Sunday, September 25, 2005

I'm off to Bar Harbor for a few days of hiking and clean, fresh air. I may be posting while up there, but I'm debating the mertis of further cluttering my brain while I'm supposed to be airing it out. :-)

Friday, September 23, 2005

Here's an S.A.T. analogy for ya: is to Hot Topic as is to Abercrombie & Fitch

any questions?

It's about the music, dude...
Could give a run for its money as the new "nasty as we wanna be" social software? I don't know, but from a few click-thrus the crowd looks very young and very gamer...but they appear to be using the same sort of appeal-to-rebellion tactic of

Horrifically ironic that I found the ad for on a reveiw of Arial Levy's Female Chavinist Pigs which looks like a fab book on how 60's feminists desires to have free sexual expression became a slippery slope leading to the rise of what Levy aptly calls "raunch culture."

If You Think This Stuff is New, You Might Be Needing Bifocals Sooner than You Think

Peter Caputa has a rather amusing piece on CEO Blogger's Club further discussing the failures of Peter cites Scott Rafer'scomments on the same and that it can be contributed to the audience-participatory needs of "Gen Y".

Or so the CEO's think...

I have to say that when I read all the hand-wringing stories about Friendster, and the supposed "stupid features" (to quote Caputa) that Friendster keeps adding like horoscopes and little "We miss you!" email reminders I have to give myself a "wow! I could've had a V8!" smack to the head-- because Friendster's new features are very old features of successful adult-oriented social software sites such as

There seems to be little understanding of the ways in which adults have used social software for special interests (to use a term,) and how Friendster had set itself up. Friendster, from my Oldster p.o.v., seems alot like an offshoot of sites like Around since '98, Alt had a chat feature as far back as '01 (if not earlier), and other interactive features. It makes me wonder if there's not a chicken-egg effect here. I never really thought that much about the paralells between and Friendster, but as I've looked at them side by side this a.m., it seems that Friendster reflected much of ALT. Perhaps Friendster had the blog feature well before Alt (I'm not sure on that) and perhpas Friendster's members were/are more adept at customising their pages, but that could very well be where the differences stop.

ALT's members were often quite open about their proclivities--far more open than the folks on, within the fetish community, is very, very important. Although there were indeed times when there would be Fakesters of a slightly different stripe--not necessarily profiles of pets, but profiles of people who didn't really exist (happened to some friends of mine...) It was also not uncommon for ALT to have adult entertainer/professional Dominant profiles that, unless you knew the covert language of professional dominance, looked as if they were personal ads. ALT, however, makes no bones about booting a member off the site for spamming or actively soliciting its members--if other memebers report the offender. And there is nothing wrong with posting in covert language a particular kind of personal adult entertainment, as long as cash is not mentioned. Chances are, unless a spam email lead to a virus or something that messed up a personal computer, no one reported the offender. Getting a mass emailing from a ProDomme was considered by some male members just a consequence of being on a fetish lifestyle social software website

So, Rafer's comment about Hundreds (at least) of soft-porn actresses and pinup girls also jumped in and were running informal fan clubs on Friendster might be attributed to the fact that bunches of them had already set up little fan clubs, or had professional ads, on adult sites. Friendster probably looked like a cheap and easy way to extend their influence into a younger male audience (who, in fact, are often in the same peer group as the porn queens and wannabees.)

I further wonder if folks like Caputo and Rafer have taken time and seriously observed, which oftentimes looks like lite--a place where young people experimenting with fetisistic behaviors can act out without getting involved with people they'd consider hard-core freaks. As a "let's pretend we're fetishists" site, allows for young people to show off their piercings and tats, dress like schoolgirls, and post girl-girl kissing pics or amateur fetish photos immitating performers like Dita Von Teese (sorry, I won't post links as I will not ask permission from persons with these types of photos--ethics, you know. And a motherly desire not to encourage behavior that might have long-range consequences) It also allows fetishy bands and events to reach out and make friends with new members. Check out Dark Millenium's MySpace page and scroll down to see some band spam.

