System Status: Mail server SSL certificate updated; some older mail clients (e.g., Eudora) are having problems. See welltech.374 for more info.


inkwell.vue.286 : Suzanne Stefanac, "Dispatches from Blogistan"
permalink #51 of 105: Jamais Cascio, OpenTheFuture.com (cascio) Mon 4 Dec 06 08:32
    
So, recognizing that you're busy with your new job and undoubtedly
don't have as much time for blog reading as you did in the past, what
blogs do you still make a point of reading? You have a blogroll list at
the DISPATCHES website, so I presume that you still read all of those
religiously (*ahem*), but what else do you follow?
  
inkwell.vue.286 : Suzanne Stefanac, "Dispatches from Blogistan"
permalink #52 of 105: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 4 Dec 06 15:36
    
I apologize for coming so late to the conversation... Hal sent me a
reminder but it didn't quite reach me.

Jamais, you were commenting about the number of WorldChanging
bloggers... there's currently 146, and we've been signing more
everyday.  It's a diverse bunch - some were already bloggers, others
weren't, but just needed the right nudge to get into it. It's been
fascinating to watch this blog network evolve. 

Suzanne, as  you know, I'm into the stuff that's happening where
politics intersects with social technology. Above you mentioned the 
potential for demogaugery, for persuasive bigots or corporate shills to
win over a portion of the population and skew electoral results in
some sectors."  Don't you think, though, that the "post-broadcast"
media environment makes that sort of thing much more difficult? I think
about Rush Limbaugh guest hosting the Letterman show a few years
ago... he couldn't function in an environment where there was an
audience that could and would respond...

I worry more that it'll be hard to find direction in a world where
everybody's got a pointer. We sorta hoped that there would be a kind of
emergent leadership facilitated in part by social software, but that's
still just theory.
  
inkwell.vue.286 : Suzanne Stefanac, "Dispatches from Blogistan"
permalink #53 of 105: Jamais Cascio, OpenTheFuture.com (cascio) Mon 4 Dec 06 19:14
    
146?!?!!?!?!??!!?
  
inkwell.vue.286 : Suzanne Stefanac, "Dispatches from Blogistan"
permalink #54 of 105: Alan M. Eshleman (doctore) Mon 4 Dec 06 21:03
    
Interesting about that average number of readers being = 1.  Sadly,
that's been my experience so far with http://talk.genesanddrugs.com/
Genes and drugs is a sponsored blog: I've was retained by the firm DNA
Direct to create a blog that alerts physicians to developments in
pharmacogenetics (a discipline that is defined on the site, if it's
unfamiliar to you).

I thought I'd at least get some action from trackbacks: Perhaps a
complaint or two about introducing expensive technology while millions
are uninsured or requests for clarification of something I may have
written.  So far no.  A blog may not be the best medium for
accomplishing this.  

OTOH, I do get dozens of comments each day offering drugs for sale,
porno sites, and replica rolexes...
  
inkwell.vue.286 : Suzanne Stefanac, "Dispatches from Blogistan"
permalink #55 of 105: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Tue 5 Dec 06 07:48
    
The discussion has helped inspire me to start my own:
http://stateoftechnology.blogspot.com/
  
inkwell.vue.286 : Suzanne Stefanac, "Dispatches from Blogistan"
permalink #56 of 105: Gail Williams (gail) Tue 5 Dec 06 11:52
    
Sharon, may you be yet another stellar blogger to emerge from the WELL's
community spaces.   Be sure to use the WELL Blog Conference -- 
<blog.> -- to ask and share expertise,  and also to get included on 
The WELL blogroll project.
  
inkwell.vue.286 : Suzanne Stefanac, "Dispatches from Blogistan"
permalink #57 of 105: Gail Williams (gail) Tue 5 Dec 06 11:58
    

Here's the group blog composed of WELL member blogs:
http://wellblogs.e-scribe.com/

Ask about it in <blog.>
  
inkwell.vue.286 : Suzanne Stefanac, "Dispatches from Blogistan"
permalink #58 of 105: Sharon Brogan (sbmontana) Tue 5 Dec 06 12:12
    
Re: the 'one reader' dilemma -- we all begin with one reader. I don't
expect -- and don't have -- a large readership, but I have about 130
readers-by-feed, and get about the same number of hits per day, and I
think, for a rather quirky personal blog, that's a fair number. And my
readers are great -- interesting and civil. 

Since I don't actually have a 'niche', I have to try hard to get new
eyes on my blog, in hopes a pair here and there might like it.


I suggest:

-- Sign onto all the directories. It's tedious, and you may get few
hits from any one of them -- but those hits may include a reader or two
that sticks around. 

-- Participate in the blog carnivals that interest you. 

