Friday, April 28, 2006

Wine Geeks!

All work and no play doesn't cut it, so today some friends and I are going to Sonoma to go wine-tasting. We'll be a carful--4 out of 5 of us will be bloggers, and 2 will be obsessive photographers and every single breathing mammal in the vehicle will work in technology, mostly around social media and web 2.0 stuff.
And we're going to drink wine, eat lunch and get the hell away from work for a bit--Ahh, paradise.

Friday, Noted

del.icio.us adds 'your network' social networking tool--did they get it from my web?
Clickable Culture (and others): Second Life has 200, 000 avatars--double 4 mos ago.
Ross Mayfield: What are the power laws of user engagement? Ross writes: "...Patterns have emerged where low threshold participation amounts to collective intelligence and high engagement provides a different form of collaborative intelligence."
NYTDigital: Vivian Schiller to manage web site (yeah, I can't resist the media news...)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

HorsePigCow: Small is stronger--here's why

Tara's rocking with a great post on the power of small, knowledgeable companies. Read it and grow wiser.

The power of Burning Man

So I keep getting interesting comments on my "Thinking of going to Burning Man" post. So I checked, and this post is # 7 in a Google search for 'going to burning man.'
Page Rank is a loop, folks.
Get yourself up there and people keep finding you.
Interestingly, my blog post is nowhere on the Yahoo search for the same term--is this a comment on how Y search indexes, or that Google favors my blogspot host?

Niall Kennedy: Facebook enters the workplace

New Microsoft employee Niall Kennedy's got a post on how Facebook now allows registration from certain corporations--Microsoft being one of them. The Facebook registration page allows would-be registrants to select "Work" as one of their network choices--but when I tried to sign up with my Yahoo ID, it said my school wasn't being supported (Darn!)
Mike Arrington's got an older post that says 85% of all college students use the site--a number that seems waayy too high to me--But be that as it may, there's no doubt that Facebook has the ability to pick out so called "elite" (read Fortune 500) companies and build the kinds of networks (and alunmi links) LinkedIn is trying to hard to create.
Pretty shrewd, eh?

Update: Two more cents from the comments on Mike's post--"Like it or not, the workplace is a very active social environment. This allows facebook to ?grow? with their users. It?s been said before, the exclusive domain-based envirnoment facebook is based on, is a major competative advantage for them. "

Amen, brother.

Quote of the Day

"I came out as a blogger because I read blogs that made me think I could write about my life. If those blogs turn out to have shades of truth and tints of lie, that doesn't change the empowerment I have felt from putting my own words out there. ...If those words are exposed as fanciful or fabulous, for me that doesn't detract from the paths I have taken as a result."

--Charlie Bucket, writing about truth and fantasy in personal blogging.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Podcasted: Susan on blogs and marketing

My old friend Peter Levitan's added me to his podcasting series, holding forth on blogs and marketing. If you're a digerati, there's not much new here. If you're more of a regular guy, probably worth a listen.

Has it really been 4 days?

Geeze. a weekend away, a busy job--and I haven't posted for several days--arrghh! Let's see if I can make that rightover the next week--blogging is one of my regular morning activities, along with walking the big dog. This is one of those 'my life ate my blog' moments...As in, I am committed to blogging, but real life takes precedence (and how happy it makes me to say that.)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Search, start-ups, Treos, passion

I had drinks with some friends last night who work in the emerging tech, Web 2.0 space. It was GREAT to see everyone, and we had some marvelous talk about ideas and new tools, but after I crawled home way too late, some comments stuck in my head that seem worth sharing.

One friend, who has a small, nimble, start-up, said that big companies, even the Yahoos and Googles, seem to specialize in hiring the "grey people,"--people who aren't highly creative or passionate and who are content to churn a lot of stuff out in trade for a Silicon Valley condo--And that few of the really creative, innovative types could stomach the bureaucracy in a big company.

Another friend commented that many of the people inside big companies had passion, but that the companies themselves sometimes lacked passion after a time--entrenched leaders and shifting focus could drag things down.

The third friend (this is starting to sound like the three kids on Passover), commented that while he worked 24/7, this was easier to do as an entrepreneur or part of a start-up than in a big company, where part of the trade-off for sucking it up was having your weekend free.

