inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #101 of 124: Rebecca Blood (rebeccablood) Wed 14 May 03 20:19
    
I have a list, but I'd be interested in hearing votes from others
before I post it here. Anyone? 
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #102 of 124: Sean Harding (sharding) Wed 14 May 03 21:47
    
Some people who pop to my mind would be Dave Winer, Glenn Reynolds 
(Instapundit) and Ben & Mena Trott (Movable Type). All celebrities for
different reasons. The Trotts are the only ones I really care to read
anything from, and they rarely blog.
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #103 of 124: Christian Crumlish (xian) Wed 14 May 03 23:36
    
I actually started sketching out a set of playing cards with 52
popular bloggers. I was trying to map the suits to MT users, Blogger
users, Radio users, and warbloggers (I know, it makes no sense), but
the MT suit was way overrepresented.

I think the Well's own Cory Doctorow has to be on the short list. A
lot of the old-school A List is still around and kicking. The truth
though is that there are a lot of spheres within spheres and satellites
and unconnected worlds too. Chris Pirillo has a huge following. Anil
is tremendously influential. Oliver Willis seems to get a lot of flow.
Burningbird gets the mice chattering. Dan Gillmor and Doc Searls
command a lot of respect. Joshua Michah Marshall
(TalkingPointsMemo.com) may be the most effective journo-blogger of the
left. The Reverse Cowgirl seems to get about 6000 hits a day lately.

My own favorites change frequently. I like the Gawker but I miss
Capital Influx. I've burned out on "Dive Into" Mark Pilgrim but I can't
get enough of Stavros the Wonderchicken.

Of course Jon just asked for the one biggest. I think it's probably
Instapundit.
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #104 of 124: Sean Harding (sharding) Wed 14 May 03 23:45
    
Who is Oliver Willis (URL)?
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #105 of 124: Christian Crumlish (xian) Wed 14 May 03 23:52
    
http://oliverwillis.com/ "Like Kryptonite to Stupid" but he's mostly
political (and cheesecake), Sean, so I doubt he's up your alley. He was
featured on that weird PBS "On the Media" segment on the blogosphere
(along with Glenn Reynolds, Meghan (sp?) McArdle (sp?) of Assymetric
Information (I think it is) and Anil Dash (http://dashes.com/anil/).
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #106 of 124: Rebecca Blood (rebeccablood) Thu 15 May 03 09:39
    
Within each cluster there are little celebrities. But thinking about
those people who are known in numerous clusters, or who might even be
known by non-bloggers, this is my short list.

In the beginning, it was Dave Winer and Cameron Barrett would have to
be the best known of the webloggers. Dave had written for wired and had
been maintaining his site since 1997; Cameron was featured in a news
article when he was fired for stories posted on his website, and had
gained quite a bit of visibility as a result. Dave is still very well
known; Cameron just started posting again after taking a hiatus to
travel. Next, it was Ev Williams and Meg Hourihan, the co-founders of
Blogger, without question. The press couldn't stop writing about
Blogger for a while, and everyone who used their product seemed to
revere them.

In the present day, I'd say Cory Doctorow and Glenn Reynolds would be
the best known names, not just in the weblog community, but I'd vote on
them as the people most likely to be known by people who aren't
themselves maintaining weblogs. Jason Kottke is one of the best known
bloggers among bloggers, but I don't have a strong sense of whether or
not his name extends into the world outside of ours. I think those are
the big three right now.  

I don't include Chris Pirillo or Wil Wheaton, just because their fame
is largely a result of their television shows, rather than from their
activities online. But of course, they're probably better known than
any of the "pure bloggers." 

I make a distinction between people who have started a weblog in order
to *extend* their media presence (any journalist, author, or
television personality who now has a weblog), and those who have
achieved notoriety in large part *because* of their weblog, even if
their weblogs have been instrumental in propelling them to a larger
media presence.
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #107 of 124: Michael C. Berch (mcb) Thu 15 May 03 10:08
    
Leaving aside the "A List" type bloggers for a moment: what do you
recommend as the best ways for a brand new author, not known in media
circles, to get his/her blog read?  There seems to be a huge
competition for eyeballs out there, and it's a bit bewildering for a
newbie.  
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #108 of 124: Rebecca Blood (rebeccablood) Thu 15 May 03 10:38
    
Participate in the community. Link generously to other weblogs, in
your sidebar of links, highlighting their commentary, when you find it
to be particularly insightful, and with "via" links. Comment
thoughtfully on other people's sites. Write to the people you most
admire, whether or not they are widely read. Answer questions they
pose, send them links you think they might be interested in, complement
them (genuinely on their site, or comment on a recent entry.

