Saturday, July 31, 2004

Thoughts on the decline of newspapers

Reading these quotes from recent blog posts makes me think again about the reasons newspapers are dying:
James Lileks:" Newspapers to me no longer look like great sober edifaces inscribing the details of history as the parade clatters past. They just look like group blogs."
Tim Oren: "A newspaper has been an icon of intent to engage with the world, the community, with business and politics, and often a representation of one's stance. But that's been hollowed out, bit by bit, and there's little more left than a symbolic husk."
Michael Sippey: "The technology and culture trends point towards more customer control, not more marketer control, so anyone who wants to play in this game is going to have to give up the ghost of one-to-one marketing and instead enable customers to do their own media mix creation."

Some realities, observed:
--The explosion of blogging reflects a (new) form of customer control.
--The growth of newsreaders is linked to everyone's growing comfort with P2P and playlists, two great teaching tools for personalization and customization.
--Speed, not accuracy, is one of the most highly prized aspects of news today.
--More and more classifieds are now powered by community, not commodity.

And newspapers?
With the exception of some(impressive) leaders, most of the newspaper entities are still worrying about how to win customers back, but are not yet acting on the realizations that technology, social media, and customer attention shifts are undermining their basic business assumptions.
Or, to put it another way, we're watching a medium shift--and risk becoming irrelevant.

Peter Merholz & the Old New Thing

Peter Merholz has a nice post about 'The Old New Thing' that highlights the time he's spent in *new media* over the past 10 years and how he's found some areas--user interaction, in particular--that are now his main focus.
He writes: "I've opted to doggedly pursue making things make sense for people, and promoting the business value of this decision. Which feels both responsible and perhaps stodgily corporate...(snip)... have I matured? Or become rigid? Or both?"
The post has some good comments from folks such as Molly Steenson and Elizabeth Goodman. (It also makes me recognize that while my own passion for digital media and consumer experience hasn't flagged (even though I've been working with *online* for 12 years) there's always somone new to learn from--and something new to learn.)

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Noted: Links

Paul Ford: August 2009: How Google beat Amazon and eBay to the Semantic Web
"It's hard to believe Google - which is now the world's largest single online marketplace - came on the scene only a little more than 8 years ago, back in the days when Amazon and eBay reigned supreme. So how did Google become the world's single largest marketplace? "
Ford's piece imagines the future at Google in a way that total informs the present--a good read on the eve of their IPO and the continuing rollout of new services.

O'Reilly's Make:  A new project-focused magazine rolls out with great talent at the helm. Will this be Readymade for geeks or the next PopSci?

Bush/Cheney--The Bush Girls' Online Journal: Gag! Barf! Spew!Wasn't it bad enough the President lies--why do we now have to pretend the Bush twins are writing a journal to America? Why don't they just admit their Dad's rich and arrogant enough it's just assumed he'd pay someone to write it for them, so they can do really meaningful things? (Side note: On second thought, the idea they might be writing this vacuous pap themselves  is even more nauseating...Ugh.)

Owner's Manual: Can I just say that I am completely digging my friend Lee Watter's new blog?

Gawkin' at the Googleplex

Due to several electronically signed legal documents I am not going to say what I was doing at Google today, but I will say visiting the G was a striking experience.
How does a brand new campus, outdoor BBQ, volleyball courts, on site haircuts and masseusse sound?
You like the flavor of halls stocked with Odwalla, soda, and water, cappucino bars and baristas every few floors, and--yes--dogs at work?
All that was cool--very Netscape 1998 to be honest--but what was really striking was the idea that a certain percentage of the youthful (average age 28), sensibly dressed (for the most part) workforce crossing the campus were about to become newly minted millionaires. After all, how many people who get into a job after school actually end up fulfilling those dreams of becoming quickly and obscenely loaded?
The consciousness of money coming their way hangs over the Google campus like a rainbow-colored mist.  That excited awareness of impending wealth, I suspect, is responsible for the sprinkling of nifty sports cars and luxury SUVs in the parking lot, including one whose plate was SRCH4U (okay, it was something else, but you get the point).  It is also the probable cause for the  politely restrained demeanor of some of the staffers(not the ones I saw, of course)--who, like well-bred children from seriously rich families, greet visitors with a careful politeness designed to counteract any potential envy.  
Yes, the Googleplex was grand.  The folks in my (unnamed) meetings were smart. And the brilliant sun, blazing across the mobiles and the post-modern metal benches, was so warm and fuilfilling, so full of hope, that I wanted to put off driving down 101 and back into my everyday life and gawk. Yup, I sat there for 29 minutes, making cell phone calls and  pretending that I too was one of the employees at this little search company that started less than 5 years ago and  is now taking over the world, gifting staffer and investors with a 'liquidity event' worth billions in the process. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Focus on: AOL

