TAG: blogging

Why people don’t trust “bloggers”

Jeremiah Owyang claims that people don’t trust bloggers. To back up this claim, he cites three market research studies showing that when given a choice, people would choose to listen to their friends and family rather than “bloggers”. The three studies were done by respected marketing research companies: Forrester, Edelman, and Pollara. They all agree […]

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Why I’m excited about the Google Social Graph API

The Google Social Graph API is a new programming API that allows developers to expose social relationships embedded in web sites. What does this mean for regular folks like you and me? Read on.

Do you ever feel like your personal information is spread across the web in a whole bunch of separate places? An account here, a profile there? A friends list here and a friends list there? All your information, but in all different places all incomplete at the same time?

Google Social Graph API

The Social Graph API helps solve this “silos of information” problem by allowing people to write software that understands who your friends are. It does this by reading your web site or blog and making connections between the social profiles you have across the web.

For example, imagine you have a blog, which is your home on the web. You also have an Amazon profile, a Twitter profile, and a Facebook profile. So you have four profiles spread across the web, seemingly unconnected. Amazon has no idea who your friends on Facebook or Twitter are, and vice-versa, and this is a good thing from a privacy standpoint. These sites shouldn’t be able to find out everything about you with you giving them permission.

But what if you wanted these sites to know a bit about each other? What if you want to combine your Amazon book history with your friends lists at Facebook so that you can see what your friends are reading and let Amazon give you recommendations based on your similarity with them? Or, perhaps you just joined Twitter and want to know which of your Facebook friends are already there so you don’t have to go hunting for them? (see video) Here we see real-world examples of how cross-pollinating your personal information between these sites can not only be efficient, but desirable…

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Making private identity public

Chris Anderson, editor in chief at Wired, has published a list of 329 email addresses that have been used to send him PR SPAM in the last month. He says he’s fed up:

“I’ve had it. I get more than 300 emails a day and my problem isn’t spam, it’s PR people. Lazy flacks send press releases to the Editor in Chief of Wired because they can’t be bothered to find out who on my staff, if anyone, might actually be interested in what they’re pitching.”

Being someone who gets a small amount of PR SPAM (~10 a day), I certainly sympathize with Anderson’s move here. It’s tiresome to spend valuable time weeding through emails that at first seem addressed to you, until you realize they’re simply sent to a huge list of bloggers. They’re not personal messages. They’re generic. Some PR folks even lie and say “I’ve been reading your blog and I love everything you write, your child is beautiful, and may your family receive honor forever…etc…etc”. But after that it quickly becomes clear that they never refer to my blog specifically and they never tell me anything related to the topics I write about. It’s not informing. It’s insulting.

Here’s an example of one I got the other day. It’s not nearly as bad as some, but just as useless. It starts out…

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It’s Just People Talking

Was reading Kevin Marks’ thoughts on the Cult of the Amateur Pundit and found this gem from Hitchiker’s Guide author Douglas Adams in How to Stop Worrying and Love the Internet

“Because the Internet is so new we still don’t really understand what it is. We mistake it for a type of publishing or broadcasting, because that’s what we’re used to. So people complain that there’s a lot of rubbish online, or that it’s dominated by Americans, or that you can’t necessarily trust what you read on the web. Imagine trying to apply any of those criticisms to what you hear on the telephone. Of course you can’t ‘trust’ what people tell you on the web anymore than you can ‘trust’ what people tell you on megaphones, postcards or in restaurants. Working out the social politics of who you can trust and why is, quite literally, what a very large part of our brain has evolved to do. For some batty reason we turn off this natural scepticism when we see things in any medium which require a lot of work or resources to work in, or in which we can’t easily answer back – like newspapers, television or granite. Hence ‘carved in stone.’ What should concern us is not that we can’t take what we read on the internet on trust – of course you can’t, it’s just people talking – but that we ever got into the dangerous habit of believing what we read in the newspapers or saw on the TV – a mistake that no one who has met an actual journalist would ever make. One of the most important things you learn from the internet is that there is no ‘them’ out there. It’s just an awful lot of ‘us’.”

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Two Great Videos in Plain English

Lee Lefever over at Common Craft has posted two nice videos about how and why to use new technology. Lee, who is also using the term “social design”, is obviously aware that not everybody is on the social media bandwagon yet. These videos are a great primer for folks who want an explanation of what RSS and Wikis actually are. They’re fun, too.

RSS in Plain English

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Cult of the Pundit

When are we going to acknowledge that millions of people writing poorly (while slowly improving) is better than millions of people doing the alternative…not writing at all?

You hear the argument all the time: bloggers are poor writers who produce mountains of useless prose and very little quality work. The most recent case is Neil Henry’s The Decline of News, in which he makes the following insult to bloggers:

“Meantime, I can’t help but fear a future, increasingly barren of skilled journalists, in which Google “news” searches turn up not news, but the latest snarky rants from basement bloggers…”

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Give people something to copy

Quick blogging tip: When someone writes an incredibly flattering post about you, don’t immediately link to the flattering post. Why?

Because many times when someone does this, the link can actually be hurtful because it’s not a real link to quality content. The author, the flattered one, often pretends they’re really writing about the rest of the post and not the part about themselves. But they’re really writing to point out that someone likes them.

I’m not immune to this. I’ve done it too. But its completely obvious. In some cases, someone will actually point to someone else’s post and not mention that there is a part of the post about them…pretending to ignore it. That is so weird though, when you go read the post and wonder…does the person think I’m an idiot?

Instead, wait until that person writes something really cool, and then link to that.

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The Blog is the New Resume

Your blog is one place that you have complete control over…make it count!

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Make your Blog more Usable

Nice find in my referral logs.

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Kudos to Kathy Sierra

Kathy Sierra is awesome for standing up and sharing what happened so that others can learn and prevent it in the future.

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