Posts from May 26, 2005

Defame this

Defame this

: Oriana Fallaci has been charged in Italy with defaming islam and ordered to stand trial (though she lives in the U.S. and says she won’t go to Italy for this farce, this attack on freedom of speech and thought).

A judge has ordered best-selling writer and journalist Oriana Fallaci to stand trial in her native Italy on charges she defamed Islam in a recent book.

The decision angered Italy’s justice minister but delighted Muslim activists, who accused Fallaci of inciting religious hatred in her 2004 work “La Forza della Ragione” (The Force of Reason)….

In “La Forza della Ragione,” Fallaci wrote that terrorists had killed 6,000 people over the past 20 years in the name of the Koran and said the Islamic faith “sows hatred in the place of love and slavery in the place of freedom.”

State prosecutors originally dismissed accusations of defamation from an Italian Muslim organization, and said Fallaci should not stand trial because she was merely exercising her right to freedom of speech.

But a preliminary judge in the northern Italian city of Bergamo, Armando Grasso, rejected the prosecutors advice at a hearing on Tuesday and said Fallaci should be indicted.

Grasso’s ruling homed in on 18 sentences in the book, saying some of Fallaci’s words were “without doubt offensive to Islam and to those who practice that religious faith.”

Is there an Italian law against defaming America?

Another damned conference

Another damned conference

: I might have had conference envy with all the power gathered at the D confab but after reading this numbingly repetitive blather from panels about media and blogs, I’m glad I missed it. What these big guys need is an unconference where, as Dave Winer says, there is no panel, everyone is the panel, and the smart people in the room get to speak and not just listen.

: LATER: Bob Cox is properly pissed at Ana Marie Cox for biting the hand that fed her fame with blanket snarking at bloggers, of which she was one — the most notorious one, in fact.

How many is many?

How many is many?

: Carl Bialik, the Wall Street Journal’s number’s guy, attacks the question of how many blogs there are. As Rex says, the bottom line is pretty much “a lot.”

The estimates of the number of blogs worldwide ranges from 10 to 60 million. But the definition of blog varies, as well it should, since blogging tools are merely publishing tools and can be used to say and do most anything. The percentage of active blogs varies, as well it should, since some people have no lives and post all the time (and it’s really hard to post when you do get a life, by the way) and others use it to update when updates are warranted and others try it out and move on. The estimates of the audience vary, as well they should, because there is no way to accurately count that today.

Bialik leaves out one important factor that must not be ignored: RSS. My Sitemeter stats say I had 340k pageviews in March but my server stats said I had 996k and the difference is mostly RSS (and things such as the page views I generate when I publish posts). But, of course, RSS is complicated because just because a feed is downloaded doesn’t mean it’s read (and what does it mean to read a feed vs. reading a post?).

If all this is only about bragging rights, it doesn’t matter. Brag away. Debate at will. Who cares? The power of blogs is not about the total or the biggest (that so old-media-think, so mass) but instead about the rising volume of individual conversations.

BUT… if this is about advertising, then we do need to establish real numbers:

: We need to count those blogs who want to be counted — those who say they are publishing.

: We need to put cookies up to get unique user counts and behavior (frequency) and demographics.

: We need to find the means, technical and definitional, to count RSS (probably at the post level).

: We need to measure the unique value of citizens’ media, finding measures of influence and conversation-starting and such. (See the discussion Ross Mayfield and I had with others over, in Ross’ words, the need to move past measuring impressions to measuring the impressed.) This is the unique value of citizens media — it’s about relationships, conversations, influence, not just about the coincidence of a word on a page (see: Google).

: We need to create the means to aggregate, share, and analyze this data so ad hoc networks of blogs can be found.

: We need an open-source ad call (I’ll keep beating this drum) so that advertisers can serve and analyze ads on those networks.

: And then, so we can brag in Ad Age and get Carl Bialik to poke at the bragging, we will want to have some sense of the ad revenue and audience volume to this subset of blogs: namely, those that have a reason to be counted.



: The Washington Post — appearing to rally ’round its corporate cousin, Newsweek — plays up a story today about allegations of “Koran abuse” (what an amazing piece of newspeak that is) at Guantanamo. As near as I can tell, there’s nothing new in this: the prisoner allegations have been around for sometime; this is a repetition of them through more documents. This will yield another round of political, media, ideological, and ethnic nya-nyas on both sides. Meanwhile, I wonder, is anybody in Iraq preparing a report on beheading abuse and Muslim-Muslim murder, otherwise known as “human abuse?”