Posts from November 2002

Revenge of the Blog conference:

Revenge of the Blog conference
: I’m getting links to my notes on the very good Revenge of the Blog conference at Yale. It’s all below. See the headings below: Cause for jealousyRebornGang reportingOverblog.

: I was going to list people who should have been at the conference: Nick Denton, Clay Shirky. But now I find that Shirkey gathered his own braintrust for a confab on social software; Steven Johnson was there.

: Speaking of Shirky, he — at long last — has a new piece up on his site. Bedtime reading for me. G’night.

Everything old is pitched again:

Everything old is pitched again
: Kurt Anderson’s Studio 360 is my favorite show on public radio (by which I don’t mean to damn it with faint praise; it really is a good show: provocative, intelligent, imaginative, connected, like its host).

Just sample this week’s commentary on the latest fad to eat TV (but I’ll remind you: all fads die when the fun runs out), the “reality” trend. And there’s more coming:

Sony television is developing Human Resources — in which unemployed schnooks, ordinary people without any special talents, compete to win an ordinary 9-to-5 job.

Then there’s The Will, a new reality series due to air on ABC starting sometime next year. In The Will, the friends and family members of a rich person will compete to inherit specific items from the rich person’s estate after he or she dies. And certain friends and relatives will get disowned, on television, by a vote of his or her fellow heirs.

I thought somebody dying would kill this trend. I think a “reality” show exploiting death may be the nail in the coffin.

: Just saw that Elizabeth Spiers also blogged this. She must be an Anderson fan, which beats being a Franzen fan.

Bad attitude: Richard Parsons, the

Bad attitude
: Richard Parsons, the current boss of AOL-Time-Warner, tells people who complain that they have lost a fortune on the company’s misguided merger and management: “Get over it.”

And we tell him: F U.

That kind of attitude will get you new opportunities to pursue, if you know what I mean.

I thought the era of CEO hubris — especially at companies whose stock and value are in the toilet — was over.

Hubris never dies at Time.

Cause for jealousy: A few

Cause for jealousy
: A few remaining notes from the Yale conference (below), which was a success. I’m not a fan of conferences in general; they’re often lazy blatherfests. But this was different. This was a room filled with born-smart people with proven talent who were all passionate about weblogs. Wish you were there.

: Last night’s dinner, courtesy of Yale, was also memorable. I was among the last to arrive and thus ended up at the side table with Mickey Kaus, Josh Marshall, Prof. Jack Balkin of Yale (who should have a weblog soon) and Glenn Reynolds with other guest appearances. Take what I said about the whole room above — regarding smarts, talent, and passion — and now distill it to a rich essence and you have the dinner conversation. Weblogs attract an amazing bunch of people.

: Josh Marshall covers some of the dinnertime discussion about blog triumphalism.

: Josh also spoke to our search for rules and standards and he summarized it all elegantly and eloquently: “The transcendent rule is fundamental honesty with your readers.”

Same with the new as with the old: Credibility is your only asset.

: In my panel, John Hiler gave a nice talk on how weblogs are addictive for webloggers and their readers and how we feed each others’ addictions: the ultimate feedback loop.

: Blogs bring speed — amazing speed — to media. David Gallagher told a hilarious anecdote about finding a story he was reporting for the NY Times blogged even before he wrote it (Glenn Reynolds and Dave Winer both told the world they’d been interviewed).

David also told about a story he wrote getting what he thought was a skewed headline at Slashdot and as soon as he finished speaking, someone in the audience had the Slashdotter who wrote that headline on IRC chat, ready to continue to debate with David.

Meanwhile, I was talking with Nick Denton on IM and told him that Glenn Reynolds had quoted him a few times and plugged Nick’s Gizmodo in his keynote. Nick said he knew; he’d already read it on some of the blogs reporting on the speech, live. He told me to tell Glenn that he’d sold $5841.11 worth of Amazon gadgets on Gizmodo already this month. I turn my laptop to Glenn and show it to him and then mention that in my talk. It gets blogged again. Speed. That is a key value blogs bring. Beware, though: speed means that there is less opportunity for consideration and craft and checking of facts (though as bloggers pointed out at the conference frequently, comments and email and other bloggers take care of corrections with equal speed). Blogs are small and cheap. They are built for speed.

: In an earlier panel, Denise Howell, an attorney, made fascinating points about law firms using blogs to establish their expertise; blogs can be a marketing tool. There’s potential there.

: Librarian Jenny Levine and I spent much time after the talks talking about how to bring blogs to local (which I believe is a killer ap for them: they will report the minutae that others cannot afford to report; this is what led to Glenn’s comment quoted somewhere else that your world will be covered by The Blogger Next Door). The problem is that libraries and newspapers and governments and companies don’t want to take on the liability of hosting all these blogs (insert libel seminar here). I suggested that Jenny get one town with a few bloggers and host a MeetUp confab and have them inspire and invite other bloggers and soon, we will see a story in Newsweek about the the town that becomes the Blog Capital of America. Who wants to start?

: Donna Wentworth of Corante and Harvard made good points about how blogs are fueled by authors’ desire to please others. Kaus confirmed this when he was asked why he cares about getting Drudge links and traffic (and thus dreads ever pissing him off); it’s all about being read, it’s about being popular. I said something similar in my talk (see the stuff about populism and pleasing the audience). There was a lot of that at this conference: themes that came up again and again, which just means that we, the community, are starting to figure out what the blog thing means, although we still protest that we haven’t.

: More coverage at the bottom of this page.

: At this conference or the last one, I may have just coined the term “nanomedia” as a description of this, our new medium. If I didn’t, someone else will claim credit quickly. That’s how blogs work.

At a long-ago lunch with John Hiler and Nick Denton, I also coined this “emerging media” but didn’t try to claim credit, since there are so many such claims in blogs. That, too, is how blogs work.

: Here are the photos. I’m the guy in the suit (this, Mr. Big media) and gray beard (thus, Mr. Old Media).

: Yale serves bottles of “Yale Water.” I’m hoping that drinking it makes you smarter.

: I attach my speaking notes at the “more” link below.


It’s beginning to look a

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
: In Norway, anyway.

: And in Antarctica, too.