-- Participate in the blog 'memes' that interest you -- it may be
something like Holidailies (http://www.holidailies.org/) which is
happening now, or NaBloPoMo (http://www.fussy.org/nablopomo.html) which
has just ended. Both of these have lots of bloggers involved, a few of
which might be interested in what you are doing.

-- If you do have a niche, exploit it. Let others in your field know
what you are doing, by linking to them, by leaving comments on their
sites, by emailing them in response to their own postings. If you are
truly interested -- and interesting -- they are likely to reciprocate.

-- And, seconding (gail), it doesn't hurt to participate in the
<blog.> conference.
  
inkwell.vue.286 : Suzanne Stefanac, "Dispatches from Blogistan"
permalink #59 of 105: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Tue 5 Dec 06 14:29
    
thanks Gail, I didn't know about that.
  
inkwell.vue.286 : Suzanne Stefanac, "Dispatches from Blogistan"
permalink #60 of 105: Jamais Cascio, OpenTheFuture.com (cascio) Tue 5 Dec 06 17:37
    
Suzanne's suggestions are 100% correct, but I would especially
emphasize 

>>-- If you do have a niche, exploit it. Let others in your field know
what you are doing, by linking to them, by leaving comments on their
sites, by emailing them in response to their own postings. If you are
truly interested -- and interesting -- they are likely to
reciprocate.<<

Don't just send email saying "link to me, please" or offering "link
exchanges." Send email saying "what you wrote here
[http://www.foo.foo/foo] really struck a nerve, and I responded here
[http://www.myblog.foo/foo],"; and mean it. Bloggers with traffic
generally aren't opposed to linking to blogs without much traffic, but
there has to be an organic connection, something meaningful and to the
point.

That said, the absolutely best way to jump start traffic is to submit
something good to BoingBoing and have them select it for placement.
Whether at WorldChanging.com or the much-smaller OpenTheFuture.com, I
can always tell when there's a BoingBoing.net link. Again, Cory & Mark
& David & Xeni aren't going to link to you because you ask nicely, but
because you've sent in something that fits and one of them thinks is
cool.

Suzanne, I'd be interested in how you see the evolution --both recent
and upcoming-- of what you've called "Blogistan," that broad society of
bloggers.
  
inkwell.vue.286 : Suzanne Stefanac, "Dispatches from Blogistan"
permalink #61 of 105: nape fest (zorca) Tue 5 Dec 06 19:05
    
> what blogs do you still make a point of reading?

My blogroll is still my favorite round of blogs. I do visit a number of
others in a kind of irregular rotation. i like nick carr's roughtype blog
(http://www.roughtype.com) for tech discussions. i love the make magazine
blog (http://www.makezine.com/blog). I also can't seem to stay away from the
sartorialist blog (http://thesartorialist.blogspot.com/) I'll think of a few
more and post later.

>  I worry more that it'll be hard to find direction in a world where
everybody's got a pointer.

Jon's right, of course. And I didn't mean that blogs post a greater threat
of demogaugery than other media. It is mediated, after all, by comments both
on the blogs in question and on other blogs. But there is still the
opportunity for strong personalities to win over weaker souls. Some of the
followers of the political blogs quote the authors as though their words had
been handed down from above. At their best, blogs encourage critical
thinking. At their worst, they serve as low-hanging fruit for fruitbats.

The problem you point out, the difficulty in finding direction in a world
full of competing pointers, is very real. This is why sites like digg and
delicious can help, but the plethora of information storming the net will
require a good number of solutions before we're able to truly find the gems.
Lots of room left for innovators to step up and become heros.

>Suzanne, I'd be interested in how you see the evolution --both recent
 and upcoming-- of what you've called "Blogistan," that broad society of
 bloggers.

Once again, I resort to numbers. In the beginning, fewer than ten years ago,
a small cadre of individuals posted regularly to the first protoblogs. They
were generally fairly geeky, the topics were often tech-related, and most
were in the United States. It was almost like a closed club. Today,
Technorati reports tracking more than 55 million blogs all around the globe.
Blogging seems to span all age groups and socio-economic sectors. Harking
back to something I talked about up above and in the book, I think that the
phenomenon is tapping into some innate urge and wide adoption seems to
follow the introduction of easier tools. At this point, if you can open a
web browser, you can launch a blog and all those millions do just that.

Meanwhile, cross-linking is still fairly nascent, partly because the tools
for trackback and the like are still sort of arcane. I think the next stage
will involve more and better intercommunication among blogs. Several here
have noted that they don't get that many comments on their blogs. I think
that may change as better tools and mechanisms enter the scene. The urge
seems to not just be to publish but to engage in conversations. I think
we're only beginning to get a glimpse of what this many-to-many world is
going to look like.
  
inkwell.vue.286 : Suzanne Stefanac, "Dispatches from Blogistan"
permalink #62 of 105: Jamais Cascio, OpenTheFuture.com (cascio) Wed 6 Dec 06 04:41
    
I'm not sure I'd agree that the tools for cross-linking, particularly
trackback, are necessarily "arcane" -- after all, most of the blogging
systems will do that in a more-or-less automated fashion.

