Here's the test of this one. Hope I remember how to find the actual blog.
I suppose that technically, anything that follows the format displayed here is a blog. But when you think about what a blog is supposed to be -- the voice of the people, a way of being published for people who have no other means -- then the definition gets pretty muddy.
In the technology world, for example, every major publication (and a lot of the minor ones) have "bloggers." The bloggers, though, are their regular writers who have been given even more to do. Their posts, for the most part, are not substantially different from their regular articles. The only difference is they're shorter.
To truly be bloggers, I'd say #1 they'd need to put more of their own thoughts and personality into them. #2 they probably shouldn't be on the publications' main site, which would allow them more freedom. If they are, the media giants will have to live with the fact that they may not always like what's posted there. Including certain words beginning with the letters S and F. And #3, most posts don't seem to be written to engage in dialog, but rather to disseminate information -- the old model.
So yes, they have the form factor of a blog, but in truth they're not. Likely those publication blogs will be popular only until the "next big thing" comes along and they jump on it to try and remain relevant.
On the other hand, with the way print publications are going these days, a blog may be all that's left to some of them.
An article in Computerworld today showed that while politicians are attempting to get hip by embracing Web 2.0, they may find blogging is a little too rich for their blood.
The basic storyline of the article is that a blogger resigned from the John Edwards campaign after her comments about the Catholic Church became a point of issue for Kerry. Bill Donohue, the President of the Catholic League, created a lot of problems to the point where the blogger, Amanda Marcotte, was viewed as a liability. Incidentally, the posts were not on behalf of the Edwards campaign but on her personal blog.
That is one of the big risks with blogging. It is considered the Wild West of "journalism." Anyone with a PC and an Internet connection can post their deepest, darkest thoughts with no filter. Books such as Naked Conversations talk about how that's a good thing for business, how it gives outsiders a view of the inside, and how it has helped humanize companies like Microsoft by showing dissent within the ranks. Web 2.0 is supposed to pull away the veil and show things how they really are, giving every citizen a voice and creating a deeper, more meaninful conversation.
In our social computing meeting today I used a term that I think accurately describes blogging in some sense -- fast food journalism. It's all part of the same culture that wants things quickly, and is willing to sacrifice quality for quickness.
Journalism used to be about accuracy and fact checking, back in the day. Now anyone can post anything they feel like, whether it's accurate or not. There are still libel laws and such, but the average blogger is probably not worth suing. More to the point, you have to find them first in order to sue them.
So what we have are a lot of instant experts. A recent example comes from a trade show, where certain bloggers went to the booth, tried the products, and blogged their reviews that day. Not exactly the sort of in-depth testing we've come to expect from organizations such as CRN or Network Computing. What's fascinating about it is nobody seems to mind.
Perhaps as a society we've gotten used to substituting convenience for quality. But if you've ever eaten a real hamburger at a real restaurant you know there's a huge difference between what you get there and what you get a McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's. Or even Fuddruckers (sorry Dan).
It's a shame, but when it comes to news and information, it seems like these days we prefer it come in a paper wrapper.
One of the more interesting phenomena of late has been the increase in calls Tech Image is getting for help with content. Not just for byline articles or other media-related documents, but for case studies, white papers, and other marketing material.
It's certainly a service we're happy to offer. I personally enjoy the challenge of learning new things and putting an organization's thoughts on paper. But much of this is the sort of thing a company's internal subject matter experts used to do.
Most of the calls lately seem to come from organizations that have tried it internally and been dissatisfied with the quality of what they're getting, or have tried getting the content from their regular ad or PR agency and have been similarly disappointed. It's definitely nice to have a speciality that is in high demand.
Still, I can't help but wonder if e-mail, IM, and now even blogs is hurting our ability to write intelligently. Certainly there are bloggers out there who do a great job -- they are lively, interesting, and clever. But there are a whole lot of others, especially in the younger generation, who don't seem to be able to form random thoughts into a cohesive message.
Ah well, that's good news for me, and for Tech Image. Keep 'em coming!