Those are the basic strategies. I often highlight weblogs that are new
to me, or that I think are doing good work, and you can do the same
thing. Remember that we, as webloggers,  amplify each others' voices by
linking to each other. You don't want to do this indiscriminately, but
if you do it selectively, your readers will learn that your
recommendations are usually interesting to them, and they will follow
the links. We don't have big media presences to cultivate. But if you
send your 50 readers over to read someone else's site, you may double
their traffic for that day. They certainly will come to see who is
sending them traffic, if they keep track. They may not link back to
you, but it isn't supposed to work that way. You are building an online
presence, building goodwill, and extending the community. This isn't a
zero-sum game. Most weblog readers are eager for other good weblogs to
read. Oh, here's something else: when you link to another site, click
that link yourself, several times for good measure. You can't count on
your readers to necessarily give any link the attention it deserves, so
announce your presence by clicking yourself. :)

If you have a subject specific weblog, do all of that and participate
in listservs and other community forums of like-minded people. If you
can offer the community a service, that may boost your traffic
(DiveIntoMark is the perfect example of this approach.)

Oh, and these days, offer an RSS feed if your software allows it. It
seems that many people rely on their trackers as personal update
notifiers, and this is just one more way to be on their radar. Just
syndicate the first few words of your posts if you're eager to have
people actually visit your site.

Weblog audiences tend to be small, but they tend to be loyal, and they
will grow with time and persistence. I always tell people that it's
better to have the *right* audience than a large audience. What I mean
is that it's better to have a dozen people who can't wait to see what
you have to say, than to have a thousand people who come take a look
and leave, which, frankly, is the result of a big media mention. I've
gained a small number of readers that way, I'm sure, but I have a very
eclectic set of interests, and most who people who click through from
an online article (not that many to begin with), take a look and never
come back. 

I believe my readership has grown mostly by word of mouth. I will
admit that I thought the book would boost my traffic dramatically, but
that hasn't been at all the case. I get frustrated just like you do
when I feel like my readership has stalled, but then it always jumps a
little bit and I realize I'm on the slow and steady track. 
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #109 of 124: Sean Harding (sharding) Thu 15 May 03 10:45
    
> Just syndicate the first few words of your posts if you're eager to have
> people actually visit your site.

There's a delicate balance to strike here. I find it frustrating if someone
includes *too* little information in the RSS feed. There have been several
sites that I've simply stopped reading completely for that reason. The
feed didn't contain enough information to let me decide whether it was 
worth my while to go read the full entry, and there are very few sites
on which I actually want to read every single entry. So, unless the site
is truly exceptional, I'm not likely to bother for long with a site that
gives me too little information in the RSS feed.
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #110 of 124: Rebecca Blood (rebeccablood) Thu 15 May 03 10:53
    
Oh, let me add: DON'T email anyone asking for a link. It puts people
in an uncomfortable position if your site just isn't interesting to
them, and it may make them resent you. 

If you think someone is doing good work, you may want to tell them so,
or you can link to them. But it is annoying even to send another
blogger frequent notification that you have just posted an entry they
may be interested in--especially if you never or rarely link to them,
or to other bloggers (and I see this a lot). My rule is that if any
weblog asking for my attention doesn't link out to other weblogs, I
won't link it no matter how good the entry. If you want to benefit
*from* the community, I think you need to do your part *for* the
community, too.

Frankly, I ignore any request for links, and I'm starting to ignore
the notes informing me that I may be interested in an entry someone has
just posted. Especially repeat notifications, since that starts to
feel like I'm regarded strictly as a traffic-building device.
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #111 of 124: Rebecca Blood (rebeccablood) Thu 15 May 03 10:58
    
> sean: There's a delicate balance to strike here. <

Microcontent! It's an art. http://www.useit.com/alertbox/980906.html

You'll want to subscribe to your own feed to see what seems to you to
be effective use of the technology, and spend some time honing your own
approach.
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #112 of 124: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 15 May 03 13:56
    
The Social Software Alliance got me thinking about this one: is there some 
extension of weblog technology that you're dying to see someone develop? 
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #113 of 124: Rebecca Blood (rebeccablood) Thu 15 May 03 17:42
    
It seems that most of the things that can be automated on weblogs,
have been automated. (You tool-users out there, feel free to correct
me.) I think the next round of useful inventions will be focused on
processing all the information weblogs are producing each day.

