Blog Overkill - The danger of hyping a good thing into the ground.
Well, im happy at least, half the blogosphincter want his blood for pointing out the patently obvious but it's made my day to see that someone actually sees through all the ridiculous hype and ego preening nonsense about blogs out there.
Dont get me wrong, i do think blogs are important, it's just that they are NOT going to overthrow regular media and they are NOT going to give "power to the people" in the ways that some self aggrandizing, preening peacocks think they will.
I's an amazing read if you've been following the citizen journalism marlarky, the post is based on the recent blogging and journalism credibility conference.
In language only slightly less fervent than Shamberg's, conference participants declared blogs the destroyers of mainstream media. (See this page and this page for a real-time transcription of the conference.) Others prescribed blogs as the medicine the newspaper industry should take to reclaim its lost readers: Publishers should support reader blogs and encourage their reporters to blog in addition to writing stories. Podcasts would undermine the radio network empires. "Open source" journalism, in which readers and bloggers help set the news agenda for newspapers, was promoted as a tonic for what ails the press. Reporters were encouraged to regain the lost trust of readers by blogging drafts of their stories, their notes, and even their taped interviews so other bloggers could dissect and analyze them for fairness.
Winer discounted any chance that the clueless media would adapt to the blogofuture, saying publishers were as blind as the mainframe computer manufacturers of early 1980s who refused to believe PCs would replace their big iron.
Tagging the Internet
Earlier this week i wrote a "folksonomies 101": Tags & Folksonomies - What they are and why should you care? - now the WSJ have picked up on this fast moving trend in grass roots classification. Jermemy Wagstaff again uses Flickr and del.icio.us as examples - he has too, there's not much else out there right now, but i did list a few more in above linked post.
Now, all this remains small-scale, and fragile. First off, how can we be sure everyone is adding the same tags to things -- marzipan, and not almond paste, say? Second: This is just two Web sites, a tiny fraction of the whole Web. True, but this is just the beginning. This month, a search engine called Technorati started using tags from Flickr and del.icio.us to categorize the millions of blogs, or online journals, that it indexes. That turns Technorati into a kind of homepage of every conceivable topic you can imagine people writing about: Check out, for example, its Web page on the notebooks I wrote about in the "Loose Wire" column a few weeks back, at www.technorati.com/tag/moleskine.
Most important, this social tagging thing, if it takes off, could make finding information much easier. Instead of relying on search engines, we can rely on other surfers submitting interesting sites as they find them. A bit like having some seriously fast, smart speed-readers running around the Internet on our behalf armed with piles of index cards.
Some things I know about moderating conversations in virtual space:
Nothing winds me up more than bad moderation - Here's a list of tips from Teresa Nielsen Hayden - some are obvious, some not so, but all in all, it's an interesting read if you run a community or participate in one.
Here's my favorite:
There can be no ongoing discourse without some degree of moderation, if only to kill off the hardcore trolls. It takes rather more moderation than that to create a complex, nuanced, civil discourse. If you want that to happen, you have to give of yourself. Providing the space but not tending the conversation is like expecting that your front yard will automatically turn itself into a garden.
Can Anyone add to that?
I'd love to see an extended list - maybe she'll write one after seeing how popular this effort was - one of the obvious things to build on would be handling moderators - who moderates the moderators? heh..
Seriously, i've met some diabolical moderators in my time doing any number of the following:
Glory seeking - only turning up in the forum when thiers some glory to be had
Being their in name only - starting a community out with pre-appointed mods is a bad idea imo, promote from your regulars - those that show an active interest and participate regularly coupled with subject expertise and social skills, not those you think *might* work out. This also applies to those that pitch/audition for the gig but then slack off when they get it..
Power Seekers - backstabbing and gossiping for personal gain - kicking down members and other mods to get closer to the top
Public floggings - dressing down a member in public - never a good idea, the occasional in-thread note to all, sure but humiliating a member?
That list could go on and on, as could the list of problem areas that members and owners of forums and other types of communities can cause.
