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

Who gets their news from Google? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Like everyone else, I'm peripherally following the fur flying about Murdoch thinking about whether or not to block Google from searching his news sites. In the background I keep wondering if this isn't all a misunderstanding. I mean, do a lot of people get their news on Google? That's a question.

Okay I know I'm not average, so I don't mean to say my experience is statistically significant. For all I know everyone else is getting their news on Google. But I really don't think so. Here's what I think.

I think other sites grabbed most of the flow in news before Google got around to doing news, and such habits are hard to break. I guess that Yahoo is still the leader in online news and CNN and MSN are #2 and #3. After that, there's a lot of noise. Somewhere down there is Google. In the dust.

People say silly things like Google would be nothing without the NY Times, but it wasn't until relatively recently that the Times let Google index their news stories. I know this because I had a Long Bet with Martin Nisenholtz that I won more or less by default. Times articles couldn't show up in the ranks on Google because the Times wouldn't let them! It was dumb not just cause it meant that Martin lost the bet, but it was dumb because they let Wikipedia become the authority on so many topics that the Times would have done a better job at, imho. And they were throwing away flow, and flow is money.

So I think a lot of this debate is uninformed and generating a bit of heat and not much else. Kind of like a lot of what passes for news these days.

Natural-born blogger Permanent link to this item in the archive.

A picture named julia.jpgNot everyone was born to blog, but some people were.

Pity the poor NBB who was born before there were blogs. You can imagine this person wandering the planet with some unspecified sense of purpose. Scratching his or her head, wondering what exactly it is they were supposed to do with their lives.

Of course that's a joke, because this instinct had many ways to be satisfied before there were blogs, but it wasn't as easy as it is for people today.

I tripped across this in trying to puzzle out what was disturbing about the Julie & Julia biopic. Both main characters were clearly NBBs, and perhaps both deserved their own movies. Smooshing the stories together made for a confusing mess. I was more interested in Julia Child, the proto-proto-blogger, the blogger before there were bloggers, because her spirit is what NBBs everywhere do.

Americans should understand French cooking, says Julia. It's hard, she says, but you can do it. So, did she just wring her hands and wish for it? No, she took matters into her own hands (a phrase Jay thought was pivotal) and made it happen. That's the spirit we love!

It seems that the spirit of blogging and the spirit of America are wrapped up in each other somehow.

This came up in yesterday's Rebooting the News, which if I do say so myself, was one of our best. We get into the subjectives of what makes natural-born blogger. Here are some of the ideas.

1. An NBB doesn't wait for permission.

2. A NBB explains things, even when they don't understand. An NBB is often proved wrong, to which the NBB shrugs his or her shoulders and says something like Shit happens.

3. NBBs go first. If there's an NBB around you don't have to wait for a volunteer.

4. NBBs err on the side of saying too much. If you find yourself wishing someone would just STFU you're very likely looking at an NBB.

NBBs annoy the hell out of you. And if they're good, they get you to think. There's the big value in having us around. We foster thinking.

When I say someone is a Natural Born Blogger, it's the highest praise I know. I am not annoyed by them, but I know that often people are annoyed by me. I don't plan to change.

So who are some NBBs? My mother, for one. It's where I got my NBB gene. I never had to explain to her why she should blog, she just knew. The mechanics of blogging software weren't so natural to her, but she eventually figured it out.

Robert Scoble is a total NBB. He has an opinion about everything. I often want to strangle him, but then I realize sheez he has a point.

Dan Gillmor, Doc Searls, Jeff Jarvis and Howard Weaver are NBBs. Most good reporters are, but I suspect most of the true NBBs in journalism left about 10 years ago. I was schooled in how the web worked by the striking news writers in the Bay Area in 1994. We came across this in our podcast yesterday. Good reporters and good bloggers == same thing.

In American history, Thomas Jefferson and Ralph Waldo Emerson were bloggers. Who else? You tell me.


Last update: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 at 7:21 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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