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Scripting News, the weblog started in 1997 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution.

How Hollywood portrays bloggers Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named julia.jpgI've now seen two movies that had bloggers in leading roles.

1. State of Play. A remake of a brilliant BBC series that was so bad, that portrayed the blogger in such a superficial and humiliating fashion, that I actually walked out in disgust. (A movie has to be very bad for me to walk out on it.)

2. Julie and Julia. I saw it last night, and stayed to the end. I was just as angry at the way they portrayed the blogger, but it turns out for an opposite reason. In this case the dishonesty was reversed, the blogger wasn't at all heroic, and they misrepresented the hero, Julia Child, who was, in many ways more of a true blogger than the blogger! Kind of funny how that works.

A blogger isn't just someone who uses blogging software, at least not to me. A blogger is someone who takes matters into his or her own hands. Someone who sees a problem that no one is trying to solve, one that desperately needs solving, that begs to be solved, and because the tools are so inexpensive that they no longer present a barrier, they are available to the heroic individual. As far as I can tell, Julia Child was just such a person. Blogging software didn't exist when she was pioneering, but it seems that if it did she would have used it.

Julie used blogging, but Julia was a natural-born blogger.

The dishonesty in the story was how they portrayed Julia Child's reaction to Julie Powell's writing. They didn't explain why she disapproved. If you just went by what the movie said you could easily think she was bitter or closed-minded or jealous of young Julie. Luckily the archive is still on the web, and a simple Google search turned up the answer. Julia Child considered The Julie/Julia Project a stunt. She said of Powell: "She would never really describe the end results, how delicious it was, and what she learned." There's a lot more in a Publisher Weekly interview with Judith Jones, Child's editor at Knopf. Now, that makes sense!

I'd love to see a movie that captures the heroic spirit of blogging. Like all inspiration, it's rare, but that's why it's worth making a movie about. The story of the nobility of blogging largely remains, imho, untold.

Reporters accepting freebies Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A few notes about the propriety of reporters accepting free followers from Twitter.

1. On Friday, in an interview with Twitter COO Dick Costolo at a TechCrunch conference, Mike Arrington observed that when TechCrunch ran a piece about Twitter Corp they didn't like, they were taken off the Suggested User List. I wrote this up here on Scripting News. Costolo didn't comment, but the issue is clearly on Arrington's mind, as it should be. They're back on the list. Does this influence their coverage and if so how? (TechCrunch people should note this is a question, not a statement.)

A picture named tales.gif2. Will a NY Times columnist be more likely to write about Twitter, if they've got a million followers from placement on the SUL? Is there an appearance of impropriety? Is appearance enough of a reason to opt out? In an article in today's NY Times, they say that Times reporters are not allowed to accept free trips to cover production of a television show in Bora Bora. "The New York Times and many other media outlets ban the acceptance of these freebies on ethical grounds, because there could be an appearance of buying favorable coverage." To me, the free placement on the SUL and the benefits it bestows, are exactly equivalent. Elsewhere in the Times, and in many other media outlets, the number of followers is treated as a measure of relevance.

Pieces like this always provoke challenges from people at the publications such as the Guardian and the Times. So be it. I think they are clearly wrong in accepting the free boost from an important and growing media network like Twitter. In the old days they were gatekeepers and could suppress a story like this if they didn't like it. Thankfully we don't live in the old days. ;->

Further, I think political candidates who accept promotion from Twitter are going to have problems down the road. They operate under special rules, and I'm sure that there will eventually be a monetary value placed on SUL placement and it will count as a campaign contribution. Imho there will be even more serious consequences for incumbents who accept free followers from Twitter and other networks.

Think about how handicapped the news organizations are going to be in covering this story when they have their own issues around placement on the SUL. The only ones who will be able to cover this story without the appearance of being in Twitter's pocket are ones who opted out. As far as I know, no reporters, columnists or news organizations have opted out.

Help save a BusinessWeek blog Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named clock.gifJay Rosen sent a link to a post on a BusinessWeek blog: "Does anyone know how to preserve and store our four and a half years of blog posts and comments?"

Not sure what kind of blog it is, but saving the posts to a PDF (as mentioned on the site) isn't much of a solution.

We hope each of us is creating a record. The time to think about how your words will last over time is before you're leaving the job. Think about it and do something while you're writing. Choose software that's easy to archive. Ideally you should just have to make a copy of a folder to back it up. Most bloggiong software is nowhere near that simple.

If you have any ideas how to creat a backup of that blog please post a comment here or there.

Update: The blog is in

Can Twitter users link out? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named nyer.gifI have several accounts that I use for testing Twitter apps. One of them, bullmancuso, was shut down last October. A few weeks ago I petitioned to have the account restored.

This evening I got an email from the Twitter support person BFF, who explained:

"Your account was suspended because our specialists found that your tweets were primarily links to other sites and not personal updates, a violation of Twitter Rules."

It's true of that account but it's also true of the NYTimes and many other news oriented Twitter sites.

I suggest they take another look at this.

And it's a reminder once again that we're playing in someone else's ballpark here, and they make the rules. This is not in any way like the Internet.

Update: Alex Howard quotes Twitter co-CEO Biz Stone saying Twitter "has long outgrown the concept of personal status updates."


Last update: Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 3:46 PM Pacific.

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~About the Author~

A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.

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