So, it's not just the audience-participatory factor of Gen Y that makes a site like successful and dead in the water, but also its party-hearty, erotic free-expression and rebelliousness that is evident within the first few click thrus on MySpace. This is not evident on Friendster, if it exists at all. I would conjecture that the interface of erotic entertainment, no longer the provice of Adults Only and often interwoven with alternative music subcultures like goth, is also a part of's success. If Friendster was so active about purging the kinds of provocative people and quasi-adult types of events that allows, then it's not just about the desires of Gen Y to be creative, but also about Gen Y's need for open, erotic expression., because of its appeal to a certain demographic, keeps out the older freaks that are viewd as preditors by Gen Y, and thus gives its members a sense of safety to be as nasty as they wanna be (even though there probably are preditors among their own ranks.)

It is a different generation indeed! Too bad the CEO's are too old to get it.

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

A View from the Grassy Knoll--Further Response to J LeRoy

J Leroy posted a response to my last blog entry here on his first to get the references)

J...whew! thanks for posting that the conversation this afternoon was not about my nip ;-)

To comment further:
The identities we present on-line are often context-specific, but people take them as our totality because it's the only information about us they have access to.

This is what I meant as person vs. personna. a blog can never contain the totality of an individual. Case in point: I have kept my theological background out of my profile up until today. I have, up to this point, felt it a detriment because, let's face it, theology ain't the hippest subject to have a background in...and I get tired of telling people that I'm not The Church Lady finding Satan under every bad haircut. (Then again, maybe they can figure that out from the hat.)

I do, however, from this moment on, risk being categorized a certain way. That's the risk I'll take.

Be that as it may, I agree with J that any cure would be worse than the "evils" it is meant to correct. What I would encourage, though, is better awareness among bloggers as to what is being said and done with their blogs. It would be nice to see more reasoned and rational discussion--out in the open, in msm and on blogs--about what is being said about and done with blogs. We don't need more tabloid TV discussions on the evils of blog stalkers and on-line bullies. Encouraging knowledge of the "ivory tower" conversations about the blogosphere as much as about business's desire to plumb blogs is, IMO, important to creating wise bloggers as well as better blog community memebers. From my vantage point, there are many corners of the blogosphere, many sectors of the tail, that are blissfully oblivious to what is going on among those who are Observers on High--and they should be more savvy, lest they lose a bit more of their sense of blog autonomy.

So, in some odd way, this kind of dovetails with J's clarification of J.R.'s position.
His issue is that often people don't have a clear definition of the communities they belong in and therefore their communities are weakened. Knowing who in your area supports things you are interested in can help you make better decisions on where to shop, what to buy and how to use it. This concept would (likely) get people away from the products of the monoliths that are doing the offensive data mining.

When clarified, this sounds like a good idea, and a good counter to the offensive stuff. Yet I find it sad that there has to be socially conscious marketing to counter offensive marketing.

It makes me wonder though when the whole conversation about community (globally speaking here) in the blogosphere, and finding like minds in the blogosphere via refined metrics, got boiled down to who's doing the advertising and the need for ethical advertising? When does the concept of "community" become predominately associated with consumerism rather than with making it easier to find others conversing--not pontificating--about topics of personal interest not connected to the latest and greates in entertainment and politics.

Maybe it's just the unhip theologian in me that has trouble with being reduced to a marketing cohort before I can find community.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Are we really as transparent in the blogosphere as we think we are? Do we need to be 100% transparent, and should we care if we are? I found myself extensively references in an entry on J LeRoy's blog and because there are not emoticons, I'm not sure if he's snarking at me or not.