Where is AOL Today?
Those dark days seem hard to get over for AOL--news yesterday that the parent company is auditing AOL Europe suggests that the SEC probe--which became public about two years ago--is still dragging on. This means that Time Warner's hopes of spinning off AOL ain't gonna happen anytime soon.
On another note, TW vice chairman Don Logan, told analysts that is going to be built out--much like Netscape was supposed to be back in 2001--as an a la carte destination for web surfers. This strategy, long a favorite of AOL Programming EVP Jim Bankoff (disclosure: I worked for him) runs parallel--and is presumably complementary--to AOL Broadband's focus on developing premium entertainment services--reportedly the core vision for AOL Broadband EVP and GM (and former BMG powerhouse) Kevin Conroy.
Finally press reports that AOL's dial-up subs continue to tank, even as the online advertising business rebounds. For the first time in three years, AOL's ad sales have increased, rising 23% per cent, with a 2% revenue growth, for a total $2.2B number.
Staffers continually say things are getting better, and "we're turning the big ship around." Given the dark days of 2002 and 03, that's gotta be true. Furthermore, as a one-stop shop AOL is without peer, and it's virus-checking qualities have kept me on its email system long beyond when it otherwise made sense.
On the other hand. AOL will need to continue to leverage its huge size and still-impressive audience reach to avoid falling into the big tail/little brain universe known as too-little, too late. 

What should they do? 
IMHO, to avoid being fodder  for the (next) corporate write-down, the company needs to continue to streamline the service, bring some fresh viewpoints into the news partnership (hey,  CNN is teaming with Technorati--why didn't AOL News try something different this year?), and continue to simplify and streamline their offerings--finding the good stuff that isn't promotion of the day is STILL a major challenge.

If I ran the circus I'd: 
-- Keep improving news: Use TechnoratiFeedster and PubSub like tools to add a Vox Populi element to the news coverage and the member comments;
--Team up with to offer micro-local news and blog content for, the My services, and the Digital Cities brands
--Create a strategy to integrate ecommerce referral for major AOL partner brands into the blogging, home page, photo album and community tools--and tie to it to the  member incentives and loyalty programs
--Develop a blogging/social media strategy tied to the wonderful broadband entertainment/sports coverage--and the community tools/member base.
--See how all these programs could be repurposed on the web to make a destination competitive with Yahoo, MSN,, Google/Blogger/Gmail, and so on.

(Disclosure: Sound impassioned? Worked there for almost 4 years, was a biz partner for 8, and admire the great number of really smart , nice people working their tails off there now despite the (sometimes)horrendous corporate culture.)

Classified and $$ for schools

Via Stephen Downes and online news list:
Classroom Classifieds Raise Funds for Schools

Residents of Falmouth, Maine can use a new web site -- -- to advertise things they want to dispose of
and help raise money for the schools as well. Working on the honor
system, users who post ads agree to donate anything from 1% to 100% of
the sale to the Falmouth Education Foundation.

Craig's List and Tribe--maybe this is worth adopting?

Online ad spending: How about the data?

Mediapost and others have a story today that the notoriously optimistic JupiterResearch says that online ad spending will surpass magazines by 2008.
The story says "According to the new Jupiter Research forecast, set to be unveiled this morning at the Jupiter Media Advertising Forum, marketers will spend $8.4 billion on online advertising this year, growing a massive 45 percent over the next three years to $13.8 billion by 2007, and then $15 billion by 2008. Magazine spending will rise at a more modest rate, from $12.2 billion in 2004 to $13.8 billion in 2007, and finally $14.5 billion in 2008."
While it is a fact that magazine ad revenues are--and have been--under attack, a little voice of reason says that Jupiter's prediction needs to be qualified--BIGTIME.
Most online sites don't (yet) have the data--and the tools--to provide the precise targeting and customer data that magazine publishers can deliver.
As we all know, the heart of most magazine companies is the list. This is the qualified customer list, replete with name, address and the right to mail to them.
This list is one of the reasons magazines can provide highly credible data about who is reading them--ie who is looking at the ads in their pages. Big magazine companies can cross-tab their lists, meaning they know what percentage of people in a certain area(ie a certain income bracket and psychographic framework)read, say, two of their publications.
In addition magazine companies, working with Simmons, audit their circulation. They also do fairly extensive surveying of their sub list (ie How many of you Vogue readers own a gas BBQ grill? How likely are you to buy on this coming year? and so on.)
So, the point is that for online advertising to surpass print, IMHO, digital publishers will need to provide equally good demographic data to establish the ROI. Given the complete lack of registration on most web sites, acquiring that data has a way to go--but once that challenge is met,one of the strongest competitive points to advertiser in magazines will give way--and then, buyt only then, maybe Jupiter will be right.
(Bonus question for digital media folks: Do you have access to the kind of information today that would make you a competitive buy for a magazine advertiser--or will those dollars go to AOL, Tickle, and MSN ?

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Is the blogosphere growing or what?

Wondering if people besides your kid and her friends are blogging?
Check Sifry's stats:

--8,000-17,000 new weblogs created every single day
--Over 275,000 individual posts daily

Noted: Links

New blogger Lee Watters: About blogging
Richard Grayson: Diary of a delegate
Mediapost: Defining a new (guy) demographic
Gothamist Food: Why not?
Being bicoastal: NYC blog posts pix of Dogster guy here.
MySpace beats Friendster: Some would say, who cares?
Stuart Henshall: Where is blog innovation today?