Apart from the obvious stuff like Daypop and Blogdex and maybe Google
searching weblogs, there's work being done now that I think falls under
the category of the Semantic Web, although there are social
implications, too. I'm thinking specifically of Friend of a Friend
protocols http://rdfweb.org/foaf/ which will allow people to tag links
to sites created by people they know, which will serve as a bit of a
reputation management system. At least when you link to my site from a
site you trust, you can be assured that I am a real person, and a
female to boot, for example. I'm not sure how much information will be
embedded in these tags, but it could leverage the current connection of
links between sites to create a simple way to know how much to trust
an unknown site.

I'm also interested in tools that would alert me to news and posts
about a set of subjects that interest me. Sort of like RSS and sort of
like a Google news (or weblog) search, I suppose. But to log onto the
Web and be able to ask--"Is there anything out there today about
sustainability?" and have a list of likely candidates presented to me
would be a handy thing.

And I think my idea for a trackback browser plugin would be a great. I
have no idea how it would work, but to go to any webpage and say "show
me a list of all the pages that are linked to this page, most recent
first" would do what trackback does, for the entire Web: make the
conversations and connections between sites visible. 

Anyone else?
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #114 of 124: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 15 May 03 19:10
    
In my case... I'm trying to simplify. I just remade my weblog design 
without the marginal stuff, and I'm thinking about what I want to add back 
to the mix.
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #115 of 124: Michael C. Berch (mcb) Fri 16 May 03 00:12
    
Interesting stuff, thanks.  
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #116 of 124: Rebecca Blood (rebeccablood) Fri 16 May 03 11:18
    
> jon: In my case... I'm trying to simplify. <

It's easy to get carried away, isn't it? I'm continuously populating
my sidebar with little bits of information, and then going through and
stripping it down when it gets cluttered. This fad of putting links in
the sidebar and longer pieces in the main body of the weblog is another
manifestation of the same thing.

I do think a weblog works best when its design highlights the text,
rather than being cluttered up with a million distractions. But I'm one
to talk: my sidebar has links to online charities, recent articles and
appearances, and mini reviews of all the films I've seen. I can't get
enough stuff into that sidebar.
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #117 of 124: Christian Crumlish (xian) Fri 16 May 03 15:43
    
i think at best it works like gardening. wide text columns and narrow
gutters are just some of the architectural tricks that have stood the
test of time (in this medium and others). after that we're talking
personal expression and what zeldman calls "the indendent content
creator" (finish that clause for brownie points), and so really it's do
what you will shall be the extent of the law.

gardening because you plant things that catch your fancy and weed the
ones that have died on the vine or are running amok like kudzu. seasons
change as do your fancies. the whole thing gets denser and more rich
whether its waxing or waning, as long as you keep attending to and
husbanding it.

experiments, habits, sudden fits or destruction and reconception are
common to both gardening and blogging.

free association: an occasional blog by gardeners (disclaimer: i host
it, know the writers extremely well): http://godetia.com/dirt/

sorry for rambling on. caught by a trope!
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #118 of 124: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Fri 16 May 03 15:52
    
I'd like to thank Rebecca Blood for joining us here in Inkwell.vue. It's
hard to believe two weeks have gone by already. Rebecca, though Matthew
Fox's discussion is now spotlighted on our web pages, you and Jon (and
the other participants, of course) are more than welcome to continue this 
discussion for as long as you like.
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #119 of 124: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 16 May 03 16:09
    
Thanks, Cynthia!
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #120 of 124: andyp (aapark) Fri 16 May 03 17:19
    
Yes, thanks Cynthia for making this available.
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #121 of 124: Rebecca Blood (rebeccablood) Fri 16 May 03 21:11
    
Cynthia, Jon, and everyone in this thread, thank you so much for such
a fun and thought-provoking conversation. some of these questions made
me revisit some of the assumptions I've fallen into in the last year
and a half, and for that I am extremely grateful.

I will be leaving for Vienna on Tuesday for a week, and I'm not taking
my computer--and my access here will run out at the end of the month.
But I'm going to continue to check here at least once a day through
Monday, and then when I get back. If there's anything you didn't get to
ask, please do. It's a real pleasure to talk with such smart,
thoughtful people.
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #122 of 124: Rebecca Blood (rebeccablood) Fri 16 May 03 21:13
    
xian, I think your gardening metaphor is very apt. I remember seeing
one weblogger talk about going through his archives and weeding out
links that no longer worked, tending his archives. :)
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #123 of 124: Christian Crumlish (xian) Sat 17 May 03 13:15
    
thanks for gracing us with your presence. knock 'em dead (or some
suitably nonviolent equivalent metaphor) in Wien.

and somebody get her a visiting scholar comp acct for at least a few
more months (till she's thoroughly hooked, heh heh heh).
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #124 of 124: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sun 18 May 03 10:31
    
Have a great trip, Rebecca!
  



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