However, he has some minor misinterpretations of me as a blogger--one of them being that because I use the tagline "Walking naked down the center lane of the information superhighway" on my other blog that that particular blog is a very revealing and racy blog. It really isn't. It is personal, to a degree, and I explain this to J on my comments to his post. I may indeed discuss certain aspects of my life, but even then, is there any real proof that those incidents that seem so very naked are just that. Perhaps they are fictions, perhaps they are memoir. No real way to know, acutally, unless I tell y'all.

Even so, I'm not baring a nip on either blog, so I'm not as naked as some other bloggers happen to be.

Further, J seems to think all bloggers are the same and are very knowledgeable and can discern an advertiser's blog from a person's. Yeah, I know about the Juicy Fruit fake blog, and some others, even the ones that are developed as personnas for corporations. But there are lot of people who have blogs who aren't sophisticated adults and have some trouble distinguishing advertising from personal blogging.

Hey, when I was a kid, alot of us couldn't figure out the Partridge Family wasn't a bunch of studio musicians until the adults told us. The thing is, there are alot of adults who don't know what kids are up to, and perhaps won't be able to advise young people about fake corporate blogs--not to mention that there are some adults who can't tell the difference either. Think of a guy who believes the hype about porn queens...

J also references a post by his friend Jon Ramer who's involved in something called
The Interra Project. Jon seems to think that collected information can be used by community leaders and civic organizations for the common good. Oh, man! is that a bit on the pollyanna side! While not a conspiracy theorist, I'm well acquainted not just with the philosophers who purported that human existence is something that is "nasty, brutish, and short," but also that man might be moral but that societies might behave in imorral ways to protect themselves (Reinhold Neibur's 'Moral Man and Immoral Society.') Organized efforts to collect information on individuals might start out being just to better market stuff and right now be super-annoying, but those efforts could evenutally lead to Big Brother Scenarios. Think of the Patriot Act and all the wrangling that went on over government access to individual's library records.

Further, do you think a completely paranoid government run by theo-neo-cons could avoid pursuading well-intentioned community leaders to turn over information mined from the blogosphere?? Maybe I'm sounding a bit like Margaret Atwood in "A Handmaid's Tale," but I'm not sure I'm all that far off.

If well-meaning politically correct parents could stop a staging of "West Side Story" because it is "racist," as happened in Amherst, Mass--well, anything can happen given the right circumstances...

I'm just surprise someone so bright as J LeRoy could be such a Rousseauist and think that there isn't some wiggle room. and kind of offended that he didn't take the time to read Love and Hope and Sex and Dreams ;-)

b5media Wants to Make You a Six Figure Blogger (maybe)

Launching new blog media consortium b5media, Jeremy Wright, Darren Rowse, and Duncan Riley are promising to pay bloggers a decent wage for their labor--40%of the blog revenue scale! (read more here.)

Apparently, it's more than they're paying the folks at Weblogs, Inc...although they are following the wisdom of blog networks like Weblogs, Inc. and making all the blogs in their network similar in design. Check out The Movie Weblog and Search Engine Herald to see what I mean.

Yet will bloggers make bigger bucks from being part of a network blog effort or are they still better off loading their pages with all sorts of flash-and-dask ad stuff? Founder Darren Rowse is the "six figure blogger" of the group, with hisProBlogger blog offering advice to bloggers on how to turn a profit from their work--if they can get the right number of hits, etc.

Still, can you make those six figures quicker as a blogger of as a freelance writer in msm? I tend to think that while a decent living can be made at freelance writing if one hustles, has talent, and the chutzpa to put oneself out there as an "expert," I tend to think the six figure blogger aspiration is probably even harder to attain (esp. if it means loading your blog with a proliferation of ads.) Heck, at this point in the game, it'll probably be hard to find five figure bloggers who will be able to quit their day jobs in the near future.

