting all over -- the Pug Owners groups ("Pugs are the new Chihuahuas!"), The Hungarian Speakers of Albany, and so on) -- are a testament to the service's drawing power.

And apropos to the Hugster preview, Scott waved his hands a bit at the end of his keynote, stating that Meetup is at work on a federated model of group interaction, so that those interested in PR Blogging or Philately in Boston can coordinate and collaborate with similar groups elsewhere.

Bottom-up social media, where the content/passion starts at the edge and ripples upward/inward, creating order and power as it goes.

Very cool. I am going to have to watch these phenomena very closely.

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Technology

December 16, 2004

December 15, 2004

Viral + Buzz Marketing Association Manifesto

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Stumbled upon this today:

Viral + Buzz Marketing Association Manifesto 1: Mission and Affiliation

All members of the VBMA share the conviction that Viral Marketing, Buzz Marketing and Word-of-Mouth Marketing (and other related marketing approaches that harness network-enhanced word of mouth) are based on the principles outlined below, and that we work constantly on improving these marketing techniques:

1) We strive to

a) identify only those people who will be interested in a particular marketing message,
b) deliver the message to them in a way that makes it an enjoyable or valuable experience,
c) provide it in a manner that encourages them to share it with others.

We will therefore be providing a benefit to our audiences and their acquaintances and in so doing, to the brands for which we work.

2) Our goal is to foster genuine enthusiasm about brands and brand communications, which can spread through networks in a way that is enjoyed, appreciated and / or valued.

3) We believe that network-enhanced word of mouth has a critical role to play in the future of integrated marketing communications. Marketers need to offer content in the media and through one-to-one connections that the recipients themselves choose to propagate to those that they deem appropriate, thereby eliminating irrelevant, untimely and (as a consequence) annoying marketing messages.

4) We believe that whatever our target, we will always be dealing with educated people who detect when they are being deceived.

a) These people appreciate brands that find smart ways to entertain, educate or inform them.
b) They are well-informed in the area of marketing, peer-to-peer exchange and consumption, enabling them to function as partners and stakeholders in marketing communication activities.
c) As partners, we treat these people with care and respect. We will not only develop or send information or content to them, but will also listen to their opinions. We value their contributions.
d) Our audience-centric vision of connected marketing seeks to put the target networks at the centre of marketing.

These positions are unifying principles shared by all members of the VBMA. We agree that working in this field is considered acceptable, professional and valuable when these principles are respected.

Companies or individuals who do not adhere to these principles are not considered to be carrying out viral/buzz/word-of-mouth marketing by the VBMA.

Hmmm. Sounds good. I don't want to be annoyed, true, but when a mob marketing company starts writing enigmatic messages in lipstick in trendy bars, trying to create buzz about a new video game how do they know I want to be involved in their buzz campaign?

Or even more blatantly surreal is the experience of talking to a friend about his awesome new cell phone and discovering that he is a member of the BzzAgent network and he has been sent a playbook along with the phone, guiding him in how to introject praise for the phone into everyday conversations with friends, acquiantances, or total strangers.

I'm all for the power of networks, I believe that it is fair and fine to create communities or events devoted to some sponsored interest, like mobility or video gaming. It is even legitimate to target influencers, and bombard them with doodads or free tickets in the hopes that they will pass along the memes. But I have trouble with the irreality of paid shills, whether bloggers, influencers, or everyday people, who debase social intercourse. Tyhe obviously false -- like people paid to stand on the street holding placards with attention grabbing statements like "Is it just a game?" -- are ok, because it is just a publicity stunt, and obviously fake. But the gumming up of everyday life with bottom-up but concealed marketing is just a new kind of social spam.

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Doc Searls "Said What?"

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

In the furor about what was wrong with Bloggercon, Doc Searls was cast in the role of the guy who didn't buy into the theory of making money with blogs: principally because that's how Dave Winer introduced him -- as a trick that he was playing on all the folks that wanted to talk about making money by blogging.

What got overlooked in the fracas that ensued is what Doc really wanted to talk about, which he pointed out recently:

Doc Searls
[from Said What?]

