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by Jay Fienberg

PlaNetwork conference, blogs and online communities, part 1

posted: Jun 6, 2003 3:19:50 PM

Blogging the plaNetwork conference in San Francisco.

I found a power outlet! Actually, I ran into Marc Canter, and I am sitting behind him and using his power strip. He is doing a demo of his WebOutliner which I can see over his shoulder: very cool!

Marc introduced me to David Sifry and I talked with him about Technorati, which is very cool. We talked about blogs excreting meta data, and why that was such a good thing! I also met Jason Shellen from Blogger.

I am sitting next to Mikel Maron, creator of the Geo Blog.

Mena Trott, of MoveableType, just started talking. MT started in 2001, basically as a hobby tool. After it launched, more and more people wanted to use MT but more and more beginning bloggers were wanting to use it. Mentions TypePad.

She created her blog because she needed a creative outlet. People started reading her. She made friends. All as a result of putting things online

Talking about making blogging easier and more usable. Moblogging, multi language support. These are the kinds of things that will really get blogging noticed.

TypePad is going to be the power of MT, but hosted and something that one can startup in five minutes. (TypePad is supposed to launch in July.)

The presenters just realized that some folks here don't know what blogs are. Rebecca Blood just got up and is giving a good simple explanation of what a blog is. She is showing Jason Shellen's blog as an example.

Mark Graham(?) is talking now about blogs in the history of email to websites to blogs. Blogs are more like talking: one person talking to other people. Push button publishing. (Mark actually started the presentation off, mentioning that John Dvorak said blogs were the next big thing, or something like that.)

Jason is talking now about when Blogger started. Web designers, even with tools and skills, took to the idea of an online tool like Blogger to do push-button publishing. He is going to do a demo of posting to his blog. Using the low-fi blogger interface (works on Mac, hi-fi one works on PC).

Blogger is good at allowing people to write posts. Showing camera phone post he made a few minutes ago. Working on publishing from different devices. They are focusing on getting more posts and make blogging much easier.

Blogging could be said to have started in 1994. Tools making it easier came around in 1999. Things are getting easier.

Talking about Iraqi bloggers during war. Wished they could have given him a camera phone.

Blog is a personal space where you can express your views. Talking about blogs at Google as a way of getting Googlers to understand blogs. Blogs for sales teams and business, useful too.

David just got up and asked how many people have blogs. About 2/3 of the room. About 10 people have never heard of blogs before this.

David is excited about blogging because it allows people to communicate with each other over the web, really easily. People have things to say, and with blogs, you can get up there and publish. A lot of people are out there writing things about causes they believe in.

He is talking about his older brother who wrote a book about the Iraq War. He created a blog, The Iraq War Reader. His brother is not a technical person, but he publishes every day, and media and others have picked up on it.

Now David is talking about subscriptions to blogs (RSS feeds). Showing his own blog now, Sifry's Alerts. Telling a story about needing to find a good doctor in San Francisco. Instead of sending out email or calling friends, he decided to post something to his blog and people came a gave him suggestions.

Mentioning Howard Dean's weblog. Wouldn't surprise him if all major candidates have blogs sooner than later. People are using blogs to talk about their kittens, and they are using it for political action: it is up to you how you use it.

Technorati came about as a tool to find out when someone is linking to you. Civility of discourse, maybe not always, were people concentrate on the principles and not on the personalities. Individual voices are being heard. So, who is talking about "me"?

Using Technorati, you can find out context about what other people are saying. Talking about the Technorati link cosmos, which you can use for any URL on the web.

Bunch of people in the room blogging. Rebecca is up speaking now. Does anyone remember: is Rebecca one of the people interviewed in "Design for Community"? She wrote a book on web logs.

Early blogs were link sites: links to interesting things with commentary. In 1999, with tools, blog style blogs happened: diary style. Also, notebook style have longer pieces. Miniature op ed columns another genre.

Blogs are lots of kinds of sites, but have similar format with latest posts on top. Talking about a blog she kept for a company on the Intranet.

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