I posted on embedding skype into mobile earlier today, now thanks to slashdot i find techworld have the scoop details released by BT on the fabled "bluephone" - BT's infamous WiFi roaming handset:
How does Bluephone work?
The original idea for Bluephone was to have a normal cellphone which can send calls via a special Bluetooth base station when inside the house or office. BT chose Bluetooth for the job, because it supports cordless telephony, is less power-hungry than Wi-Fi, and is almost universally available in mobile phones.
Bluephone is a consumer service, and BT intends to deliver it on absolutely standard cellphones.
However, since the project was announced, Wi-Fi has been moving fast, and BT can see which way the wind is blowing. "In 2006, when Wi-Fi makes its way into standard mid-range phones, we will have a Wi-Fi version," says Ryan Jarvis, director of mobile products and partnerships at BT. Future versions will use WiMax, he says.
But, even when the Wi-Fi version arrives, this will not be the converged Wi-Fi/cell phone that we have been waiting for, because it will not do voice over IP, and it will not be a SIP phone.
Bluephone calls use the GSM network. When they transfer a call to use the Bluetooth link, they just transfer the first few yards of that call. The call stays under the control of the GSM network. All indications are that it will still be priced as a mobile call: Jarvis would not be drawn on pricing, but offered the possibility of "a discount" for calls using Bluephone.
After much talk about the new Adwords API the the Beta is Finally available to the public! - What, another Beta i hear you cry? Surely not...
Just got the email:
Here's a list of the better coverage out there:
Google BLog Official Announcement
Goodman on the Effects of the API
Andy Beal - Good detailed write up
Official Adwords API Blog
Official Adwords API Forum - What, no wmw one already? heh..
Pamela Parker for Clickz
Thanks Jake for letting me butcher his original post :-)
Handling several million queries a month for O2, T-Mobile and Orange, Motionbridge have now launched a PPC service.
As james at MoCoNews notes, there is no information available (that i can find) on how paid listing will be identified to users but it's certainly an interesting step regardless of a serious lack of details heh..
Added: Danny S reported on this today and he managed to find a press release i'd missed...
Report: Local Online Ad Spend to Rise 46 Percent in '05
Local is a hot topic right now, we have ongoing discussions on Amazon A9's new Visual Yellow Pages and the State of Local Search and now we see clicz reporting on a study that says online local ad spend will grow 46% in 2005
Spending on local online advertising will total approximately $3.9 billion in 2005, a 46 percent increase over the $2.7 billion 2004 total, according to research conducted by Borrell Associates on 210 U.S. media markets.
Those growth figures are roughly double what researchers expected to measure for online local in 2005, said Gordon Borrell, president and chief executive of the Portsmouth, Virginia-based company. (The company measured a 28.7 percent increase in local ad spending online in 2004.)
"We've always viewed local advertisers as fairly conservative in that they don't have that much to spend," Borrell said. "Typically you expect them to funnel most of their ad spend into direct mail and yellow pages, with only a small percentage for online, but that is not the case at all this year. Local advertisers have started rushing toward this. Here they come."
Jupiter big dog Alan Meckler says that Answers.com or something like it could be the next big innovation in search:
Just as Google came out of nowhere to trump Yahoo as the first place for search, I have to wonder if Answers.com or something like it is not about to become the next big thing. To quote Mossberg: "Answers.com is also a start toward a new search paradigm where the object is to provide real instant information , not just links to pages where the information may, or may not, be found. I urge you to try it."
I don't think it will trump anything, but i could see it, and would like to see it as a tab on Yahoo or Google - I've not used it before but tried a search on my favorite author and i love it!
Wouldn't that be cool as an add on to your favorite regular search engine?
Facinating piece at the Social Issues Research Center that argues that the humble mobile phone is restoring a need for social grooming that has been lost within modern society and it's fragmented social systems.