Monday, July 26, 2004

Back from Point Reyes

Took Sunday and Monday off and went to Point Reyes to go hiking. Sunned on Stintson Beach, heard jazz at the cafe, took the path to Alamere Falls, meandered through Bolinas, and then headed home.
395 emails waiting.
Back to work tomorrow.
It was fun.
Oh, and did I mention all the poison oak? Here's hoping there are no itchy souvenirs.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Valley stories: Do you want FBSD with your curry?

Spencer and I decided to go out tonight, and picked a new placed in Santa Clara called The Empress of India. Reviews said it was a retired couple, great food, no menu, made dinner just one night a week.
Great we said. Fine.
While the food was delicious, we had a free--and non-stop side dish of engineering blather. Seems like the guy dining alone in the corner was lonely, knew the couple two tables away and was happy to talk about email systems in the most technical manner until a third party they both knew--a grey-haired man and his two teenage sons--came in and sat between them.
Fashion models talking about their dogs were nothing compared to these folks!
As we munched our way through bowls of braised baby eggplant, makahini dal, alu mattar gobi, saag panir, tandori chicken and fresh nan, there was a steady drip drip drip of tech talk, astronomy stories and lectures to the kids about the superiority of I, Robot the book, to I, Robot the movie. (Does anyone really need to be sold Will Smith is no Asimov? The opposite is true as well, ya know.)
Final verdict as we paid the bill and fled: Food great, ambiance: way too geeky.

Blogging Off on Blogon

 Overall, the BlogOn conference was high-energy, great people in attendance, psyched presentors, action in the halls and filled conference rooms(with just a couple mediocre sessions).  However, I don't think we drilled down in the business questions as deeply as I'd hoped--partly because business models are still emerging.

One of my favorite sessions was The Business of Blogging, in whch Jason Calcanis, Stowe Boyd and Henry Copeland started to get specific about how they sell ads, what they charge for them, and what the rev shares for bloggers are.  This discussion could have gone on for an hour, instead of the 40 minutes allotted. (Resolution: I am going to post a summary of this discussion by next week.)

Another favorite was the one on local, a subject with which I am obsessed(why? harder to commoditize). Craig Newmark, Mark Pincus, Sean Bonner, Chris Tolles each spoke about their locally focused services, the revenue picture, how they saw themselves in relation both to local small businesses (typically, really helping them), and area media players. This was another session where we could have go one (with more financial data, ideally).  Comments from the audience were good, with Forrester analyst Charlene Li, discussing her recent study of local services and their (valuable) user profiles. Tickle CEO James Currier looked like he had some good things to add as well--people date locally, after all--but we just didn't get to him.

Lots of good sessions, lots of lessons learned on how we could do it better as well.




BlogOn: The Wrap

Blogon blogged off Friday night and today is chill day for moi.
While the conference was good, I thought our experience at Pyramid Brewing was poor: the cost was high ($30), the service was non-existent, and they shorted us on the food so some people had to get money back. Can you say un-bussed tables, shortage of drinks glasses, food 40 minutes late, not enough of it and non-existent staff?I'd  picnic on Martin Luther King Blvd in preference to having a group event at Pyramid again.

There are good links to other conference notes and feedback accessible via Feedster and Technorati; JD Lasica has posted a photo album of attendees, as well.

BlogOn: Investment Panel

More conference sound bites:
Investment panel, Martin Tobias: "I would not invest in micropublishing models...Big media is our tastemaker and filter for new things." (Violent disagreement erupts from the audience, BTW)
Same panel, Mark Kwamme: "I believe a major new news/media thing will happen in this space."
Also,  "If you are manically focused on the customer and on your product, a great business will come out of it."
(Mernit snark note: Clearly, you gotta tell these VCs you are a manic and a fanatic to get their attention when you pitch...wearing clothes with your new company name on them is probably a great way to convey that message, especially hats and socks--okay, I am joking." )

Final Kwamme quote: "There's too much VC money and not enough good ideas."
(Hey,  can I get some?)

MSNBC's Hardball spawns Hardblogger

Is it any surprise in this blog-crazed blip that Hardball has launched its own Hardblogger--and added Joe Trippi to the lineup for a little more liberal flavor (plus, it's a good way for him to promote his book.)

Orchestrated by MSNBC campaign head Tammy Haddad (a brilliant news producer who really gets interactivity) Hardblogger is well-intentioned, but looks like it's going to have a bit of ramping up to hit its marks as more than an online column.  Enabling readers to post comments, rather than email in their thoughts, would do a lot to add a vibrant transparency, as would moblogging informal photos from field shoots.

And of course the team could recruit Feedster or PubSub to offer some almost-realtime results from the politics-obsessed blogosphere--or even hire a "real" blogger to provide data to their team--maybe one of the accredited bloggers to the DNC.

PETA PIX: The live make out tour

From Yahoo:

Ravi Chand of Virginia and Bethany Walker of Ohio kissing on a Boise sidewalk on Friday, July 23, 2004 in Boise, Idaho to promote vegetarian eating. The 'Live Make-Out Tour', sponsored by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), is being staged throughout the country to demonstrate PETA's claims that vegetarians are better lovers.
And this is supposed to reinforce the seriousness of the issue, right?