Perhaps a day job and a blog job would work. I'd be willing to test the theory :-)

Cool note: I found a link to my friend Eric Marcoullier's blog search tool MyBlogLog--which tracks outgoing links clicked from your blog--on Problogger. Since I'm a major stats freak, I think I'm going to check out MyBlogLog to figure out what's going on with my own blogs.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Co-Opting Conversation for the Pleasure of Business

The New York Times recently launched a feature called TimesSelect where
Subscribers to TimesSelect have exclusive online access to many of our most influential columnists in Op-Ed, Business, New York/Region and Sports. In addition to reading the columns, TimesSelect subscribers can also engage with our columnists through video interviews and Web-only postings.
Wow. For a nice little fee, you too can be one of the Illuminati. Otherwise, feel free to remain one of the unwashed masses.

At the same time, The Times also reports how advertisers are tracking the buzz in chatrooms and instant messaging:
Ms. Koerner said that Initiative was also monitoring "talent conversations" on the Web; not surprisingly, people like Martha Stewart, Geena Davis and Jennifer Love Hewitt were being talked about, and that helped their shows do well in the tracking surveys.

Ms. Hewitt and her CBS show "Ghost Whisperer" are doing well in just about every network's surveys, but Ms. Koerner said some other factors could be at work there. In the Initiative study, "Ghost Whisperer" had a big awareness number, but also the highest negative score of any new series. One reason, Ms. Koerner suggested, was that the show was being punished by the fans of "Joan of Arcadia," the show "Ghost Whisperer" has replaced on the CBS schedule.

"I think a lot of the 'Joan' fans are attacking the show in the chat rooms," Ms. Koerner said.

It's not really a case of "Big Brother Is Watching You"--that always implied government peering into the bedrooms of private citizens--but of "Big Ad Is Watching You." If nobody else values your conversation, Big Media and Big Advertising values your conversation about its own banalities and would like to monitor what you are saying and why you are saying it.

As long as what you are saying and why you are saying it pertains to itself. Heck, you can even pay for the priviledge to have your conversations monitored and your opionins counted (as in TimesSelect.)

So, I am beginning to wonder about the wisdom of creating a metric to monitor conversation in the blogosphere (see some great comments about this by Mary Hodder
here, here, here, and here to start.) If all our conversation will be monitored as a means for marketers to play a better game of gotcha!, then, perhaps the value of conversation in the blogosphere is far less than what some of us would like it to be. If the general perception of conversation in the blogosphere is to help businesses better market their goods to us, then how the conversation is structured, the way it is written, and the interaction of the participants is only in service to the marketplace.

It's discouraging, and somewhat dehumanizing, to say the least.

Perhaps those of us who are most interested in human interaction and community building in the blogosphere should begin to care less about metrics and more about discovery of blogs thru blogroll links. Perhaps all the popularity contests and discussions on the development of metrics will only end up exposing us to more kinds of schemes, scams and spammers than we want to encounter while we read blogs--and might hinder our abilities to find meaningful conversation while it directs us to the latest sales pitch.

and communities think billboards are obnoxious and ubiquitous....

Monday, September 19, 2005

A Blog Search Engine by Any Other Name.

Now that Google and IceRocket are, technically, real blog search engines, Blog Search Engine will have to do something about it's stake in that claim.

BSE's been partnered for the past 9 months. Who knew? Guess that's where Blake found my blog...(note: nope, BSE apparently uses IceRocket's info. see the comment from Blake)

When I first started blogging, I registered with Blog Search Engine thinking it was something that actually searched blogs. Hey, I'm no tech-junkie, so I had no clue it was simply an index of blogs and it wouldn't really search them like Google and IceRocket do.

And I never really got any hits off it, as my blogs are buried so far down under the lists that you just can't find me!

So, I was kind of glad to read that little clarification about Blog Search Engine and all the *other* blog search engines.

Man! this is getting confusing!

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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Google Erotic Search Engine hires Linda Lovelace (not)

A story on Search Engine Journal notes Google launching an erotic search engine...ha-ha!(say that like Nelson on the Simpsons).

Loren Baker's report of the fake press release is hysterical, but he makes one error when he mentions hiring Linda Lovelace. Perhaps didn't read the Wikipedia piece that mentions she died in April 2002. Hiring her would be a bit difficult, I'd think. it would have made more sense to reference Marilyn Chambers.

