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Northern Voice 2006 - Initial After Thought...

It is always incredible to be among people with such great drive and passion. The ideas were aswirling today at the Northern Voice 2006 blogging conference. I spent a lot of time exploring new web sites suggested by the presenters and participants. I am not sure what it is - maybe many of us were not popular in high school - but I felt  sensitivity in the rooms today. People liked being part of the cool crowd, and if some were not part of it, they seemed a little on the periphery. This is not a reflection of the excellent work of the organizers of the conference. I think this is probably something that happens at a lot of tech and/or blogging conferences.

I did not focus on the learning today, although I am pretty sure there are ideas that got into my head that I will be thinking about for a while. I focused, instead, on talking to people, actually interviewing many with my voice recorder / wireless mic set up. It worked well.

As I am writing this, I realize that one web site I did learn about - yesterday at the conference - is going to be causing those creaky wheels in my brain to start to turn. Blufton Today, presented by Ken Rickards, is stuck in my head as a great model of a real community web site. When I used the word 'community', in this context it actually means a real town or village or neighborhood. I would like YourKamloops to turn into this. We need to rediscover community in the western world - and that starts with knowing your neighbors and feeling truly invested in whats going on in your neighborhood.

Colin Brumelle on Music on the Web

Heck I am glad that the web journalism session (concurrent) had no available chairs. I am sitting here listening to            Colin Brumelle talk about music and the web. His presentation slides are exquisite. Here are some of the sites he is passing on that seem really quite amazing:

- music recommendation
Pitchfork Media - the online Rolling Stone? - music recommendations based on what you actually listen to.
Flux Blog - one of the famous MP3 blogs

Interesting quote: "The Internet might allow the creation of a musician middle class"

Questions Asked to Dave Sifry...

Again at Northern Voice 2006 - no claims to be authoritative. I will miss some stuff.

Questions asked of Dave Sifry of Technorati, the blog search engine.

1. Why did you build Technorati?

  • offshoot of talking to people through mailing lists - "mailing lists suck"
  • became a blogger - loved the interaction. "became a stats whore" - wanted to know what people are "commenting on me". Humans as social animals.
  • major traditional search engines not immediate enough for blogs. Has to do with how they are built, which has to do with their philosophy - they have no good concept of time / immediacy. trad search based on library concept.
  • so built technorati - a whole lot of other people wanted to know who was talking about them and the things they care about,

(Derek Miller stage right taking photos)

2. Dave Sifry's State of Blogosphere

  • technorati tracking 26 to 27 million blogs. troubles tracking places like Korea
  • 75 000 new blogs every day.
  • actively blogging after 3 months - just over 50%
  • 11% of all bloggers - once a week.
  • just under a million daily bloggers.
  • 50 000 posts every hour.
  • 115 000 people in "magic middle" - 30 to 1000 people who link to them. Their own circles of influence. Blogfinder service.
  • "weird inverse relationship between blogging and employment"

3. Multilingual blog search

  • sloppy keyword / tags usage
  • what we found through experience is that if you make it easy and accountable for people to use keywords in their blog posts - something really interesting happens - an emergent system starts to occur. Relationships made between tags / keywords. People who tag in both languages then establish relationships in the system.

4. What are you worried about? What could go wrong?

  • Growth will hit ceiling.
  • Blog spam / comment spam
  • "Splogs" "Spings"
  • Parasites in ecosystem
  • Good news is that system is fundamently accountable. All leads back to a web page.
  • Net neutrality: collapsing of telecom companies who carry the internet backbone. Preferential pricing for faster access. Or networks become closed. Pop up might appear that says if you want to Google, you are going "off network" and will have to pay 6 cents a minute. Enormous threat to innovation. Predatory pricing that handicaps people who are not super rich.

5. Spam blogs

  • made their first appearances in July 2004
  • technorati provide lists of spam blogs to blogging service providers. And then service providers can kill these blogs.

6. Blog Network Trends

  • natural shift in publishing power.
  • huge questions about setting up ad side. Guild systems starting.
  • big questions: can you write well, and can you figure out ad system.
  • enormous opportunity
  • robert scoble: mortgage blogging big opportunity
  • advertising horribly broken
  • advertising that I want to see - philosophy
  • "Google Bowling"

Nancy White Rocks!

Last year, at the Northern Voice conference,  I was impressed by a very interesting person called Nancy White. Nancy is, right now leading our discussion about online community.  She speaks passionately and eloquently, but also comes across as pretty friendly and accessible. She had worked globally - in places like Armenia - and also locally in her home community, Seattle.

Anyhooo, Nancy is impressing me again.