To Steven Levy I said, "If you're into blogs to make money, you're into it for the wrong reasons." That was part of a longer explanation, only some of which made it into the article (which is how these things go, and that's fine). Anyway, here I am, being niched as The Guy Who Says Blogs Are Not For Making Money.

However, I didn't say that.

Fact is, I have nothing against making money with blogs. What I tried to do at Bloggercon III, and in my conversation with Steven (who got it, and also tried to pass along the same understanding), was enlarge the conversation beyond making money with blogs, into making money because of blogs. I said that in my write-up for the session. I tried to say that in my series of questions for the session. As I've said often, and about many subjects, the logic is AND, not OR.

But that's not what a lot of people heard. And that's certainly not the impression they got from Steven's Newsweek piece.

So let me make this as clear as I can. I have nothing against making money with blogs. Hell, I'd love to make money with IT Garage, and I'm watching closely what Nick and Jason and Tony and Hylton are up to, because they're among the leaders at figuring that out. Chris Nolan, too, as a stand-alone journalist. Also Dan Gillmor. Same are Doug Kaye, Marc Canter and too many others to name here, each in their own ways.

See, I think the future of periodical publishing, and of journalism itself, will be built mostly by individual bloggers and indivdidual blogs, and by a new breed of publishers who harvest and republish (and, yes, pay for) goods from the wide open ranges where bloggers roam, and post, free. The day will come when the top print publications will be comprised of prose and pictures provided by blogs and bloggers.

The same thing will happen with television. And music. Movies too. (Although the rights-clearing mess is a huge hold-up there.)

Think of it as de-industrialization. Or de/re-industrialization. New industries rebuilt within and around the shells of the old ones. And old ones adapting, finally, to conditions that offer whole new frontiers of prosperity that only open up when they quit protecting the Old Ways of Doing Things (for example, by locking up archival "content" so only paying customers can see it).

Whatever replaces advertising (as we've known it) is also essential to the prosperity of these new journals. Is it just going to be whatever Google and Yahoo and Blogads do? No. It will be all that and much more. (Like, for example, a way to voluntarily pay -- even a small amount, micropayment style) for subscriptons to RSS feeds, just like we voluntarily pay for public radio and TV broadcasts.

Meanwhile, I still think there's more money being made because of blogs than with them. Problem is, I have no hard evidence for that. There also are not many people, besides myself and Dave Winer, who are interested in talking about it.

So maybe that's the take-away here.

Since I was one of the folks indirectly involved in nicheing Doc, I wanted to print his Said What? in it entirety here.

But the problem that emerged at Bloggercon was really the issue as expounded by Dave Winer, who more or less coopted Doc's role as the session leader, and was not only advancing the argument of making money through blogging, but also the negative argument that we shouldn't want to make money for blogging, and if we did we were missing the whole point.

I share Doc's optimism about new models emerging, and new sorts of businesses arising. I for one am intensely interested in talking about it. BUt that transition won't be instantaneous, so we will be living in a blendo environment for some time, with one foot in the past, and the other reaching out, feeling for the next step. And, yes, Hylton and I and the others at Corante are scrambling to create a different business model and business organization to get there.

The biggest shame is that the subtlety and promise in Doc's presentation was swamped by the turmoil at the Bloggercon session, alas.

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Media

December 14, 2004

20 Questions: The Core of Blogging

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

As I mentioned in a posting here last week, the True Voice team (Greg Narain, Suw Charman, and I) are trying to boil down the core issues surrounding blogging into 20 questions. We will be asking our colleagues at Corante and elsewhere for their answers to those questions over the next few weeks, and we will distill the wisdom of the crowd (to borrow Suroweicki's phrase) as a key element of the True Voices seminars, the first of which is scheduled for 26 January in NYC.

I list the questions that we have come up with, as a first cut, below. If you are interested in answering the questions or in providing feedback on them, please go over to the 20 Questions blog I set up for that purpose. We will be filtering through the comments people make, and collating what we thing are helpful comments into the content for the True Voice seminars. We will cite all contributors whose material we use in the output of this project, which I think is likely to be bound into some "blog book" format. We will of course provide all contributors whose materials we use with a copy of the collated results. And we also plan to entice some of the contributors to record their contributions in video format for inclusion in the seminar, itself.