The big problem, from my perspective, is spam. I have trackbacks shut
down on Open the Future, shut down completely, simply because the ratio
of spam trackbacks to legitimate trackbacks is ridiculous. The spam to
legit ratio for comments is also pretty bad, but at least there I can
use tools like captchas (the "type in the letters you see here in this
hard to read graphic box" test) to block spambots. Since trackbacks are
generally automated, such tools couldn't apply.

Spam is, in my view, the Big Nasty Threat to much of what we do
online. How have you dealt with it for your work, Suzanne? And other
bloggers should definitely follow-up here, as well -- what works?
  
inkwell.vue.286 : Suzanne Stefanac, "Dispatches from Blogistan"
permalink #63 of 105: nape fest (zorca) Wed 6 Dec 06 12:40
    
I think trackback still stymies a lot of bloggers. But I agree that spam is
a true stumbling block.

I installed Akismet on the WordPress blogs and it really seems to be pretty
good at capturing spam. A few sneak through into my main comments section,
but I have the blogs set up so that I have to OK any comments before they go
live and so at least the public doesn't have to deal with them.

I'd love to hear how others are dealing with their spam. The whole
phenomenon is like playing whack-a-mole!
  
inkwell.vue.286 : Suzanne Stefanac, "Dispatches from Blogistan"
permalink #64 of 105: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 6 Dec 06 12:51
    
I installed the Movable Type version of Akismet on my blog, and it was pretty
efficient at catching spam. I had a whole different problem, which was that
there was so much junk I literally couldn't delete it all without bogging
down. Suspecting that has something to do with my use of the less robust
Berkeley DB, I'm moving my blog to a different hosting environment and
setting up a mysql back end. I've been thinking how much easier it is for 
new bloggers these days, with so many hosted services to absorb back-end 
headaches. What do you think of hosted services vs standalone blogs?
  
inkwell.vue.286 : Suzanne Stefanac, "Dispatches from Blogistan"
permalink #65 of 105: Call Out Research Hook #1 (kadrey) Wed 6 Dec 06 13:03
    

>hosted services vs standalone blogs
can you describe the differences for those of us new to the game.
  
inkwell.vue.286 : Suzanne Stefanac, "Dispatches from Blogistan"
permalink #66 of 105: nape fest (zorca) Wed 6 Dec 06 13:14
    
I think the hosted services are great for anyone without access to their own
webserver. Certainly, you have more control over the latter, but if it's a
choice between no blog or one that's hosted by a service like blogger or
wordpress.com, it's a really simple decision.

What you generally give up is some degree of personalization of the template
and some capabilities. It pays to comb through a blog hosting site's 'about'
pages and do a few searches of blog comments using a service like Technorati
or IceRocket to see what the latest developments are. All of these services
are changing and updating, trying to keep up with the stand-alone products.

One thing that I'd recommend is that you always own your own full domain
name and make sure that any hosted services point to that URL. For instance,
you should be pointing people to http://www.yourblogname.com, rather than
http://yourblogname.blogspot.com. Not only is it easier for people to find
you, if you should choose to move your blog from the hosting environment,
you won't have to reprogram all the internal links! Most hosting
environments provide a mechanism for this.
  
inkwell.vue.286 : Suzanne Stefanac, "Dispatches from Blogistan"
permalink #67 of 105: Andrew Alden (alden) Wed 6 Dec 06 13:32
    
On About.com where I blog and write on geology, we all have Akismet
despamming on our WordPress-based blogs and it works like a charm.
  
inkwell.vue.286 : Suzanne Stefanac, "Dispatches from Blogistan"
permalink #68 of 105: Sharon Brogan (sbmontana) Wed 6 Dec 06 15:02
    
I use TypePad -- a hosted site -- pay for it, and recommend it. I do
sometimes have to deal with spam, but they catch most of it before I
see it. There is lots -- total, if you want -- of control over
templates, and pretty good support for newbies. 
  
inkwell.vue.286 : Suzanne Stefanac, "Dispatches from Blogistan"
permalink #69 of 105: Marcy Sheiner (mmarquest) Wed 6 Dec 06 16:43
    
Okay, IJWTK: Am I the only one who feels inundated with reading
material, online and off? How do you manage to read the newspaper,
non-fiction books, novels several blogs, chat groups, and other
websites of interest every day, which it sounds like a lot of people
manage to do. I don't even have a full time job and I find it
absolutely overwhelming. My New Yorkers pile up; the Sunday Times never
gets finished, and forget my local paper! I'm so overloaded I tend to
just skim through everything. I could honestly scream. I shouldda
learned speed reading way back when I had time to learn new things.
  
