Posts about web2005

My co-conspirator responds

Bertrand Pecquerie of the World Editors Forum, went after citizens’ media, Dan Gillmor, and me at I responded here. Now Dan responds to the second of two attacks on us citizens at CBSNews:

In both cases, representatives of the traditional Fourth Estate are doubting the usefulness of the Fifth Estate of bloggers and others who don’t fit into the neat boundaries of the professional class of journalists. In both cases, they raise interesting questions that devolve into straw-men attacks.

Bertrand’s equation … — more blogging=less democracy — is laughably spurious. I mean, the old East Germany had 99.999 percent turnout and not an ounce of officially permitted independent thinking: Now there was a democracy, right?

Professional journalism does not gain credibility by casting stones at the bottom-up media, which definitely can use some improvement as it veers into journalism but is not trying — at least not in my view of things — to replace the traditional media.

Pecquerie suggests that citizen media is just another bubble. By what standard?

I’d say that the bubble here is mass media. It was a long-lasting, super-duper, bubblegum bubble, but it’s deflating now.

Next: A Pulitzer-prize-winning blog?

The Pulitzer committee finally will allow online submissions in breaking news and breaking-news photography; in other categories, online has be go hand-in-hand with print. It’s a wimpy step but at least it’s a step. And I wonder whether the Times-Picayune’s blogs could win the Pulitzer. Rex Hammock and I said they should.

Protecting a dead medium

The Times has a good summary of the Stupid Sony Rootkit Scandal and how bloggers brought them down. I watched this from afar because I haven’t bought a CD in more than a year. CD? What’s a CD? They’re working so hard to protect a dead medium. It’s as if they posted a militia around a graveyard.

Recovery 2.0: We meet

About 45 good people came to our Recovery 2.0 meeting in San Francisco, called there by nothing more than a few blog posts and a desire to find ways to improve the internet’s response to the next disaster. I didn’t know what, if anything, we could accomplish in an hour and a half. At best, I hoped for a simple list of simple starting points and that’s what we got:

* We need a place online to gather and share information, needs, and solutions. That could be the Recovery2.0rg wiki — and the recovery2 tag.

* We need to work on standards and APIs for the tools and data bases people create to help in disasters. The peoplefinder standard is already underway and some of the folks from Yahoo at the meeting — who had experience on the ground in Houston and also at the Red Cross network operations center — are working on improvements. At a minimum, we need to do a better job harnessing the internet to help people find each other.

* We need to meet face-to-face with government, NGOs, and business to offer help and coordinate. There is a meeting in Washington on Oct. 17 about just that. Folks from this meeting will be there. Details on the wiki.

The meeting began with introductions, during which I stood there in awe of the internet and its ability to bring together such a group. Brian Oberkirch, who’d just started a weblog business, fled his home in Slidell and, sitting in Dallas, was desperate for news so he started his blog to bring the news to him and his community. He wanted us to make sure we don’t think this disaster is over as we try to prepare for the next one. One man started one of the first missing boards and when he was overloaded and Yahoo contacted him to serve it. The Yahoo people were there and so were people from Google. One man works in the Bay Area — which he called God’s theme park for natural disasters — to prepare for rescuing special-needs people in a disaster. Others came from charities that help in disasters. I finally got to meet Evelyn Rodriguez, the marketing blogger who happened to survive the tsunami and shared her experience so compellingly on her blog. I was glad that former FCC Chairman Michael Powell came (and, no, I didn’t make Howard Stern jokes, to answer the question some of you already asked) and talked about lessons learned reestablishing communications after 9/11. Scott Anderson, a Tribune Company online exec and blogger, said he wants to make sure that media companies are prepared as well (and learn from the amazing experiences of, WWL, and WDSU in New Orleans); he plans to get this added to the Online News Association’s agenda and I’ll join in there. And on and on.

Then we spent some time listing key needs and characteristics of recovery 2.0: how we need to be even more concerned about preparedness than recovery; how systems need to be open; how we need to find ways to connect to the unconnected (e.g., the Skype virtual phone room idea); how it needs to connect with authorities; other characteristics: searchable, fluid, matchable, swarmable, transparent, trustworthy, discoverable, accountable, tested… and more. We ended up with many words describing what it needs to be.

But, of course, there is no “it.” There is no one system or authority or organization. This is the distributed internet, where people’s best efforts will pop up everywhere. The real goal is, as I described here, to get us to communicate and swarm better around needs, around the best replies, and around making the best better.

Thanks again to John Battelle and company for providing the space at Web 2.0. And thanks to Greg Burton for creating and managing the wiki and to Ross Mayfield for contributing it. And thanks to everyone who came — passing up the siren calls of Web 2.0 cocktail parties — and who blogged about it.

Web 2.0: Google Reader

Jason Shellen of Blogger/Google announces something new at Web 2.0: Google Reader, a fast way to get through items you’re interested in. He says it is an attempt to answer the questions: How do I find the good blogs (blog search is the start of an answer) and how do I keep up with them? The reader lets you browse items easily with a smooth scroll and preview on one screen; it lets you subscribe to feeds and tag them; it includes support for multimedia; you can share via mail or blog; you can import and export subscriptions.

: UPDATE: An important critic likes it.