And moi? Among other things, I bitched about the golden leash of my Treo. Even when I turn it off, I have to put it somewhere so I won't hear the 1 am pings of messages landing from obsessed Y! staffers who've put a baby stroller, a memory chip, or a batch of used games on the for-sale list before they went to bed (or finished writing code, or whatever). I never got one, because I knew I'd become addicted to checking email, and alas, that prophecy has come true.

We only lingered on these topics for a bit--Then, the rest of the night turned into a really interesting discussion of tagging, structured blogging, microformats, taxonomies, and all sorts of search-related bits that added up to possible ways to reinvent the future--And that was probably the best part right there--that we had enough interest and passion to sit at a little table in a bar, talking away about search, even as the waiters scrubbed the other tables down at 11:20 pm.

(Yes, I have become a hopeless geek.)

AOL goes after MySpace--launching soon

There's lotsa buzz in the blogosphere today about AOL launching a social network dubbed a "myspace killer. While some might question whether AOL's brand is a major deal-killer for anything remotely like myspace, one has to assume management in Dulles is smart enough to know that and the new product would not have any triangles or Running Men bedecking the templates.
Could AOL take a run at social media and make it work, you ask?
Well, remember that AOL still has a good piece of the core team that worked both on ICQ and AIM around--Product Manager June Herold, for example, and there were lots of relevant lessons learned from those products.
Also, AOL seems to have invested heavily in the consultant tip, bringing in digerati like Marc Canter (don't they ever make these guys sign confidentiality agreements?) and other tagging experts, so they clearly know they can add to the heavy (conceptual) lifting.
And finally, they have Calcanis and Bankoff, two really smart and opportunistic execs.
So why wouldn't they give it a try?
Guys, bring it on--and please, please, please--name it something simple and good.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

TV Guide launches community and blogging

Check out TV Guide's new blog/community area--this is a project 5ive worked on a bit--but all the credit goes to the TV Guide team--congrats, folks.

FAQ: What is Web 2.0?

Ajit makes some adjustments to Tim Reilly's talk and says Web 2.0 is the harnessing of collective (people) intelligence to drive the web as a toolset and platform for distributed software, applications, communities and metadata.
This reminds me of when I said in 2005 that Web 2.0 is about the user (yep, here's what I wrote) :
"While RSS is an amazing tool, to me the heart of Web 2.0 is the user.
The enduring lesson of all of the social media and emerging technologies is that we've created an a la carte, do it yourself platform where users can engage with sophisticated forms of search, feeds, metadata and APIs, social networks and identity, and commerce and fill these vessels with their own information
--And that's the heart of the revolution, IMHO.
The tools power it, but the people do it."


(Via Alex Barnett)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Will wonders never cease: Backfence buys Bayosphere

Heather Green's got the story that local platform Backfence has acquired Palo Alto experiment Bayosphere from Dan Gillmor and that Gillmor will blog for them--If I were an exec at the San Jose Mercury News--or the SF Chronicle--or some other local newspaper, I would run, not walk to make a strategic alliance with these folks once my managers figured out if they were selling me or slashing staff or whatever.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Quote of the day

"What really weirds me out about all of this is that everyone acts like i'm dead and incapable of speaking for myself. It is culturally inappropriate for me to edit my entry, even when there are parts of it that are dead wrong. No one asks me to fact check - journalists matter more than me. I understand why i shouldn't have the right to get rid of negative commentary about me, but wouldn't it make sense to allow living "notables" correct facts? Am i not the leading expert on the biographical facts of my life?

--danah boyd's feeling whipped by her Wikipedia bio and how* facts* from Fox News seem to trump other data sources in her bio

Newsweek's newsreader: Mind the Gap

So Newsgator's powered a new custom My RSS newsreader for Newsweek. Big whoop.
A year ago, I was running around New York, convinced customized newsreaders were a smart move for publishers and everyone should have them. Now, a year later, I find the Newsweek reader a yawn--a yet another application noise.
What changed in the year?
Well, for one thing, it's the realization that Americans who can download podcasts, post photos on flickr and read blogs probably don't need it dumbed down as much as I might have once thoughts. The digital parade marches on and we all get smarter--and smarter.
Also, I'm realizing that one of the biggest problems Americans have is too much information--solutions that don't offer sorting mechanism are basically unsustainable--so why bother building them?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Quote of the day

"...one clearly sees that that Tony Ridder?s visionary move to San Jose eight years ago really did have dividends?.as a talent farm for Yahoo."
--Peter Krasilovsky writing on how Sam Sebastian, a longtime veteran of Classified Ventures? Homescape real estate vertical, has become the new head of Google Local.