Friday, July 23, 2004

BlogOn: Afternoon breakouts

The Business of Blogging: Calcanis, Copeland and Boyd talking about how they make money from blogging.  Some facts to note:
Copeland is grouping ads together to create contexualad blocks--"We'd rather sell several $1 ads and group them together, than one $10 ad--ads are a form of content,"
Calcanis and Boyd are not selling CMP or CPC, they're selling delivery of a targeted audience for a deliminated amount of time, not impressions.   (Prices sound like they're pretty much whatever they can close.)
Engadget is sold out through the end of the year, other Weblogs Inc blogs are not--Calcanis believes in teaming up with writers to split $$, limiting the ads to have 'ad scarcity,.' 
This discussion could have gone on for MUCH longer--the audience wants it bad.

Publishing Models and social media:  Rafat Ali, Steve Gillmor and Steve Rubel.with Halley Suitt as moderator are going at it hot and heavy with the audience, especially on the RSS tip---what kinds of feeds should authors permit?  How do feeds fit into publishing businesses?
What's the role of PR in helping corporations blog (Rubel)? 
(Sitting in the back means I can't see all the speakers from the audience--which means I don't know names...)

BlogOn: Session sound bites

Opening panel,  Reid Hoffman: "If you don't have a blog component as part of your customer strategy, you're missing out."

Opening panel, Ross Mayfield, Socialtext: "Within a month, you'll see people claiming there's a social media bubblet."

Privacy panel, Wendy Seltzer: The fans and the users may be better educated about the possibilities of what the Internet allows them to do than big corporations think. Fans can make their voices heard and require companies to change."

Transparency panel, Mena Trott: "Our users couldn't believe that we didn't turn the trackback off-even after we had 800, 900 posts--some of them amazingly nasty. But we listened to what they told us and came back with a new licensing  policy a month later, and this time, they accepted it. In retrospect, we didn't handle the initial change very well, we should have messaged and spoken more openly to the community."

Transforming Corp Comm, Gregg Jarboe: "We were about to go tio Southwest and tell them that red hot airfares are not a search term--cheap fares, discount fares, low fares--are what people search for.  On Yahoo and Google, the top search result for low fares, Philadelphia was our press release--and it was at the top of the list for 3o days?We tracked $80,000 in ticket sales to one press release online."

BlogOn:Snippets from the show

Confession: As a panel member for last night's kick off, I confess, I took lousy notes, but I did get a good look at the crowd. Some impressions:
--A more diverse audience than some conferences--a mix of East Coast media and PR folks, West Coast media, technology, and social media masters, a heavy dose of serial entrepreneurs and product developers from the Bay area/Seattle/Boston/Baltimore/New York/DC and the UK, and heavy sprinkling from the growing list of web-based niche publishers and the consultant constituency (of which I am a part.)   Journalists and bloggers lugging laptops.  During the reception, sales guys and CEOs networking at high speed--insta-pitching over glasses of Merlot, Microsofties chugging beers, laid back, lots of chatting, laughter in the room.

At the (packed) panel, the burning question of the night was "So, where's all this social media interest going---and where's the money in it?"
(And no, the panel didn't't have an easy answer for that--but we did get some good war stories and sound bites:
John Roberts, CNET News: 'RSS is Napster for news.'
Bill Schreiner, AOL: ' We're watching the business to see how it goes--it's too soon for us to jump in a major way--we want to see more of what our members do.'
Scott Gantz, MyYahoo: "5 years ago, you had to be a big company and do a major deal with us to get your content in MyYahoo, now, content can come from everyone."
Tony Perkins: "I walk down Madison Avenue, and I talk to advertisers, and they know I can deliver them the customers they want to reach--and they want that." )
More tk on sessions today.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Gone teachin'

Off to BlogOn bootcamp. See ya.

Update: You can see us: 

(Thanks, JD)

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Penenberg: Why politics needs bloggers

If you'd like to read a merciless deconstruction of why the small number of bloggers attending the DNC this weekend will receive such a large amount of press, Adam Penenberg's latest piece in Wired is a run, don't walk must-see.
Some sound-bites:
"Newspapers will offer succinct accounts of the speeches and parse the Democratic Party's platform and how it will play in the red, blue and what I like to call purple (read: swing) states.
"TV news feeds its almost endless need for content by cannibalizing from print. 
"The truth about blogs and bloggers is that they are parasitic to the mainstream media they love to hate."
Penenberg goes on to discuss a number of things bloggers could do well (and quotes my lengthy post from last week), then ends with the kicker "... maybe, just maybe, some blogger out there could make a name for him or herself by covering the convention. "

Adam, write on--good piece.


Feedster: Calendar view?

Steve Rubel says that Feedster is launching some new features(true) and that one of them is a calendar view(have no idea)
Steve's got a nice screen grab here.

Does this mean Feedster and Technorati are (naturally) going in different directions, even as their product offerings become more similar feature by feature?

Mernit analysis: Perhaps Technorati is going to move forward with more of a publishing/content model, which Feedster is pursuing more of a services/integration model. If this is true, it would be easy to lay bets on which company was more focused on acquisition, and which sought investment. Let's see what happens as this space-suddenly--becomes red hot.