Mobile gossip is good for us
Gossip is the human equivalent of 'social grooming' among primates, which has been shown to stimulate production of endorphins, relieving stress and boosting the immune system. Two-thirds of all human conversation is gossip, because this 'vocal grooming' is essential to our social, psychological and physical well-being. Mobiles facilitate gossip. Mobiles have increased and enhanced this vital therapeutic activity, by allowing us to gossip 'anytime, anyplace, anywhere' and to text as well as talk. Mobile gossip is an effective and important new stress-buster.
Mobile phones are the new garden fence
The space-age technology of mobile phones has allowed us to return to the more natural and humane communication patterns of pre-industrial society, when we lived in small, stable communities, and enjoyed frequent 'grooming talk' with a tightly integrated social network. In the fast-paced modern world, we had become severely restricted in both the quantity and quality of communication with our social network. Mobile gossip restores our sense of connection and community, and provides an antidote to the pressures and alienation of modern life. Mobiles are a 'social lifeline' in a fragmented and isolating world.
It's a lengthy read, and im a slow reader but im about half way through it and can tell you that as with howard at smartmobs i think it's hardly a definitive work but it's an absolute eye opener for sure and well worth the read...
Now, clearly the results of this survey are based on search geeks not joe regular - but TW member xcandyman has graciously allowed us to "throw it to the wolves" - the TW members can be rough critics on occasion so he's a brave chap :)
Whenever we talk about video ads at TW the same objection, rightly, always comes up - where's the interactivity? Well, here's what may be a step in the right direction. Zachery Rodgers over at Clickz reports on Unitied Virtualities (what a wonderfully unusable site..) new product Shoshmosis (oh boy, it just gets better and better..):
Called Shoshmosis, the unit adds a Flash layer to any streaming video format, enabling users to roll over or click on individual elements within the frame. Marketers can apply it to repurposed television content, their own TV ads ported to the Web, or original Web programming.
It's not the first time a company has added Flash-based interactions to video. Amazon.com used the technology in the credits for a series of online films it produced in late 2004. But Shoshmosis is the first product to sync interactivity with moving objects in a streaming video.
So you get to chase objects round the banner ad and click 'em. Is that right? heh..
Calling Without Cellcos
Peggy Anne Salz write a compelling piece over at the Feature predicting embedded Skype and similar technologies in Mobile handsets this year - if it took off in a big way, it could kill the cellular carrier biz model:
With 52 million downloads and counting since its commercial launch in August 2004, Skype has clearly fuelled consumers' passion for free voice calls over the Internet. Estimated to carry 25% of annual VoIP traffic (as counted by TeleGeography), or the equivalent of 4% of total international traffic worldwide, the impact of Skype and other VOIP applications could put a serious dent in mobile operators' revenues.
The scenario for the mobile industry turns from bad to worse when Skype is embedded in a 3G phone or Wi-Fi-enabled device, and falling data prices offer users a much cheaper alternative to cellular voice. Indeed, one eager Taiwanese handset manufacturer recently wrote an open letter to Skype asking for the privilege to be the first to embed the technology in its 3G phones, leading many to believe such handsets will appear this year.
TV vet Braun reveals what's next for content at Yahoo!
In the wake of Yahoo goes to Hollywood here's a hhort but sweet interview with Lloyd Braun, Yahoo's new Head of Media over at the Hollywood Reporter - Yahoo's media model is exciting, and this interview puts some good perspective on what we may see coming from Y! over the next year or two.
On being pitched by Terry Semel (Y! CEO) for the job..
After 20 minutes, every bone in my body started to scream out, "I have to do this job." I didn't know what the job was -- all I knew was this sounded unbelievable.
Putting Yahoo! content on the map..
"The Sopranos" put HBO on the map. Milton Berle -- defining moment that showed what television can do. "I Love Lucy" -- defining moment of what a situation comedy could be. We haven't really had our defining moment yet as to the big breakout event that really shows the world and the consumer, oh my god, look what this can be. But we will.
and on the competition...
Google is now for me NBC, CBS and Fox all rolled into one. But the competition can be our friends. We have alliances with SBC, Verizon. We're going to have so many roles as this all evolves. It's an amazing opportunity to be involved in so many different businesses in a productive way.
