Dare Obasanjo at Microsoft wrote to say that MSN Spaces has implemented the MetaWeblog API. That's cool! It means we should be able to edit Spaces blogs with the OPML Editor and wordPress.root. I'll test this from New Orleans, or shortly after I get back.
At the dawn of the blogging revolution I wrote two pieces that relate back to the transition from mainframe to personal computers. One, entitled Mainframes Are Computers Too, said goodbye to the centralized limits of Big Iron, and the fears of the well-intentioned people who kept them running for us. Those people are in some sense analogous to the people who run newspapers today. The second piece, Apple Sparked a Revolution, spoke lovingly of the computer that gave us a sense of purpose, before the Mac, before the IBM PC. "The Apple II was a perfect mix of the personalities of the Apple founders. It had the polish and physical elegance that Jobs is famous for (it felt a bit like a typewriter, but with far fewer moving parts and much lighter) and the programmability and open frontiers that Steve Wozniak loves." I recalled these two pieces in a post on Jeff Jarvis's blog where he considers the possibility that today's newspapers are analogous to yesterday's mainframes.
This morning I added code to the OPML community server to ping Weblogs.com, Technorati and Ping-o-matic.
And then I booked a trip to New Orleans, leaving tomorrow and returning Saturday. Ernie the Attorney will be my host. I'll be staying uptown, and will try to see as much of the city as possible. Will bring my camera, of course. Should be pretty interesting.
Weather report for New Orleans.
A new blog ranking takes a unique approach, it ranks networks of blogs. Even more interesting is that the Web 2.0 Workgroup, the network this blog is part of, is ranked #4, with only Gawker, Pajamas and Weblogs higher-ranked. That's pretty darned impressive. Watch this story rise through the ranks on Memeorandum; it's sure to be much-talked-about among the blogs that care about these things, which tend to be the A-list blogs, of course.
Jeff Jarvis: "Newspapers have neither a constitutional nor a God-given right to exist."
Should I lead a discussion at Podcastercon?
Okay, for 4 points, why is this so clever?
Kellie Miller: "A little bird told me there was discussion group software hiding in our favorite application."
It's true. Look in mainResponder.discuss.
Lisa Williams continues to kick butt with her OPML news weblog. She's turning into the TechCrunch of the OPML community. Keep on truckin Lisa. Are you coming down for Podcastercon?
A big announcement today from SixApart that Yahoo will be supplying Movable Type as part of its small business service. Every time you turn on the computer there's news of Yahoo doing something smart. I hear from a reliable bird flying around Santa Clara that they will offer WordPress blogs as part of the same service. Now they should do something interesting in the same space as Google Base.
The way to make money on the Internet is to send them away. Google proved this, in the age of portals that were trying to suck the eyeballs in and not let them go, Google took over by sending you off more efficiently than anyone else. Feeling lucky? As William Shatner says: Brilliant!
Yahoo doubled their share of the online news market by adopting RSS and sending readers away as fast as they can. Who to? Their competitors, of course.
Where do you go to get the latest from CNN and MSNBC? Yahoo. Makes sense.
Now the fundamental law of the Internet seems to be the more you send them away the more they come back. It's why link-filled blogs do better than introverts. It may seem counter-intuitive -- it's the new intuition, the new way of thinking. The Internet kicks your ass until you get it. It's called linking and it works.
People come back to places that send them away. Memorize that one.
This came up in a back-and-forth with Jakob Nielsen in 1999. The duality of the Internet. The dark side sees eyeballs and user-generated content. The light side sends them away, trusting that they'll come back. The beauty of it is that the light side works and the dark side doesn't. This is where the optimism of web people comes from. We called it Web Energy in the early days, and it's still with us today.
I've said it before, I'll say it again. Scott Rosenberg is one smart mofo.
He says: "The old newspaper bundle-of-stuff that supported a thriving industry from the 19th century to the threshold of the 21st is falling apart."
But he says more, and you should go read the piece and then come back.
If I was a snark-filled professional reporter, all you would have gotten is the quote, but you would never know that Scott also said that it's up to his profession to find new bundles of stuff that people will pay information for.
To which I would say, yes but...
That will run out too, because we're in an age of disintermediation. What's under attack is much bigger than newspapers, it's all forms of aggregation.
Aggregation can now be customized, and it can be done by machine.
So the advertisers are running away from newsprint and to online ads, to reach Scott's kids, but I believe that long before his kids come of age (they're in elementary school now), the advertisers will have run on beyond what we can see now. Once we've disintermediated the San Francisco Chronicle and NY Times (unlike Scott, I don't think any news organization is going to escape) the next target is AdSense. No need for a middle-man there either.
So it's the whole notion of value in bundles of information that's going by the wayside. Bundling is not going to be a way to make a living in the future. It's a bad bet.
Here's a serious thought. Google Base is all about RSS, right? That's cool. I understand RSS, and I like it. And no one owns it, dammit. But everyone's all concerned (rightly so, imho) about turning over our data to Google. How do we know they won't put ads in our stuff without our permission? And without paying us? How do we know they won't change what we say? We've been through this before, and they won't even talk about it with us! How about that for snarky.
So here's an idea, let's start a company, hire some great people to run our database. Instead of being the users in "user-generated content," we'll be the owners. The former sounds like a hamster in a cage, to me. An owner is someone who commands respect. We could wear badges and give ourselves business cards that say Owner. Forget about being a hamster. I want to be an owner!
I've already talked about this idea with friends with huge pipes and big databases who know how to run things reliably, and they find the idea interesting. But so far they haven't said they'll do it.
PS: Elephants never forget.
PPS: If you see the Podfather, tell him he just had another great idea.
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