The first questions that everyone asks are these two:

  • What's a blog (or, what's blogging), and why should I care?
  • Who is writing them, and who is reading them, and why?

Here's a few of the questions that I am intensely interested in: the macro-economic and social impacts of blogging:

  • How is blogging distinct from journalism, and how will it change traditional journalistic media?
  • Blogging has been characterized as a 'social medium': what makes blogging social?
  • Blogs are being adopted by social activists, in political and policy domains: will the rise of social media lead to a fundamental change in society, and if so, what sort of changes will they be?

I am also deeply interested in the business of blogging, especially the business of social media:

  • Is it possible to make real money from blog-based advertising, and if so, what form will blog advertising take, since there seems to be such ambivalence and controversy in the blogosphere about advertising?
  • Are their common characteristics of successful bloggers that can be adopted by others, and if so, what are they?
  • What will successful social media companies look like, and in what ways will they be different from traditional media companies?

Suw offers these questions related to the micro-economic business level, where companies are working to leverage social media to better coordinate, collaborate, and communicate internally and with their partners and clients:

  • How can business and employees who blog unofficially learn to peacefully co-exist?
  • How do you get employees and managers to engage with and derive value from blogging projects?
  • How do we successfully prevent public-facing blogs from being neutered, or turned into a broadcast, by the marketeers and lawyers?
  • In what ways do we need to support staff bloggers in order to ensure that they can blog effectively?
  • How can we use blogs to create a net freeing of time, instead of them turning into time-sinks?
  • How do we communicate new, blog-related concepts and technologies in a way which is both comprehensible and comfortable for non-technical users without using new (and therefore potentially opaque) terminology?
  • What are the most useful and beneficial applications for blogs in business?

Greg came up with some questions related to his interests on blog technologies, measurement, and analysis:

  • What are the basic technical concepts necessary to understand about how blogs work?
  • How do you decide what’s worth writing about, how you should write it, and when you should write it?
  • What if you're not the world's best writer but you still want to blog: what are your options?
  • Once your blog is up and running, how do you measure progress: like how many people are reading it?
  • How can you find good blogs and how then to get them to link to your blog?
[tags: ]

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Online Publishers Association Study

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Pointer from Wired on why newspapers are going the way of the dodo: "a September study (.pdf) by the Online Publishers Association, which found that 18- to 34-year-olds are far more apt to log on to the internet (46 percent) than watch TV (35 percent), read a book (7 percent), turn on a radio (3 percent), read a newspaper (also 3 percent) or flip through a magazine (less than 1 percent)."

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December 10, 2004

Tom Sander on Meetup

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Tom Sander on Meetup, based on a research study undertaken this summer in a bunch of US cities: casual dating form of associationism - it's not a lifelong decision.

Study overturns stereotypes - not a young person phenomenon, was attracting well-educated, not newcomers, was not always strangers meeting strangers.

Do people stick? No, found low stickiness. Even when people were positive, half or two thirds might not come back. There is a lot of turnover, even with well established meetups. But there is social capital success: on average, 30% of the people do something outside the meetup with people they met there. 30% found new friends, 23% found 2 or more.

Strongly left-leaning: 10-15 times more opposed to Bush than in favor of him.

Turns out that leader-run meetups develop less social capital than the looser, ad hoc model: when the meetups focus more diligently on the business at hand, people develop fewer friendships, do less collectively outside th emeetings, and are less likely to come back.

Reprises the observation of Lee Bryant that when you move to bottom-up, everything needs to be bottom-up or things don't hold together.

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December 09, 2004

Vonage and Viseon Broadband Videophone

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Vonage has announced a partnership with Viseon to combine Vonage VoIP telephony with Viseon's cool looking video telephone (very Jetsons).

vonageviseonphone300.jpg

My bet is that this won't go. Why doesn't Vonage just build a video IM client for the PC (not a softphone), that supports video? There are gazillions of webcams out there, and soon to be millions of cell phones that will support video. This is a device that won't fly.