CNN teams with Technorati to cover conventions

Word is just out that CNN has teamed up with Technorati to provide Vox Populi coverage of the upcoming political conventions, starting with the DNC. Release copy says:
"David L. Sifry, founder of Technorati ( which monitors more than three million blogs, will be providing on-site, on-air expert commentary on the real-time political blogosphere for CNN's coverage at the Democratic National Convention.  By monitoring the conversations in thousands of blogs across the entire political spectrum, Dave will be providing analysis on which political blogs are getting the most attention and which ideas are generating the fastest-growing buzz. "

In additional Technorati will launch a special, CNN-sponsored politics  site on Sunday night to kick things off.

Mernit comments:  This is great news that one of our biggest news services is willing to try something different to distinguish themselves (Can you say, Take that, Fox!)  I hope the web site embraces and links to Technorati as well--sometimes the broadcast division and the web site can be coming from different directions.

It appears that a key figure in the deal was  David Bohrman, CNN's Washington Bureau chief and executive producer of CNN's coverage of the Democratic NationalConvention. Bohrman and some of the Technorati team were together last March at The Media Center's Mediamorphosis conference--is it possible inital contact happened at that time?

Update: Dave's blog says he will be on-air--I love this! That means Mary Hodder will be on air too--whohoo!! Watch out, Wonkette!
(This might also be a good time to mention that Dave's brother, Micah, is a political commentator.) You go, guys.

One of the reasons I don't live in New York

The reality of scenes like this inevitably sends me shrieking back to Silicon Valley, where Dockers and Banana Republic are considered fashion. (An Oscar-winning actress at a Target opening with a painted bullterrier is too wierd for moi.)

(Via Gawker)

Gum Blondes: Britney, chewed

Think it's easy to make portraits of trashy celebs out of chewing gum? No way! These never been swallowed portraits were created by a Toronto artist and his army of gum-chewing assistants and pay homage to Britney, Paris, Sarah Michelle, and other important figures in our cultural Peter-Pantheon.

(Via Gawker)

Hornick: Blah Blah Blah Redux

Dave Hornick's blog post on the blah,blah,blah sameness of social media panels was so well received, he's turned it into a (slightly longer) article for CNET.
It's still amusing, but the funniest part is that the (rightly skeptical) Hornick never loses heart--my understanding is that he was one of the first guys to put money down for a ticket to BlogOn, where I am hoping he will share from the floor during the investment panel.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004


UPDATE: As of 4 PM PST. Wednesday, we've sold this conference out.
Thank you everyone--and please come to the dinner on Friday whether or not you're in the hall .

Seven weeks ago, we decided to put on BlogOn, a conference focusing on the business of social media and now we're just a few days away from the event.  Good news is that we have an amazing crowd, smart speakers, and it's almost sold out! 
If you want to register to come, click on this link and use the promo code "social" to get $100 off.
To join in the free Webcast on Friday, click on and follow the onscreen prompts.
And don't forget there's a dinner in Berkeley on Friday post conference--that should be fun--RSVP here.


Monday, July 19, 2004

Noted: Links

Ed Sims: Influence the influencers.
"If I were a startup, one great and cheap way to build buzz and excitement is through the blog community. I call this "influencing the influencers." Think about it - many of the more well known bloggers are also well known tech journalists, industry pundits, VCs, and technology executives. Forget about using the traditional PR route - if you can get these influencers to write about you on their highly targeted blogs, others will hear about it, write about it, and generate links to it."
Henry Copeland: "Half the bloggers going to the DNC convention run blogads." And the others?
Blinkx: Launching this week--and at BlogOn in Berkeley this Friday!
Tom Watson: The value of RSS--" merely a tool... an important standard without inherent marketable value, except in the nifty software packages that employ it. And speaking of the software: in the history of media creation, where else has an audience this large been created on the back on technology that can be created, developed and (crucially) marketed and sustained by teams of two or five or 10 people?"
East Bay Biz Times: Is Social Media the next online wave? (Disclaimer: Almost everyone quoted in this piece is teaching the bootcamp with me at BlogOn.)
Josh Rubin: The amazing 123Klan: graffiti merveilleuse.

Amy Langfield: Remembering Forgotten New York.
Jerry Colonna: Eloquent post on compassion and depression in the workplace, with a segue to Auden:
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come

The endless BJ debate--had enough already?

I know some folks at a to be unnamed blogging company, where staff has to put money in a jar if a certain famous blogger is mentioned.
I am ready to suggest a similar ban on the (amazingly tired) debate "Is blogging journalism?"
But before I pull the jar out, I wanted to slip in Choire Sicha's comments in Gawker on this ponderous  question:
"This weekend, Alex S. Jones of the LA Times is the latest slow-moving print dinosaur to weigh in on the topic. "[T]emporary press credentials... [don't] turn bloggers into journalists" seems to be his point. It's wrapped up by a lovely strawman argument -- "should blogging displace traditional reporting and journalism, as some in the blogosphere predict it will, then the steak will have been swapped for the sizzle." Right. Source that, biznatch.
Guess what: temporary press credentials actually do turn anyone into a journalist. It's easy! Journalism isn't some mystical black magic that my grandmother couldn't do for some extra cash. Like, you talk to people and go to places and you see what's there
Jones is also fisked by Jarvis and Ernie Miller, but the bottom line, is STFU, puhleeze.

NYTimes story: Media types found in Silicon Valley!

