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Monday, February 27, 2006

Pourquois je ne serais jamais aussi cool que Loic

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Vice city

I'm slightly embarrased by it. My girlfriend doesn't like it. I hide it from my employer. I do it at the back of the bus, where people look at me funny. Some days I feel like I'm addicted to it. It gives me something to talk about with others that do it that I otherwise wouldn't have much in common with. It helps me meet people. It gives me pleasure. It gives me pleasure when I should be doing something else.

I just realised blogging is my only vice.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Man boobs

Watching Rocketboom's recent clip of Scoble and co-author Shel Israel stripping to the waist and giggling was a very uncomfortable experience.

Although Amanda Congdon, presenter of Rocketboom, tried to cover up her horror with her usual thinly-disguised annihilation via a Lillith Crane-esque dead-pan delivery and eyes that contain nothing but hate, she was uncomfortable too.

Sanctioned by big business, the geeks are in control through the power of The Blog. And, worryingly, they are throwing their own parties where people are buying them beer. The recent episode when Anina threw herself into a swimming pool should have been a loud enough warning that this was going to happen. Things have got out of hand.

Now I've been exposed to the Scobleizer's nippleizers, nothing will ever be the same.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Bloggy style

Yahoo's celeblogger Jeremy 'Jay-Z' Zawodny has only and gone and blown the bloody doors off the corporate blog bribery debate with this awesome rant on the lengths businesses might go to in influencing bloggers.

So far we've seen numerous attempts at hurling perks at unsuspecting but grateful non-journalist opinion leaders, including the Nokia N90 phone giveaway and Fon's less discrete wedges-of-cash giveaway.

J-Dub takes the whole mess one stage further in his finely executed execution of the clumsy 'blogger relations' tools many marketing tools (I mean that) are now attempting.

Hope he's not just miffed he missed out on a snazzy phone.

(Personal related note: As a journalist, I was offered the 'favours' he talks about - on numerous occasions. It's only a matter of time, Jeremy...)


Hacking through the undergrowth

The launch of blogs from Lemmy B and The Floodster mark important entries into the blogosphere (via Drew). But they also raise more issues than they answer.

For a start, why's it taken so long for them to get blogging? Lem and Gary were established tech journos when I entered the fray as a green hack who didn't know his ERP from his OLAP. And, eight years later, they've carried on hacking despite me leaving them for new frontiers. I now consider myself reasonably near the jokulhlaup of publishing technology - so why have their blogs turned up so late to the party?

And not just late, inappropriately dressed to boot. Lem's posts are long, detailed and barely accessible. His RSS clunks and stalls. Gary's blog was just a holding page, but was already being talked about and only started today. Not good, old friends. Not good at all.

In my experience, tech journalism was always crammed with writers begging their mean employers for better technology to help them do their jobs. Even Charles Arthur and his colleagues at The Guardian still have to put up with a 50mb mailbox limit, which is so ridiculous it brings me up in a rash. (It took me years to convince one publisher that an aged PC in the corner with dialup did not constitute a connected office.)

But it seems the social publishing revolution has gone and left the good journos behind. I now more regularly read the thoughts of a Microsoft marketing stooge and a kitesurfing salesman more than I read those of the ones who are trained to help me formulate my opinions.

And that scares me.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

We are all Loic's children

As long as leading lights in the blogging world continue to play down the importance of the journalism vs blogging debate, the continual selling out of public opinion to the highest bidder will carry on unabated.

Loic le Meur has positioned himself as a spokesperson that regularly and enjoyably preaches on the benefits of blogging, it's effect on communications and PR and the wider implications of socially-enabled software.

But his recent comment that he's "getting (really) bored about the debate" reveals a blinkered view.

I just learnt Loic's employer Six Apart has just won a significant new round of funding. He must be thrilled.

But I find Loic's enthusiasm for the technology all too often strays into the realm of irresponsibility. It begins to remind me of the kind of supressive marketing tactics the heads of fast food giants use to reel in the kids.

And I'm not lovin' it.


Monday, February 20, 2006

Guy kwacks

I'm a regular reader of Guy Kawasaki's blog. If you're a reader too, you'll know why. If you're not, give it a go. I'm often in awe of the density of ideas in his posts, and his easy and accessible manner. (I'm still working on "easy and accessible", but can still only manage "whiny" at best.)

But I'm concerned about this post, specifically point 4. An intelligent and knowledgable blogger, Guy goes and proves that he is, in the end, just a clogger at heart. He says:
In case you hadn't noticed, most bloggers don't make a lot of money from their blogging efforts. Thus, samples of your product, t-shirts, tickets to the Stanley Cup Finals, etc can go a long way. I'm not saying you can buy bloggers, but you can make them happy pretty easily. Dollar for dollar, schwag for bloggers is one of the best marketing investments.
I know this is a point I've laboured, but the fine line between impartial reporting and chequebook journalism is a fine one. Freebies - sorry, 'review units' and 'lunch briefings' - have always been a perk of being a journo (and one I'm still smarting from giving up).

For Guy to support the practice of buying favours from bloggers just underlines the vital part the 'traditional' media continues to play in protecting public opinion.

I don't blame him for making the point as, sadly, he's right. I just hope his readers exercise caution when trying bribery as a marketing tool.


Thursday, February 09, 2006


Funky Spanish wi-fi startup Fon has gone and stirred up the whole furore around lining bloggers' pockets for favours. (Spotted on Scobleizer).

This time, the company - with its wacky website, zany language and generally snazzy attitude - has hired a load of high-profile bloggers to sit on its groovy advisory board.

As the kooky start-up may or may not have planned, those bloggers have now raved about how kerrrazy Fon's service are! How totally funtastic!

Except some of them haven't disclosed they are being greased with Fon's dirty marketing cash.

Aw, man. How totally unhip.


Friday, February 03, 2006

Publishers: Spend more money on stuff

Guardian journalist and blogger Charles Arthur recently posted another tip for the legions of PR people desperate to get a message to him.

Don't send attachments, he says. I'll only delete them, and your message too, as I have such a teeny weeny email allowance.

Shame. The journalist vs PR power struggle isn't new - I've regularly been surrounded by journos giving PR people a hard time. But doesn't Charles' post expose his employer as having an IT policy straight out of the Dark Ages (or, at least, the late Nineties)?

50 megabytes? FIFTY?! My inbox would melt in three minutes. On a slow day.

How am I supposed to trust a major news outlet when it provides me with news about the world when I know it's internal policies are so off the mark?