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Vamsi Sistla On The Coming Convergence of IM and VoIP

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

In a recent email alert, ABI Research argues that the size of the instant messaging market will lead to acquisition of Vonage by Microsoft, AOL, or Yahoo:

Vamsi Sistla
[pointer from Om Malik]

Millions of people use the big IM services. Some use their voice capabilities. But the experience is pretty horrible. You have to sit at a computer, use a microphone and speak loudly. And it goes over the public Internet, so quality is poor and security is suspect. Why aren't they doing anything about it? They have an established presence: why don't they buy out a Vonage, an Avaya or a Voiceglo, integrate their technology and start offering packages to existing and new subscribers? Isn't that a huge revenue opportunity for them?

Of course it is. On the other hand, AOL has fumbled its advantages with AIM so many times I have lost count: all they can think about is the on-going defection of AOL subscribers, and the use of AIM as a biollboard for advertising. Yahoo is similarly ambivalent about making money from IM is a businesslike way, and has retreated from the enterprise application of IM.

Microsoft, on the other hand, has designs to circumvent the traditional phone networks, just like Vonage is doing. That matchup seems made in heaven. We'll see, but Sistla may be onto something here.

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December 07, 2004

Cuba's Other Revolution

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Posted by Marc Eisenstadt

Last month, Marc Eisenstadt had the privilege of visiting a hi-tech campus whose very existence defies belief. Here's his report.



A model of the campus – real photos are below


I was in Havana last month to attend TelEduc04, the 3rd International Symposium on Distance Learning and Lifelong Learning, a key Latin American e-learning workshop. I've filed a short news report about the conference, my keynote address, and my 30 seconds of fame on Cuban TV in a KMi Planet News Story -- here I want to describe a very exciting post-conference visit.

During the opening day of the conference, the TelEduc President and Chair, Tomás López, said to me, "you would probably be very interested to hear what is happening at UCI." (pronounced "ooh-see"). "UCI: What's that?" I asked." "Universidad de las Ciencias Informáticas" said Tomas, "and they are doing some very interesting things. You should listen to the presentation tomorrow by the Vice-Rector."

The Vision

I duly attended the presentation by UCI Vice-Rector Rosa Vázquez. In that talk, she set out the vision of an institution conceived by Cuban President Fidel Castro in March of 2002. Castro's idea was to bridge the 'digital divide' in one enormous leap into the future: a hi-tech campus, housing 10,000 students selected from the best and brightest in the country. The campus would be dedicated to a new university, La Universidad de las Ciencias Informáticas, and would be lavishly endowed with all the provisions an up-and-coming student of Information Sciences might require.

...continue reading.

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December 06, 2004

True Voice Seminars: Three Reasons You Should Get Involved

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I had a few conversations last week with very interesting folks about the upcoming True Voice (The Business of Blogging) seminars. That, along with a low-grade flu and lack of sleep, led to a couple of really cool ideas that go a long way toward making becoming involved much more than a one-time day-long event.

First off, while Suw Charman (of Strange Attractor and Chocolate and Vodka), Greg Narain (of Get Real and Social Twister), and I have a lot of experience and interesting notions about the business of blogging, we are part of a much larger network of smart people, who have a myriad of views on the subject. [I was struck by the "Why Do I Blog" meme last week, thanks to Frank Paynter, which led to this idea.] So I am going to ask a few dozen colleagues to get involved in a short project over the next few weeks: 20 Questions related to the Business of Blogging. I invite anyone who would like to offer a question to do -- but no answers yet. I will be launching a new blog with the 20 questions later this week, and then will be soliciting answers from our extended network of talented bloggers.

The second thing that we are doing with the seminars is community-oriented: as soon as you register you will become part of a community of other attendees. We will be outfitting every registrant with access to the ongoing discussion about the seminar content, as well as access to the 20 questions project. This membership will extend through the end of 2005. We intend to collate the outcome of the 20 Questions project into some book-like form, and distribute to attendees, as well.

The third thing we are doing with the seminars is really different. We know that a lot of the people who are thinking about business blogging are looking to get more than a powerpoint deck and a few hours of hand-waving. In particular,

  • we believe that companies are likely to send a representative or two to the seminar in order to get a plan of action in place for internal or external blogging.
  • Groups or organizations may come to the seminar to learn how blogging can support their social activism or non-profit activities.
  • Individuals may be coming to learn how to gain influence, or build a larger readership, or drive ad sales, and thereby create a sustainable business as a consultant, writer, or analyst.