Dave Carr's got a story in today's Times surveying the survivors of Silicon Valley's best-known technology magazines and concluding--surprise!--that the collapse of the economy didn't drive them out of publishing.
Given that Red Herring and Industry Standard broke new ground in technology/trade journalism,  is it really surprising that their star editors and publishers continue--gasp!--to edit, write and sell?
Carr's piece is written in a gee-whiz tone that smacks of journalists who don't leave New York City often enough--or read trade sites like Paid Content very often, either, for that matter.
(Hey, maybe Carr is actually amazed that media types in Silicon Valley still relate to paper.
--If that is the case, he should remember that one of the big things about paper is that it has  lucrative ad revenue when there's a good rate base--strong incentive for jumping back into print no matter how digital you are--after all, advertisers drive the media business.)

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Oblivio: The sad genius of

I bow before the sad genius of Michael Barish.  This narrative about Michael and his girlfriend might be the most evocative post--or essay--I've read in months.
Check it out--you will not be sorry.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Noted: Links

Jarvis: Powerpoint slides of Citizen Journalism--see How would you design news today? slide.
Ev: Blogger's got a brand new bag, oops, I mean WYSIWYG editor.
Real Simple Shopping: RSS email offers, via Winer
Webjay: Lucas mixes it up--fun!
Halley's Comment--Nice new redesign.
Chad Dickerson, Infoworld: "Whereas my e-mail client, MS Word, and Google used to rule my desktop, I now find myself using Bloglines, Feedster, and Technorati throughout the day..."
Rick Bruner: Exposed! bra maker's stealth marketing ploys.
Om Malik: Jeff Bezos is shrinking--weight loss via magazine covers
Lisa Williams: Benefits of being polite to your pup

2004 Election coverage--What I'd like to see

We're just a week away from the DNC, and nothing in the online news space looks very fresh or very different--yet. Six months ago, I wrote two articles for the Digital Edge of the Newspaper Association of America about the 2004 elections and online news sites.  One piece focused on the ad side, the other on the edit. In both, site managers and editors discussed what the kind of coverage they hoped to offer for the 2004 race.
None of it seems to have happened. 
With the idea it is time to get with the program, here are some things I'd like to see news organizations do:

--The New York Times or the Washington Post and Technorati or Feedster=Vox Populi
Why don't we see a major media outlet that will file lots of stories during the election find a way to work with Technorati or Feedster so they can have almost real-time links reflecting people?s comments on--and links to--the stories--right on their web site?
Advance Publications or Tribune and depth
Why doesn't a large regional newspaper player, like Advance or Trib, team up with Topix to provide a more complete index of local news stories related to election topics? This would be a great way to complement their coverage--if they could stand linking out to other entities, of course.  
MTV and Orkut and Live Journal=Community
Why doesn't Rock the Vote tape into the social network space and affiliate with a large, viral network and a youth-oriented blogging service to add more resonance, depth, and community to their program?  

Fox News or CNN with Blogger and Picasa or Typepad=Citizen Journalism
Why doesn't one of the larger networks and their local affiliates work with a large blogging service and their photo/mobblogging capabilities to create local citizen/journal reporters who can moblog local campaign and election events and do man on the street interviews?  
ALL news entities with
Internet Archive and Creative Commons licensing
Why not create an open source media archive for the 2004 election? What if all the major news players decided to cooperate with the Internet Archive and build a multimedia archive for the 2004 election season?  And grant a Creative Commons license for use of the materials?
Yahoo or MSN or AOL plus Bloglines or Rojo = Election newsreader
Why doesn't a news-focused portal site team up with one of the new web-based newsreader services to offer a customized and branded newsreader customized with political feeds--a My Yahoo or MSN or My AOL for the elections?    

Update: This post has sparked much discussion and links --thank you, everyone! For a look at the discussion, check out Technorati or Feedster. 


Thursday, July 15, 2004

A new Feedster !

Feedster's reinvented itself!
Scott Johnson gives Diet Coke and Big Macs co-authorship.
Scott--it looks great.
And there's a link cosmos of sorts--that seems buggy.

Invite: Bloggers dinner, Berkeley, July 23rd

Join us for a get together for BlogOn conference attendees, local bloggers, techies, media folks, and anyone else who wants to take part, hosted by some of the Bay area's finest blogger folk.
Date is Friday night, July 23rd at the Pyramid Brewing Company in Berkeley, California.
Hosted by Bay area bloggers Christian Crumlish, Tantek Celik, Cheyenne Burnsworth, Marc Canter, Mary Hodder ,this is a chance for everyone who's interested to hang out, talk, eat and meet, whether or not you're attending the conference.
Drinks and dinner should run about $25 per person--come for drinks at 6:30 and dinner at 7.
To RSVP, add your name to the wiki.
Map here.

Are you coming to BlogOn?

BlogOn, the conference about the business of social media, is happening in just a week(!) I'm part of the program committee, so this is the shameless plug moment--this is going to be a great conference with terrific speakers and if you are a business person impacted by blogs, social networks, RSS/syndication, newsreaders, etc--or a blogger interested in the business aspects of these subjects--BlogOn is a good conference for you.
You can register here--there's a blogger rate for self-employed, unemployed, etc., and a corporate rate (to get $100 off that rate, use the promo code "blogon" when you register.) There are also scholarships--if you need one, click here.
BlogOn also has a boot camp--a hands-on, 4 hour workshop designed to deepen participants' understanding of all these new tools and platforms, as well as emerging business models/challenges/opportunities.
And there's going to be a post-conference dinner in Berkeley that some local bloggers are helping to host--for conference attendees and the wider community--more on that tk.

