Blogs are a San Francisco phenomenon. It’s early enough that we’re able to have true pioneers with us today. Mena Trott of Moveable Type/Six Apart, Jason Shellen of Google/Blogger, David Sifty of Technorati, and Rebecca Blood, author and blogger.
Mena: In 2001, Six Apart began as a hobby. Mena and her husband Ben both had experience with CMS. It was techie, not something for easy set-up. Their new server based product will be easier to use is coming out in July. Typepad will have photo albums and other nifty features. Mena’s blog was for personal expression in a boring work environment. Now their target is to get everybody blogging. Languages, tools, mo-blogging.
Jason: Blogger started in 1999 among techies. It caught on because it was push-button publishing. Some folks in the audience didn’t know what “blog” meant, so Rebecca told them and Jason is now demoing the simplified Blogger interface.
Blogger is good at letting people write and post. They’re working with things like camera phones. Jason took this shot right before the session:
Blogging is becoming mainsteam. During the invasion of Iraq, a blogger
A blog is personal space where you can express your views. (It could be a group blog.)
At Google, they use BIG (Blogger in Google):
Blogs are more like conversations.
David Audience poll: 2/3 in the audience have a weblog. Half a dozen don’t have a clue. David likes blogging because it allows people to communicate an easy way to do it. Some are kittyblogs. But what turns David on is that lots of people are writing what they care about, and if you want to find out about these things, you can do it. (Mena and Jason are both blogging away even though they’re sitting on the panel in the front of the room.) Technorati has some great features; click Cosmos to see links from other sites.
Rebecca shows a variety of blogs. Some are mediating enemies, such as dialognow.com which hosts conversations between Indians and Pakistani. Or sluggerotoole.com which discusses Irish confrontation.
Too insular? Clay Shirky says there’s an A-list that dominates the blogversation. (It’s a power law distribution.) Rebecca says there’s more to it: some unknowns have risen to the top.
Publicity? Mena suggests that you write as if subscribers were paying a price.
Background: There are 450,000 blogs, 250,000 of them in English.
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