281: Internet Issues & Future Initiatives
March 31, 2003
"18. To solve
an interesting problem, start by finding a problem that is interesting to you."
Raymond, Eric. The Cathedral and the Bazaar.
I like storytelling. I especially love to hear people’s stories of their lives. I’m an avid listener of This American Life on National Public Radio, attendee of book readings and am currently taking a Folklore class in the Oral Narrative.
I’ve also worked in the IT industry for over ten years and have had a computer connected to the Internet as an integral part of my job.
Knowing this, it is surprising to me that I hadn’t come across blogs sooner than January of this year.
And in finding out what a blog is, I can say definitively that blogs are addictive. Once you read the first (shall we say gateway) blog, it leads you down the referential path of searching for more and better blogs.
This fascination has led me to explore the facets of blogging including: the nature of community; interactivity; microcontent as a form of communication; the need for faster information; social capital gained via reference and association; profitablity; and elements of personal exposure, anonymity and voyeurism.
Tapscott, Don. Growing Up Digital: the rise of the net generation. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998.
There's a whole generation
entering their 20's who never knew life before cable, nor schools without computers.
It is natural for them to adapt to technology quicker and to develop uses that
were never thought of in their invention. Tapscott proposes that this generation
will watch less television, preferring the content control and manipulation
of video games and the internet to 'push' only technologies.
The Webopedia lists blog as:
(n.) Short for Web log, a blog is a Web page that serves as a publicly-accessible personal journal for an individual. Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality of the author.
Generally, but not always, the postings
Most blogs are online daily accounts of one person's activities and thoughts. However, as blogs have grown in popularity, many themes have been created.
Rodzvilla, John. We've Got Blog: how weblogs are changing our culture. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing, 2002.
Introduction by Rebecca
Blood, this is a collection of excerpts from 'A-List' blog entries all about
The term weblog was first coined by Jorn Barger, creator of Robot Wisdom, in December 1997 as a name for a list of links compiled on one site. In December of 1999, according to Jesse James Garrett, editor of Infosift, 23 blogs had been created as of the beginning of 1999. More and more blogs appeared and soon their was a weblog community, all reading eachother's blogs. Bloggers began to list links to blogs of their friends and ones that they read. This became the blogroll.
In July 1999, the first free blog building application was launched by Pitas.com. In August 1999, Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan, of Pyra, launched Blogger.com, their free homegrown online journal application. Other applications followed. By 2000, there were thousands of weblogs and today, there are millions.
In February 2003, Google bought Blogger, giving blogs a market force credibility.
For more detailed information on the history of blogs, please refer to:
a history and perspective
Blogging 101: An introduction to reading and writing a weblog, by Anton Zuiker, UNC JOMC Masters Student
Gladwell, Malcolm. The Tipping Point: how little things can make a big difference. Boston: Little Brown, 2000.
A book that presents a new
way of understanding why change so often happens as quickly and as unexpectedly
as it does. The Tipping Point suggests that ideas and behavior and messages
and products sometimes behave just like outbreaks of infectious disease.
Locke, Christopher; Levine, Rick; Searls, Doc; Weinberger, David. The Cluetrain Manifesto: the end of business as usual. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing, 2000.
The internet (and blogs) allows us to have people to people communication as opposed to marketing slogans and spinned commentary.
Manifesto began as a web site in 1999 when the authors posted 95 theses
that pronounced what they felt was the new reality of the networked marketplace.
The entire text of Cluetrain
is available free online.
One of the key aspects of blogs are their referentiality. Through blogrolls (lists of links on one side of a blog), bloggers are able to highlight the blogs they read, like and want to refer. This is where the 'crack' aspect gets out of hand. In finding a blog representing an opinion or idea that you're drawn to, it is easy to look at their list of links, which brings up further blogrolls. I think the crack reference is probably making more sense now.
There are several sites that have set up blog ranking indices. The three most popular are listed below:
Top 100: Ranked list of most linked-to blogs
Daypop: A current events search engine that crawls the web to display the latest information relevant to your searches
Blogdex: Created by MIT Media Labs, it spiders out and creates ranked lists of most popular blog links
There are bloggers who have gained social capital through the popularity of their blogs. Some have created applications, such as Blogger, become known due to their authority in a certain topic or written books. In no way is the list below, nor any of these lists of links, comprehensive. They are merely names that I ran across repeatedly, or found salient to our discussion.
Bausch: OnFocus.com - the blog by the Co-creator of Blogger
Matt Haughey: List of blogs and sites created by the founder of MetaFilter
Meg Hourihan: Co-founder of Pyra, the parent company of Blogger
Lawrence Lee: Tomalak's Realm - daily links to strategic web design news
InstaPundit: Glenn Reynolds is a law professor at the University of Tennessee
Glenn Reynolds: A blog for MSNBC on technology, culture, politics and the law
Doc Searls: Co-writer of the Cluetrain Manifesto
Evan Williams: Co-founder of Blogger
Dave Winer: Scripting News - one of the earliest weblogs
Lewis, Michael. Next: the future just happened. New York: Norton, 2001.
Lewis examines social phenomena
that the Internet has contributed to, such as the redistribution of prestige
and authority and the increased need for knowledge exchange.
Due to the millions of blogs available, there are blogs which have become aggregators of other blogs or methods of filtering all that is available.
Bausch, Paul; Haughey, Matthew; Hourihan, Meg. We Blog: publishing online with weblogs. Indianapolis: Wiley, 2002
Bausch is the co-creator of Blogger.
- Matthew Haughey started the community weblog MetaFilter.com.
- Meg Hourihan is the cofounder of Pyra.
This book is a history and
practical guide to blogging. The conversation that the book begins is continued
There has been a lot of media coverage on the use of blogs in covering the war with Iraq. Chris Albritton from Back-to-Iraq was able to raise approximately $11,000 to travel to Turkey to cover the battle.