One of the key elements of True Voice is an on-going six week virtual workshop, after each seminar, where the True Voice team will work with seminar attendees on their blogging plans and content. We will be providing a free blog account for those without (courtesy of Silkroad) for three months following the seminar. But perhaps most interesting: we will review the results of all seminar attendees' workshop participation -- whether corporate, group, or individual -- and at the end of six weeks we are planning to select one of the attendees for some higher level of support:
  1. If we select a worthy corporate attendee, we will provide a no-charge day of advisory services to help them create an action plan for rolling forward with what has thus far been prototyped in the six weeks of virtual workshop.
  2. If we select a non-commercial group or organization, we will work with them as the producer of their blog: we will host it, perhaps help them find sponsors, and promote it through the Corante blog network.
  3. Lastly, if we select an individual blogger, we will offer the opportunity to become a Corante Contributor, either in a wholly new blog (such as our new city blog series), or as a contributor to an existing Corante blog.

Our interest isn't to just have a seminar, but to structure meetings that matter; to create a context around those meetings that is highly engaging and enduring. While we are charging $295 for the seminar, its really much, much more than a few hours of involvement. It includes a six week virtual workshop, and the opportunity to be selected out of the 30 or so attendees to have an even deeper and more strategic interaction with the True Voice team.

In a spirit of disclosure, let me say that, yes, Corante is constantly on the search for new talent, interesting projects, and corporations looking for advice. This is not all altruistic. But at the same time we want to help those just starting out or trying to get more serious and structured in blogging.

Please contact me with any questions, either of the 20 Questions variety or for clarification.

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More Fuel For The Marquis Fire

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Posted by Gregory Narain

This is sort of a first for me, but what the heck it's pretty interesting. I was recently trackbacked on a post written on the Read/Write Web Links Archive. What's ironic is that the author alludes to some comments I made regarding the Marquis "scandal", if you will. What's funny, to me, is that I completely forgot I had written on this issue previously - only to be reminded with my own words by someone else.

So here's an excerpt from the original SocialTwister post, "Blog Advertising Dilemma", dated April 27, 2004:

Gregory Narain
[from "Blog Advertising Dilemma"]

As I mentioned yesterday, time is money. Anyone who's tried to balance running their own business, comforting clients, and spending quality time with their families and friends can certainly attest to the need for the 25-hour day. That being said, earning income from the things you love is, as best I can tell, the preferred way to spend one's time. For most bloggers, the upkeep and maintenance of a blog is largely a labor of love. Unfortunately, the blogging world has not evolved to the point that it, in general, can provide enough income to support anyone except a college student on a full-ride.

So therein lays the rub. To move focus to one task over another requires a compromise of some sort. For most, blogging has ulterior motives as well. Some blog for fame, others blog for reputation, and some even blog for research. The "things" - and by things I mean those intangibles - provide a soft value to the author. For many, this soft value can be converted to hard currency. Many a blogger has received work or other forms of engagement as a result of being spotted in the blogosphere. Today, however, that audience still remains small.

[...]

To conclude, I don't think the issue is ever really about the author selling out, as realistically business is business and expenses need to be managed. The tricker, finer detail is actually related to how the author implements that compromise and how effectively they manage user perception and impact.

I don't know that my opinions on the matter have really changed much. The Marquis approach is certainly unique at this point in time. The problem, however, is it does set a precedent that may be quite difficult to untangle. The current crop of supporters seems fair and balanced, but that's certainly not a guarantee for future participants, nor is the overriding principles and derived legal documents.

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Codepiction path to peace n harmony

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Posted by Marc Eisenstadt

Hey, just for a little light relief, I've been experimenting with FOAF, and added a few foaf-annotated-photos to facilitate the following FOAF Co-Depiction result (the actual query was this one linking Stowe to Marc Canter, in case you want to run it yourself):


Boyd -> Canter Co-Depiction Path


You'll have to click through (query -> thumbnail -> thumbnail -> full image) to see the full images and read the annotations, including the joke one posted by Dan Brickley and Martin Poulter.

Codepiction raises as many questions as FOAF itself. What's a 'friend'? What's a 'codepiction' (note the photo on the left, which expands eventually when you click through), is a genuine screen grab from a synchronous event Stowe and I attended, but via FlashMeeting - were we 'together' or not? What happens if codepiction photos are 'digitally remastered', or posted as a joke? Interesting stuff!