So, the big news overnight was Amazon's A9 launching their Optical Yellow Pages.
The idea is that on top of the fairly standard way that online yellow pages work users can view thumbnails of the actual storefront, like the one above - but there's more: You can take a trip down the street! "Walk" to the left or right of the shop and view other storefronts to get a feel for the neighborhood. At first it seems (at least to me) a bit gimmicky but then when I thought about a bit more, perhaps not. Seeing a tatty disreputable storefront would put me off going to buy something but seeing a nice street with other interesting stuff might well make me want to visit - not gimmicky, useful. Follow the title link for more.
RFID Cell Phones? Maybe In 2007
Here's what vangorilla has been talking about so much in the TW mobile section
The Ministry of Information and Communication of Korea is exploring new business models combining mobile infrastructure and RFID. Their goal is to push the mobile RFID to commercial service in 2007.
Once RFID receivers are built into cell phones the possibilities are endless. For instance; buy a product off the supermarket shelf, the RFID tag will identify itself, and your phone can download the recipes associated with the product. It is a great technology; the only thing that worries me is the human branding implications. Remember 1984?
Chris Fillius has a nice review of the state of local search from a user perspecitve - taking into account that regular users could'nt care less where the data ultimately comes from. He takes a look at ASK, Google, Yahoo and MSN and, i think, provides a pretty neat overview of the current status of Local.
In his conclusion, which comes first rather than last he writes:
Google and Yahoo are my preferred choices, with Google being the slight winner because . Because I live in San Francisco and have so many other options for local information, MSN’s portal features, about which I will mention more later, are not particularly compelling. For other users, or for people from other cities, it very well may be different.
To provide more context, MSN is the only one of the four that is a full local portal. The other three are more search-based. So, depending on what you’re looking for you’ll want to use different ones (gee, what a surprise). I think Google offers the best search, but MSN’s browsing options could be useful. Yahoo stands out because they control their own data and in the long run that will set them apart. Ask didn’t really stand out to me in any significant way.
It’s interesting to think about the aforementioned strengths of each local engine because they accurately reflect each company as a whole. MSN is a destination company, Google is a search company, Yahoo is a destination/media company, and Ask is hanging with the others, but needs a little more oomph.
Now, i don't use any local search at all - but i would be interested in knowing what TW'ers currently think of it, opinions anyone?
A Shot of Intense Entertainment
Fox are to put out their next 2 shows via mobile - not repurposed for mobile, but, for the first time, a major Hollywood studio will develop dedicated content for 3G
Verizon will launch its VCast service early next week and is desperate for original content. The two series, Love and Hate and The Sunset Hotel, will consist of 26 one-minute episodes distributed via the VCast service, a new premium-content and video-on-demand platform that will cost Verizon subscribers $15 a month on top of their regular phone bills. It's the first time a major Hollywood entertainment company has committed resources to mobile-phone shows; until now most content available on phones -- such as sports clips or CNN broadcasts -- has been repurposed from broadcast television.
I rather liked 24 so were i a verizon subscriber i might be tempted to shell out $15 a month BUT - with those titles i fear the worst....
Idiot blogger Mark Jen is back.. sounds like he's altered a whole bunch of his posts but i've not looked yet...
hi everyone, sorry my site has been down for the past day or so. i goofed and put some stuff up on my blog that's not supposed to be there. nothing serious and they didn't ask me to take anything down (even the stuff where i'm critical about the company). i'm learning that google is understandably careful about disclosing sensitive information, even vague financial-related things. the quickest way for me to fix the situation at the time was to take it all down. now i'm back up. just so you know, google was pretty cool about all this. thanks for and sorry for the frenzy of speculation.
You know, there's a nasty, cynical little voice inside my head that keeps crying "Setup! it's a setup!" - this voice argues that PR is a funny old game and messin' with the blogosphere is *easy* - it's no real bad press for Google - but it's a hell of a lot of attention for them on a day when GOOG stock is downgraded...