Looks like the Search Engine Journal folks could use a little up to date fact checking!

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Why I love Steve Rubel....

On the topic of Goggle's new blog search engine, Steve performed his own experiments on it and blogged it here. He reaches the "eh!" conclusion too...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Google Launches Blog Search Engine--Jams up Blogger Home Page

If you haven't already read about it, Google launched a beta version of its new Blog search engine both at its own URL and from the Blogger home page. Search Engine Journal has a nice piece about it here.

Two things about the new search engine from this fleablogger's perspective: starting from the URL, the searches aren't much different than those at So, it's looking like a "what's the big deal?" thing.

Not too long ago we didn't have anything to adequately search blogs. Sometimes if you did searches on Goolge or Yahoo, you'd come up with blogs. My main blog would come up in alot of funky searches. I wonder if that's going to continue, or if the separate blog search engine on Google (and soon to be on Yahoo! from what I can tell) is going to stop that. To some degree, it's a good thing--as I always hated getting blogs in searches for specific subjects, as many of the blogs are, like my main blog, personal in nature and not authoritative at all. (Frankly, form my perspective, blogs aren't authoritative on anything...the authority of a blog is always contingent on the reputation of the blogger, not on the blog's content alone).

The second blasted side effect of Google launching its blog search engine on both a URL and Blogger is that the darned thing clogged up the Blogger log-in page for most of the morning and afternoon!!! A tool meant to make blog searching easier clogged up the same site that I use to post blog entries! Talk about ironic.

So, with its strangle-hold on blogging, advertising on blogs, gmail, a chat feature, and now a new blog search engine, it appears that Google is positioned to become the new Evil Empire without offering us anything we can't find somewhere else that works far better.

Gee, guess I was a bit wrong about Technorati being the Evil Empire. We'll see...

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Busting the Geek-Boys Club : If We're So Qualified, What's Stopping Us

I love when someone can prove me wrong. Dare Obasanjo gives a great list of women who are more than adequately qualified to speak at various blogging conferences, esp. on the topic of social software.

I am, though, curious to know why they don't appear at various conferences. Although there is a "good old boy" network going on, if there are qualified women, it's too easy to chalk it up to that one factor.

Does it have to do with the age-old problem that many women have of not liking to speak in front of large groups?

Or is it more that they are not real good at the shameless art of self-promotion--as many of the men happen to be? Is it that they believe that one must be asked to be a speaker rather than putting oneself out there and saying "hey, I'm available, I'm qualified and I have the resume to prove it?"

There is alot to be said for the shameless art of self-promotion -- at times more politely known as Networking. Women are not particularly known for networking quite the way men do. It has to do with the way we build our social networks: women's social networks are small and dense where men's are large and diffuse. They type of "intimate" connection that women value and look for in their social networks is different from that of men. Men's social networks consist of many people with less intimate connections. Men don't look for the emotinally intmate connection that women insist on. This attitude towards others makes it easier for men to ask favors of one another and not take it personally if someone either doesn't respond or outright refuses. Women, on the other hand, are bothered when they are refused, and want to know why. Women who are refused are often refused becasue they are not part of other women's intimate social network. To be part of a group of women's intimate social network often involves forming connections via dissemination of personal information. Men, however, do not require this of each other.

The 'teflon' attitude that men have, where they do not take rejection personally and move on to the next possible opportunity, makes it easier for men to promote themselves. The attitude is "what do I have to lose?" They have nothing to lose because they have not had to disclose personal, intimate information about themselves in order to be part of a social network.

Women often deride men for not having the types and kinds of friendships/social networks that women have, but the way in which women build these rich friendships works against them when they are either networking or self-promoting. Not only does it cause individuals to wonder why they don't "fit in", it also causes groups of women to dislike those women who network in a masculine style. How often do we call one another "superficial," "pushy" or "bitchy" when the same character traits in a man would be seen as "personable," "assertive" and "commanding"?