inkwell.vue.286 : Suzanne Stefanac, "Dispatches from Blogistan"
permalink #70 of 105: Mecha-shiva! Mecha-shiva! (howard) Wed 6 Dec 06 17:46
    
Print is dead to me.
  
inkwell.vue.286 : Suzanne Stefanac, "Dispatches from Blogistan"
permalink #71 of 105: nape fest (zorca) Wed 6 Dec 06 18:13
    
Reading is fun! If it stops being fun, I'll just have to find a new hobby.
  
inkwell.vue.286 : Suzanne Stefanac, "Dispatches from Blogistan"
permalink #72 of 105: Jamais Cascio, OpenTheFuture.com (cascio) Wed 6 Dec 06 21:16
    
Reading is fun-damental!

<kadrey>, I'm sure you picked up the difference between hosted and 
standalone blogs, but just for anyone else still a bit unclear:

A hosted blog relies on a blogging service, such as blogger or typepad; 
this service provides the composition environment, hosts the content, and 
basically takes care of the nuts & bolts of blogging, letting you focus on 
the content. If you see a blog with a URL that is 
http://someblogname.typepad.com or someblogname.blogspot.com, it's on a 
hosted service.

A standalone blog is essentially your own website, with blog server 
software running behind the scenes. Movable Type, WordPress and Drupal are 
different examples of standalone blog server tools. Generally speaking, 
you have to deal with configuring the blog, setting up the server, making 
sure the templates are to your liking, etc. 

The advantage of a hosted blog is not having to worry about the technical 
stuff; the disadvantage is that you're completely at the whim of a service 
that likely has literally hundreds of thousands of active blogs. Also, you 
have limited choices as to how your blog looks and what kinds of features 
it can offer.

The advantage of a standlone blog is having absolute total control over 
every aspect of your blog's look, feel and content; the disadvantage is 
having absolute total control over every aspect of your blog's look, feel 
and content. As I discovered for myself a couple of weeks ago, one 
mistake while fiddling with a configuration file can leave you with naught 
but garbage on your blog's home page.

On balance, if you're at all comfortable with the idea of editing 
configuration files and using FTP, the power of standalone blog tools 
makes them preferable, in my view. If terms like XML and FTP and SQL make 
you break out in hives, go for the hosted option.

I absolutely agree with Suzanne's suggestion that you get your own domain 
to point at your hosted blog -- not only does it mean you don't have to 
fiddle with internal links if you change hosting service, you don't have 
to try to alert people who have been reading you at (e.g.) blogspot.com 
that you're now at typepad.com. You can fiddle with services to your 
heart's content, confident that your readers will always find you.
  
inkwell.vue.286 : Suzanne Stefanac, "Dispatches from Blogistan"
permalink #73 of 105: Sharon Brogan (sbmontana) Wed 6 Dec 06 21:19
    
I think that with TypePad's top service, you do have "absolute total
control over every aspect of your blog's look, feel and content." And
you pretty much have that at the middle level, too. 

I think you need to have geek skills -- or want to earn the stripes --
to go with a standalone. But then, I haven't tried it. 
  
inkwell.vue.286 : Suzanne Stefanac, "Dispatches from Blogistan"
permalink #74 of 105: nape fest (zorca) Thu 7 Dec 06 10:44
    
Standalone blog apps like wordpress.org aren't that daunting to install and
there are lots of templates that you can choose from. The ability to tweak
via CSS is great for the geek set, but really anyone with access to a server
can use one of the free standalones if they're so inclined.

It's great the Typepad Pro lets you customize to a greater degree now. For
those willing to pay the fees, it's a great solution.

The bottom line is that what matters is the content of the blog. It's great
if you can tweak down to the pixel level, which I couldn't resist doing on
dispatchesfromblogistan.com, but in the end, it's the updated information
that keeps people coming back.
  
inkwell.vue.286 : Suzanne Stefanac, "Dispatches from Blogistan"
permalink #75 of 105: Gail Williams (gail) Thu 7 Dec 06 11:00
    

One very cool thing about starting a blog on the main Wordpress site is that
you can register a domain through them now, have it on the blog there, and
also know that if you choose to move later you can take your content and go
to any site that will host your domain.  And even change to other blogging
software at that time, they say.  Here's the specs:

http://wordpress.com/blog/2006/10/24/domain-mapping-registration/

I just had a look at Vox.  Very nice integration with Flickr... that's the
first thing I've seen elsewhere that I wanted in WordPress for my
infrequent posts.
  

More...



Members: Enter the conference to participate

Subscribe to an RSS 2.0 feed of new responses in this topic RSS feed of new responses

 
   Join Us
 
Home | Learn About | Conferences | Member Pages | Mail | Store | Services & Help | Password | Join Us

Twitter G+ Facebook