Second Life: Virtual dating, virtual age play?

My friend David sent me a link to a News.com story about Second Life, the virtual world that's engaging the interest of so many digerati. Seems like not only is there virtual dating going on there--there's virtual sex--including activities involving adults pretending to be children--mostly happening in private--not public--areas of the site.
My notable quote in the story comes from David Fleck, the marketing VP, who said: " The other thing to remember about 'Second Life' is that it is a free-form canvass. You can do what you want, and be what you want, and that's what attracts people. "

The whole question of virtual life--and virtual relationships is one that's starting to engage my attention...both as a form of play and entertainment, and as a complement to relationships in the real world--if any readers have pointers to academic papers, interesting sites, etc focused on online dating, virtual relationships, etc... I'm definitely curious.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Noted

Niall Kennedy goes to Microsoft Live to create an RSS/Atom product team--Now, that's a good hire! Congrats, Niall!
Yahoo Publisher Network launches a blog--Folks, can you change that unreadable blue background, please?
Zawodny: SEO spending versus loading data into Googlebase--a great question!

Monday, April 10, 2006

GoogleBase marches on

Google Romance may have been an April Fool's joke, but online dating via Googlebase seems like an early-stage reality.
As a subset of People Profiles, this is interesting--but what's especially interesting are some of the small dating services loading profiles into the GB and the small but growing number of individuals posting themselves as date bait--basically, there's little cross-over between the explicitly sexual profiles posted on GB and the listings you see on most of the bigger online dating sites.

My friend Richard MacManus has a good piece on Google Base and all the formats they are now supporting--Michael Nguyen calls it Google Base Creep-
Of course GB will impact real estate, cars, jobs, before Personals, but the march is on.

Quote of the Day 2--Structured Blogging

In Part 1 of the Structured Blogging project, we did an initial pass at providing a toolset for microformats - with an starter set of code libraries and plugins. Now we want to expand the base of libraries and plugins, add APIs and build out some compelling end-user examples.
In Part 2 of the Structured Blogging project, we want to enable people to DO things with microformats. Structured Blogging is all about providing end-users with solutions, enabling them to use microformats and microcontent."
--Marc Canter and Richard MacManus, writing about structured blogging initiatives.

Bonus: More on microcontent formats and how to make them right here.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The new edge of structured blogging

Bob Wyman's got a dead on post about edgeio and the importance of structured blogging, microformats and tagged data--
A quick quote: "In the world of Structured Blogging, you compete not by "capturing" people's data within your proprietary system but by providing better service to data published on the open web and accessible to all your competitors. The source of competitive advantage is in providing the best service, not in building high walls around other people's data. "

(In other words, edegio enables users to work within a structured blogging microformat to create for sale content that can be published via edgeio's listing tag--this data is then published on edegio or published on a blog and made discoverable through a search against the tag and the data in the listing.)

Wyman compares the ease and elegance of this system as a means to access structured data in a way that is equivalent to how search engines spider and index unstructured web page data.

While a larger discussion is ongoing about permission-based scraping, etc--the bottom line is that sites like edegio are the first examples of how structured blogging, microformats and new sorts of tags can create new business opportunities for listings in a way that is both disruptive to what Wyman calls the *walled gardens*--the Craigslists and eBays--and profoundly exciting in terms of new business growth.

Update: MacManus on the new site.

Quote of the Day 1

"The value of writing publicly on the Internet is that you can solve problems quickly, by using a network of people who pool what they know to create something larger. When the Internet works this is why it works."

--Dave Winer, writing in Dave's Wordpress Blog

Friday, April 07, 2006

Noted

Rubel: Social Media spending to hit $757M in 2010. "Combined spending on blog, podcast and RSS advertising grew 198.4% to $20.4 million in 2005 and is expected to grow another 144.9% to $49.8 million this year."
Marc Canter is mad at the SuperNova speaker line up.(Note to M: Does familiarity breed contempt?)
Always On: Knight-Ridder acquirer McClatchy's Internet strategy is "McClatchy is a Craigslist meets CitySearch-like service, behind a Google-like fašade. "
Diabetes risk: Could you have Type 2 diabetes? Test here. (Via BlogHer)



Thursday, April 06, 2006

Walking the dog at 2 am: the new rules

Some new rules to live by: When you have an out of town house guest who likes to cook, and you agree she can feed your dog the leftover beef short ribs and mashed potatoes you had for dinner, remember she will NOT be the one taking the dog out on that emergency poop run at 2 am--you will.