Women not only devalue the male networking style because of its lack of intimacy, but also criticize those who embody the traits that make men successful, self-promoting networkers.

So, perhaps women's invisibility at conferences has to do with their inability to value self-promotion. Perhaps, because self-promotion is often seen as a negative trait among other women, and they might subconsciously fear losing face with their own intimate group, they choose not to self-promote, thus giving the impression that there are no "qualified" women speakers in the blogosphere--when that might not be the case.

Just a thought.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Geek-Boys Club: Blog Conferences, Sexism and Exclusion in the Blogosphere

Recent posts, on on Nancy White's blog and on Shelley Power's blog once again bring up a huge problem that exists within the blogosphere: the derth of female speakers at conferences.

I have been talking about this for some time now on this blog. It is obvious to me why there's a dearth of female speakers at blog conferences. Simply put: many of us don't have the exact same credentials as males in the blogosphere, and that they value. To them we are the apples to their oranges.

Here's a small factoid: most males in the blogosphere, even in social software, are themselves computer or business geeks. They are focused on gathering information and they like to have other geeks whom they perceive as "qualified" talk to them. There is the human perception that if you have the same sorts of professional or academic credentials, then you will have the correct perspective on a subject and will have something of value to say about it. Speakers, mostly men, are culled from the ranks of individuals who have similar credentials to those who are are attending the conferences. Thus, only women who are similarly credentialled will be asked to speak.

And that leaves about a handful of women, perceived as qualified in the male sense, to speak at conferences.

This is the hard realities behind it as culled from my observations of speaker lists, posts and comments on various blogs, and from the blubs on websites of groups hosting conferences.

Although what I find almost oxymoronic about the whole thing it that many of the people who use social software, or blogs for that matter, are not in the same camp as the geek boys who are holding conferences. They are people who are often college educated, but not necessarily in business or computer science. Yet many times we are astute observers of culture, know how to negotiate the social aspects of the blogosphere, and communicate effectively with one another on a varitety of subjects that are of concern to the human condition (not just to geek culture.) Further, when those of us who would be considerened among the uncredentialled get wind of conferences, we'd like to go too--and, add our unique perspectives to the conversation.

The question, then, is thus: how do we get past the prejudices of people who only want to hear from others who are similar to them in professional and academic background?

My answer: get in their faces. Find ways to attend confereces and talk with them. Many times, when people hear what you have to say, they realize that you, too, know as much (if not more) than they might.

Finding the ways to attend conferences, however, is daunting in and of itself. How does one get into a confernece when the cost to attend is either hundreds or thousands of dollars??

That, however, is different (class-based) issue for another essay.

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Monday, September 12, 2005

Since most cookbooks try to turn recepies for the average side dish into something like rocket science, I went and found Cooking for Engineers...a rather amusing blog that has an easy recepie for roasted asparagus spears.

Not just that! there's even a chart to convert Farenheit oven temperatures to Celcius and a recepie for Gravlax.

Imagine that...Gravlax of all things...Go know you want to try it!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

I made a donation to Shane this a.m. and received this email:
I just arrived at a church here to get some food and check my email address. I was in shock and amazed someone actually donated to my family. I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your donation will help Sebastian and I get our daily needs met. Perhaps even a evening of going out to eat or the local zoo to ease his mind. At least we can fill up the car with gas again to continue eating at the shelters as needed.

I am hoping I will get enough donations to relocate and start our lives over. We lost everything in the Hurricane so there is nothing left but bad memories in New Orleans. I know a few people personaly that died in the disaster.

Again thank you so much. I can't thank you enough. I am going to keep email addresses of everyone that donated to my family in our time of need and I hope to send thank you's back as soon as I get myself and family back on our feet.


Shane & Sebastian
yep...he's real.

Shane's Dire Situation

This morning I received a link to Shane's blog on he gives some details of the situation he and his son are confronting right now.

