Furl Tricks: Save Exactly and All of What You Want

(UPDATE, Apr. 20, 2005: Furl and Del.icio.us: Almost Perfect Together)

OK, here are a couple more quick tips for using Furl – one of my favorite new online tools for saving, sharing, and organizing Web pages that I need for various projects. (See my previous articles on Furl.)

Today’s Furl tips discuss:

  • How to make sure you save the complete version of an article.
  • How to make sure you’re saving only the weblog entry you want.
  • Check and edit the page title.

Read more…
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How to Think Like a Publisher, Part 1

(NOTE: This article is part 1 of a 4-part series. Parts 2, 3, and 4 are also online.)

The Web has been around for about a decade. Thoughout that history up to today, one of the most common problems online is bad content – poorly written and edited, not credible, inappropriate for the audience, etc.
I believe that faulty self-perception is the linchpin of this persistent plague. Here’s what needs to be understood:

Once you’ve created an online venue and posted content to it, you’re a publisher. Period. The only way you will succeed in this medium is if you learn to start thinking like a publisher.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a major multinational corporation, a small nonprofit organization, an academic institution, government agency, a club or association, or a private individual – you’re now a publisher, too. For vast numbers of people who don’t know you otherwise, that’s your first and foremost role.

Time to act accordingly. Here’s how…
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More Recommended Reading

Here’s this week’s list of items that have caught my attention, and why I recommend that you check them out.

At the top of this week’s list:

Corporate Blogging, by Fredrik Wackå , for the Danish publication Kommunikations Forum, July 5.

Need a good, basic article on corporate blogging to help persuade your boss that your company should try it? One that sounds positive but realistic, and that clearly acknowledges the pitfalls of company blogs? Something that’s practical, brief, and not too technical? This is the one. (Yes, it’s in English.)

Read the rest of this week’s list…
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Today’s News: We Need Guides, Not Gatekeepers

In journalism schools and newsrooms, reporters are routinely encouraged to demonstrate “balance” through the “he said, she said” approach to reporting – that is, simply allowing involved parties from all sides to present their view through quotes, without the journalist making any assessments or drawing conclusions. That approach works well enough for many stories – but not so well when the spin doctors are hard at work.

Recently in his Pressthink blog, NYU professor Jay Rosen pondered the main pitfall of “he said/she said” balance…
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Michael Allen Rails Against Boring E-Learning

In the July 2003 issue of Learning Circuits features a superb and lively interview with e-learning guru Michael Allen: Down with Boring E-Learning!

I’ve been a fan of Michael Allen’s practical, playful approach to e-learning ever since I became interested in this fast-growing field. This interview sums up many of the reasons I admire his work.

My favorite part of the Learning Circuits interview was when Ryann Ellis asked, “Why/how do you find most e-learning to be boring? What isn’t working? Pet Peeves?”

Here’s how Allen responded to that…
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Take the CONTENTIOUS Reader Survey!

CONTENTIOUS is forever evolving – as does its audience. Therefore, I like to periodically check in with my readers.

Who are you? Why are you here? Do you like what you find here? What else would you like? Got any suggestions, complaints, kudos, or questions?

I’ve made it easy for you to share this information with me. Please take the 2004 CONTENTIOUS reader survey now. It’s a fast (10-question) Web-based form. All questions are optional, and it’s completely anonymous (unless you choose to provide your name and contact info in question 9).

I will be reporting on the results as they accumulate, including excerpts from some comments submitted through the survey.

I deeply appreciate the interest and support of all CONTENTIOUS readers, longtime and newcomers alike. It’s a cliche, but indeed, you are what makes all this effort worthwhile. I want to make sure CONTENTIOUS continues to benefit you. I need to know what you want and like in order to keep delivering the kind of content you want.


– Amy Gahran

Custom Keyword Webfeed Tool: Blogdigger

In case you haven’t noticed, I try to stay abreast of new developments on a wide range of topics.

One of my favorite ways to accomplish that is custom keyword webfeeds. This means I conduct keyword searches of sites which aggregate massive numbers of webfeeds (RSS or Atom), and then use that search as the basis of a custom keyword feed, automatically generated by the search service. That feed will then alert me about each new occurrence of my target keyword that shows up in the feeds monitored by that site.

For a long time I had been generating these customer keyword search feeds through Feedster. And they worked well – for awhile. Unfortunately, like many hugely popular free Web-based services that are run by one or a few people, Feedster’s custom webfeeds have gotten quite flaky on me for awhile. They would break, or wouldn’t update appropriately. I still love Feedster and I still use it, but for custom webfeeds I need a more reliable solution.

I think I’ve found it: Check out Blogdigger
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News Scoops: Who’s on First? Who Cares?

I just read an excellent July 2 essay by NYU’s Jay Rosen: “In Our Business, Seconds Count,” Says Dan Rather. But is That Really So?

Here, Rosen chastises the news industry’s navel-gazing obsession with scooping the competition – being the first to break major news stories, even if that dubious honor is distinguished only by seconds.

“Scoops” are still a large matter of pride for many news organizations – even though this myopic rush has led to many high-profile embarrassments – most recently the New York Post’s erroneous fleeting headline KERRY PICKS GEPHARDT.

I’ve long thought the news industry needs a reality-check regarding time-based scoops. Today that particular benchmark has lost its meaning. When any news organization or independent journalist (or even a blogger) can issue some basic information about virtually any newsworthy occurrence anywhere, virtually instantaneously, the value of who makes the initial report decreases dramatically…
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New Academic Resource on Blogging

You know that blogging has arrived as a full-fledged player in the media landscape when scholars start writing ponderous, stilted papers about it.

Check out Into the Blogosphere. This online library of academic papers, offered by the Univeristy of Minnesota, describes itself as, “[A] collection [that] explores discursive, visual, social, and other communicative features of weblogs. Essays analyze and critique situated cases and examples drawn from weblogs and weblog communities. Such a project requires a multidisciplinary approach, and contributions represent perspectives from Rhetoric, Communication, Sociology, Cultural Studies, Linguistics, and Education, among others.”

…I’m warning you, that represents about the best of what you can expect from the prose contained therein. Still, if you can wade through the academese, there are some pretty interesting ideas and observations. Worth a browse.