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December 03, 2004

CareerBuilder Asserts That "Many Abuse" Instant Messaging

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I hate these unfounded accusations made by know-nothings. There is no evidence to suggest what CareerBuilder asserts here:

[from CNN.com - Six rules for IM-ing at work - Dec 3, 2004]

6. Be responsible: The reason many companies are wary of IM programs is the tendency of employees to use them for personal rather than business purposes.

Again, like e-mail, many people abuse this tool and use it to talk to friends and family all day. Keep your communication at work at a professional level. Doing so will help demonstrate the real business value of instant messaging to your company.

Will this stupidity never stop popping up?

First of all, all the surveys suggest the opposite: people are *not* abusing IM.

Second of all, talking to you friends and family via IM is the cheapest way to stay in touch, cheaper than using the company's precious phone lines and even cheaper than email.

Thirdly, the notion that you should hermetically seal the "two halves" of you life into personal and professional is just silly and wrong. We all know the value of our social networks involve a generous degree of schmoozing to keep the social capital alive: its not all work. This is just another echo of the Taylorist ethos of crunching every iota of work out of employees without any regard to the social fabric.

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I Took A Week Off From Marqui, But...

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

The Marqui Blog Shills story keeps on keeping on. I have taken some time off, but I need to assimilate the various points being made in comments and trackbacks to my last post on the topic of Marqui, a content managemeny company, who has launched an innovative but ethically questionable marketing campaign, where it directly compensates bloggers to write about the company's product.

Just to reprise, I have argued that what the bloggers are up to is not necessarily evil, but that they are squandering the trust that people have for them. I maintain that it is inevitable that readers will question this practice as being too cosy with the sponsor, as contrasted with renting rectangular real estate over in the margins (ads).

Over at Meryl's notes, I seem to have been lumped in with a bunch of the Marqui bloggers, which is surprising on one level, since I have been writing in opposition to this newest take on paid placement:

[from meryl's notes: The Future in Marketing?]

The Future in Marketing?

I'm one of them. I've been bought. Marqui has assimilated me, but I still retain control over my opinions.

[Which is the Marqui blogger's argument in a nutshell.]

[...]

Rather than rehashing what fellow Marqui bloggers are saying, I’ll point the way as they share their stories and beliefs about this program. the head lemur, sooz, Richard McManus, Mitch Ratcliffe, Stowe, Robin Good.

Hey, include me out!

I have had direct discussions with several of those folks listed, and I would like to respond to various questions and issues raised:

Robin Good recapitulates the now-standard argument for Marquiism: we are paid to mention, but not praise; our reputations remain intact; its not really different from ads; readers will ultimately judge Marquiists on the value of their words; we serve them, not Marqui. He asks me if I am willing to review the outcome and impacts of the campaign with him when its all done, in March 2005. Sure, Robin, of course.

Alan Herrel (the head lemur) asks "We can disagree, but before tarring and feathering , don't you think that a little evidence is in order?" Hmmm. I don't really think I am leaping to conclusions. My argument is that being paid to write about a company, without clearing marking it as a sponsored entry, a form of advertisement [a practice we are open to, by the way, at Corante] is ultimately confusing to readers who are unacquainted with the subtleties involved in Marquiism. That's all. Its confusing, and as a result it will (to at least some extent) debase the purported goals of social media -- to have an open dialogue based on personal convictions.

Ted Rheingold, Ralph Poole, and John Furrier chime in with me, replaying the themes of loss of trust, independence, and the small-potatoes aspect of Marqui's money. Why risk so much for so little?

Brian Moffatt challenges my impartiality, and asks for full disclosure on my relationship with Silkroad, whose ad is prominently displayed in the upper right hand corner of Get Real at the time of this writing. First of all, I am not impartial; I am an extremely biased individual, as I have stated on innumerable situations. All knowledge arises from an emotional involvement in understanding the world. That's why the concept of journalistic impartiality is a sham, and why I advocate gonzo media so strongly.