I've never met Shane, but I know he *is* a real person--I've read his blogs. He is not faceless--there are pictures on his blogs. Pictures cannot be faked. He has put up link to donate directly to him to help him and his son. I'm sure this is not an easy thing to do--when you've taken care of yourself most of you life it's hard to imagine there would ever be a circumstance where you might need to ask others for cash.

I don't necessarily like giving to big orgs. I was involved with Americorps for a time, and I know exactly how mis-managed big orgs can be.

Because I know exactly where my donation is going, I will give something to Shane and Sebastian. Take the time to read his blog--go in and check out other things he's done.....maybe helping him out is something you, too, might want to do.

And even though I hate big orgs, I'm thinking of volunteering with the Red Cross. They need roughly 40 000 volunteers, as the volunteers who have been there are hitting their max amount of field time and will need to be relieved. Since I'm not doing much more than finishing up an article, I could easily do the training and take off for three weeks. We'll see if they'll take me.

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Friday, September 09, 2005

Who Cares About Creating Community?

I am finding that I cannot say enough about the recent announcement by Minnesota Public Radio about MPR's joint venture with

This is significant in many ways....

The perception of hosted social software like has been that packages of this sort are the province of young people. With LiveJournal, MySpace, and Friendster, there's ample evidence to support that contention.

Yet as more adults between the ages of 35-59--the group that does not quite fit the cohort represented by those 3 sites--spend their free time on the 'net, many may discover what is so appealing about those sites: Community.

In the past, adult community needs were met by various bbs's and usenet newsgroups. However, those methods do not allow for the same sort of stimulus and interaction that blogging allows. As some of those sites become more troll-infested, and the anonymity factor inherent in bbs and usenet groups becomes less appealing, finding on-line communities of common interest, where one can be known as well as know others thru their blogs, will increase in importance. Futher, there will also be a need for those who "age out" of the other communities to find new age-appropriate communities.

As it is now, there is no alternative to the safe haven of something like LiveJournal. One must go into the less secure spaces of Blogger, Typepad and Moveable Type if one wants to blog and, possibly, create/find community to exchange ideas. There are many though who would like to blog but want the distance from spammers and trolls that is afforded on LJ and MySpace. They would like their voices to be heard, to share their thoughts, to find Like Minds and not have to fend off spammers, trolls and freakazoid gawkers.

The desire and ability to find Like Minds in blogging is, even now, a concern for those of us 35-59 year olds who do not wish to be strictly sources of regurgitated information and pithy political commentary. Finding community and conversation around information or opinion is as problematic in the blogosphere as creating a respected and not strictly information/political blog may be. Comments features, which all blogs have, are supposed to facilitate community, but many information-oriented blogs do not receive comments--thus, no conversation. Of the ones that do, often the bloggers themselves do not interact with the commentators. Many who search to build community search to interact with the blogger of a post as much as with those who buzz around the comments sections.

But, even when one interacts with commentors, the chances of finding commentors within one's geographic area is never guaranteed. We bloggers have a better chance of making friends with a fellow community-oriented blogger halfway around the world than one in our own backyards...thus making the Global the Local...but hardly anyone you could meet out for a cup of coffee...

So this venture between MPR and has great potential for 'net savvy adults who desire to find like minds, have great conversation, and create communities thru blogging. Why should the kids have all the fun?

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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Minnesota Public Radio Invests In Networking Website..., set to launch in December, will operate along the same principles as and -- fee-free sites where people can establish their own home pages listing their personal and professional interests, keep blogs and communicate with other site members. Revenue is generated by selling advertisers space on those venues...

amazing, isn't it?? They've finally figured out that on-line community building, blogging being part of that, isn't just for kids. Adults, too, just might have an interest if the reason for the community's existence has something to do with how they live their lives.