It has now been a couple of months since I started this blog and I have learned a lot in that time. One of the big things I have learned is that the best and most popular blogs are the ones where the blogger is mean or sarcastic...or both. Two good examples are Gofugyourself, which dishes out the dirt on celebrity fashion disasters, and the Critical Sports Blog, which offers up a big dose of reality on the world of sports.
At least this is what I've found in terms of popular general blogs. I'm sure there are plenty of serious blogs written by serious people on serious topics. After all, there are 100 million of them out there. But if you look where people tend to gravitate, it's to the funny ones.
Well, well, well. The power of shouting into the wind, I guess. Last night I went back on to Technorati to try it again and lo and behold this time I was able to claim my other blog. Still no word from the technogeeks as to what the problem was, but what it might have been it changed. This time I got a completely different set of choices when I went on, which allowed me to post some HTML gobbledegook on the site, which Technorati was able to find with their spiders. So now I have staked my claim.
I feel like Admiral Byrd. (Yes, I know that was a completely worthless link but I couldn't help it.
One thing has become quite apparent about the world of blogging in the past few days. If you need help from the companies involved in the technology you are SOL. (If you don't know what SOL means you are way too young to be reading this.)
Tech support in the blogging world is nearly non-existent, at least in any practical sense. If you want help on TypePad, you can contact them via an online form. In a couple of days they will contact you with a list of things that might be the problem, all of which point back to something you did. I've put in two support requests with them, and both times by the time they got back to me I'd already solved the problem. And no, it wasn't on my end, because I'm not a blithering idiot who can barely turn on his computer.
But Technorati makes TypePad look like Nordstrom's by comparison. I was trying to claim a different blog I write call Life in the Fastpitch Lane on Technorati last weekend. I signed in, followed the standard steps for a Quick Claim, and it asked me to enter the username and password for that blog, which I did. It wouldn't take it. I thought maybe I did it wrong and tried it again. Still rejected.
I went to the login and entered the information there, just to make sure I had it right. Sure enough the admin page for the blog opened up. After four more attempts I gave up and decided to try to contact the help desk. After hunting around through the entire site for anything resembling a help function I found an online form. I filled it out in detail, explaining the problem, the steps I'd taken, and asking for suggestions.
As of five days later, nothing. Well, almost nothing. I did receive a noreply confirmation that they'd received my inquiry. But apparently it requires the wisdom of Solomon to solve because I haven't heard a single word from them yet. There's no phone number to call, no way to reach a live person. Basically, until they decide to open their e-mail I am screwed.
I can figure there are two reasons I have not heard back from Technorati's tech people yet. Either this is a nearly unsolvable problem, like trying to get Rex Grossman to quit chucking the ball blindly down the field for 50 yards anytime there's a hint of trouble. Or else Technorati is such a screwed up application that the amount of help inquiries is crushing them. I feel like Michael Keaton at the end of Beetlejuice. I have number 1,354,948 and they are on number 3.
Yesterday I had one of those rewarding experiences that make it all worthwhile. I was following up on a byline article I'd written on behalf of one of our clients for a trade publication. At first when I called the managing editor was a bit neutral, perhaps annoyed at yet another call from yet another PR person. But then he asked me what the headline or topic was, and when I told him he went from cool to gushing.
The guy could not stop saying nice things about the article, and even referred to it as "a real gumdrop." He was excited that not only was it on-target for the audience and on a different topic than the usual, but it was interesting as well. Every now and then he would lapse into his standard "it's tough to make it into the print magazine" rap, but then he'd remember the article (I guess) and talk about getting it in as soon as possible.
In this business you can take a lot of grief and have to overcome a lot of rejection. So it's nice when you get on the phone with an editor who actually likes and appreciates what you do.
Haven't posted here for a little while because I've been deep into the Tech Image SCS blog and another one we're working on. Basically, I have been trying to get caught up on the mechanics of setting them up and tweaking them.
What I have found is that there is usually a way to do what you want, if you're willing and able to spend some time poking around. I'll be revising the banner to this one soon to make it fit a little better, and adjusting some of the other features as well.
Truthfully, it's both easier and more difficult that it might seem. But once you get the hang of it, the next one is easier to grasp. I hope to become on expert sooner rather than later!