In other words, no more evening table food for puppy.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

WebShots, Social Network with pictures?

Mike Arrington covered the briefing on WebShots, a CNET photo service that's going to go after Facebook with College Life--a clever re-mix of photo integration, social networking, and event planning and coverage.
Given that college students often blend dating with hanging out, WebShots could be a strong competitor to Facebook and to online dating sites serving more casual daters (especially the free ones).
For virality, WebShots offers what they call (misleadingly,I think): Blog badges. These links lead to pages that offer users the chance to grab photos via RSS or javascript and add them to a stream elsewhere, like within a newsreader.
As Martin Green, GM of their community group, point out in the TC comments: "the site offers post to blog functionality on every photo page, and RSS and APIs links in the footer."
According to Mike, CNET wants this business to be FaceBook meets flickr--he says they already have about 40 million total users and 300 million photos--and now it's time to tackle the 30 million or so U.S. young adults between 18-25 years via "College Live."

So whaddya think?--Will they make it and grab a big share of the market?

Dunno--but the clever mix of features and mass market look should appeal to students whose schools don't have FB and who want something beyond myspace.

Does user generated content suck?

Post yesterday from Derek Powazek, who says UGC is a phrase better suited for robots and packing peanuts , and that it's not reflective of what all of us are really creating.
Derek's preferred buzzword de choice? Authentic Media.
He says:
"Authentic media comes to you unfiltered by the global brands and conglomerates that have taken over the mainstream media. Authentic media is the raw, first-person narrative you can find on blogs and homepages. Authentic media is what happens when the mediators get out of the way and give the mic over to the people who actually have something to say.
The best part about this phrase? It paints the rest of the mediascape as inauthentic."

It's ironic we choose inauthentic words to describe vibrant activities--so I agree with Derek--Wouldn't it be nice if the jargon police could extract UGC from the digerati's and insert someother phrase instead? Participatory media? Do it yourself content?

Anyone have a favorite phrase? And why did we get stuck with UGC?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Technorati--Transitions

Members of the long-time Technorati team are moving on...first Niall Kennedy and now Richard Ault. Niall is going freelance, while Richard is going to Sean Bonner's metroblogging to work on the product/platform--a series of regional web sites.
Kevin Burton wonders if Technorati is having trouble--only Dave and the boys would know.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Quote of the Day

"The age of social media then is probably about a fusing of these two ways of thinking - the communicative and the publishing/creative parts of the internet - into something new and powerful. It's an environment in which every user is potentially a creator, a publisher and a collaborator with (and to) all of the other creative people on the internet.
(snip)
...It seems to me that the other main feature of social media is that they're looking at how each individual contribution can become part of something that's greater than the sum of its parts, and to feed that back to the individuals using the service so that - fundamentally - everyone gets back more than they're putting in. These new services are about creating frameworks and spaces, containers and supports that help users create and publish and use all kinds of data from the smallest comment to the best produced video clip which in aggregate create something of fascinating utility to all."

--Tom Coates, "What do we do with social media?"

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Quote of the Day 1

"I told my kid it was my blog anniversary.
She said "Oh. Happy Anniversary. I want cake".
Kid, we all want cake."
--The Side Street blog

Quote of the Day 2

"Attention by other people is the most irrestible of drugs. To receive it outshines receiving any other kind of income. This is why glory surpasses power and why wealth is overshadowed by prominence."
--flickr co-founder Caterina Fake, quoted by ben barrren

Google Romance Launches

Google's launched a dating & romance service--and it's a pip.

"Our mission, as you might have heard, is to organize the world's information. And let's face it: in what area of life is the world's information more disorganized than romance? We thought we could use our search technology to help you find that special someone, then send you on a date and use contextual ads to help you, ya know - close the deal," is the quote from Jonathan Rosenberg, Google's senior SVP, product management.

The site has a SoulSearch match, advice counselors, and ads for dating-related items.
--And it's the Google April Fools' joke!

HaHaHaHaHa
(Why am I not laughing?)

(Thanks, Nava!)

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