What Do Boulder Media Women Know About Tech? Plenty

(UPDATE 3/2/2006: This awrticle was originally written and posted on 2/23/2006. A couple of days after that, my blogging software mysteriously ate most of this posting. It took a little wrangling, but I was finally able to get this posting restored from backup. Here is the complete version, once again.)

Last night I attended the monthly potluck dinner of one of my favorite local networking groups: Boulder Media Women (BMW). Many thanks to our gracious hostess, Julene Bair.

These dinners are always followed by a group discussion when we take turns introducing ourselves, mentioning what kinds of media things we’re up to, and to ask questions or request/offer assistance. This time, we did something a little different. Each of us also volunteered our favorite gadget or web site. (This was Catherine Dold’s idea, although she couldn’t attend last night.)

I was probably one of the geekiest women at the meeting, and I was pleased to learn a lot! So, as I promised the attendees, here’s a roundup of all those geeky tidbits we shared…

Continue reading

Blog Bubble Bursting? Get a Grip

“The blogosphere is falling! The blogosphere is falling!” Well, so says Daniel Gross in Slate’s “Twilight of the Blogs” – the latest in a flurry of mainstream media articles about how the business potential of weblogs is allegedly imploding.

Actually, the above was a paraphrase. Here’s what Gross actually said:

“As a cultural phenomenon, blogs are in their gangly adolescence. Every day, thousands of people around the world launch their blogs on LiveJournal or the Iranian equivalent. But as businesses, blogs may have peaked. There are troubling signs – akin to the 1999 warnings about the Internet bubble – that suggest blogs have just hit their top.”

This is only true if one considers the primary – and sole – business potential of blogs hinged on direct monetization strategies such as ads, subscriptions, and sponsorships. OK, I’d expect such a shortsighted view from someone who works within the mainstream media structure, which derives its revenue mainly from ads.

But here’s the bigger picture of blogs and business value…

(Read the full article at The Right Conversation…)

Full-Text Feeds: A Choice, Not a Requirement

Today, uber-blogger Robert Scoble once again is flailing bloggers (or any online publisher) who chooses not to publish the full text of their postings via feed. See: “Blog Herald doesn’t understand why full-text feeds work

Personally, I don’t offer full-text feeds for any of my blogs. I’ve considered this choice carefully, and I believe for my purposes (and my audiences) it’s probably the right decision at this time.

Here’s how I explained to Scoble my reasons for not offering full-text feeds…

Continue reading

Citizen Journalism as Horseless Carriage?

Where is citizen journalism going, and where might it take us? Probably somewhere we can’t even imagine yet.

It occurs to me that what we call “citizen journalism” today might be the earliest stages of a new kind of news media – something which might evolve its own purposes, style, techniques, audiences, and ethics. As it evolves, it might look less and less like traditional “journalism.”

That’s fine…

(Read the full post at I, Reporter…)

Good Site Stats: When Is a Blogger Like a Bat?

For nearly two months I’ve been flying blind, at least in terms of this weblog. Without boring you with the details, I used to have a great site statistics package to track traffic to Contentious. That package was Urchin, which has become the infinitely elusive Google Analytics. (No one seems to be getting new invitations to that service, and existing invitations don’t appear to be transferable. I’m starting to wonder whether it’s really available at all.)

My new host, Westhost, is fine, but its site stat packages are unbearably lame. I experimented with the free demo of OpenTracker, and the free service StatCounter – both of which helped somewhat, but not nearly enough.

Last night, my husband the ubergeek installed the free, open-source stat package AWstats. Ah, sweet success…. Once again I have the rich data I need.

Here are the “batty” reasons why I prefer AWstats to StatCounter and OpenTracker…

Continue reading

Feeds Are About Privacy, Not Just Technology

Today I just found out (via The Green Skeptic) that The Nature Conservancy is now offering a podcast: Nature Stories Podcast. I’m quite interested in the environment, so I clicked right over to add that show’s feed to my feed reader. (What’s a feed? And a podcast?)

I looked for a feed link on that page, but found none. However, there is a link that says “Subscribe to podcast.” I clicked on that and got taken to a form where they expected me to provide my name, e-mail, street address, etc. just to sign up for their podcast!

It seems to me that whoever put this site together doesn’t understand that feeds ARE a type of permission contact. But it’s a type of contact that offers the subscriber maximum control and privacy.

If you want to build a relationship with people, it’s important to respect their communication and contact preferences…

Continue reading

Cory Doctorow on Traditional Publishing vs. Conversational Media

This morning at Boing Boing (perhaps the most popular blog on the net), Cory Doctorow published a brilliant essay on the backward mindset of traditional book publishers – which also succinctly expressed the core value of conversational media.

SEE: Why Publishing Should Send Fruit-Baskets to Google

It’s a thoughtful analysis of the Google Book Search service and the boneheaded way that traditional publishers have been fighting it. Cory’s right: Instead of “letting slip their dogs of law” to nip incessantly at Google’s heels in the hope of securing a slice of Book Search ad revenue, book publishers should embrace the T-Bone steaks that Book Search could regularly toss them in the form of increased sales and expanded markets.

Further down in this essay, Cory explores one of the underlying reasons traditional book publishing is in trouble: the ascent of conversational media. That is, the human mind is more attuned – and attracted – to conversation or interaction than monologues. Reading a book (even a novel that includes lots of action and dialogue) is fundamentally a passive experience. It can’t compete well with more engaging media.

As the core audience of print books ages and generations weaned on conversational media come to the economic forefront, and as the tools of conversational media get better and easier, traditional book publishers may well find themselves sinking fast. As they slip beneath the quicksand, I bet they’ll regret how they’ve behaved toward Google Book Search – and how drastically they misjudged their shifting audiences…

(Read the rest of this article at The Right Conversation…)

What\’s in a Name? (Or a Nmae?)

Ego surfing: Every net user does it, either occasionally or obsessively. For me, it’s a routine daily task that I handle automatically through a collection of search feeds (that’s an OPML file) which clue me in to new online postings or conversations where my name or my projects have popped up.

My ego-surfing search feeds recently delivered a couple of gems which display some intriguing intricacies of name-based ego surfing…

Continue reading