USA Today's fine whine: Bloggers have no training in journalism!

USA Today story on blogging at the Democratic National Convention is the same old sour grapes whining: "Many bloggers have no training in journalism and make no pretext about being objective."
The story quotes Tom McPhail, a journalism professor at the University of Missouri, as saying bloggers "are certainly not committed to being objective. They thrive on rumor and innuendo...Bloggers should be put in a different category, like 'pretend' journalists."
Susan's comment: If I hadn't had my morning coffee already, I might say, "Oh, you mean like journalism professors?" but since I have already inhaled (two) cups of morning Joe, I'll refrain and just say "What planet are you living on, guys?
You think MTV and Fox News offer more real journalism--or are you just talking about those newspapers fewer and fewer people under 50 are reading?"
Oops, I guess I needed more coffee--snark alert.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Six Apart grows the team

Press release on new management team at Six Apart.
Mena Trott's blog post.
Marketing Vox: Founderectomy.
More here via Feedster and Technorati.

Briterati: Trash of the day

New Kerala Times (!): Britney buys shots for lunch in Malibu (Update--it's not booze, it's a ginseng energy drink)
Boston Herald and others: First husband talks trash
BBN: Kev Fed kites a check.
Avril Lavigne: She doesn't approve.

eCommerce is a comin' on

The news today that CNET will provide technology product reviews and shopping functions for and is just further evidence that ecommerce referral is a growing revenue stream for publishers.
With the MySimon engine, CNET can offer shopping comparisons as well as in depth product reference--and make money from referrals to merchants that they can then split with the Times.
As more and more people shop online, look for more publishers and portals to integrate these kinds of services into their offerings--the risk is low and the rate of return, while not high, is definitely worthwhile--and new, incremental revenue.

Michael Powell at Always On

FCC head Michael Powell spoke at the opening session of the Always On conference last night and urged a restructuring of the indecency rules.
Some quotes from last night:
"I think this country has a bigger question it doesn't want to deal with. The notion that the First Amendment changes when you change channels is odd. It's more than odd--it's dangerous...My child has no idea what a broadcast channel is - no idea what the difference is between channel five and channel 105. The idea that broadcast ethics changes with each channel is off - and it's dangerous.

"Right now, we're in a terrible position where a company's regulatory treatment is more a matter of from whence they came rather than what they're really doing now.

"It's the most uncomfortable area you'd ever want to work in, enforcement...I'm a big believer in the First Amendment, but often I'm incredibly uneasy about lines we have to draw. No one takes pleasure in trying to decide whether this potty-mouth word or that potty-mouth word is a violation of the law.

"The government threw out that unlicensed bandwidth because they thought it was garbage; they though it was the domain of baby monitors, microwave ovens and little remote-control cars. Wi-Fi is teaching the government a lot about what you can do with a chunk of spectrum where we aren't the arbiter of what can be done. It's a brave new world, and it's important for us to get it right. I'm extremely passionate in my belief that getting this right under-girds whether the United States is as great a country in the 21st century as it was in the 20th."

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

What Google might do with Picasa

Philipp Lenssen at Googlescoped: How do Gmessenger, Google blog search, Gphoto and Google Live Connect sound?
They're products the Picasa platform could quickly make real.
Phillip's ideas on what this acquisition offers Google are provocative--and compelling.
If some of these product plans are not already on Google's short list--well, they should be.
(Via Pamela Parker)

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Noted: Links

Dave Winer: Do you think we should give Bush the power to postpone the presidential election?
Worthwhile Magazine: Dave Weinberger on passionate work.
Seedlings & Sprouts: Julie Leung on meeting her husband Ted. Bob Peak's 60's illos.

Beyond VC: Ed Sim on the courage to comment.
Stopdesign: Douglas Bowman on the limits of a network (aka "Where are the women?' meme) (Via Anil)
New York Times: Coco Henson Scale's 'Year in the Life of a Hostess'-juicy read on glitterati.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Love: "Today is my birthday and I had an abortion."

Courtney Love is hospitalized; warrant issued.

Scott Sassa's Friendster $$ footprint

Didn't take long for new Friendster CEO Scott Sassa to make use of his Hollywood smarts: Friendster is the word of mouth marketing vehicle for Will Ferrell's new flick, Anchorman. And--they've got banner ads for the movie as well.
Jim Moloshok, watch your back....

Friday, July 09, 2004

Yahoo's bought Oddpost!

Boy, does this change the game--Yahoo's bought Oddpost. And Oddpost is kvelling.
Nothing like acquiring an RSS reader along with an email system--makes it so much faster to just add your own social network links.