Let's face it, even if alot of us are still single, the whole dating-and-mating thing that's such a part of, as it was with, isn't really the center of our lives. There's more going on there, and our leisure time is often spent on other pursuits. I will be very interested to see how things progress with and how the 34-59 age bracket responds to it.

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Simplifying our Language

This a.m., an email came across one of my accounts with an interesting request:
A Cambodian colleague who works as a software enigneer for the Cambodian
Open Source project ( and will be
releasing khmer language blogging software
g/) emailed me for some pointers to articles/research on the impact of

So, hoping to tap into the collective expertise of this group -- can you
point me to studies, articles that have looked at these questions? I
know they are big questions ... Also, while her English language skills
are excellent, if the articles/research could be ones that are not too
technical or complex so that a non-English speaking native could

I got to thinking more and more about this problem...

There is a tendancy, at this point, for most of the conversation about the blogosphere to be conducted by those who are on the high-tech end of things. The blogosphere seems to be a world of words contingent on the understanding of technology. It's kind of ironic and oxymoronic at the same time.

When I think more about it, I understand how those of us who are word/conversation oriented get the short shrift or aren't taken all that seriously. A command of language seems to be nothing compared to a command of technology. Yet it seems to be that a command of the english language, and an ability to "translate" the world of the blogosphere into plain english, is necessary if this wonderful people's media will be adequately comprehended and easily manipulated by non-english speaking people.

Then again, it just might come down to whether or not various powers that be really want the people to understand the Secret Handshakes the exist within the Blogosphere...or if it's easier for people on the tech end of things to laugh when the rest of us say no comprende...

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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Problem of Tracking Conversation

Barb Dybwad on The Social Software Weblog posts this piece on the problem of tracking conversation. Barb uses a tag to keep track of where she's been...still, there really are no good tools to do this.

As the web becomes more interactive, and blogging becomes a more integral part of many of our personal identities, tracking conversations will continue to grow in importance. As it stands now, not only is it difficult but also quite laborious to do so.

I know there are threads of me all over the place. On some days I'm a compulsive commenter. Can't help it...just part of my "look at me!" neurotic busybody nature.

Further, now that Technorati has created more little doo-hickeys for others to find us, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to find others who link to us. With the new Technorati format, using a search to check who has linked to one's blog is now also a laborious task. I have found recently that I must click the name of my blog multiple times before I will get search results. More often than not, I get a "Sorry" message that requests I check again.

But I can check again, and again, and again and not be able to get the search results unless it is very late in the day or quite early in the morning--known as "off-peak hours" in the old-fashioned telecom lexicon.

This occurred even before Hurricane Katrina, so increased traffic due to Katrina cannot be factored in as part of the "reasonable excuse" for the search function not working adequately.

Dave, if you're scanning Yours Snarkily again, leave a nugget to explain the problems with the search...perhaps Technorati's indexing is getting ahead of its searching capacity.

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Friday, September 02, 2005

Chasing our Techonorati Tails Again...

Got an email from Sour Duck this a.m. about the new Technorati Blogfinder...I also read Barb Dybwald's piece on it at the social software weblog...

I went in and looked at it myself, then read what Dave posted on Sifry's Alerts .

More of the same old same old from Sifry and company. Another complicated and time-consuming little doo-hickey that a blogger needs a degree in computer science to figure out. More codes to paste and play with when all one really wants to do is write and be read...

Sifry left a little message on my Blake Rhodes post. I emailed him yesterday, explaining that many bloggers that come into the blogosphere on a daily basis don't necessarily have the computer savvy to figure out how to use Technorati's features.

Why is it that all the new Technorati features and tools are far more complicated to use than the blogging software that supports most blogs?

The whole scheme is becoming more complicated than is necessary, and, at the moment, seems to only benefit those who have the time to figure things out, or the friend who can figure it out for them.

If the sorting/categorizing/tagging and listing schemes get more complicated, more and more of us will be buried under the rubble of tags.

Right now, it looks like another scheme to make us chase our tails, and keep theirs very, very long.

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