Yes, Silkroad is a client of mine: they advertise at Get Real and Strange Attractor, two blogs at Corante, they are a client in my Social Tools Advisory Service, and they are a sponsor of the recently announced True Voice (The Business of Blogging) seminar series. I have had lots of clients over the past ten plus years as a consultant, including Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, Jabber, and literally dozens of others. But, strangely enough, I haven't even had a conversation with the folks at Silkroad about the Marqui campaign. I mentioned them in the recent debate since they are the most prominent ad on my blog, and because I have written next to nothing about their product.

Most folks are unaware that before Marqui's identity was revealed, Marc Canter had started a back channel discussion with me, Jason Calcanis, and a number of others about the concept of paid placement in blogs. I disagreed then, as did Jason, and many of the others. Jason and I went public with our disapproval. The fact that Marqui is a CMS company, like Silkroad, is just a coincidence.

Again: I disapprove of the practice of Marquiism, I recommend that bloggers and sponsors resist the temptation to indulge in it. It is a vice, but not one that should lead to banishment from the community of bloggers, or jail time. Its just socially unacceptable, like interrupting people all the time or not sending thank you letters. Just bad etiquette: the sort of thing that erodes people's willingness to invite you back or accept your invitations. I recently wrote that a brand, today, in out socialized world, is an invitation. If you invite, and people decline, its not much of a party, is it?

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December 02, 2004

Your Market is Smarter Than You: Reader's Clicks as Editorial Staff?

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Las Ultimas Noticias, a Chilean newspaper, has replaced (more or less) its editorial staff by harnessing the swarm intelligence of its online readership to decide what should appear in the next-day print version of the paper:

Danna Harman
[from Chile paper lets readers pick the news]

It was 102 years old, boring, unpopular and basically, as economist Marta Lagos puts it, "a middle-of-the-road piece of nothing."

Now, it's a phenomenon. Las Ultimas Noticias (LUN), "The Latest News", has become Chile's most widely read newspaper.

No, it's not a tabloid, insist the employees at the slightly shabby downtown newsroom. They say it's a revolution in journalism, a reader-driven product that reflects the changing values and interests of a post-dictatorship public that grew up on a diet of establishment news and now wants more. Or, as some say because of the often lowbrow content, less.

This revolution has occurred, says the newspaper's publisher, Augustine Edwards, thanks to his decision to listen to "the people"� Three years ago, under Edwards' guidance, LUN installed a system whereby all clicks on its Web site (www.lun.com) were recorded for all in the newsroom to see. Those clicks, and the changing tastes and desires they represent, drive the entire print content of LUN.

If a certain story gets a lot of clicks, that is a signal to Edwards and his team that the story should be followed up, and similar ones should be sought for the next day. If a story gets only a few clicks, it is killed. The system offers a direct barometer of public opinion, much like the TV rating system but unique to print media.

What news, then, did readers choose in a week when a dozen world leaders gathered in Santiago for an important trade meeting? Among the top stories: where Secretary of State Colin Powell went to dinner and what he ate (shrimp with couscous). Also, a rundown, with a photo of scantily clad waitresses, of which delegations gave the best tips (Japan was No. 1).

This is the equiavlent of the Always-On swarmocracy model, one that we intend to incorporate into some interesting projects planned here at Corante; where the community's votes (either explicit or implicit) will determine what stuff is cream that should rise to the 'front page' at www.corante.com, and what should be pushed below the crease and forgotten forever.

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Microsoft Prepares to Enter Blogosphere: MSN Spaces

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Microsoft is rumored to be has announced it is launching a blog service this week, MSN Spaces:

Mary Jo Foley
[from MSN Readies New Blogging Service]

MSN is expected to tout MSN Spaces as a direct competitor to blog-creation and hosting tools, such as Blogger, Blog*Spot, LiveJournal and TypePad. Microsoft also will position MSN Spaces as a way to allow users to more easily share photo albums and music lists, too, insiders said.

Some users have been speculating that MSN will allow users to post to their blogs via MSN Messenger 7, the latest version of Microsoft's consumer instant-messaging client, which is in beta now and due to ship in early 2005.

In August, MSN launched a beta version of its blogging tool for the Japanese market only. At that time, MSN officials declined to discuss when and if they planned to broaden the beta to other countries. MSN officials said they considered the MSN Spaces beta as "an incubation project."