Noted: Links

Craigslist: The Swan is casting. Anyone wanna go under the knife?
Fortune: Seeking Starbucks, 4,025 to be exact
Wired: Burned-out bloggers bitch--You don't have these problems on the C list.
John Naughton: Microsoft's self-destructive impulses
Liz Spiers: Where did her blog go?
Sifry: Technorati's tracking 3MM blogs (Congrats, Dave!)
Seattle Times: They're looking for bloggers to cover the elections, voice of the people and all that.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Blogging the Democratic convention

Exciting news: Dave Weinberger and Aldon Hynes are among the bloggers who have been credentialed by the DNC--and they will be blogging the convention. Dave Winer , Jay Rosen, Taegan Goddard and Kos are going as well.
Where's that list someone will surely build?

Campaign telemarketing: Kerry calls it in

So I am sitting at the computer tonight, reading blog posts and the phone rings.
"Hello, it's Susan," I say.
"This is John Kerry," the voice says after just an inperceptible pause.
John Kerry! Wow! You know it is John Kerry, I think.
Kerry goes on to ask me if I am interested in donating to his campaign.
If I want to give now, I should press 1.
If I want to give, but not right now, press 2.
Since I hate telemarketers, even Mr. Kerry, I press 2.
"Thanks," Kerry says. "Please give us your email address so we can keep you updated on the real truth of what is happening in the campaign."
I give Kerry my email address. I hang up.
I am totally amazed.
Kerry is the man. He gets technology. He dials it in.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Noted: Links

Adam Penenberg: New Media's Age of Anxiety: Wired columnist debuts with a story about truth in reporting.
ShinyShiny: Girls just wanna have(cool)stuff.
So does Joi Ito.
AOL Local: Fresh-faced young editors attempt a NYC blog, with mixed results.
Steven Rubel sups with Nick Denton, blogmag magnate.
Barry Parr: Why can't a newspaper be more like a blog?
Tom Watson: "In my lifetime, there has never been as wide and deep a popular electoral challenge based on the vast perception of incompetence on the part of the incumbent as there is now."

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Dude, where's my car?

There's an SUV in da pool.
(Via Trevor Cook)

Favorite (summer) camp movies

Holiday weekend posts continue.
Esther over at UrbanKvetch has a cool meme: What are your favorite summer camp movies?
Esther likes Wet Hot American Summer and Little Darlings; my short list includes Heavyweights (Ben Stiller), Addams Family Values , and Dirty Dancing, and The Sandlot.
How about you all? Favorite camp/kids summer flicks?

Bubba Britney, trash princess

Sterogum's been tracking Britney's fried-chicken fueled transformation into a jean-shorts wearing, bubble-gum snapping, white-sunglasses wearing, looks like she had a few-too-many-last-night fright.
The New York Post has a news story on it all right here.

Question: Why isn't Britney changing her clothes?
Same shorts, earrings, and shirt in every pic this week.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Lazy holiday afternoon

Spent today relaxing after a busy week of travel.
Reading Vie de France, by James Haller, a book about a vacation in France, and got inspired, so we're having Chicken Chasseur, with fresh basil and rosemary from our garden, roasted eggplant, toasted baguettes with garlic and oregano and a light salad of tomato, avocado, sugar snap peas and red union sprinkled with olive oil and lemon.
The light is absolutely golden, with that Northern California, 7 pm chill, and I've been playing Caesaria Evora, the first Fugees CD and a Verve Remixed compilation.
Maybe we'll see a movie tonight, maybe we won't.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Cab ride into (my) history

SO I flew back to California from New York last night. Jumped in a cab in midtown, said "American, at Kennedy," then realized my driver might be a little, ah, unusual, as he headed into Central Park.
"What route are you taking?"
"Through the park, to see the trees and the flowers," he replied in a heavy Russian accent.
"Yes, and then what?"
We established he wanted to go around the north end of Manhattan and south on the Grand Central/Van Wyck to miss the traffic, I muttered in my best NY accent so he'd know I'm not(really) an out of towner, and we proceed to drive smack into the worst traffic I've seen in quite a few years.
Parking lot, major pile-up, and not moving at all would be the phrases that came to mind.
So we did what any good cabbie would do and got onto the local streets, which in this case meant heading through Flushing down Jewel Avenue and into Jamaica, where we could pick up the Van Wyck.
I was really irritated as we crept along--the cabbie had a habit of smiling sweetly, then muttering furiously in Russian--cursing, I thought--under his breath. He also popped the window open a few times to drag on a cigarette.
And the fare kept mounting--this was not going to be a $40 cab ride, not at the rate we were moving.
But then I realized that we were driving through the neighborhoods of my early youth--the immigrant parts of Queens that my grandparents and their friends lived in when I was less than five years old. My mother and I would drive these streets several times a week, and I probably hadn't been on them for at last twenty years.
They hadn't changed that much--still green and leafy, with the houses close together, and apartment buildings looming over the little two-families--and still exotic--with Russian, Hebrew, Polish, Korean and Turkish names on the store fronts.
It was a trip--right though the past--evidence sometimes you can go back, at least for a car ride.
(And yeah, my tab with the cab was $60--still cheaper than the $80 I was afraid I'd have to pay,but $15 more than what it could have been.)
Anyway, here's what it looked like:

Cool stuff: Blue Note T shirts

Okay, something else that looks cool--Blue Note music T-shirts.

Farewell, Godfather

Marlon Brando, RIP

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