How \”Bloggy\” Is Your Paper?

(UPDATE Apr. 22: The Monitor’s blogging chief Tom Regan explains why that news organization is proud of its “bloggiest” status. ALSO: I published a shorter version of this article on Poynter’s E-Media Tidbits blog.)

Today, one of my favorite bloggers, Ethan Zuckerman, explores an intriguing way to gauge the popularity and audience of online news venues: link per thousand circulation (LkpC). See: Is Christian Science Monitor the World’s Bloggiest Newspaper?

Here’s how you calculate this nifty metric, and what it might mean…

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Don\’t Dismiss Character Blogs

There’s been a bit of fuss in the blogosphere lately over the issue of character blogs: weblogs that are “written” by a fictional character. That is, the entries are presented from a rather allegorical perspective, as opposed to a realistic one.

Some very smart people (such as Steve Rubel) hate character blogs. Others like them, or at least aren’t inherently opposed to them. Personally, I think character blogs have their uses – depending on motives, goals, topics, and (most of all) audience…

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Shifting Tech Talk Toward the Feminine

(UPDATE Apr. 27: Well, no one was able to raise the question I posed in this article at the Dana Centre event. Oh well. However, the event was recorded. I’m trying to find out whether audio will be posted online or otherwise distributed.)

Oh, I wish I could be in London tomorrow! I just found out about an intriguing event happening Tuesday, Apr. 19 at the Dana Centre: a salon discussion called Venus Rising. This meshes serendipitously with my current exploration of problems and issues associated with the predominance of argument culture in many spheres of life and work, including technology.

Here’s an excerpt from the event’s promo:

“…To engage the general public in discussions with technologists, designers, artists and scientists in a debate about technology posing the question, can we shift the cultural image and language of technology towards the feminine?

“If we assume that women use technology differently from men, then it follows that their approach to design and innovation would differ as well. In a field dominated by males, are we properly recognising the contributions and perspectives from the female innovators?”

Are you attending this event? If so, I’d greatly appreciate it if you would ask this question for me, and tell me about the response/discussion…

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My NewsU Course has Launched!

My career involves many kinds of content work, including e-learning content development. I’m pleased to announce that an online course I’ve been working on for the last year, Covering Water Quality, is now available via the Poynter Institute’s News University.

Curious? Visit NewsU and sign up (it’s free). This is a completely self-paced online course, no instructor involvement, so you can work through the lessons comprising the course in your own preferred order and on your own schedule. There are lots of exercises and interactivity, too. The target audience is journalists from any beat who are interested in covering (or who find they must cover) drinking water quality issues…

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Smashing Heads Does Not Open Minds

I’ve been reading another book by the sociolinguist Deborah Tannen: The Argument Culture: Stopping America’s War of Words (1998). It’s making me think hard about how people interact online and elsewhere; what’s assumed to be “the norm” for interaction, and how different groups experience interaction differently.

(UPDATE APR. 18: A public discussion event in London on Tues. Apr. 19, Venus Rising, at the Dana Centre, broaches the closely related topic of women and technology.)

Later on I’ll be posting some articles exploring the implications of Tannen’s observations to the blogosphere, online discussion forums, and journalism. But for now, to set the context, here’s an excerpt from the first chapter which encapsulates the book’s premise…

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Where Do You Find Good Content?

This week I’m too swamped to focus on writing for CONTENTIOUS, so I thought I’d highlight an article I wrote last year:

Finding Content Pearls Within Your Organization.

It explains why creating online content for your organization needn’t be torture. If you approach this task with the right mindset, it can be more like harvesting pearls.

I’m drawing your attention to this piece because so many organizations are blogging these days – much more so than when I wrote that article last August. Judging by their content, a lot of these internal or contract bloggers are having trouble consistently finding “blogworthy” material. If that sounds like you (or your organization), I offer some specific advice in this piece.

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The Conclusion Illusion: Blogging as Exploration

On Dec. 1, 2004, The Kitchen: How to Cook a Weblog posted an intriguing open question: Why Do You Blog? (Note: That link is not functioning for me right now, but I’m posting it anyway in case it’s just a temporary glitch.)

Several bloggers have already answered that question. I promised myself I wouldn’t respond until I could think of something more meaningful than “Because I can’t shut up.” Well, here goes my attempt:

I blog to explore, and to enhance and share my explorations…

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