No surprises, I guess.

It will be interesting to see if this is an area where Microsoft will be a juggernaut, or whether the established players like SixApart and Google, can hold to first mover advantages.

Are blogs too sticky for people to switch based on a few moderately interesting additional features? Although I am mad about IM, I personally have few contacts using MSN, so that feature, which in principle interests me, won't work because of the interoperability mess that people like Microsoft allow to persist.

It may well be that blog technology will turn out to be a market where Microsoft doesn't have an in. Close integration with Office, Outlook, Live Meeting, Sharepoint, Live Communication Server and (most interesting, I think) OneNote could play well in the enterprise space, however. The Dark Side of the Blogosphere -- behind the corporate firewall -- is a huge and really untapped play. Companies like Silkroad, Traction, and others that have been gearing up for a market shift to blogs will now have to contend with the 800 lb gorilla who wants all those bananas.

I will try to get a demo as soon as possible, and let you know.

[pointer via Renee Blodgett via Bill Ives]

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December 01, 2004

Jupiter Study on Teenage IMing

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Posted by Stowe Boyd


Forbes reports that
a survey by Jupiter Research found that 71% of consumers between the age of 13 and 17 use instant-messaging programs on their computers.

More confirmation that the email bubble will be bursting soon, no matter what the grey beards say:

Kids are such heavy users of messaging technologies that it is likely today's killer Internet app--e-mail--is about to get pushed aside. "As these kids get older, we're going to see IM really take over as the preferred method of communication over e-mail," says Yahoo's Miller. "E-mail is really seen as skewed towards older demographics. Kids will use e-mail to communicate with their parents, but it's seen as very stodgy."
Email will become the future equivalent of surface mail: you will only use it for a small amount of corporate/legal/official crap, and everything else will slip into the real-time stream.

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Get Real Stickers

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Due to popular demand, I have put an inventory of 100 Get Real Stickers up for grabs at eBay, for a fixed price of $1, including envelope and postage (see eBay item 5540368265 (Ends Dec-31-04 13:54:52 PST) - Get Real Sticker 8.5x1.5 in).

This will be easier to deal with than self-addressing envelopes, etc.

If you have already sent a SASE, don't worry, I'll do it.

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Cordant: Still Alive?

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

I got a press release about a product release, which I generally glance at and then consign to the trash, but in this case I am posting a few comments, because I thought the company involved, Cordant, was dead.

I met Sonu Agarwal, the founder of the firm, at an early Instant Messaging Planet conference (which *is* dead), and heard later that he left the company to return to Microsoft, where he had been part of the team to build the Exchange IM product. He and Francis DeSouza left Microsoft at more or less that same time, to found competing instant messaging management firms. In Francis' case, the now successful IMlogic, which closed a licensing deal and a round of financing a few weeks later, back in 2000 (I think).

I think this market niche will rapidly close, when Microsoft, IBM, and the other major market makers include logging, archiving, and other mainstays of IM management in the basic offerings. Although Cordant has reemerged, I don't see a viable market here for long. IMlogic is a likely candidate to be grabbed by Microsoft, since they are licensing their technology already.

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Why Do We Blog?

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Frank Paynter collates a long, long list of people's ruminations on the question "why do we blog?" (see here).

I originally turned to blogging as a means of connecting with the marketplace, as a consultant/analyst (back in 1999, with the now defunct Message from Edge City, accessible at the Internet Archives, and nowhere else.) That has still remained the centerpoint of my daily writing regimen, but something else has emerged. Socrates said (he would be a blogger today, by the way) "the unexamined life is not worth living," which could be the motto for bloggers everywhere.

And then, of course, there is this response by Hugh MacLeod, which appeals to the other side of my brain:

whyblog_1.jpg

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Bloggers on eBay

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Jeremy Wright and Darren Barefoot are auctioning their blogging services on eBay

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Tony Walsh on Marqui Shills

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Posted by Stowe Boyd

Tony Walsh at Clickable Culture weighs in on the Marqui Blog Shills imbroglio: "Hilarity ensues when paid bloggers attempt to defend themselves and Marqui. Dudes, don't you get it? The fact that you're paid for means anything you say about your patron is automatically invalid."

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